There was a news article in the media last month about a very ordinary citizen in this country, an auto rickshaw driver belonging to Ahmedabad Gujarat called Raju Bharwad. It was a lone piece tucked away in one corner, not wanting to and neither expecting much attention. Raju Bharwad received a cheque from the Gujarat government of Rs. 1.9 crores as a settlement for land acquired, which his family had owned until some 25 years back at Sanand. They had sold the piece of land for Rs. 9 lacs at that time but the sale was not registered in the names of the new owners. The erstwhile owners as per land records thus received the compensation. Our dear Raju Bharwad however thought that the money does not belong to him, if he accepted and encashed the cheque which he very well could have, the present owners and tenants would suffer and therefore he went and returned the mighty amount. As an auto rickshaw driver the amount could only be of his dream, yet he had it in his hands, and the cheque also was in his name, and then he answered the call of his conscience. Sir, you are my hero.
One can imagine the conflicts that were going on in his mind, the mixed feelings, the priorities and the problems in life, the opinion of friends and relatives, and also the moral high grounds of honesty. As an auto rickshaw driver his earnings would be meager and he can never reach or even think of reaching the magic figures which were mentioned on the cheque. He has a family to take care of and costs of livings are not moving south. Each friend and relative would have an independent opinion on what best could be done to retain the money as well as the pitfalls of being honest. Raju Bharwad must have had a tough time in countering all these thoughts and firming on his choice.
The courage and the principles of this man and the way he has been brought up by his parents has to be appreciated. Normally I would associate such strength of character with Indians who lived a few decades ago. The present generation in this country is devoid of such beliefs and definitely considers them traditional and reckless. That Raju Bharwad’s resolve is made of steel came as a pleasant surprise to me, that such great and young men still walk this land bring tears to my eyes. A man who would not bow to temptation, who would disregard his own discomfort in front of the discomfort of others, who is contented with his own life poor as it may be, I salute such an individual and pray that this country should see a swell in their numbers. Thank you Raju Bharwad for being a torch bearer, this nation needs such men like you to show that we can get rid of corruption, dishonesty and selfishness from our midst if we so make up our mind.