This is the play which we enacted for our [XI 'A'] class presentation a few weeks back. The play was written by two of us [Karthiga and I] and well... I thought it was worth posting it here, as it's about the most frequently discussed topic everywhere - Corruption.
Narrator: It’s August 14th, the day before the Independence Day and the day looked beautiful and promising. One lady is seen amongst the crowd. Though she looked like any normal woman, her noble and dignified demeanor set her apart from everyone else in the place. Yet, people went by without even throwing a glance at the stately lady. For some reason, she is invisible to their eyes. She is the Bharat Mata. Yes, the Mother of India. As she crossed a building, she heard some voices and stopped to listen.
Man: Sir, I need a CC for my daughter. Here is my ration card and the details of the child’s background.
Narrator: The officer verifies all the necessary papers.
Officer: Everything’s in order, but for one….
Man: I don’t understand sir…
Narrator: The officer rings the bell. His assistant enters.
Officer: Take him out and explain the procedures here.
Assistant: Yes sir. [After coming out] Give me 500 rupees. You know the procedure or what?
Man: But sir… I am from a poor family and I have enough money only to pay my child’s school fee and today’s the last day too. Please sir…
Assistant: Even I have a child who’s been asking for a new cricket set and I have a few rupees short. So either hand over the money or else… well, you know the process.
Narrator: The man gives away, half-heartedly.
Assistant: You must attach 200 rupees along with the details, if you want to get it signed.
Man: But sir…I…
Assistant: If you are to argue with the officer like this. He may even tear the CC in anger and you will never get it.
Narrator: The man hands out the money bitterly cursing under his breath
Man: They get salary from the government for doing their jobs and yet… Don’t know how I’m going to pay my child’s fee…
Bharat Mata: Goodness… This is outrageous!
Narrator: But then her spirits rose a little.
BM: There’ll always be one or two black sheep everywhere. Let me try some other place. Surely it’ll be a better story there.
Narrator: She turns towards a building, hoping it would brighten things up. It was the Electricity Board Department.
Woman: Sir, I have telephoned and even launched 3 complaints that the street lights aren’t working in our street for the past 4 months. People… especially children, suffer a lot…
Officer: Sorry ma’am… your complaint didn’t reach me.
Woman: What do you mean it didn’t reach you? It was me who had filed them directly to you, sir! I hope you don’t expect me to believe what you say!
Officer [to his assistant]: You there… take this woman out.
Narrator: Outside the office:
Assistant: What’s wrong with you ma’am? Why don’t you just give him what he asked for?
Woman: What do you mean?
Assistant: Bribe ma’am, bribe… as you people call it. If you want your work to get done, you must give him money.
Woman [indignantly]: This is unfair… then what is he paid by the government for? Next beggars will start demanding coins from us!
Assistant: You don’t argue and waste time here. Either give the money or move away.
Narrator: Bharat Mata watched as the woman gave a scathing look at the electricity board and gave the money to the office assistant. She looked near hopeless and crestfallen. Just then, she overhears a conversation between a rich man and another officer from the income tax department.
Rich Man: Tax… What the hell should I pay the government for? It’s just like throwing the money into a bottomless well. I’m not dependent on them anyway…
Narrator: His cell phone rings
IT officer: Sir, there’s going to be an income tax raid in your home, tonight at 8.00PM. It’s secretly arranged, so be prepared, sir.
Rich Man: Right… I’ll see to it.
IT officer: Meanwhile pay some attention on this poor man, sir…
Rich Man: Sure… It’ll be done.
Narrator: Later, the IT officer’s wife calls him on phone.
IT officer: Hello?
Wife: Everything has reached us safely. All the appliances are from good companies. I think our child will be very happy with her new laptop.
BM [forlornly]: I never expected this… Even the family members, who are supposed to advice these corrupt officials against this vice, are supporting them. Where are the leaders who are responsible for all this disorder and chaos??
Narrator: Just then, she perceived a crowd of supporters following a politician. The throng was going from house to house. In one house…
Politician [slyly]: I’m a candidate in this upcoming general election. I need your votes to win, so please do vote for me. Here is a compliment from me, for your support.
Narrator: He hands out a 1000 rupee note and the poor man gets it, without any expression in his face. At this, Bharat Mata’s mind began to swirl. Politicians bribing people, people bribing officials, officials bribing politicians, politicians bribing people… It seemed like a cycle that will never end. But then, something the poor man did made her look up.
Poor man: We’re not selling our votes here. Please go away.
Narrator: And he quietly handed back the note to the irate politician. The Bharat Mata sighed in relief. A ray of hope had just come into her heart. Tired, she sits down in a bench by the road. A girl is walking on the road and stops by the same bench.
Girl: Are you alright, Miss?
Narrator: This surprises the Bharat Mata.
BM: Can you see me?
Girl: Of course, I can see you! I have eyes for a reason. So what’s up?
BM: I don’t think I can bear any more corruption…
Girl: Oh… So you’re a victim of that dreaded disease too, huh?
BM: You mean there's someone you know who is....?
Girl: I am! Just a few days ago I had to file an RTI application to get my work done in one of those government departments. People call me a fool for wasting so much time, when I could easily have done it with some money…
Narrator: The girl pauses, as if she was going through the events of the past few days.
Girl: But I’m not going to give any money... not even a paise! Why should I? This is brazen injustice and I’m not going to tolerate it any longer.
Narrator: She looked pensive and had her eyes fixed somewhere in mid-air. Bharat Mata didn't break the silence, as she watched the girl curiously. Then, suddenly with the vigor of someone who had made a decision, she got up.
Girl: I think I’ve got to go… Got some work to do. It was nice meeting you.
Compeer: And that my dear friends, is the end of the skit. Corruption in India thrives on our indifference and ignorance. Many of us are going to face corruption one day or the other, and when we do, we should be sure that we don’t yield to this vice. It’s high time we understood the difference between adjusting to situations and tolerating injustice, because in the latter case, the more we tolerate, the more injustice will be inflicted on us. Let’s “Be the change we want to see in the world.” Jai Hind!