My friend munna


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My friend Munna: true story.
मुन्ना की कहानी – झूठे लोकतन्त्र का घिनौना सच

Source: blog of Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau

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My friend munna

  1. 1. My friend Munna: true story.मुन्ना की कहानी – झूठे लोकतन्र का घिनौना सच[“Why worry? People like Anna and Munna can be tackled by police, income tax, enforcementdirectorate, criminal cases, slander campaign and communal riots. If Munna and others trouble muchpay the Bangladeshis to start communal riot. We will send police to evict people like Munna and flood theJamuna flood basin by releasing extra water from Haryana. You can get some banya tran (flood relief) tentsconstructed on the road bunds with Delhi government help, and earn gratitude of the flood affected people.Yeh sale, humse banchke jayega kaha? “ ]“Anna and Munna” represents unfortunate comman man of this country. Read this truestory!Friend Munnalal lived in village Kanakhali in eastern Bihar. He owned two bighas of land, two cows, twobuffalo, had a wife and three kids. In off season he made baskets with split bamboos and sold in the market.In 2008 flood he lost two cows and his home. Flood sand had covered his land and he did not have themoney to rebuild his shack and remove the sands from his field. Munna approached the gramsabha. Thepradhan had received some fund for relief works in his village. After several visits, the pradhan offered Rs.30.00 to Munna and took a thumb impression on a receipt of Rs. 300.00. The money was well spent for dailyneeds that lasted for a few days.Munna was advised to approach the Panchyat Pradhan to help him with a certificate that he had lost hiscattle, home and land in the flood. The PP demanded bhet (graft) of Rs. 50.00. Munna sold the nathni (nosering) of his wife and borrowed Rs 30.00 from the sahukar (loan shark) and paid the PP. After obtaining thecertificate Munna visited the BDO’s (Block Development Officer) office and after paying Rs. 5.00 bhet to thechaprasi reached the BDO after seven days. Mahamahim (His greatness) BDO examined the documents andjotted down on a paper that Munna could get Rs. 5000.00 from Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Griha NirmanYojana (rural house building scheme), but his name was in the waitlist. He should come after three months.As he emerged out of the office the chaprasi caught him. He advised that grant could not be availedwithout spending some bhet. To whom? Simple arithmetic, the Chaprasi declared. The bhet should beoffered at several levels. Rs. 1000.00 for him, Rs. 1000.00 for the baboo and Rs. 1000.00 for thesahib. You agree to pay and I would get your grant in three days. Munna calculated in his fingers andconcluded that he would be left with only Rs. 2000.00. How could he build a shack with thatamount? Out of Rs. 2000.00 he would have to pay Rs. 30 + 20 as interest to the Sahuhar.He would have to pay Rs. 200.00 to an affluent neighbor with whom he had pawned his buffalos. He wouldhave to bear the expenses of visiting the nearby dispensary at a distance of 5 km to get some medicine forhis daughter suffering from malaria. That would cost him nearly Rs. 300.00. He would be left with onlyRs. 1000.00 for rebuilding his home. Munna decided to avail of the grant, live under plastic sheets anddecided to spend at least Rs. 150.00 to remove the sand cover from his field. There ended the story ofRajiv Gandhi Gramin Griha Nirman Yojana.
