“India ka kuchh nahi ho sakta”. Really?
How many times have you heard this cliché, “India ka kuchh nahi ho sakta (Nothing can be done about India)”? Ten times? Hundred times? Lost the count would be the best answer, won’t it? Well, I’ve lost the count too! But how many of us have heard from common men, “I will change India”? Probably once or twice. And then he/she usually becomes a laughing stock after saying this, isn’t it? The only people who are not laughed at for saying this are the people mainly accused of ruining India (our so called “Political Leaders”). Eventually, the people who say nothing can be done are proven right. If this is the attitude, how is India supposed to change? Someone has to take the responsibility, but only a few in India really do! And those who do are laughed at for trying something that is supposedly “impossible”. This is one of the main reasons for the continued trouble in India caused by corruption and other social menaces. And the low populace of the people who take such initiatives makes them easy to be targeted and “punished” for daring to do so! Shehla Masood was one such person to be “punished”.
As we struggle to get justice for the slain RTI activist Shehla Masood we are reminded about the cost of truth being very high. The murder of Ms. Shehla Masood was not an isolated case. We see RTI activists being targeted left, right and center. Some are beaten up, some murdered. At one time, 8 RTI activists were murdered in 7 months!
So, what is the solution? How can someone get information without revealing his/her identity? The government makes revelation of identity compulsory as it fears “misuse”. Therefore, the current RTI law is not perfect since targeting the information seeker is very easy. Someone must reveal his/her identity to get information, according to the current law. How to get around this?
Some visionary and brave people from the NGO Getup4change created an online portal RTI Anonymous, which allows you to post RTI applications which are then filed under the name of one of the volunteers of the NGO. It helps to avoid the problem partly as the sphere of influence of these goons is usually local. This portal also helps those who do not have enough knowledge on how to file an RTI, as the RTI requests go through a proper screening process and are redrafted if necessary. The costs of filing the RTI are also borne by the organization itself.
Is RTI Anonymous the complete answer? No, but under the current RTI law it is the best answer because any RTI Revelation is done by the website and not any individual. When an individual works it easy to target him/her as his/her identity is completely known and shutting him/her up would be quite easy. But when numerous RTI revelations are done on a website by numerous unknown people it becomes harder to target any single person and a complete waste of time as shutting one person up won’t solve or stop the problem. This is the idea behind RTI Anonymous.
But People from Getup4change are part of only a few of those who dare to take the initiative and don’t care if they are laughed at. We need more such initiatives to bring down the corrupt and power hungry political leaders currently ruling the country. I used to be one of those people who sit back and watch silently the misdeeds of these “Netas” (and also abuse them sitting in front of the television), but the recent Anti-Corruption revolution (undertaken by India Against Corruption) that we saw in our country caused that sleeping conscience inside me to start taking the responsibility to clean up my own country. The questions that I ask myself to remain motivated are as follows:-
1. If not me then who?
2. If not now then when?
3. If I don’t start then who will?
4. Our parents always taught us fearlessness if we are right. Am I to fear those who are supposed to be wrong?
5. Will the fear of being laughed at always stop me from doing what is right?
6. How would I like myself to be counted, among those who never had the daring to do what is right and watched in fear or among those who were brave enough to take on the powerful?
7. Finally, the Father our Nation always said, “The people who suffer silently are more to blame for their suffering than the perpetrators.”
I would like every Indian to start taking responsibility for improvement of our country and if you are laughed at or feel that No one cares, please use the seven point motivation I use for myself.
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About the Author
Amulya Singh is a professional football player having played in the former Maharashtra under-14 football team. Having recently started getting involved in full-time activism, he is one of the fire-brand youth leading the crusade against corruption that is now going on in the country. Having been selected by the Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science, his other interests include Psychology research specializing in short term memory and its limitations.