Friday, November 25, 2005

Manjunath ....true individual

Yesterday, I watched a detailed report on NDTV; the reporter had travelled to Kolar 90 kms away from Bangalore, to meet with Manjunaths's family. They were naturally distraught. His mother just sat, in shock; his father painfully recalled his last meeting with his son. It was 15 days ago, when he had travelled to Uttar Pradesh to suggest that his son get married. Manjunath apparently replied, "Not, now. I'll wait for another four, five years."

Manjunathan's father says, "I often pleaded with him that he should give up this job in that part of north India where the border with Nepal and the forest terrain made mafia operation conducive. But he would not listen, and he would say he loved Lucknow which gave him his management degree, and that he was ready to give his life for Indian Oil.” The report continues: "Manjunathan was the oldest of three children and had landed the IOC job through a campus interview last year. He had rented a room at Lakhimpur-Kheri and used to stay alone. Manjunathan’s brother Raghavendran is an engineer and sister Sujata is studying electronics engineering. His mother has been fainting off and on since she heard of his murder."

But you would be wondering who is Manjunathan…. Well someone who wanted to make a change just that some corrupt people didn’t like his. As per me he is more an icon, very difficult to find gems of this kind. B.S. Manjunathan, alumni of IIM, Lucknow (2003 batch), was working with the Indian Oil Corporation in Lucknow. He was murdered for his determination to report dealers adulterating petrol.

I personally feel he was one who could not tolerate the inaccuracies in the system and felt that the business would improve a lot more if there were transparency. Apparently, part of his job was to inspect samples from petrol pumps, and report back to the company. The petrol pumps were ideally supposed to adhere to very high standards of purity. But he said the adulteration in the petrol pumps in UP, where he was posted, was usually so rampant

He said the reason why this adulteration happened so brazenly was that the dealers knew that no matter what happens, their licenses couldn't be cancelled. If everyone does it, how many pumps will the company shut down? He said he usually tried to cajole, convince and scold the dealers to not indulge in such dishonesty. He said some fell in line, but most of them usually got back to the same old adulteration business. In fact Manju said, some of the petrol pump owners are downright scary."

(Note: My room-mate in my grad school (2002) is a IIML, passout (Shekhar, IIML 2004) and I feel like calling him this weekend and talk to him. I am not a passout student from IIML but then this story sent shock waves in my blood and so was when Satyendra Dubey met with the same ill fate in Bihar. I sometimes feel bad that what I do here is for my personal growth and for the growth of a MNC, an impact of globalisation. Its all about me, myself but feel at times to leave all this and do something real good.Something of substance and that’s what I dream for.)


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