New York, NY: New York’s Union Square Park saw a rather unusual protest gathering near the statue of the Mahatma. There was neither slogan-shouting nor posturing when a small group of about 15 Indians scrunched their way unsteadily through the piled snow to make a quiet stand against corruption in India.
The discussion was civil, most of it mature and nuanced, some of it a little more passionate.
The protest, organized by Atul Kumar, recetley was a result of a social media effort driven by Indians Against Corruption, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization, as part of general public disgust at the venality of the Indian bureaucracy, articulated most recently in the scandal over the distribution of 2G spectrum to private telecommunication service providing companies. Kumar and the others present agreed that corruption is entrenched in the Indian system.
Kumar recalled that during his student days at the Indian Institute of Management, he was stuck with the nickname Ghotala (scam) only because he came from corruption-ridden Bihar. Ashamed of the bad reputation his state has gained, Kumar asked other IIM alumni to help organize protests in the US.
The protesters walked from the Gandhi statue to Union Square Park, where they discussed India’s struggle with corruption.
Protester Ashok Nagrath argued that technology, such as in the form of the proposed biometric unique identity cards, would help dramatically reduce fraud in the system and increase accountability.