Vantage point

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Live On, Manju

Today marks a year since Manjunath Shanmugham was brutally murdered by the oil mafia for trying to do his job honestly. It's been a year, and his booming voice, massive smile and friendly banter is still fresh in my memory. I can not even imagine what his parents must be going through.

To mark this day, the Manjunath Shanmugham Trust has started two initiatives - An integrity award and an RTI Helpline. Both initiatives are a positive step, and will do a lot of good towards bringing greater transparency.

It is important to remember that Manju was killed, not just because a few people were evil and corrupt, but because of a flawed system lacking in checks and balances which allowed these kind of people to do as they please. To really honour him, it is necessary not just to ensure that his murderers are punished, but also to take steps towards making the system better. An RTI helpline is a welcome step in that direction.

Hats off to the IIML Alumni. They have shown sincere dedication to this cause, and have not let their focus waver, inspite of being busy professionals. Through their work with the trust, as well as their follow-up with the murder trial, they have ensured that Manju's death does not become just a relic in news archives.