The making of Rang De 2.0

Reflections on staying alive and starting up all over again
Smita Ram
Sep 14
Rang De team addressing the gathering of social investors at our 11th birthday celebration

Many months back we stumbled upon an article about the making of the film Rang De Basanti and that it took 10 years for RDB to be launched as a film from an idea. We couldn’t help but draw parallels with Rang De, as it took us almost a decade to metamorphose into who we had become. Unlike in a film where all the work happens before its launch, in case of an organization, this metamorphosis continues forever. 

Our life at Rang De has been out of the ordinary to say the least. Every time we felt there was stability, it was quickly shaken with tremors of change – sometimes internal but mostly external. The reasons for change being because of the latter made our life more adventurous. Some people may call it complicated. But we embraced change, made it a part of our life, so much so that we believe its in the DNA now.

In October 2017, when RBI’s regulations for peer to peer lending hit the headlines, we knew we were all set for another one of those adventures. On the cusp of turning 10, Ram and I were not sure if we were ready for this new adventure. Were we left with any energy to redo this all over again? Who would support us? We were lucky the first time but there has to be a time when one runs out of luck. With all this at the back of our mind, we did what was required of us – The painful task of communicating to our 14000+ community of social investors that the future was uncertain. We also knew that we had to start winding down the operations of if we were not able to comply with the regulation. So we were in this weird phase. While people were congratulating us for 10 years, we were wondering if there would be a Rang De 2.0 in the making.

Rang De team members Sonali and Preethi with our social investors

Many people asked us if we were upset about getting regulated. To the contrary, we welcomed it, even though it would make our life difficult. There were two hurdles as we saw it and we were wondering if we would make it past them. The first one was that we needed at least Rs. 2 crores to file for the license, the second was to ensure that there would be no mission drift once we become an NBFC.

For any other organization, these two hurdles would have been enough to call it a day. Not for Rang De though. The reason why I call our journey extra-ordinary is because we have this committed community of social investors who are now family. It is their power, belief, passion, and perseverance that translates into Rang De’s strength.  They were the strong pillars that helped Rang De raise a record fund of Rs. 2 crores in a record twenty days. We draw all our strength and inspiration from them. My favourite quote has always been that of Margaret Mead.

” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

And here in Rang De’s journey, we have experienced this every day of our lives. Our social investors are our equity investors, mentors, agile coaches, fundraisers, volunteers, friends, filmmakers, doers, thinkers. And it is to them that we owe this new beginning of 2.0.

Rang De team in deep conversations with our social investors

Reinforced by their support, the Rang De team has been through two years of trials and tribulations. Rethinking, reinventing, questioning and celebrating change. Only time will tell whether we will be able to get closer to our dream of an inclusive India. For now we are just contented that we have put in everything that we have and there is no stone unturned. 

If you are reading this and you are not someone who knows us from the past, we welcome you to this extra-ordinary community of Rang De social investors! And we hope you find this journey of accelerating change a joyful one.

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