There’s anger. There’s frustration. There’s unrest. And there’s bitterness against the menace called corruption and its perpetrators.
One visit to Jantar Mantar where 72 year old Anna Hazare is holding an indefinite hunger strike along with members of India Against Corruption (IAC) and you will witness the electrifying feeling of what Tahrir Square or our own 1921, 1942, 1947 or 1975 would have been like. Reports suggest that similar is the temperament among people across the country.
Where we failed?
The greatest failure of rule of law in our country has been the fact that people stopped believing that honesty too can be a way of life. Ask anyone and the reply comes, ‘Imaandaari ka zamaana kahan raha saab’. Honesty and simplicity are considered to be qualities of failure. This, despite the fact that most of us are most of the time honest in most of the things we deal with in our life. But the belief that being fair and honest is not an option for survival is the greatest failure Indian psyche ever have had. This defeatist mentality has put us in a situation where we stopped questioning corruption and rather accepted it as inevitable.
First we ignored clerks and then petty officials. Next we tolerated corrupt bureaucrats and then came doctors, teachers and small leaders. Worse, we kept voting for corrupt politicians, or at least didn’t do enough to vote them out. Now, the situation is so terrible that there is not a single institution in this country which can be trusted. The most powerful institutions are full of most corrupt people. The highest judiciary has either not remain untouched. And the overwhelming numbers of corrupt people have made the situation so complex that no one dares to be honest. Right and honest individuals are suppressed, threatened and murdered.
What else anarchy is if not this?
Remember the killing of NHAI whistleblower Satyendra Dubey in 2004 in Gaya. There have been a series of murders after that. The most famous being the killing of IIM-Lucknow alumni and Indian Oil Officer Manjunath Shanmugham who was brutally murdered in 2005 for sealing a corrupt petrol station in UP. This year itself, in yet another brazen act, a day before the Republic Day of our country, Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane, 42, a Maharashtra-cadre officer was burnt alive in broad daylight at Manmad in Maharashtra’s Nashik district by the local mafia during raids to uncover the illegal hoarding of kerosene and petrol.
We have started ignoring the murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist the way we ignore killing of terrorists and insurgents. Right to Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty — who exposed many land scams in Maharashtra — was killed on January 12 this year. RTI activist Amit Jethwa was murdered near the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad in broad day light on June 26 last year. The Hindu reported in July last year that eight RTI activist have been killed in seven month.
The fortunate development
Fortunately, people are taking note of corruption. As Anna Hazare’s fight enters day 3, the movement is growing wider and broader.
On Wednesday in New Delhi, students from Jamia Millia Islamia joined the protest. Jawahar Lal Nehru University student have already been around from day 1. Aligarh Muslim University students union will join on Thursday.
Reports of students from IITs and IIMs joining the protest across the country has also made into the headlines. Delhi University students are organizing “DU for Hazare on Thursday in Hindu College”. Equally overwhelming has been the participation from private institutions like Amity.
It’s not a student alone movement. Office goers, house wives, rickshaw pullers and school children are making pilgrimage to Anna’s temple at Jantar Mantar every day.
This is your chance
There have been cases of corruption earlier as well but our generation has mostly witnessed cases about corruption alone. For the last three decades corruption has gone from bad to worse. Favouritism, nepotism, and all sorts of immoral policies and isms have become the toast of our daily life. It’s showing no sign of stopping.
Our generation has the opportunity to play a decisive role in setting the agenda for the way this country should be run. It’s good that we are finally witnessing a movement where people from all walks of life, including Bollywood, are coming together for a cause beyond religion, region or caste.
Before I conclude
“Ay, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.”
Recall the eco of the thunderous dialogues above of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) in ‘Braveheart” in front of the Scott warriors and march against corruption wherever you are.