  2. 2. Munna retrieved his land after two months hard labor. In late June he decided to plant paddy. Heborrowed Rs. 300.00 from the mahajan @ 50% annual interest. Munna hoped with a good harvesthe could pay back the loan and have enough grain for the family. He purchased seeds and some fertilizerwith the borrowed money and irrigated the land by drawing water from a well. That year monsoon failed inKanakhali and surrounding areas. Feet long paddy plants did not survive despite irrigating through wellwater. The well also nearly dried up in late August. The earth cracked, the plants wilted and Munna wasback to where he was, burdened with extra loans. The mahajan of Kanakhali, Ravidas impounded theland of Munna for failing to pay back the loan amount and the interest. Thus, Munna had no roof on hishead, his buffalos were gone and his land was impounded by mahajan Ravidas. He was on the streetswith his wife and three kids. He pitched a tent under a mango tree outside the village.Some neighbor advised him and his wife Kamla to visit the school ground of next village Sitapur to hear thebig minister from Delhi visiting their area in a flying bird (helicopter). Few thousand villagers hadassembled near the school ground of Sitapur Raja Vikarm Singh Higher Secondary School. Helicopterseemed like a heavenly bird to the villagers. As the rotor blades churned air with sounds the villagers lookedup. From a tiny dot it gradually materialized to a flying machine bird and landed in a specially preparedhelipad, which was surrounded by a posse of armed policemen. Over one thousand policemen weredeployed in and around the ground. The big minister from Delhi stepped out from the chopper. With a wellstarched pajama and a white kurta and a heedful of pepper-salt long hairs he looked like a film star fromMumbai. He was escorted to the podium by local MP Sangram Singh, the district collector, SP and a ministerin the state government, Jagvilas Paswan.The minister from Delhi looked around and was nauseated by the dark mass of crowd clothed in some barecloths and most having no upper apparel on their bodies. They were stinking. His nausea was partlyremoved when a group of nicely dressed school girls performed a dance and sang a few eulogia songs.Sangram Singh and Jagvilas Paswan announced on the microphone: Dearest villagers. Our honorableminister has come all the way from Delhi to remove your poverty. Now onwards you will not haveany problem with your two square meals, roof on your heads, drinking water, irrigation water,medical care and schools. You will have enough clothes for your women. Wait, the minister hassome special declarations to make.The honorable minister Sanchar Nigam started with a eulogistic speech praising Mahatma Gandhi, PanditNehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and said that the legacy of Gandhi-Nehru-Gandhi was the most valuable contribution of Gandhiji. He had driven out the British Rajand had handed over India to Nehru-Gandhi Raj. From 1920 onwards the Gandhi forces foughtthe British and the Gandhi family was still committed to fight for the improvement of the poorestof the poor in the country. He elaborated on several Yojanas (schemes) adopted for the rural poor by theGandhi Raj; named after Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and other Gandis of the Gandhi Royal family.NREGA, Sampoorn Gramin Rozgar Yojana, National Food for Work Yojana, Swarna Jayanti GramRozgar Yojana, National Service and Assistance Programme, Diksha, PURA, Bharat Nirman,Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Rural Housing, Rural Water Supply Programme, CentralRural sanitation Scheme, Indira Awas Yojana and Priyanka Priyadarshini Balika Yojana etc. Heasked the villagers to wait for Sonia Kanya Vivah Yojana. Sonia Ammaji will grant Rs. 10,000 for
  3. 3. each daughter’s marriage. Rahul Siksha Yojana will provide free schooling in all villages. NehruSwayatha Rakhsha Yojana would give free medical care to each villager. All these Yojanas werebeing implemented to lift up the rural people to the level of people living in Delhi, Hilli and other big cities.Garibi (poverty) would vanish in the air. People would be able to bathe in milk and eat cakes,sausages and pizzas. Children would go to school; girls would be married out at government cost.Gandhi Raj would usher in Swarg Raj.The minister’s speech pumped in some fresh hope in Munna and Kamla’s minds. On advice from someneighbors they went to the BDO office, stood on queue for 5 hours and enrolled in the NREGA scheme,which ensured 100 days work in a year. Kamla opted to join the Sampoorn Gramin Rozgar Yojana.Munna was directed to meet the field officer who supervised NREGA in his area. Vishal Yadav, thesupervisor, noted down the details of Munna, checked his muster roll and shouted back. Munna was a cheat.He was already enrolled as a NREGA beneficiary and was drawing Rs. 300.00 per month for lastone year. It was news to Munna. Yadav showed him the list and left thumb impression as proof. Munna, hesaid, would be handed over to police for cheating the government. Munna was illiterate and he was notaware of uniqueness of finger prints of different people. Mere threat of calling the police sent Munnaurinating in his tattered dhoti.