What’s the Problem?

We use the words – Legal and Illegal, quite often and sometimes even humourously. Looking that good is Illegal. Not having a cake on your birthday is Illegal. If you are a Hyderabadi and you don’t eat Biryani, that is Illegal, and so on. But, on a serious note, how many of us who do not belong to a background that deals with laws, sections, and actions, know about such things? 

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It’s like you know about what Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease means only when you go to a Doctor. It’s only when you visit a lawyer or some authority well-versed in this do you understand whether the things that you do on a regular basis are legal or not. I am not an expert in this area. Forget about expert, I know and understand absolutely nothing about the laws that exist in India- How I can use my rights, which law allows me to do a certain thing, which section may land me in trouble if I do so and so – I have no idea! And, I am sure, a lot of people don’t.

Even if people know what’s legal and illegal when we talk about everyday things like visiting a website, filing a complaint against a robber in our lane, things related to driving and licenses – how much do we know? And if we do, how much does our own busy life let us remember?

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We all have our own daily tasks – personal and professional, to be done. Some of us have family issues, some of us are going through breakups, some of us have lost a loved one, forever, some of us don’t know what our career is going to look like! So, amidst things like these, are we really bothered about what is legal, which law is helpful, what are the legal rights, who should we approach if we ever go through a serious issue like facing a fraud by our employer or going through a divorce? We are not. And, you never know, when these can land you in a trouble. And all that you would have done wrong is not even known that what you did was wrong! Simply, lack of awareness! I strongly think there should be a way of letting the Aam Janta – The Common Man know about laws, rights, and all the legal stuff that is relevant to them! Going back to the kidney disease example – even when you don’t know what a Stage 3 kidney disease looks like, you know that taking a lot of medications and being a diabetic are a few of the top risks that can eventually lead to failure of kidney function.

Similarly, can we not look for ways where the layman knows what he should and should not do on a daily basis in various areas of his life? Can there not be a way of spreading awareness about basic rights and responsibilities when it comes to laws and legal matters?

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I mean, should a person miss out on a benefit or rights concerning women, children, or senior citizens just because of a lack of Awareness? Should a person keep practicing illegal things even when they don’t intend to just because – they didn’t know?

What’s the Solution?

After all these issues that I have recognized, I also have thought of a few suggestions that could work for a normal person like me. I hope someone from the legal, law, tax, or whatever (because I don’t even know the right terms) background reads this and decides to educate the general public.

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As a Nutritionist, I can tell people that even if you don’t know what amino acids, folic acid, and ascorbic acid mean, you must know that you should include fruits, vegetables and have a variety of foods trying to have a balanced meal, every single day. Just like this, there could be a few awareness campaigns, posters, banners, QnAs conducted by the students, professionals, and experts of the Legal matters.

Probably, there are things like that already going on in many parts of the country and I am unaware of these awareness drives, itself. This is where more campaigning and promotion should come into play. I am sure when someone does an illegal blunder, the lawyers worry and say how could you do this? Just like if a patient came to me, saying he ate Cheesy Pizzas and Fried Fries every day and now has been diagnosed with a Heart Disease – my first question would be – How could you? And he may just say because I DID NOT KNOW that was wrong!

Just like this, can’t we do something that registers in people’s brains – the actual Legals and Illegals?

Can there not be messages sent? Like TRAI sends? Can’t there be ads made? Just like RBI does. Can’t there be awareness camps conducted by college students? Just like the various health issues’ campaigns?

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I mean- what can we really do to reach a point where everyone knows what they are supposed to do and how to head in the right direction, knowing the rights and the wrongs of the legal affairs? 

How can we reach a point equivalent to - every person, be it literate or illiterate, alert about the surroundings or worried about his own world – understands, recognizes, and knows that when he sees a red colour on the signal, he got to stop! When he sees the green signal, he can move! What if someone told the traffic police when getting caught – Sorry, I drove when the signal was red because I DID NOT KNOW! Nobody accepts it because the awareness has reached to that point! Talking about food again, even if a layman does not know how much fat, salt, and sugar is to be taken in a day, they all know excessive quantities can prove to be dangerous in the future. Even when people love Junk Food, the awareness has reached close to a point where they know this can get harmful. It probably could just be their helplessness or desires overtaking but there is not a lack of awareness! And, Dietitians wouldn’t just nod their heads when they hear we didn’t know eating Junk every day was wrong!

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Similarly, it would be a great step if we can have more and more children, adults, women and senior citizens know about their basic rights, responsibilities, must-dos and illegal activities. And, a simplified form of all this to stay informed and also to help build a confident citizen and a progressive Country! More people knowing about the rights would mean less crimes! And any crimes would mean – we know what action is to be taken! The common man needs to get empowered. It’s a cycle of empowerment – the experts empower the common man and the common man empowers the Country’s progress – both statistically and how safe and confident, a citizen feels.

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