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Right to Information

There are many hurdles to getting education for dalit women. Some are of a peculiar nature indeed. I had passed my Master of Social Work Examination in May 2008 from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya Indore (DAVV) and then deposited the requisite fees for getting a hard copy of the degree. I was told that the degree would be mailed to my home address. However, when even after one year the degree did not arrive I went to the examination section of DAVV to enquire and found that in the register in which they had recorded my request applicants before and after me had been sent their degrees but I had been omitted. When I asked about this the clerk made some vague excuses and said that I too would soon get the degree. Then I became busy with my MPhil studies and did not bother about this for another year. But in May this year I thought that enough was enough and went again to the examination section and all the way upto the Registrar and created a big ruckus about not being sent the degree. I was assured that the degree would be sent to me within a week. Some of my fellow students were sceptical however as they said that the clerks had to be paid two hundred rupees over and above the regulation fees for getting the degrees.

Predictably the degree did not arrive. So finally I had to take recourse to the Right to Information Act 2006 (RTI). This Act empowers the citizens to ask for information from the Government and the concerned authorities have to give the answer within thirty days or face a penalty of Rs 20000. I filed an application with the Public Information Officer of the DAVV on 15th June 2010 enquiring as to why the degree had not been sent and who were the officers responsible for this negligence and what action had been taken against those so responsible. Today 25th June 2010 I have received the degree by Express Courier.

Such is the level of corruption in the universities in India that even in such a small matter as the dispatching of a degree students have to pay bribes. Luckily due to the RTI now determined citizens can get the system to work. However, in serious matters where powerful vested interests are threatened they hit back at RTI activists by going to the extent of murdering them as so tragically happened in the case of Satish Shetty of Pune.

One can read about this at the following link - http://punekar.in/site/2010/01/14/rti-activist-satish-shettys-murder-roc...

Comments

Dando's picture

Too

sad you had to undergo such. It is a pity even higher institutions have to sink too low.
I had to congratulate you on your determination and courage. I would encourage you to write an oped/article in your local newspapers so that people are aware of what is taking place.

Best
Dando

gunu_k's picture

nice suggestion

Hi Dando,
that is a nice suggestion. I will try and see if i can get some journalist to take up this story.

Subhadra Khaperde
India

jadefrank's picture

Finally

Dearest Subhadra,

Your determination to enjoy your rights has paid off, and you can proudly hold the degree your worked to hard to obtain. Just a shame that it took this long to be recognized for the incredible perseverance that has taken you from a rural Indian Dalit community to now seeking your MPhil.

I appreciate you sharing this struggle, because it's proof that while it might be a long road, when women equip themselves with legal empowerment, they can demand their rights.

It's always inspiring to hear about your experiences and your journey... you are an inspiration to many!

In friendship,
Jade

gunu_k's picture

Battle has just begun

Dear Jade,
I am not finished yet! I have been sent only the Hindi version of the degree when I had paid the fees for the English version also. Apart from this the university authorities have not informed me as to what action they have taken against those responsible for this inordinate delay. So I will wait for a few more days upto the thirty day deadline and then file an appeal asking for the English version of the degree and for action against the clerk and officer who caused the delay. If that too does not work then I will go in final appeal to the State Information Commissioner. Never Say Die is the motto!

Subhadra Khaperde
India

Rita Banerji's picture

Way to Go!

Subhadra,

Our system in India is completely anarchical. I went to the national library last year for a membership form (which is free) and the clerk at the desk said there were no forms available but indicated if i could provide something he will look around to see what he can find. I was so angry -- for a membership form!! I barged into the director's office and said -- you will come me now or I will write about this to every newspaper in town. As soon as I stormed back into the main lobby with the director in tow, the clerk saw us coming from a distance and quickly took out the form and put it on the table.

The problem is that most Indians now assume and just accept this as a system. Some bribe so they can jump the cue. Some bribe because they think why fight. But our system is like this because we have made it this way. We are all responsible. The RTI has been effective -- but you know what most other people in your place would have said, "why wait so long? just lets give the bribe and get the degree." But you did what needs to be done to change the system. This is what everyone needs to do. Bravo sister! Way to go!

Rita Banerji
www.ritabanerji.com

gunu_k's picture

We are all in it together

Dear Rita,
I visited your website and blog and found that you are an even better crusader than I am in the sense that you have been able to garner more support for your battles than I have for mine. Part of the reason why I have slowed down on my activism to catch up on my lost studies! So, I feel encouraged by your successes and together we will surely make this world a better place to live in some day.
regards
Subhadra

Subhadra Khaperde
India

olutosin's picture

I LOVE YOU SPIRIT

Namaste sister...I love your spirit and respect the activism in you....Once I told an Indian that the best solution to the caste system is to kill all the Braihmain, the landlord and everyone favouring the class and caste system in the land...she said you are wrong Olutosin....that is murder....class and caste is an ideology........that dies with determination by the oppressed to be free....landlords and Brahmains have children that will perpetuate the acts left behind but we must also plant the spirit of freedom from oppression in all children so that those whoa re perpetuating these acts will die with their ideologies and new generation will blossom with equality.....today in India, there are upper caste children who are against the caste system, I have seen them and we shall work unrelenting to end the caste and class system by continually demanding our rights and the rights to dignity of human persons.....We are one in this sister.
Lots of love to you....for fighting and keeping on the good fight.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

gunu_k's picture

Thank you

Dear Olutosin,
the great thing about this forum is the immense support and appreciation it provides to its members to carry on the struggle. Thank you very much for your encouraging words.
regards
Subhadra

Subhadra Khaperde
India

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