By Sanjay Sahay: Have we heard of some major pathbreaking revelations coming out of whistle-blowers which threw off the lid of any well-manicured system, sector, organization, institution or activity in recent years. Or have we been a trend for years now, that not speaking out is a much better. If does not impact me, then why should I be bothered, to a level where even if it is impacting, better bear with it. It will get over. Have we as a nation lost the capability to react, to speak out against the wrong, and developed a capability to digest, however close we might see, experience and get impacted by the rot that has set in. When did we find a whistle-blower in Indian politics?
Are whistle-blowers not a critical element of Indian democracy and governance? Don’t we need these safety valves, from people of value, grit and courage, fighting against all odds, who are in common parlance known as whistle-blowers. If we as a nation lack this element in our DNA, then it somehow heralds the onset of servitude. The democratic servitude. The way we treat our whistle-blowers and their cause / activity / revelation they are attached to and had the courage to bring it to the public domain, decides as how many whistle-blowers would be born in the days to come. They are heroes of modern times, way beyond fear and favour for making something work proper / remedied / set right or taken to its logical conclusion.
The PILs and RTIs are not even a pale shadow of the work of head and heard the whistle-blowers do. They put open activism to test and scrutiny of a different kind. They come a variety of organisations and can come from activism too. The names of few of them might ring in your ears; Satyendra Dubey, Shanmugam Manjunath, Lalit Mehta, Narendra Kumar Singh, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, and Vijay Pandhare. The passion for exposing the underbelly of Indian governance goes into the annals of whistle-blowers history. The first four of the six named lost their lives in the most tragic and gruesome ways. The activities which they brought to light and the overall cause they depicted melted with them.
The Indian private sector is bereft of whistle-blowers, either everything is hunky-dory or the mercenary search for wealth creation, has submerged us all. Think of a world without Wikileaks and Panama, Pandora and Paradise papers, but what has the world done about it. Don’t forget Edward Snowden and what he brought forth to the world and with him the famed Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. How about the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook story, brought to the world by Christopher Wylie. In the chequered list we have Chelsea Manning too. They unravel the world as no one could ever imagine, but those are hard facts. We are forced to live in a deliberately distorted world. The Social Dilemma is another variant of the same narrative. We can’t but remember the whistle-blowers of Uber and Facebook too. The world has decided not to give its whistle-blowers their due, make life difficult for them and kill the cause as permanently as possible.
WHISTLE-BLOWERS ARE A RARE BREED AND THEY SHOULD BE TREATED AS NORTH STARS TO OUR MUDDLED EXISTENCE.
The writer — Sanjay Sahay is Ex. IPS (ADGP), IT, Cyber Security & Emerging Technologies Expert, Management Guru, Pro Public Speaker & Writer, Bengaluru