The silence of good people is more dangerous than the brutality of bad people – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Fifth Pillar is a non-profit international organization that fights corruption and uses the zero rupee note and RTI Act of 2005 to fight one of the most deep-rooted evils of the nation that is corruption. This organization believes in empowering those who are affected by corruption and helps them to get government services without any delays and bribes. They focus on strengthening democracy. Our country rests on the four pillars of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and the press.
The Fifth Pillar organization is formed by the alliance of accordant citizens of our country want to bring positive changes to create a better governance system and reform the malpractice of our society. Any citizen who is socially sentient, patriot, values the laws above everything and puts the nation and its citizen before his personal gain is the fifth pillar.
The focus of this organization is to help citizens of our nation to use their fundamental rights and access the services of government and other public sector departments. Several other institutions like private schools, colleges, hospitals and companies over-charge the public in order to provide their services, but these cases will not be considered as ‘corruption’, they are sheer cases of fraud and cheating. Since the private sectors are not elected or appointed by people but are running successfully with the power of money, the Fifth Pillar motivates the citizens of our country to register their complaints and queries with the concerned government department and contact the Fifth Pillar organization if the complaints are not treated effectively.
The history of India itself demonstrated that citizens of this country have never been oppressed by the injustice of dictator, regime or foreign occupation. India is considered as the largest democratic society in the world but it also implies that fighting corruption here is not so easy. Anything that makes it more complex for the citizens of India to survive the complex web of government is corruption that is stagnantly residing in the public sector. Corruption is settled in every nook of India’s bureaucracy which has ultimately made the majority of the population comfortable in paying bribes at firsthand.
In 2011, Indian stood at 95th rank out of 183 countries on Annual Corruption Index with a rating of 3.1 out 10 (10 being the least corrupt). Corruption often leads to violence and death, there are a lot of headlines that cover crimes done for the sake of bribes and other malpractices. The authorities seem very less bothered about these crimes as if they are comfortable with the fact people killing and molesting each other for the sake of misusing money and power. These instances are clear indications that India still needs to figure out how to effectively fight corruption.
The 5th Pillar organization is trying to manage the initiatives taken up for fighting corruption in an innovative way. Since its inception, the mission of the organization is to ‘encourage, enable and empower every citizen of India to eliminate corruption at the level of society’. The 5th Pillar’s ideology is that citizens should have the power to change fundamental conditions that corruption feeds upon for its survival and that a popular marshalling against corruption will strengthen the existing four pillars of our democratic nation. The organization’s method focuses on elementary social, economic and political conditions that create government institutions a breeding ground for corruption.
“The most significant precondition is the lack of information,” says Vijay Anand, the President and co-founder of 5th Pillar. Therefore, education and information are the two most evaluative strategical elements of this organization. Anand adds on, that above everything else a citizen should know about the fundamental rights, back in early 2000’s a nonviolent movement caused for government transparency caught the limelight and later in 2005 Right to Information Act was passed. Since then the volunteers of the 5th Pillar organization put special emphasis on spreading awareness about the importance of knowing your fundamental rights.
One of the most successful non-violent weapons of the 5th Pillar organization is a Zero Rupee Note; they were distributed by the organization’s volunteers at railway stations, bus stations and several market places to spread awareness about bribery and remind citizens of their fundamental rights. The youth, especially students were urged to sign on a huge Zero Rupee note banner of 30 ft which was circulated in more than 1200 schools, colleges and public meetings in the last 5 years and obtained more than 5 lakh signatures and pledges: “I will neither receive nor give bribe”. People willingly take a stand these days to protest against malpractices of corruption because they are no more afraid of losing anything and they trust that organizations like 5th Pillar are there to back them up to get justice.