Date: Tuesday 7th May, 2002
Dear All at CUTS,
- Just one of those things, which one needs to spell out loud and clear. Not at it is at all likely, but should I die please honour my memory without stopping work. For death is the most certain thing about life, and life is but a journey. The soul never dies, so one should not lament.
- This thought came into my mind, when I read a tragic story today in Rajasthan Patrika. A young and dynamic District Magistrate of Bikaner District (in North Rajasthan) died in a road accident due to the fault of his driver while coming for a district magistrate’s meeting to Jaipur to examine the various poverty related initiatives.
- The meeting was to be addressed by the Chief Minister and few other ministers plus various civil servants. All the 32 district magistrates were here. I imagine all the six divisional commissioners would also have been here. Each officer would have come with three others as part of this retinue.
- The meeting was cancelled after a short condolence and the Chief Minister and other ministers are going to Ajmer (110Kms from here) tomorrow for his funeral.
- Can you imagine the cost of all this to the ordinary taxpayer? The state level meeting will be held again after a few months. On a rough estimate the meeting would have costed the state exchequer a few millions of rupees. Imagine all the upstream activities in the districts and at the divisional level, the reviews held by the divisional commissioner. Some of it will be useful for later, and will perhaps be fine tuned too.
- I wish the meeting could, at the least, have addressed the crucial fact of road safety in India, which is appalling. The same treatment is never given to ordinary citizens. We have one of the worst road safety records in the world.
- Admitting that the officer was popular (as per newspaper reports), is it a good thing to do and the whole government will go to such an extent.
- This type of thing has become so popular, for example, many a times courts don’t work whenever a senior lawyer passes away. Our courts are already overloaded, and the common man continues to bear the sheer injustice of delay. There are myriad examples like this in all walks of our lives.
- Secondly, don’t cremate my body also. Avoid waste of firewood and time and what not. Quietly donate it to a medical college, which can use my cadaver for the benefit of those who may use some of my organs and eyes, and the rest can be used by medical students. I am told that in Jaipur there is always a shortage of cadavers. And a condolence meeting, according to Hindu customs, can be held on the next Sunday.
- That said, wish me a long life but please remember and respect my will, as stated above. I am also marking a copy of this to my wife, son and son-in-law, for their information.
- Now to a little work. You will see below my signature an announcement of our 20th Anniversary Celebration. Please joint in with full gusto and vigour, share ideas and experiences.
- We will look at how true we have been to our mission statement: “Economic Equity and Social Justice…”
- I see this as a good opportunity to help us design our work programme over the next 5 years.
- So on our Silver Jubilee in 2008, we can take account of what we have been able to achieve, and where we went wrong.