It ain’t cool

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(Seven months back)

A: Hey, man! Wassup?

B: Nothing, wondering whether to go to this rally of ‘March against Corruption’ or not. Are you going?

A: Yeah, man! I’m going.

B: Since when did you become an activist?

A: Me, an activist? It’s not like that. It’s just that this cause hasn’t attracted much support yet. So, marching in small numbers would be fun and it’s kind of cool to participate and shout slogans.

B: Hmm… I think I will pass on joining this rally. I shall participate when this cause has attracted momentum.

(Seven days back)

A: Hey, man! Wassup?

B: Nothing, planning to go to this rally to support Anna Hazare’s cause to remove corruption from India. Are you coming?

A: No, man. I ain’t coming.

B: Since when did you started missing out on such events?

A: It’s not like that. It’s just that this cause has attracted much support now. So, marching in big numbers and shouting slogans ain’t that cool. You know what’s cooler now?

B: No, tell me.

A: Not supporting Anna Hazare. Being an anti-Hazare is cooler now.

B: Hmm.. I think I will pass on joining this rally. It’s already got much support now.

 

(pics courtesy coolpictures.in)

My contribution towards Corruption

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Corruption is a well-known, prevalent evil which I suppose, we all must have encountered somewhere or sometime in our lives. Most of those times, we end up on the complaining side like complaining about paying more to a government official for doing his/her task. And sometimes, we end up on the part in which we are playing an active part willingly and contribute to feed and nourish the Corruption. I find these times as very interesting as we would not admit that we are perhaps doing something wrong and try to support our action with our reasoning skills which provides us with a dilemma on what ethics is and what it’s not.

Let me describe a few situations and let me know if you would have done something different than the protagonist of these situations. If yes, then what and why. If no, you are free to add your line of reasoning which supports the action taken by the protagonist. Do you think the action taken by the protagonist in these situations is justified and if so, do you consider them as contributing towards Corruption ?

Situation # 1

Situation: I was travelling on my bike and by mistake, I didn’t see that the traffic signal had turned red. I had moved a few metres ahead of the supposed stop point when I realized my mistake and so, I tried to push my bike back to that point using my legs. However, I was prevented from doing so, as I saw there was a traffic police officer standing a few metres ahead of me and asking me to come forward towards him. Instinctually, I drove towards him and stopped the bike. He started scribbling down my bike registration number and was about to issue me chalan charges.

Action: I took out a 100 rupees note out of my pocket and handed over to him while saying “Sorry Sir”. He let me off and I drove my bike away.

Reason: I thought that I was not doing anything wrong by bribing him because both of us were benefitting from this bribe. This low-paid traffic police officer is making some money while I am escaping from paying more and the trouble of appearing in court. So, this can be considered as an out-of-court settlement. Secondly, I didn’t try to zoom off on my bike after realizing that I had skipped the traffic light. It was an unintentional mistake and I should not be charged heavily for it.

Situation #2

Situation: I had to take a bus from my say place A to place B which was just about 700 metres away. The normal fare in a non-AC bus was Rs 3 and the minimum fare in an AC bus is Rs 10. Unluckily that day, I could find a non-AC bus despite waiting for 5 mins. I saw an AC bus was coming which went through the desired route.

Action: I decided to board this bus and when the conductor came to me, I slipped him a five-rupee coin saying that I have to get down at a place which is just 700 metres away. He accepted this small token amount and passed me without issuing a ticket (which of course was not possible legally).

Reason: The amount I gave was value for money, as one could go upto 2 kms distance for a Rs 10 ticket in an AC bus. In the ordeal, the poor conductor gets a chance to earn some money while I get to save the time which I would have wasted waiting for a non-AC bus to come.

Situation #3

Situation: I had to board a train to my hometown on short notice. I tried getting a reservation using the tatkal scheme but the railways website didn’t respond properly and I was unable to book a ticket. It was urgent for me to board this train on that date.

Action: I decided to board the train and thought I shall pay the ticket collector some extra amount to get a berth which maybe lying empty in some compartment as some person might have missed the train but forgot to make cancellations.

Reason: The urgency of situation demands me to abandon thinking about ethics of the action and what I was doing. We can’t follow the rule book line-by-line as there would be some cases in which the rules won’t make any sense and I think this is one of such cases.

India marches against Corruption

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30th Jan, 2011.

A peaceful march was organized by India Against Corruption across India in over 50 cities in which the people of India joined hands together and walked down the streets, braved the scorching sun, distributed pamphlets demanding the formation of an effective Anti-Corruption Body called Lokpal, raised slogans against Corruption which unfortunately has become the unifying characteristic of all the Indian Government Offices. The participants were the common people of India – the people of India who suffer the pain of prevalent corruption in getting a driving license or getting a ration card or getting the pension documents travel from one table to another table, for almost getting anything done in Indian offices. They were the people who are fed up of serving ‘chai-nashta’ to these bureaucrats to make them do their job at the cost of losing their own ‘chai-nashta’.


The pamphlet describing the salient features of Anti-Corruption law

I participated in this march conducted in Bengaluru, along with a few friends who didn’t know each other. I was their mutual friend and Corruption was their mutual enemy. We reached the starting venue a few minutes late and were pleasantly surprised to find more than 200 people already gathered around Mahatama Gandhi statue near the Chinnaswamy Stadium. They were ready with banners and posters to march down the road and make their voices heard.

Volunteers displaying the banner

All of us marched down from M.G.Road,  Mahatma Gandhi Statue back to the same venue via the Corporation Circle. We were distributing the pamphlets to the onlookers to make them aware of the reason of march and even shouted slogans like “dekhte kya ho, shaamil ho jao” to encourage them to join us in the march. The people raised slogans against Corruption in quite a few languages – Hindi, English and Kannada. The best part was that these slogans were not the slogans that were written down on some piece of paper, instead the slogans were self-created by the people marching. Each one of us actively participated in creating slogans for the campaign. I, too managed to contribute a few slogans across like “Stop Corruption, Develop Nation” and “bachhe-bachhe ka sapna hai, imaandar desh apna hai”.

Organizer addressing the participants

After we reached back to the starting point, the people took a breather and drank water to relieve their parched throats. Then, all of us contributed a small amount of money willingly to cover the expenses of this rally. After that, there was a speech by the organizer who thanked the participants for making the rally successful and asked us to applaud ourselves for the effort. He, then asked all of us to send a SMS to a number stating our name and address and spread this message to others so that people of India can join hands against Corruption. He said the SMSes shall be sent to the President of India to demonstrate how strongly we, the people of India, are ready to fight against Corruption and strongly support the enactment of a law to setup the Lokpal.

If you want to join us in this fight against Corruption, send a SMS to 09230534959 stating “INDIA <your_name>, <your_address>, <your_email_id(optional)>” now.

Jai Hind!