Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Fight Corruption NOW" needs our support

The website Fight Corruption NOW has been gaining traction (I saw it on CNN-IBN and thanks to Anand Giridharadas, it's now on IHT as well). It carries a powerful message in a simple, direct, and very personal voice:

I am Jayashree J.N, married to an IAS officer M.N.Vijayakumar of Karnataka Cadre who has served in Karnataka for the last 25 years. ...

If the site appears too personal it is intended to be so. ...

My husband , a WHISLEBLOWER, is continuously fighting corrupt practices in the system. As my husband is being harassed for exposing the corrupt practices of the senior officers, and as this harassment is silently watched (or more probably supported) by the head of the bureaucracy, I also decided to take up his causes independently. ...

The website chronicles the injustice and harassment faced by Vijayakumar (for example, he has been transferred seven times in ten months since September 2006). It has been around for a while, but now it faces a new threat:

I started this website to mobilize like minded people across the country to fight against brazen corruption in Karnataka . The Chief Secretary sent a notice to my husband recently to the effect that he should either disown association with this website (created to fight against corruption) or else he should disassocite himself from me- i.e, he should divorce me! Against this obscene and pervert notice I have filed complaint against him with the Karnataka Women's Commission. ...

Fight Corruption NOW is a good example of citizen activism, particularly one that involves higher levels of state administration. It builds its case using the Right to Information (RTI) Act extensively. Its owner is not anonymous, and it airs specific complaints against specific individuals who are named.

If the Chief Secretary (or anyone else who is mentioned by FCN) has any serious problems against the website, he/she could try suing for defamation or libel. But using official route to muzzle this website is extremely shady [The Chief Secretary denies any such attempt].

Purely from the point of view of free speech, Fight Corruption NOW deserves to exist and survive, and deserves our support. Any attempt to shut it down -- except for defamation or libel -- must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Please do what you can to show your support.


  1. Anonymous said...

    We need something like the Electronic Frontier Foundation in India.

    Site: http://www.eff.org/

    It's heartening to see someone fighting against the corruption, but I fear it's futile :(

    Perhaps the owners of the site can cotnact the EFF for financial or legal assitance?

  2. barbarindian said...

    If anyone is serious about fighting corruption, he should vehemently protest against the presidential nominee Pratibha Patil.

  3. Rajeev said...

    Truly said, Mr. Barbarindian. It is shameful that person like Pratibha is goign to be President of India. Nothing can be worse than this.

  4. Anonymous said...

    This so-called fight against corruption is a favorite bourgousie middle class obsession. It deflects away from the real problems of facing the country--poverty, deprivation--and takes focus from the real need of fighting for social justice.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Anonymous @July 05,2007 5:15:00 AM,

    Really? Are you even aware that most of the victims of corruption are exactly the poor? Madhu Kishwar mentions that in Delhi, even that unfortunate fellow citizen who depends on scavenging for a livelihood [which itself is a disgrace 60 years after independence] has to pay a bribe for the "privilege" of going through the garbage dump. The logic being that the dump "belongs" to the municipal worker who is supposed to clean it and anyone who wants to go through it and take material away has to pay a charge for it! If you travel second-class by train in India, one of the heart-rending sights is to see small children come periodically to clean the compartment and ask for money. It is even more painful when you realise that the people who are actually supposed to do this job have "sub-contracted" it to the small children - for a fee, of course. Jean Dreze, among others, have documented how the owners of "ration shops" take food grains meant for those "below poverty line" to sell them on the open market at a higher price.

    You might want to check out Madhu's articles in Manushi on how street vendors and rickshaw pullers are harassed right in our national capital:


    You may have a point that the current middle class campaign against corruption is not particularly motivated by concern for the poor. But don't ever think that the poor don't face the rough end of the corruption stick- if anything, they have the worst of it but even more pathetically, their travails rarely get reported. Your post which seems to imply that corruption is a problem only for the middle and upper classes is a perfect example of - if I may say so - middle class ignorance.


  6. Anonymous said...

    From Madhu Kishwar's article "Naukri as Property: Causes and Cures for Corruption in Government"

    "We are all familiar with the sight of men, women and children from poor families picking through garbage outside private houses and on the streets as well as from municipal garb age dumps. According to reliable estimates two thirds of the city's garbage is collected, sorted and sold to scrap dealers by hard working poor people who are actually doing at their own cost and using their own labour to do the work that Corporation employees and officials receive regular salaries for doing. However, very few of us know that the Corporation employees are not content at letting these people be even though they do much of their work for them for free. They actually collect a fee from these garbage pickers in return for letting them take away the city's refuse at their own cost. The logic is simple: garbage pickers are eking out a living from collecting and recycling garbage; Corporation officials treat whatever is in the garbage as their own property as soon as it yields a return, though they shirk garbage handling as it is a burdensome and sickening task. Therefore, they demand a regular commission from the garbage pickers, much in the same way that a person leasing out property expects rent."

    The article is available - I think it worth reading - the indiatogether.com website: