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Individual satyagraha



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Gandhiji gave a universal and a very potent mantra to the world to fight
against
injustice - Satyagraha. Satyagraha could be performed in a group or by
an individual
suffering injustice. Two Parivartan volunteers tried individual
Satyagraha with
complete success. This gives confidence about the efficacy of this
method. The
two incidents are narrated below:

One Parivartan volunteer had his own problem with the Delhi Jal Board
(DJB).
He had been receiving bills from DJB for the last two years, which
showed certain
amount as arrears, though the same had been paid. Repeated
correspondence and
visits had little impact. Last month, he again went to the DJB office.
The clerk
told him that the revised bill had already been sent long back. The
volunteer
said that he had not received it and would like to have another copy or
at least
be showed the office copy. The clerk got angry and said that he does not
have
time for all this. The volunteer, then approached his boss. The boss
said that
he had joined just a week back and was still trying to settle down. The
volunteer
said - "Sir, I am not in a hurry. You please take your own time to
settle down.
Before coming to your office today, I told my folks that I would be back
home
only after a week after getting my revised bill. So, please take your
own time
to settle down. Complete all your pending work and then, whenever you
get time,
you may do my job. I will not disturb you and am sitting here. I will
keep sitting
here indefinitely till I get my bill." Saying this, he sat on the chair
opposite
the officer quietly. Believe it or not, the revised bill was issued to
him within
half an hour.

Another Parivartan volunteer was pursuing the case of a consumer in
Delhi Vidyut
Board for the last two months. Everytime, the officer would speak very
politely,
apologise for the delay and seek more time. This continued for more than
two
months after almost 4 visits. This time, the volunteer went with a
resolve to
come back with the corrected bill only. He met the concerned Executive
Engineer
(EXEN) again. The EXEN, as usual, again apologized for the delay and
requested
the volunteer to come after a few days. The volunteer said - "Sir, don't
be apologetic.
I am not in a hurry. I have told my people at home that I will come back
only
after a week. So, you complete all your work and then, when you get
time, you
may like to attend to my work." The EXEN said - "But I have to go now
for a meeting
with my Chief Engineer. I am already getting late. The meeting is
expected to
extend till late in the evening. So, I will go home straight from
there." The
volunteer said - "Sir, please don't worry. I will keep sitting here.
When you
come to the office tomorrow, you will find me sitting here only. You may
go ahead
with your meeting without worrying for me." Believe it or not, the EXEN
first
attended to the volunteer, got the revised bill issued and then went for
the
meeting. He got delayed for the meeting by almost half an hour.

This is not to say that similar success will be achieved at such short
intervals
in every such situation. However, it is certain that if the individual
performing
Satyagraha has the patience and internal strength to sit there for as
long as
required, the success is bound to be his. And, we also feel that unless
every
citizen of our country develops the internal strength required for this
purpose
and starts performing such individual Satyagraha as and when required,
things
will not improve. This can really act as a magic wand.

Mr S D Sharma is an 85 year old Gandhian. He had participated in 1942
Quit India
movement with Gandhiji. Presently, he is the Chairman of Transparency
International
India. According to him, the following are pre-requisites for performing
Satyagraha:

1.      It should be performed against a specific individual officer or
authority
and not against an amorphous body like an organization or the entire
government.
2.      The demand(s) should be very specific.
3.      The demand(s) should be such that they are within the powers and
authority
of the official, against whom Satyagraha is being performed, to accept
them and
implement them, if he wants to do it.
4.      It should also be possible for that officer to implement the
demand within
the time as is being demanded.

Besides these, the individual should be extremely polite and should not
get angry
or get into heated arguments or use abusive language or enter into
irrelevant
discussions with anyone at the site of Satyagraha. There are a number of
factors
which tempt a person to lose his temper. If he does so, it will divert
the issues
and resolution of his grievance will become a secondary issue.

We urge/implore/request everyone to give a try to this method wherever
one faces
a problem in one's own area/city/town. Give it a try to fight injustice
in telephone
department, electricity department, income tax department, sales tax
department
etc Then lets share our experiences. This could just be that elusive and
simple
answer to the injustice that a common man faces everyday in his life.

Lets all unite to make India better

Parivartan



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