People’s Power in Indian Democracy
Today, we had to visit the local family court in connection with hearing of a case. The case in brief, pertains to a woman who, along with her two children, has been abandoned by the husband. The husband is a retired soldier of the 39 Gorkha Regiment (39 GR) of the
army and a victim of alcoholism. He does not support his family financially, beats the wife and does not mind occasionally selling house hold items for his booze. His friends and distant relatives regularly take advantage of it and indulge in daily drinking session with him at his cost. Last year, the lady arranged some money by begging and borrowing and some how, managed to get her daughter married. The soldier not only remained aloof and did not participate in his daughter’s marriage, he even stole and sold the dress which was kept for the bride groom and spent it on his drinks. India
I must mention here as to how I got involved with this case? After my retirement from service in 2001, I came back to my favourite place at Dehradun, built a small house opposite a reserve forest and gradually started a charitable trust to help the poor in the area, with promise not to obtain any funding from Government. Fortunately my project also got full backing and support from my wife and three children. I myself being an ex soldier, this case automatically landed at my door.
To start with, we tried to admit the individual in a rehabilitation centre for treatment but could not succeed. All other efforts in form of advice, threats etc. also failed. Finding no other way, we brought this case to the notice of the Records Office of the 39 GR, but their reply was also astonishing and gave another twist to the whole matter. They informed that the soldier has no NOK (Next of Kin) in the records. Obviously the person intentionally or intentionally, had not informed his unit about this marriage which was solemnised 24 years ago and the two children born out of this marriage.
At long last, finding no other alternative, we filed a civil suit in the family court at district Dehradun, seeking it's order to sanction some reasonable amount of money out of the monthly pension of the soldier to be paid regularly to the wife and children. The case is going on without any progress so for. We are, however, enjoying the court visits as we find it educative and amusing in many ways. The most amazing thing one finds is the daring attitude of the court staff who do not hesitate negotiating and demanding bribe from the clients for various kinds of favour they could provide. No judge turns up before 1145-1200 hrs.The rot had probably set in long time ago which we are noticing now. We find it more disgusting as this is the first time that we are actually seeing an Indian court (thank God for it). Up till now our impression of a court was what we have been seeing in the Bollywood films.
Coming back to the title of this article “People’s power in Indian democracy”, it was literally seen to be believed today in the court. The complete atmosphere had changed. Judges were in their chambers at dot AM. Work commenced within few minutes. No negotiations or bribe noticed. Even the court premise was found comparatively clean.
But how all this happened? The answer is simple. Because a 74 year old soldier of the Indian army had set down on a hunger strike from 16th to 28th August morning, demanding the government to introduce a strong Ombudsman (Jan Lokpal Bill) to fight and eliminate the rampant corruption in the country. Whole country rose to his call, North to South, East to west and finally even the Government woke up from its slumber, agreeing to his demand. His name is Sepoy (Driver MT), Kishan Babu Rao Hazare, popularly known as Anna (elder brother) Hazare.
Every one in
now hopes that the Government sincerely brings the draft bill on Ombudsman as suggested by the expert team of Anna with out loosing much time. This law no doubt,would bring a sea change in the whole country, help eliminate the cancer of corruption and accelerate the pace of development . JAI HIND India