Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

I guess a lot of you know by now about the basic news about the IOCL guy who was shot for standing up to the truth... but read on for some recent developments. If you are not aware of this, make sure you read on!

It started when Ram and Karthik, my roommates, told me about their school and college friend who was gunned down recently. The story took some time to sink in, and it was evident that these types of incidents are what brings shame to mera bharat mahan. Makes one wonder if it is worth to choose to not take a dollar-paying MNC job after an IIML MBA and instead work for a PSU like IOCL in a place like U.P.

Well.. enough of my talk, here is what I would like you, the reader to do :

1. Visit the site that his friends have set up in his memory. Leave a comment to show your support.

2. Sign the petition that has been created for this effort. I know it may not have a concrete result, but trust me, a show of solidarity never goes waste. The higher-ups know that there are people who care. So sign it.

3. Spread the link of the website [http://manjunathshanmugam.blogspot.com/] to all you know. It matters.. it really does.

4. If you have a blog/website, please post about it. If you have already talked about it, re-talk about it and post the link to their website. The more people visit it, the better.

Here's to you, Machan!
-A

5 comments:

  1. vivek lakwal10:05 AM

    Letter from a class mate of manjunath ...

    Monday, November 21, 2005

    It was a cold morning in our hostel in IIM Lucknow. Sometime in Januray 2004
    I guess. I remember the time because it was our last term, so things were a
    bit relaxed. Placements were around a month away or so. Life on campus was
    suddenly a lot different. With no pressures of an avalanche of projects,
    assignments and mind-term exams, we were soaking in our last few weeks at L.
    Regular visits to the city for a lunch or dinner, usually someone's treat
    for a pre-placement offer or something, and watching cricket in the common
    rooms. India was touring Australia then, and having just drawn a thrilling
    test series, were finding themselves a bit lacking in the one-dayers.

    So it was one such morning that I woke up and headed to the TV room to watch
    India play Australia. That's when I met him, sitting in the TV room, wearing
    his customary happy smile. He greeted me enthusiastically, as he always did.
    Very few people were as upbeat about life as he was. He was Manju, a senior
    of mine who had passed out the earlier year. He had come down to campus to
    meet a few profs, and a few friends. Manju had been placed in Indian Oil
    Corporation Limited.

    Manju was one of the well known faces on campus. To be a well known face at
    IIML you had to be good at something or notorious, since at any given time,
    there were 500 students studying there. Manju belonged to the earlier
    category. He was the booming voice of "3.4", our campus band. He sang with
    gay abandon, from the bottom of his heart, and with an infectious
    enthusiasm. One of those singers who made the listeners feel like singing
    along, or at least clap in tune. I can't claim to have been very close to
    him, but I got to know him quite well as we were in the same INDEX team.
    INDEX is a market-research event where a team of 20 students has to work
    night and day for around a month. Having Manju in our team was obviously
    great, as we would prod him to break out into a song, and he would readily
    agree.

    That cold morning, we got talking, reminisced a bit about our INDEX days,
    exchanged notes about the latest happenings. A few minutes later Sunil
    joined us. Conversation invariably turned to Manju's work life. We asked him
    how it felt to work in a PSU like IOCL. Was he the "bada babu". He shrugged.
    He said work was OK and all, but he felt that the business would improve a
    lot more if there was transparency. Apparently, part of his job was to
    inspect samples from petrol pumps, and report back to the company. The
    petrol pumps were ideally supposed to adhere to very high standards of
    purity. But he said the adulteration in the petrol pumps in UP, where he was
    posted, was usually so rampant, it's a wonder even a single petrol pump was
    functioning. Sunil and I, ever the free-market-nuts, talked about how
    allotment of petrol pumps, rather than being an "allotment" should be a
    transparent auction or bidding process. A petrol pump license should not be
    a political capital to be bartered. Manju agreed. He said the reason why
    this adulteration happened so brazenly was that the dealers knew that no
    matter what happens, their licenses couldn't be cancelled. If everyone does
    it, how many pumps will the company shut down? He said he usually tried to
    cajole, convince and scold the dealers to not indulge in such dishonesty. He
    said some fell in line, but most of them usually got back to the same old
    adulteration business. In fact Manju said, some of the petrol pump owners
    are downright scary. Whatever he spoke of his job shocked me and Sunil. It
    was clearly a job that tested one's integrity and courage a lot.

    I didn't meet Manju after that. Never really thought about him much. Didn't
    even hear about him from anyone. I just read about his murder today on our
    IIML group. Didn't know the details initially, but I immediately remembered
    what he was telling us about his work. I wondered if it was related to that.
    Yes it was, as is confirmed by this Indian Express report -

    IOC official seals petrol pump, is killed

    Manju was murdered for doing his job honestly. Considering the
    circumstances, this case is no different from that of Satyendra Dubey. But
    not a single TV channel has carried this news today. And except for the
    Express Lucknow edition, no newspapers have deemed it fit to report on the
    front page either. People always crib about how IIM grads never do anything
    for the country or don't join PSUs. Here was one IIM grad who joined a PSU.
    Did his work honestly and in the right way. The work he did was to make our
    lives better. To ensure that petrol sold is not adulterated. And he was
    murdered in cold blood. If a CAT exam report deserves 4 separate articles,
    surely this deserves at least one? On the front page?

    It leaves me numb. I wonder what the police, IOCL, and Mani Shanker Aiyer
    are planning to do about this.

    Rest in peace, Machan. Whatever place you are at right now, I am sure you
    are rocking it. You staked your life on your integrity. I really doubt if I
    would have done the same, had I been in your shoes. Hats off, and bye,
    Manju.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really terrible state of affairs in the state that sends maximum MPs to the parliament...and it is incidents like these that make one wonder whether we shud stick to 'easy' punishments like 'Death Penalty' or switch to some really brutal methods. but then, what needs to be changed is the system..., the only thing that, ironically, doesn't change.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous7:27 PM

    It reflects on the level of corruption in India and the brutality and the value of life in India. I fell really sorry for him and his dependents. My elders always tell me that it is not possible to change/correct the system that is in the wrong path, if you are the only one who would like to do it. there were couple of movies on Indian Screens on this topic to encourage youth like us, but scary things like this one really kills the little desire we have in our hearts to make India a better place to live in.

    I pray that such things should not happen in future and like minded people like us get together and crub all these atrocities in our society. I am always in for that serious scary game with our life.

    If you are like minded like me, do email me at vijaykiran@ieee.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Few days back I went Islamabad Airport from Dubai, I wait for my baggage but it was not there, they airline aurhorities told me that baggage was not loaded from dubai once we recieve we will call you, or you call to the given numbers after 4 days.

    I checked after 4 days they said, we didn't get till now. then i called after a week, then after 10 days then after 20 days, they say we don't have your baggage, then I went to the Airline office in Dubai they said we have already dispatched to Islamabd.


    My brother went to collect, then they said bring aurhority letter, bring passport, bring id card, bring this and that etc etc. I called from here and gave aurhority letter but one Dog was there he needed money to release, the baggage had my personal stuff and my Laptop with my data which is important to me. So I had to get the baggage and then at last they took Rs : 2000/- and gave the baggage.


    Is there any one who can ask these type of people, the aurhorities are there not to help the pessengers/public but to take money.

    See this, how we can expect that our country will grow. I love my Pakistan, but I hate this type of Pakistanis today pakistan is sufferning becuase of these people.
    I believe I will not be getting reply to this

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Anon: Well, not sure why you didn't expect a reply, but here it is :-).

    Thanks for your comment, and indeed, corruption is systemic in our subcontinent, and cause for much suffering.

    That said, I am not sure how it can be remedied :-|.

    ReplyDelete