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Sunday, February 19, 2017

A journey Begins in Dark

A friend of mine went to a very 'reputed' institute in Poona for his mediocre son's admission to computer science. A teacher interviewed him and found him hopeless. " He can't be admitted here," he told his parents. But the parents wanted their son to study at that 'reputed' institute. They gave 40,000/- to that teacher, who gave them no receipt of that amount. He pocketed that. After a few days, that boy got admission to an institute, which was even 'better'. But that corrupt teacher didn't refund. Nor did my friend insist on giving back the amount, which's not so small. Neither did he lodge a complaint anywhere or approach a newspaper. It's because of this lackadaisical and inert mentality, corruption goes unabated.
We erroneously think that one person's protest will make no difference. It'll have no impact. It's like cry in the wilderness. It's not. While waiting for their execution at Malihabad Central Gaol in 1925, Ashfaqullah Khan came to know that a petty police officer, who was an Indian, used to spit at the sub-standard jail food before serving that to other prisoners and the revolutionaries, sentenced to death by the Brits. This had been going on for a long time. No one protested because that sycophantic Indian 'daroga' was in the good books of the English officials. 

Even prisoners told Ashfaqullah Khan, who was to be hanged along with Ramprasad Bismil and Rajendranath Lahiri in Kakori Conspiracy Case, not to say anything as there were hardly a few days left for the hangings. Ashfaqullah didn't budge and put his foot down that he'd meet the jailor and the upright English SP. They came and lent an ear to his complaint. And for the first time in British India, a police officer serving under Brits, was terminated.

 One person can also make a huge difference. In fact, it's the force of an individual that can bring about a change. If we flip through the pages of history, we come across the audacious belief of one individual bringing about a complete transformation. The refrain that no one has dared to do it before has no meaning for a man who has decided to take on the whole world. Someone has to start and others follow. History is full of instances of seemingly ordinary individuals challenging the whole system. The American black lady, who was not allowed to sit with a white on a bus in the fifties, had the guts to question this type of blatant discrimination in a 'civilised' society and she eventually had her right and got other blacks to travel cheek-by-jowl with the whites. So many non-whites before her were humiliated but no one ever remonstrated with the authority. She dared and made the difference. " The seeds of revolutions always germinate in the minds of simple and oppressed folks.

 Someone out of them take the pledge and show the path to others," wrote Mexican Nobel laureate and ambassador to India, Octavio Paz. Passing the buck leads us nowhere. Charity begins at home. No one in your place does what you wanted to do so passionately. A journey begins in dark with a glimmer of apprehension, but ends in light with rays of hope. 

                                                      -----Sumit Paul

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