It’s 15th August. Hum your favorite patriotic tune, speak about the achievements of the Government of the day, talk of pride in our culture and history, and proudly flaunt our progress as a society. Close your eyes and sleep. Happy Independence Day!
Or wake up! Look into the problems, discuss what is eating us from inside, find treatment for the termites of the system, struggle, fail, struggle again, fail, rise again, fight, bring a change! It’s 15th August. Justify the ‘Independence’ in that clichéd ‘Happy Independence Day’!
You can skip this article if you would rather like to follow the first method. If you are ready for a long-drawn battle, read on.
Have you ever been a victim of pick-pocketing – a wallet that had your hard-earned cash and cards – is gone before you realize it? Have you tried to lodge an FIR with the local Police? I was advised at a local station to not lodge a theft case but go for a missing/lost case. I asked for the reason because I was sure that it was stolen. I was suggested that it’s almost impossible to find the wallet and I would have to do the rounds of the court if it becomes a theft case to identify the suspects every now and then on Police call. I was in a hurry. I reported a missing case. I was wrong!
Talk about black money. The first few names that pop out aren’t in India – we talk Switzerland, we talk Bahamas, we talk Panama, we talk Hong Kong. We don’t talk about a parallel shadow economy running in our own country with the Indian Police Service at its helm. I don’t usually generalize but unfortunately the Police system in India is so rotten that any kind of generalization sticks. You are caught jumping the signals? – Pay and Go! You are caught stealing? – Pay and Go! You are caught encroaching – Pay and Go! Walk around at night on the streets of any metropolitan city of our country, Police motor-vehicles doing rounds of street vendors to collect their everyday hafta/mamool is a norm – Rs 20 for the makeshift vendors, Rs 100-200 for the vendors who are better placed.
Are we unaware? No! Is the Govt. unaware? Not at all! What are we doing about it? Lip service!
The question to be asked is – Who is policing the police? I would like to bring to your attention a tell-all open letter –
Dear Honorable Madam Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,
My name is Jeevanayagi. I come from a very small village called Therku Karungulam in the Radhapuram Taluk of Tirunelveli District.The story I have for you today is very personal and quite painful. I am the proud daughter of a man who used to be a humble farmer and the only dream he ever had was to see to that his children are educated enough to have an independent opinion about worldly affairs. I do not remember a time when my father was biased towards any of the political parties. He was always just in the stands that he took about anything and everything. But today he is no longer just a farmer and the saddest part is that he is compelled to side with one of the parties thanks to your party men. You might want to ask why and the answer is that he had to do so to protect his family. The atrocities unleashed by your party men did not only turn a farmer into an RTI activist, but also into a serious political enthusiast. While the rest of the world has been encouraging my father to contest against your party in the impending by-elections, I as a doting daughter have never been very enthusiastic about his political venture. I wanted him to rest and relish life for once at peace unperturbed by the world around him. But what happened today has not only compelled me to approve of his plans but also has encouraged me to throw away the comforts of a corporate life and get a taste of reality in the socio-political life.
I received these pictures this morning from my home. This is just a small evidence of the kind of mindless madness your party men can engage in. Trust me this is not even the beginning of the kind of damage your men have done. These men have destroyed lives of numerous young men and women in a village of just 700 people with the help of the inappropriate political power and freedom granted to them to make things happen to people. They seem to be capable of engaging in crimes of all rates and get away with it because they belong to the ruling party. I can’t even imagine the magnitude of destruction that must have happened across the state because the wrong men have been empowered. Once an aspiring bureaucrat, today I stand with all faith lost in the beauracracy of this country. Unfortunately I am neither a Dalit nor a Muslim nor do I have a compelling story worthy of a ground breaking TRP rating. So my media friends have decided to act blind, deaf and dumb to all my calls for help. I am enraged beyond limits at the law that binds my hands against the men who disrespected my mother and her dignity this morning. The fact that I am unable to walk into the local police station and file an FIR against the men who hurt my brother despite having been empowered by education makes me feel abandoned and orphaned at my own home. And our officers can stoop to such low levels that they are more than willing to file a false petition against the very victim for a few hundred rupees of bribe from these murderers, rapists and sand mafias disguised as local leaders.
I still am a proud citizen of the country because I was raised to be one. I will by all means follow what I must as a dutiful and law abiding citizen while I fight such injustice. So here is the reference number of the petition I filed to the CM cell for action – Reference Number: 2016/889899/TJ. But Ma’am with all due respect to you, I must insist this is a much bigger problem and I am just one of the many families who had to suffer because you empowered the wrong men. We have been made to fight a battle of different sorts within our own country and at our own home. We do not need terrorists from outside to terrorize our lives. We are simple people and our lives revolve around our families. And we would do all that it takes to keep our families safe, be it taking to the streets or contesting an election. However I hope we do not have resort to such extreme measures because I have also seen you shut up and wipe off the existence of such frivolous elements once and forever for a lot of reasons. I hope this time you will do so rightly to keep the oath you pledged to us when you were sworn in as our Chief Minister.
Jeeva Nayagi Ganapathy
Aug 10, 2016
Find pictures and more here – facebook.
When an ordinary citizen is forced to resort to open letters, it’s not very difficult to understand that all other avenues have been of little help including the Indian Police Service. I sincerely extend my apology to the ones who are discharging their duties diligently and honestly but when we say India is neck deep in corruption, a large part of the blame must go to its characterless leaders and men/women in uniform.
So where is the way out? What can we do?
- We must learn to refuse! It’s difficult but it’s not impossible. Refuse till we outnumber them. Every time they offer you an easy way out – refuse!
- We need to help the ones who are suffering, so hunt for and share whatever open letters you find on the internet including this one so that they reach to the honest and attentive ears who are willing to help.
- To the Government, we demand a platform where citizens of a locality can give feedback for the local police station that must be accounted in the evaluation process. Police must forget that they are here to rule. Every institution is here to serve and citizens are supreme.
Do you not think there is a way out somewhere and we have become too cynical as a society? Do you not think there is a springboard at the end of this abyss that will propel us back to the lights of a free and fair world that our forefathers struggled for? Are we not running away from responsibilities as citizens, as writers, as poets, as professionals, as young men and women if we keep taking the air outside for granted and do nothing about the rotting system? I think we can do. I also believe things will change if we long for them desperately enough. But the question to be asked is – Do we want change desperately enough? Maybe we are all waiting for some kind of jolt in our own lives to want it.
That would be too late sadly. Happy Independence Day. Now sleep!
Mandatory Disclosure – Jeevanayagi Ganapathy is one of the admins at bookstalkist. Her family is being harassed by the local Police. We stand by her and her family and we aren’t stopping till we get justice.