“Hujur mai baap,” Munna begged, “Sher ko bolana cahte hai to bola lijiye. Police mat bulaiye. Galtimuaf ho sarkar” (You are my father and mother. If you want to call a tiger, please do. Don’t call the police.Pardon my mistake.)Munna was not aware that Yadav and his higher formations had employed 5000 villagers from theconstituency of Thakur Sangram Singh. For five thousand people Sangram managed to get Rs. 15 lakhsper year. Out of those only 500 supporters of Sangram and few lackeys of the district and block officialswere paid for 100 days in a year. Rest of the master roll was faked and the allotted amount was dividedamongst Sangram, the officials and local self government representatives.“Fine. I can give you a job in Swarn Jayanti Gramin Rozgar Yojana.” Yadav offered him Hope. Heexplained that Munna would have to work for three months in a year in road construction and canal diggingworks. He would be paid Rs. 1,500 for the job. Out of that he would have to pay 1000 to him,panchayet pradhan, sahkari samiti (cooperative body) as their share. He could take rest 500.Yadav explained that if he worked one full year he could earn Rs. 2000. Rest Rs. 4000 he would have topay as taxes to the providers. He simplified the matter by explaining that to please the gods peopleoffered flowers, sweets and other costly items. Like gods these money suppliers were veryimportant. It was a give and take situation as it was prescribed in Hindu dharma. Munna was convincedand enrolled as a privileged worker in the SJGRY, locally pronounced Segi Rai.Kamla had a different experience with the Sampoorn Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), locally pronouncedswargy (divine). Panchayet pradhan Budhan Kewat was surrounded by a group of women seeking SGRYemployment. Budhan explained that they would have to work in some local spinning mills, dyeing thethreads and handing the same back to the spinning mill manager. They would work all sevendays a week and would be paid Rs. 300 per week. Monthly income would be Rs. 1200. Out of that
  4. 4. 700 hundred would have to be returned back to the pradhan as work guarantee money. Once theyleft the job they would be given back the guarantee money. If they were ready they should put thumbimpression on a paper against their names. Kamla, like other women in the group, signed up. Both Munnaand Kamla expected to earn a neat income of Rs. 8000 to 10000 in a year. That would cover up thecost of atta, some lentil, salt, chili and onion. They could also invest some money to maintain abuffalo. Once the kids grew up to eight years or so they could also be pressed into the services of affluentvillagers. Sitting under the shade of their plastic tent Munna and Kamla calculated that in another fewyears they could pay back the mahajan and get their land back, cultivate and grow some grains.He could purchase a dhoti and a sari for Kamla from the local haat (market) in another six months. Itshould be possible to purchase a frock for the daughter and two knickers for sons, who roamed aboutwith makeshift langotis.Munna’s problem was compounded when one evening Kamla did not return home from the spinningmill. Munna visited Budhan Kewat and enquired of his wife’s whereabouts.“Have I taken contract for your wife? Look at my attendance register. She came in the morning and left atabout four. I’m not a cowherd to run after cows like Kamla.” Budhan rebuffed Munna and threw him out.Kamla had another tryst with destiny. About 30 years old Kamla was known in Kanakhali area as a beautifullady. In happier days she used to wear a choli and blouse and cotton saris. Her oiled and groomed hairswere shining. Her youth was attractive. Even in these days of drudgery and poverty she had not lost herluster. Budhan had allured Kamla to the residence of the mill manager and advised her to do some domesticwork if she wanted to retain her job. That night manager Chotelal Kurmi ravished Kamla and left her only inthe morning. Worried Munna and the children had spent the night under the mango tree. Kamla did notshare with her husband that she was raped by manager Chotelal. She silently prepared some roti andlocally collected green leaves with salt and chili. The kids went to sleep.Kamla shared the tragedy of being raped. She told Munna that earning a living in the village wasimpossible for poor people like them. Flood and drought were their constant companions. The Yojanaswere meant for sahibs, baboos and pradhans. They should better go to the sahar (town) for earningsome living. Munna had no idea about a sahar. Kolkata and Patna were big cities. But what would they dothere?