All of us complain about the government and corruption, but do we ever really do anything about it? As patriotic as most of us might feel, few of us ever go out of our way to help those in need. In this case, having the heart to fight bureaucracy and willing to stand up against class distinction in favour of those we often neglect. But the light is far from dying and a gentleman from a small village in northern Uttar Pradesh is testament to it.
We’re talking about K M Yadav, the badass advocate of the Indian citizens’ right to information.
The RTI law has been considered as one of the best advancements toward fighting corruption in the country, since 2005.
Being lauded by officials and citizens alike, the RTI law has helped expose a huge amount of wrongdoings and corruption in government departments. A law basically provided the general citizenship with a real power to question the system and criticize it. If there is ever a way to flip the bird to the establishment, this is it.
And, while you’re in Chaubepur village in northern UP, you might just come across one of the country’s most badass RTI advocates at a local tea stall.
But, it’s far from just another tea stall. The little shack doubles as Mr Yadav’s office where he holds meetings perpetuating the RTI law as a baton for his fellow villagers, helping them claim access to critical government information that they can then use to reap their rights and benefits. He is the voice for the voiceless, and he’s as loud as it gets.
Having been a part of RTI awareness since 2010, Mr Yadav soon realized that Indian villages were in dire need of the law.
Quitting his job and secure life in Kanpur for a small room in the UP village, Mr Yadav soon began working from the chai shop urging people from within and neighbouring villages to take his aid in exploiting their right to receive information from the government. At present, Mr Yadav stands at having filed over 800 RTI applications ranging across subjects of land disputes, loan schemes, pensions, road construction, and more. These aren’t just statistics, they are proof of a very tangible improvement in the villagers’ lives.
Local residents of Chaubepur and its neighbouring areas refer to Mr Yadav as “the information soldier” and “a modern day Mahatma Gandhi.”
But, the vicious brave heart that he is, he replies by saying, “I am just an activist trying to help these villagers get crucial information about their problems,” as quoted by BBC in an interview. Mr Yadav has been an aggressive advocate of the law from the beginning, and has resolved crucial issues like that of over-priced grains being sold by government run shops and much more. And, you would usually spot him buried under hundreds of files, working tireless and thankless hours.
Not only does he aid fellow villagers, Mr Yadav has filed over 200 RTI applications of his own concerning government funds for schools, money allocated for road construction and drinking water supply. “In most cases I was able to put pressure on government officials to get public work done because I had the right information.” BBC quoted him saying. And, he’s not planning on resting any time soon. Modi srakaar better watch their backs.