suppandi IS anna(thar) hazard!

… or the dangers of the original ‘anna’ hazare and the copycat wannabe ‘anna’ hazares of the world…

Have you read the previous insltalment?

Okay. Some sloppy background here. These friendly folks had been sending their children to nammashaale a few years back – and there were always problems in collecting even the meagre fees (subsidized heavily by the Trustees of nammashaale) that nammashaale used to levy. They also could not pay for the transport.

Now, this is all understandable, we all undergo troubled times, financially lean & uncertain periods and mostly we are able to bounce back – and if and when we do, we do pay back all our debts.

It is also true in some cases that, in spite of our fundamentally good  intentions, we cannot or do not repay, but we do express our regrets, we are ashamed of ourselves, we squirm in our seats, carry tonne loads of guilt and develop all kinds of illnesses including cancer – when we do not. Oh the human condition

However, these folks had made a habit of not paying the fees at all for a significant period – mostly it was managed by repeatedly giving the school their personal cheques that cannot be honoured. And I think, a couple of years back or so, on the day #1 of one ‘next’ academic year, they came, without any regret whatsoever and took out their children.

That they gave a cheque again for ‘all the dues’ and that it promptly bounced for the millionth time is another story.

Of course there was not even any indication of an expression of regret from the parents – the children are now going to another school. We all are happily dying everafter…

At that time, I knew about the slender financials of the school and I was aghast at this final replay of the nonpay-event. I mean, how can one do all these things with a straight face? What is the meaning of all this? Is it wrong to expect the parents to pay a little when all the fruits (and more) are being enjoyed by them, their children? Can’t the fee be paid in instalments? Can’t one do *something?*  Don’t we all know that issuing cheques fully aware that they would bounce is a cognizable crime – it is an immediately jaileable offence usually? Forget about the legal systems – is this even a fundamentally correct and moral attitude?

Having ranted as above, I am sure these parents must have had some reason or their own logic for having behaved in this bizarre manner –  but I have no way of knowing it. May be there is some rational expression that is lurking somewhere that a rabid guy like me is unable to understand.

… But, the Trustees of nammashaale were really sweet, after some discussions, they did not want to proceed against the errant parents and the issue was closed. I tried to push for discussions at least – but I suppose fundamental sanity and grace prevailed on the Trustees, in spite of my best efforts.

Now, as is usual, lots of water flows under every bridge all over the world for the next one year or so…

So, after very many months of silence etc, these folks suddenly & startlingly, send me the ‘anna’ hazare (sorry, SaviourRaj!!) ‘fwd:’ asking me to ‘please forward’ – oh the ammunition – I grit my teeth for a few days but I could not take it any more and wrote to them the following:

From: Ramjee Swaminathan <…>
Date: Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 12:25 AM

name1, name2 – thanks for the mail forward exhorting me to act against corruption. Sorry about responding so late.

But, I do not think I am competent enough to talk about corruption. You would know the story about ‘people living in glass houses… etc etc.’ And, I do not believe in ‘mail forwarded – task accomplished’ kind of simple solutions either, to everyday issues of moral and financial corruption. I admire(!) Anna, though!

I sincerely believe that – if I am not morally & ethically bankrupt, if I have not cheated anyone wantonly, If I have not hurt anyone wantonly, that’s more than sufficient for me and the world. I do not need to preach anyone anything. I need to live it. And, it is a major personal struggle for me.

I hope your family is doing fine.”

(I have snipped out the other parts)

To which, I received a prompt reply:

Date: Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: The decisive battle against corruption in India has begun… Please read, and circulate
To: Ramjee Swaminathan <…>

hey Ramji,

I agree with your sentiment.  To each his own. ”

(I have snipped out the other parts)

Actually, I am okay with double standards. I have been on both ends of this double-standards businesses and gray areas. There are many reasons and no reasons for all these.

But I am NOT okay with folks who easily have triple standards and more.

I am not standing from a higher pedestal and lecturing down to the hoi polloi. I have waged long and bitter wars against financial corruption and have lost tens of lakhs of rupees, when I was a young & seriously serial entrepreneur. I have dealt with desperate situations, with irate creditors knocking at the doors and have been completely broke a couple of times because of my ‘wet behind the year’ perceptions – or call it idiocy. Honestly, I probably felt like a hero, bah! – and of course, there were financial / physical prices to be paid for all these misdemeanors of mine – I did pay dearly too – no complaints though!

Later, as a tired old man, I have also paid bribes directly / indirectly – for some specific reasons and no reasons again.

Mea Culpa – O Ramjee, what a let down!


I still would like to like these friendly folks, they have been by and large gentle and *otherwise* perhaps fine folks. I even try to understand them. But I am sure, even if I understand them after much difficulty, I actually would not agree with them.

It is really sad.

I am not bitter about this. I don’t think the Trustees are either. But sometimes one really wonders

As the Time ‘Pink Floyd’ lyric says:

And then one day you find
ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run,
you missed the starting gun.

The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say. “


What do you think?

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