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What a Citizen Can Do?
by Dr. Kumarendra Mallick Bookmark and Share

(The final episode of Satyameva Jayate telecast on July 29, 2012)

To a question such as ‘What a citizen can do’, the answer will perhaps be he can achieve the unachievable, he can reach the unreachable, he can see the unseen and hear the unheard. In short, where there is a will there is a way. Perhaps Napoleone was right to say, ‘Impossible is a word found only in fool’s dictionary’. 

Amir Khan has demonstrated this fact by drawing examples from very common and poor people in different far flung places of the country. There was just one exception, the case of WIPRO Foundation which has a solid base, both money and organization-wise and has done very commendable job in the field of education. Amir has also highlighted another very important fact that ‘it is not the mountains ahead that wear you out, it is the grain of sand in your shoe’. Therefore, if the path is clear, the means is honest and the purpose is without any blemish, the success can never be far. In this last episode he has depended heavily on our Constitutional provisions. It was a great eye-opener. These instances hitherto have not come to any body’s notice, never have been covered by media nor discussed in any forum. It is a great pity that it was the last episode.

The most shattering event in post-independent India was the mass scale exodus of Hindus from Kashmir. Many were tortured by extremists. However, Amir shows a heartening case where the muslim neighbours insisted Asha Bhat not to leave her home. We shall live together and die together was their heartfelt message. Asha Bhat not only stayed back, but was elected as corporator there. Is this not great? How we wish this to have happened everywhere in Kashmir!

There is another case of communal harmony where Tripti and Parimal Desai in Surat, Gujarat provided home and education to kids belonging to different faiths and were the victims of riot and earthquake. Very exemplary work, indeed!

Sensual desires of men have led them to the poor prostitutes, but the same men shall never accept them and their children socially. Sunitha Krishnan, a Hyderabadi social worker, had the courage to take up this case, and provided education to these unfortunate kids who eventually turned out to be engineers and doctors in their later lives.  Equally a fairy tale story was enacted by Naseema Hurzuk in Kolhapur, Maharashtra who provided education and an overall development to the disabled kids. Subhashini Mistry (many of us remember the famous story of Subhashini, the dumb girl by Tagore!) a poor vegetable vendor in West Bengal, had hardly money or education, yet with great determination could make her dream come true. She wished to build a hospital and she did with the help of her son who she educated to get a medical degree.

These are some sample examples where women have shown the way. They had a dream each, this dream coming from the dire difficulties they faced in their lives and a resolution to eliminate it!  They worked hard and sincerely to benefit the society.

Young Babar Ali in West Bengal started teaching the kids of his neighbourhood to bring a revolution. He was the youngest Head Master at a young age of 19. It is the idea and not the age that separated him from others. Losing his wife for the lack of medical aid, the hospital being 70 km away from his home due to the presence of a hill, Dasharath Majhi in Gehlor village, Bihar vowed to make a road through the hill to reduce the distance from 70 km to 7 km. He purchased a hammer and a chisel, took 22 years between 1960 and 1982 to build 360 feet long, 30 feet wide and 25 feet high road. People called him mad, but he did not stop. It was like building a Suez or a Panama canal or the Express Highway between Mumbai and Pune! The indomitable spirit of man always wins.

Emotionally charged after his son’s death, Sharif Chacha in Faizabad, UP took up the noble deed of cremating the unclaimed bodies as per their faiths. Religion to him is living together with honour. This great episode mentioned the tragic death of Satyendra Dubey, IIT Kanpur graduate, at the hands of the culprits, perhaps the contractors building the highway near Gaya, Bihar, who were using sub-standard road material. Young Satyendra objected to this and had ordered relaying of the road by the contractors. Truth did win but at the cost of this bright engineer.

These ten instances narrated in the episode the audience can easily relate to themselves. Any one of this can take place in our place, that is why the programme has mass appeal. People did wait for the Sunday to view this real stories.

What surprises me most is the apathy of the authorities everywhere. When Dasharath Majhi was cutting the hill in Gehlor in Bihar for 22 long years, why nobody could notice his four 5-year plans! It was like building Taj Mahal in 16 years with 22 thousand workers, and in case of Dashrath he was the lone worker. Could no body come forward either to use machine to cut the rocks to build the road or build a hospital or Public Health Centre on this side of the hill!! What were the MLAs and MPs were doing? Can't they spare a paltry portion of their Area Development Funds for this noble purpose?

Programmes like these where public inconveniences are showcased shall never go well with the authorities. No body wishes the fingers to be lifted at him! However, in a vast country like ours all the problems can be tackled in peaceful manner, if the sand of corruption does not enter into the corridor of power. Hats off to Amir and his team for the great show. Jai Hind.

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