Kanan Dhru – A young beacon of change

We live in times where many around us have become cynical. The legal system in our country is inept, politics is not about putting people first and I feel powerless in bringing about change – are oft heard and common refrains. Against this backdrop, Kanan Dhru, a lawyer by profession and a crusader by virtue of her actions, stands apart. Kanan founded the Research Foundation of Governance in India (RFGI) in 2009 when she was just 25 years old. RFGI is an independent research think tank that is working towards improving governance through policy, legislative and legal reforms.

Drawing inspiration from Gandhian values
Kanan is a law graduate from London School of Economics. She shares, “I studied in a Gandhian school in Ahmedabad. The focus was on simplicity. We learnt to stitch our own clothes and were taught agriculture as part of the curriculum. This made a deep impression on my mind, and I grew up believing that justice and equality in society are very important. I went on to study law abroad. When I returned, I saw how the legal system abroad was so efficient and there was so much justice at the heart of the legal system compared to what we have in India.”

Kanan realised that justice in India has become the luxury of the rich; young people are increasingly disconnected from politics and good governance is the need of the hour. She says, “I started this organisation to understand how different legal and governance systems work and how we can create a better society in India. Interestingly, many young people started joining us. We are steering the organisation towards something that is more sustainable and can have a large scale positive impact on the future.”

Creating a culture of participation
Kanan feels very strongly about creating a culture of participation for the youth of the country in important government and decision-making issues. She opines, “There is a need for a youthful organisation working in the area of law and politics that is neutral and not steeped in ideology. We also take a stand on having more young people’s representation in existing political parties.”

RFGI is working very closely with several government agencies and international NGOs. Kanan elaborates, “We work with the existing agencies of government to make sure that they accept our recommendations and assist with the drafting of policies and laws. We want to make laws more accessible, simpler and easily understood.”

Being a Global Shaper
Kanan is a prolific writer and is the recipient of several national and international awards. She is the Curator of the Ahmedabad Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. She explains the concept of Global Shapers, “Global Shapers is a community of youngsters between 20 and 30 years who are working on issues that create an impact on society. Collectively we take up issues, which could range from environment to education, to women’s issues, to those of the youth or even art! It’s an interesting community of entrepreneurial youngsters from around the world. There are numerous hubs across the world. In the Ahmedabad Hub, we have a mix of 17 fantastic people from across the socio economic spectrum. We have undertaken four different projects that include art, environment preservation, a technological project and my legal project.”

The power of women
Kanan shares that being a woman entrepreneur comes with its share of challenges and advantages. She candidly reveals, “Sometimes I feel perhaps I would have been taken more seriously as a man but at the same time as a woman I have been encouraged more because it carries a special weight.”

She urges aspiring women entrepreneurs, “Women should start more bold and interesting ventures. They should not restrict themselves to the typical 3 – 4 types of entrepreneurial ideas. They can do so much more; they can excel in every field.” She adds, “I’d like to believe that women are more evolved souls. Women are sensitive; they perceive and feel more. Women are nurturers – entrepreneurial women who are nurturers can be a joy for the world and an asset for any society.”

Kanan is a beacon of hope and her crusade for change is heartening and inspiring for our disenchanted generation. WEBO Power applauds Kanan’s entrepreneurial spirit and campaign for systemic reforms.

Interviewed By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: September 03, 2013

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