The Dandi March II (DM2) took place on Saturday, the 26th of March, 2011. An event organized by the people, for the people, for the fight against corruption. Inspired by the original Dandi March (12 March – 6 April, 1930) against tax imposed on salt by the British, Dandi March II, ironically, is against our own government. Started by a handful of NRIs as a 240-mile walk through San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles Bay Area, San Francisco in California, USA, from March 12th to 26th, has inspired individuals from across the country to raise their voice against corruption. Saturday, being the last day of the march, the Dandi March II was carried out all over the country in select cities.
Although the march started at 8:00 AM from Sirsi Circle, we joined the march only from Freedom Park, where the march was supposed to stop at 11:00 AM. When we reached there, there was not a single soul other than the watchman and he said no one from the group had come there. As we waited, I was cursing myself for not having saved the volunteers’ numbers on my cell phone and was trying to connect the facebook page from my mobile. Thankfully just then Avinash, a fellow supporter happened to come there. He had the phone number of one of the volunteers and we got to know that they were running late and will reach Freedom Park in another 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile Shoma (?), another fellow supporter too came there. We passed the time talking about DM2, CMCA (where Shoma works) and Bangalore in general. All of us were apprehensive about the number of supporters for DM2 seeing that only 4 of us were waiting at Freedom Park. Fifteen minutes later our fears were confirmed. There came a group of four or five with ‘Stop Corruption’ hoardings. Just as we were looking at one another’s faces, a police officer came on his bike and told us that the march did not get permission to use Freedom Park so they were moving towards Cubbon Park directly. That meant there were more people. And so we walked. We met the group halfway and guess what? There were more than 200 people. Water bottles were being distributed to the supporters and people could buy DM2 T-shirts for Rs. 300/ (the funds thus collected would go towards printing more pamphlets and spreading awareness through various media).
Shouting anti-corruption slogans we all walked to Cubbon Park where the protests were supposed to be continued near the Gandhi statue which the organizers had taken permission to use, prior to the march. Ironically this area was being used by some Congress idiot who was farting away the usual anti-government blah blah on the microphone.
Undeterred we used the area near the Victoria statue to hold a small meeting. Freedom fighter M. V. Krishnamachari was present and shared his inspiring thoughts and action needed to curb corruption today. The volunteers – Sumit Gupta, Anupama Sharma and a few others too shared their ideas and thoughts on DM2, the Jan Lokpal Bill and the Indian corruption scenario. The national anthem was sung by everyone, followed by ‘Vande Mataram’s and ‘Jai Hind’s and the group dispersed. Some more pics may be viewed here (by India Against Corruption) and here (by Anupama Sharma).
Some questions that you may have –
Corruption has always been there. Why the sudden hungama now??
Well, that is because the bill against corruption – The Lokpal Bill – is being taken up in the constitution this year. More details here. (DO READ)
To cut the long story short, the Lokpal bill is actually a “toothless” bill which does not give the public enough powers to take action against the corrupt. That means that all the Kalmadis, Dixits, Gandhis, and Mayawathis can collect bribes/taxes and use them for their personal gain and get away with it. Wouldn’t it be nice if we as public had a say in it? Wouldn’t it be great if these criminals were brought to justice and made to pay the money back to the country? If you answered yes to the above questions, then that is exactly what Dandi March 2 is fighting for. Justice Santosh Hegde (Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal after a series of consultations with public and social activists, have drafted an alternative bill – the Jan Lokpal Bill. This bill is supported by Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan, Anna Hazare, etc. This bill gives more power to an independent institution such as the Lokayukta, for taking strict action against corrupt bureaucrats without the permission of bureaucrats. The Jan Lokpal Bill is the only hope (legally ;)) for fighting against corruption in India.
I missed the DM2 but would have loved to take part in it. Is there anything I can do now?
The DM2 is a built up towards Anna Hazare’s ‘Fast unto Death’ that is going to commence from April 5th to April 10th, at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. A large number of volunteers have signed up for the fast. What you can do –
- Be it 1 day, 2 days or 5 days, you can fast with Hazare to show your support for the anti-corruption movement.
- If you cannot fast, show your support by being there at the Jantar Mantar.
- If you are not able to go to New Delhi, join the fast at your respective cities
- You can fast at your workplace
- And if none of that is possible, the one thing you can always do is spread the awareness around. Pass the message on to your friends, relatives and colleagues.
Do your bit for a better country. Together we can make a difference.