A different kind of VIP

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A few years back I had gone to the end-of-the-year function at my kids’ school. Some performances — singing, dancing, skits — were scheduled. There was a delay in the start of the program. A VIP was supposed to make a speech and as usual he was fashionably late. We were told that it was some government official. I was not looking forward to it but had no choice but to suffer through it.

I didn’t recognize the name of the VIP when he was introduced by the principal nor knew what his job function was. Then he started talking. Soon I realized that this was not the usual boring self-serving talk. This man was talking about corruption to school kids. I thought “this is supposed to be a fun function for kids and why is this guy boring kids by talking about corruption”. Then I realized that this was the most appropriate audience.

I can’t recollect all he said but he said that the youth has a big role to play. For e.g. if a parent acquires lots of goodies — say an expensive car or a luxury apartment — the kid can question the parent “How did you manage to acquire this with your salary?”. I was quite impressed by his speech. I found out that the speaker was none other than Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta. I read up more about Hegde.

I was planning to write about this but didn’t get around to it. Why am I bringing this up now? The Anna Hazare wave is sweeping the country. Hegde and Anna Hazare helped draft the Jan Lokpal (Citizens’ ombudsman ) bill. Anna Hazare has undertaken a fast-unto-death until the bill is signed.

I hope that we see real change and the movement doesn’t fizzle out. It looks very promising. The people have woken up.

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