Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do you know Manju?

Who is Manju??? There is a Manju in all of us waiting to break the boundaries of self-exacted silence and safe ignorance.

I am talking of a fine bloke called Manjunath Shanmugham. Who is he you might say? He was a whistleblower who had attempted to expose the petrol mafia but was instead murdered by the petrol mafia.

Why is that the petrol mafia resorted to kill him? How did it serve them? It was intended to silence future resistance against it.

Inspite of all sympathies and support for the actions of Manju, are we prepared to die for the right? The support for him came only after his death. Sentencing criminal deaths may just dissuade their ilk to commit further crimes in the open but who will curb their criminal tendencies. They will just become shrewder to hide their crimes and come out unscathed. A one-off decision against the sinners will not bring about miracles in our thought process, the inspiration to resist crime will.

Some problems flatter to deceive. Take the example of UP where the incident had occurred. While massive investments are being made in setting up parks, museums, statues and other forms of self-loving foolishness, what has been the investment in so-called development aspects like infrastructure, health & education?

The following are the breakup of expenses for the budget 2009-10 –

1. Urban Infra – 4845 crore INR

2. Roads & Infra - 7657 crore INR

3. Energy – 9846 crore INR

4. Health – 6503 crore INR

5. Women & Child Development – 900 crore INR

6. Education – 19037 crore INR

7. And finally, Mayawati ji’s favourite pastime(memorials and statues) – more than Rs 5000 crore

The investments in Mayawati Ji’s favourite pastime forms about 4% of the total expenses (133597 crore).

Another glorifying aspect of UP politics has been the presence of around 25% politicians with criminal record in the current UP Assembly. With such unabashed backing of criminal politicians, I don’t find any reason for the murky conditions in UP to change. One positive aspect that came out of the elections was the extremely strict measures taken up by election commission whereby 640 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed to resist unfair means of carrying out elections.

Inspite of having premium schools of excellence like BHU, IIT Kanpur, IIM Lucknow & IIT Roorkee, it still lags behind in overall welfare. The schools are more a testimony of UP being the highest populated state and having a sizeable stake in the parliament rather than a credit to the rulers of the state.

For once let us forget politicians. Come down to the people who elect them, me and you. Someone has very rightly said, “People get the government they deserve”. What has been our take on ethical decisions? It’s perfectly convenient to criticise the dismal state in politics, what do we do when it comes down to a question of ethics?

How many times have you broken a traffic rule and have been ready to pay a bribe to avoid paying a higher fine, cutting a chalan or appearing before the court? How many times have you preferred to jump the queue to finish off things fast? How many times have you preferred to keep silent when an injustice is being committed by someone you are close to?

The bigger problem lies in ours not accepting our mistakes and actually going to the extent of defending it citing the excuses of time or efforts.

Why does it take an emergency to wake us up from our deep slumber? What do we do when there is a cry for help or an alarm for need? Why do we prefer to close our eyes and walk out of the situation. We are ready to help only when we feel that there will be no problems for us if we help the person. We even go the extent of stifling the voices of that one lone voice which believes in fighting against injustice.

Premier institutes like IIMs & IITs have carried out peace marches upholding the values that brave men like Manjunath stood for. But the extent to which the spirit has seeped into our souls is questionable.

When will we be ready to face the consequences for our actions? When will we start supporting the Manjus amongst us, leave alone becoming one? Far off I say....

You can learn more about Manjunath from the following link –


PS – My apologies for writing after such a long time...

No comments: