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Yes, We Need Vigilantes

Yes, We Need Vigilantes

Who said we don’t need vigilantes? We do need them in today’s India. The right type! For the right reason! For the right job!

Even as we are completing seven decades of our independence from foreign domination, we still stand in need of liberation. Liberation of the right kind! Can we get the vigilantes to help out?

When Fair Price Shop items or BPL/Red Card food supplies are sold in black, can you find out the culprits and report to the authorities and expose them to the public? It is not your job to lynch them, mind you! So, too, with Anganwadi food items or mid-day meal provisions which are sold in the market under the benign gaze of supervising authorities! A little ‘Gandhigiri’ will help.

When your neighbourhood is scattered with stinking waste by insensitive residents, can’t you, as a group, educate the neighbours how to save the public from stench, disease and pollution? When municipal dump barrels are spilling out with flies and vermin and the stench spreads all over, can’t you help the authorities to savour some of that stench?

When unscrupulous shop owners disgorge their shop waste on to public road, can you be there to talk sense into them?

When there are government schools running without teachers, or the building is used as cattle sheds, can’t you get to the root of the problem? Vigilantism of social service will benefit many children. They will be grateful to you in the long run because they are the future of the nation. You will be doing a noble service by arresting the mushroom growth of goons and hooligans and political misfits coming out of such schools.

Aren’t you aware that you can purchase educational certificates for a price without attending a single class? So-called teachers or professors or touts are involved.  Can you expose the chain from the peon to the highest functionary through your vigilante group? Your silence or inaction will mean cooperation and collusion.

Can you organise blood donation camps and thereby save lives of people? Touts and racketeers are doing a flourishing business even with infected blood. Can you, as a vigilante group, run a non-profit ambulance service for your neighbourhood?

When you know that government doctors abdicate their duty and are running a roaring private business, can’t you expose the guys for public good? So, too, the flourishing trade of substandard and fake medicine in the market to hoodwink innocent buyers. Should these merchants of death go scot-free?

When your group comes to know that so and so, who has taken a bribe, is a corrupt officer or functionary, can’t you bring to light the unsavoury facts for public good?

When there is noise pollution from institutions and prayer halls disturbing people’s peace and serenity, can you help out by sensitizing the owners of such places about the harm they are doing to the public? There won’t be any problem of any communal angle in your service if you are a peace-promoting and multi-community vigilante group.

When there are groups out to tease boys or girls and disturb campus peace, can’t you be a volunteer peace keeping force to promote sense and sensibility?

When people steal electricity, can your group do something to stop such thefts? Can you help people file FIRs or complaints at police stations so that they won’t be bullied or terrorised by the police?

Loud-mouthed politicians make empty promises to hoodwink people during election time. Once they are in power, they conveniently forget them. That is where honest vigilantes can use avenues like social media to highlight, expose, call attention or demand action. Use such avenues with authenticity and be careful not to forward items without verification. The vigilante cyber cell may try to arm-twist you or put up cases against you.

Examples where you can step in abound. Places and premises where angels fear to tread! But you can step in as a volunteer force if you carry the badge of honesty, fellowship and public service.

Yes, we do need honest, service-minded and peace promoting vigilante groups. The laws are there. Our rights are enshrined in the constitution. But, those who circumvent the laws are a legion. Ideals are blared out by top-heavy politicians deploring corruption, rape, murder and what not. Hothouse discussions, simulated TV debates and stage-managed press meets are the fashion of the day. But, in reality, they are shadow boxing exercises or window dressing banalities. The nation needs good vigilante groups for noble national service without currying favour or crawling with fawning reverence. 

Vigilantes, yes! But, be warned! The nation does not need the type running around with iron rods, headbands or revolvers to scare, bludgeon or kill. Or fanatic vigilante groups adopting barbaric methods of the medieval age to lynch people, beat suspected offenders to pulp, or act as anti-Romeo vigilantes  by thrashing a husband  and his wife or brother and sister after labelling them ‘romantic couples.’

If you are service-mined vigilantes for public good, reserve your religious fervour to be confined to your temple or mosque or church premises. Else you will invite only notoriety by acting as villains and hooligans.

Your vigilante groups do not have to be extra judicial or extra-constitutional in bringing about at least a semblance of justice, peace and ethical behaviour. Where law and justice do not reach out, you can be there through peaceful means to help out. ‘Gandhigiri’ method works. Not only in films. Try it.

Remember, over-zealous vigilantism with fundamentalist angles or fanatical trademarks   can be inflated by selfish politicians or communal minded preachers and pundits. Your blind following them will only lead you to a blind alley and your sponsors will finally ditch you.

Rather, let your energy be channelized into creative forms of service to the nation and for public good. Let your youthful vigour and your creative talents be utilised to bring sense and sanity in people of all ranks and positions.

Avenues are plenty. Opportunities are awaiting good vigilante groups. The nation will be grateful to them. Citizens will adore them. Young and old will love them. The world will look up to them. Above all, they will have the satisfaction that they have not wasted their life ‘on the desert air’, but have offered it for a noble cause!

(Published on 10th April 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 15)#