E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: That Karnataka is rapidly sliding up the totempole of corruption is no more a surprise to anybody who follows the raids conducted by Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde and his team, and the booty seized by them and publicised with pornographic detail by the media the following day.
Starting from the lowly peon who lets you in to see ‘sahebru‘, corruption courses all the way up to the very top of our government departments, institutions and organisations—to the “concerned” clerks, section officers, assistant directors, joint directors, managing directors and who-have-you.
Not to put too fine a point on it, corruption seems to have embraced every aspect of life in Karnataka, and become a way of life.
Nobody in namma cheluva naadu is spared, as the latest Transparency International ranking Karnataka on top of the ladder shows.
Strangely, nobody seems bothered either after the initial hoo-ha.
Not the government, not our political parties, not our political leaders.
Not our NGOs, not our good samaritans, not our media.
At least not after a point.
Here’s a thought: what if the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KaRaVe) jumped into the vacuum and decided to redirect its energies to live up to its name—that is of defending Karnataka from the biggest threat facing it, namely corruption?
# What if KaRaVe’s workers and supporters decided to keep an eagle eye on corruption across the State? What if they carried out a Statewide campaign? What if they decided to bat for the common man and woman trying to get things done in government offices? What if they helped the media to expose the corrupt at every level; in every village, town, city and district?
# What if KaRaVe peacefully agitated in front of offices and officers who are stripping those whom they are supposed to serve? What if they peacefully agitated in front of Vidhana Soudha for action against MLAs, ministers, officials, departments making things difficult for the average Kannadiga?
# What if KaRaVe staged a dharna in front of the Chief Minister’s office till such corrupt ministers and officials are sacked, not just cosmetically suspended, even if it means we may not be left with much of a ministry or bureaucracy in the end?
One is not advocating vigilante justice, where anybody with red and yellow slung around his shoulders takes the law into his hands and become judge, jury and executioner if something or somebody, somewhere, does not meet his standards/ expecations.
That can be dangerously anarchic, and one is aware of the possibilities.
What I am advocating is channelising the simmering energies of young and proud Kannadigas to good, positive use for the State and its five-and-a-half crore people. Not because they are the only ones capable of doing so because no one else wants to do anything about it.
When corruption is so rampant, and the general attitude towards combating it so blase, somebody needs to plunge into the cesspool head first and get the hands dirty.
Why can’t Karnataka Rakshana Vedike walk the talk, if they mean good for the State?
In doing so, KaRaVe will be doing yeoman service to the people of Karnataka and bringing about effective change. They will be ushering in a real revolution the likes of which one has not heard of but only seen in the movies.
An entire nation will sit up and take notice.
What the courts cannot do, what the Government is not interested in doing, KaRaVe can probably get done in about six months, and take the efforts of the Lok Ayukta to the logical conclusion. In so doing, KaRaVe will earn the undying gratitude of the people, in whose name they are fighting.
Do KaRaVe’s leaders, supporters and followers have it in them to rise to the occasion?
KaRaVe: Nimma karadinda athava keradinda Karnatakadalliruva corruption odisabahudu—neevu manassu maadidare.
Photograph: courtesy Karnataka Rakshana Vedike via Flickr