“Look at Mahavir. He was like us in Kanakhali. He went to Delhi. Now he is a rich man. He is constructing abrick house in the village. His kids in Delhi go to school.”“Should we ask him?” Munna was yet undecided.Kamla pushed him. Mahavir was in the village. He advised them to come to Delhi. He would arrange somejobs for them and a jhuggi to stay with monthly rental of Rs. 300. One fine morning Munna, Kamla andthe children went to nearby station Sitapur and boarded a train for Delhi with only Rs 100.00 in theirkitty.Mahavir rented one of the 500 jhuggis to Munna, set up by him on government land in an east Delhi locality.Mahavir had to pay Rs. 600.00 to MCD officials, Rs. 400.00 to electric company and Rs. 400.00 to
  5. 5. Jal Board supervisor for maintaining his jhuggi cluster. In addition he charged Rs. 20.00 per family forthe Sulabh Sauchalaya facility set up in the cluster. In fact, Mahavir was a landlord, who purchased allservices from government officials to run his empire. However, he could not provide an instant job forMunna. Again Mahavir came to his rescue. He offered a rickshaw pulling job to Munna. He was required totake out a cycle rickshaw out of 300 owned by Mahavir, all parked overnight on PWD roadside. For theparking space he had to pay Rs. 500.00 to the havaldar of the area and Rs. 500.00 to the PWD supervisor.At the end of the day Munna had to deposit the rickshaw and pay Rs. 40.00 in cash to Mahavir. HardworkingMunna earned about 200.00 per day.Kamla started with cleaning and washing job in nearby apartment blocks. For three hours she charged Rs.400.00. Her monthly income was about Rs. 1,500.00. Gradually Munna and Kamla dreamt of sending theirkids in a local primary school. The Headmaster interviewed Munna, Kamla and the children. He demandedRs. 2000.00 for admitting the three kids. After acute bargaining they settled on Rs. 1000.00. Munnaand Kamla paid up and purchased the dress and school bags after cutting corners and reducing somekitchen items.That was not the end of Munna’s tryst with the law and procedure enforcers. One evening a police constablecornered Munna and asked him for identity card. What was that? Prove that you are not Bangladeshi.How to do that? Do you have a ration card? Do you have a voter ID card? Do you have a MCD token numberfor plying a rickshaw? Huzoor mai baap, how does one get all that? The constable forced out a gratis of Rs.20.00 and asked Munna to approach Mahavir.Mahavir scratched his head and said that all these documents could be obtained in seven days. But Munnawould have to spend Rs. 500.00 for the ration baboo, Rs. 200.00 for the PDS owner, Rs. 200.00 forMCD token and Rs. 400.00 for the voter ID card. By spending Rs. 1300.00 Munna could prove hislegal existence as an Indian. Mahavir was sympathetic to his village pal. He agreed to realize the amountin three installments. An employee of Mahavir took Munna and Kamla to different offices and spent somemoney on ‘chai-pani’ of the baboos and finally they became proud possessors of identity proof and the rightto draw ration from the PDS and plying a rickshaw. Munna’s neighbor was Abdul Naskar, a Bangladeshinational. Mahavir had performed the same trick in his case too. Naskar was turned to a proud Indian citizen.After about eight months a Congress leader accompanied by the municipal councilor and local leaders wasushered in by a huge gathering organized by Mahavir. He directed all the jhuggi dwellers to enroll as hisparty members and vote for him in the next election. He promised to construct drainage system, brickpaved lanes and Jal Board drinking water pipe to the jhuggi cluster. On his direction an employee of themunicipality affixed identity plates before every jhuggi and promised them 70 sft lands in a newdevelopment area for construction of their own homes. The municipality issued token cards to each jhuggidweller. That would be the basis for claiming land in the new location, when offered.Mahavir acted very fast. He collected all the tokens from jhuggi dwellers like Munna for safe custody andliaising with DDA baboos. Surreptitiously he contacted a builder, Bharat Sundar and sold the tokens to him.His formula was simple. He would take from the builders Rs. 2. 5 lakh for each plot and the jhuggi dwellerswould be given only Rs. 5000.00 as compensation. They were advised to visit the DDA office to enroll for the
