30 May, 2011

Corruption and Price rise: Campaign by Samudaaya

After two weeks of Jaathas across Karnataka, both the Samudaaya teams converged in Bangalore on the 28th of May, 2011 for the culmination of the event.

“What we want to do is: Sensitize creative people to use their creativity as a means of expression to take up issues of social importance and reach out to the masses”, says Surendra, General Secretary of Samudaaya, the cultural troupe in Karnataka that has been on a state wide touring called Jaatha. In this Jaatha, Samudaaya is reaching out to the rural masses, increasing the awareness about corruption, price rise and their causes.

Samsa Open Theatre is where the final Jaatha happened in Bangalore. This Jaatha  was presided over by some of the eminent anti-corruption activists and progressive thinkers in Karnataka.
Justice Santosh Hegde, Lokayukta of Karnataka, who is currently at the end of his term is one of the recent officials who has striven hard, given the restrictions and limitations imposed on him to make impact on the corruption scene in Karnataka. If not systemic changes, he has been an instigator for the ever dormant middle class to at least shake off the frost and voice some opinions against corruption.

In his speech during the Bangalore Jaatha, a witty point made by him about the Prime Minister does hold good. Justice Santosh Hegde compared the self proclaimed helplessness of the Prime Minister with that of the elders who witnessed in silence the act of harassing Draupadi in the mythological Mahabharata. Justice Santosh Hegde also picked on the famous statement by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the “Zero tolerance for corruption”, which according to Mr.Hegde should be interpreted as the “Tolerance towards the number of zeroes being appended to the figures of the scams”. He urged the citizens to dispel corrupt politicians, without endorsing them over and over again with all their glorified flaws. He appreciated the efforts taken up by Samudaaya, of educating the masses, which according to him is the most important step in the fight corruption.

K Maralusiddapaa, former chairman of the Karnataka Nataka Academy went ballistic against the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization phenomenon in the past two decades. He equated this process to be a morphed means of nothing but exploitation. Exploitation of developing and the third world countries by the developed ones, and in turn internal exploitation of the weaker sections by the powerful people. He also raised doubts about the Anna Hazare movement, and he warned the supporters to be cautious of the other organizations which are clinging on to Anna Hazare, apprehending it would become another JP Movement. KMS again appreciated the efforts by Samudaaya at the grass root level amongst the rural population and the urban youth.

T N Sitaram, famous small screen director, took on the aspect of increasing disparity and the lifestlye of the capitalist barons, calling them unethical and inhumane. In order to convey the point that elections are won only when the candidates are rich and powerful, he went on to say that even Mohandas Gandhi would not have got a seat in any of the major parties in Karnataka, and likewise at the centre.

Professor GK Govindarao, expressed his anguish against the “common man”, who is complacent and doesn't bother to question the system beyond superficial discussions at home. He also expressed his deep dissent against the media for their charlatanry in the way they make and feed news to people. His rest of the talk comprised of blatantly spilling out facts agaisnt the BJP governance in Gujarat and Karnataka.

In all, the speakers were in unison in their ideals agaisnt Corruption and price-rise, with each one of them urging the common man to dive into the cleansing process.

As an addendum to the Samudaaya campaign, a recent development in the campaign against corruption : Wikileaks was proposed by Senthil, from the Free Software Movement-Karnataka, wherein he touched upon the need for publishers such as Wikileaks, by using instances of RTI activists and whistleblower deaths in India.He urged the gathered supporters to also endorse this latest means to fight against injustice.

The final speech was impeccably presented by Mr.Hudugi, who is the Secretary of Samudaaya. He briefed about the Jaathas. Mr.Hudugi arrived upon the proactive nature and strong conviction of individual citizens to fight against injustices which ultimately lead to consequences such as corruption and price-rise.

While all these talks were in progress, interleaved with the talks were a few excellently written and sublimely rendered protest songs which were sung throughout the Jaathas. Finally, the Maalur Samudaaya team put up a play, an adapted version of the famous “Vikram and Bethal” fiction story to match the agenda of the Corruption and Price-Rise.

The message this Jaatha has left behind is that we need to shake off the frost and get into action against injustices. No more should we bear atrocities such as corruption and price-rise. A movement from the grass root level should compel systemic changes for the good of the society.

More on Samudaaya and the Jaatha : http://samudaaya.wordpress.com/

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