‘The emergence of such movements will help to bring about a positive systemic change’

The recent protests against the Delhi gang rape incident was a reflection of popular aspirations meeting the system, and such an interaction would only lead to positive changes in India in the near future, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairperson Nandan Nilekani said on Friday.

In a conversation with journalist Daniel Kurtz Phelan at the Jaipur Literature Festival, which also featured economist Gurcharan Das and journalist Peter Hessler, he said India needed more such positively oriented movements.

Till recently, popular demonstrations were mostly built around class interests and identity politics, but Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and the Delhi protests against the December 15 gang rape and death of a young woman represented the emergence of a different kind of mass movements, he said at a session, ‘The Elephant paradigm, the Dragon paradox.’ “These demonstrations demanded systemic reforms like the rooting out of corruption and enhanced safety for women.” “It was India’s Rosa Parks moment,” he said, about the American civil rights icon’s refusal to yield her seat in the coloured section of a bus to a white passenger, which evolved into a mass movement for equal rights for the African-American community. He called for creating more platforms that enabled people to access government services; “that is why we have been focusing on creating such platforms using technology,” which would eventually work for all aspects of national growth.