  6. 6. promised plots. The DDA baboo demanded Rs. 500.00 from each jhuggi dweller for registering their names.He pumped in some hope that they would soon be eligible for land allotment.The election fever also inspired Munna to mobilize voters for the Congress leader. He won with acomfortable majority with support of about 30,000 jhuggi dwellers, 50,000 Bangladeshis and etcvotes. After a few weeks of celebration, a DDA official visited the jhuggi clusters and announced that theunauthorized juggis would be demolished in four weeks time. The dwellers, having valid token andnames registered with the DDA would be allotted land at Zundli phase III. Mahavir also delivered a lecturethat he would invite top leaders to prevent demolition. He even arranged a rally headed by a retired unionminister who declared that the demolishing forces would have to walk over his body. Finally, DDA demolitionbulldozers started demolishing the jhuggis and the residents were thrown out. Mahavir turned out with acrowd, but they were driven away by armed Rapid Action Force personnel.Someone, from an opposition party, gathered the dislodged Jhuggi dwellers and organized a demonstrationbefore the Deputy Director of the DDA. He heard a delegation of the uprooted jhuggi dwellers and finallydisclosed that these unauthorized land grabbers were not entitled to have land at Zundli phase III. Thesecheats had already sold their jhuggis and lands to a builder called Bharat Sundar.They all turned to Mahavir. He expressed helplessness. The jhuggi dwellers had sold their tokens toBharat Sundar for consideration money of 70,000 per jhuggi. However, he was not a cruel person. Hepaid Rs. 5000.00 in cash to each of the former jhuggi dwellers.Bharat Sundar paid Rs. 20 lakhs to DDA, Rs. 20 lakhs to MCD and Rs. 10 lakh to police and floatedIndira Gandhi Awas Yojana at Zondli phase III. He constructed 400 apartments on the landearmarked for allotment to the jhuggi dwellers and sold each flat for Rs. 45 lakhs.Mahavir constructed another three storied 30 roomed building at Rajiv Gandhi Nagar and rented out eachroom for Rs. 3000.00 per month.Munna again turned to Mahavir:Mahabir bhaiya, where should we go?Don’t worry Munna. I am here to protect people like you. I have constructed 300 new jhuggis on theJamuna flood-basin land. Out of Rs. 5000.00 I paid you, you pay me only 2000.00. It is a specialconsideration, because we are from the same village. For others I’ll charge Rs. 4000.00.How is that place?Fine, open space, Jamuna water near you. And in spare time you can grow vegetables and sell in themarket.Munna had changed. He understood the entire charade of Mahavir. Only relief was that in the village themahajan exploited him and the mill owner raped his wife. City brought a big change in him. Thedebauchery of the system was unfolded to him after he was cheated several times.On a day in mid August Munna and few others like him picked up small national flags and went to Ramlilaground to offer satyagrah on the call of Anna Hazare. Finally he realized what corruption meant.He had an opportunity to ask Anna: Anna Bapu Lokpal se corruption khatm ho jayega?
  7. 7. Ummid rakho aur larte raho. Mashal jal utha, abhi nahi nivega. Main to tumhe larne sikhna chahta hu. Eesandherako hatao. Roshni ekdin aayegi.Mahavir visited the Jamuna jhuggi clusters with a gang of five.Hai Munna tu neta ban gaya?Nahi bhaiya. Main khetihar majdoor se rikshawala ban gaya, aur larne sikha. Hamare iha mataao. Lathi hamare ghar me bhi hai.Mahavir retreated.What would happen to him if people like Munna start shouting against corruption with a national flag inhand? He called on the Congress MP.Mahavir, forget these rats, said the MP. They will shout for a few days, but we will continue torule. This royal family cannot be displaced by a donkey called Anna. I have decided to give you aticket in the next municipal election. Start campaigning now. Election is our strength. Right frommunicipal council to sansad we will have our royal sovereignty on the nation. Why worry? Peoplelike Anna and Munna can be tackled by police, income tax, enforcement directorate, criminalcases, slander campaign and communal riots. If Munna and others trouble much pay theBangladeshis to start communal riot. We will send police to evict people like Munna and flood theJamuna flood basin by releasing extra water from Haryana. You can get some banya tran (floodrelief) tents constructed on the road bunds with Delhi government help, and earn gratitude of theflood affected people. Yeh sale, humse banchke jayega kaha?Mahavir was reassured. The royal family was there to protect him. He took out a procession near theresidence of the royal family and shouted slogans wishing: jug jug jiyo maharani.****Source: blog of Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau