Sunday, April 29, 2012

Longest 'One man' agitation against corruption and land mafia


The Limca Book of records says about him- 'Longest dharna'


Master Vijay Singh
The one-man agitation of Master Vijay Singh, a school teacher from Chausana village in Muzaffarnagar, UP entered its 16th year on Feb 26, 2011. He has been sitting on satyagraha in front of the office of District Magistrate, Muzaffarnagar since 1996. It all started once after he unearthed a fraud-illegal possession of about 400 acres of farmland and other public properties worth Rs 90 crore - by land mafias in his village. He is determined to continue the fight for justice till the entire grabbed land is restored to the government or distributed among the landless poor.”


Similarly, India Book of Records says- “His agitation is the longest ‘one man agitation’ against corruption and powerful public land mafia in his own village. It is based on the non-violence concept of Gandhi Ji. As a result of this, about 300 bighas of land has been freed from illegal processors.” Master Vijay Singh is in Lucknow these days where he has come to meet the highest authorities to get government support in his life-long endeavour. I had been reading about his being in Lucknow in the different newspapers. Hence, it came as a genuinely pleasant surprise when he called me yesterday evening saying that he wanted to meet us at our house at Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. It was going to be a privilege and an elevating experience and that is what it actually turned out to be when he came today morning. He came walking from his place of stay in the same way he has walked over 610 Kilometers of distance from Muzaffarnagar to Lucknow. 


An extremely simple, down to Earth, smiling and endearing personality, he is prone to smiling and laughing but this outwardly charm shall not let anyone assume him as being a simpleton or a fool.He is a man of steel because he knows what he wants in life. He knows that he has to fight against all those people who have illegally grabbed the government land, in the shape of Village society land, Nazul land, other government land and has to get this land freed. For this purpose, he can go to any extent. This is exactly what he has done. For the last 16 years, he has been living on a small part of Veranda in front of the District Magistrate Office in Muzaffarnagar, which is his living place, his house or whatever you might call it. His food gets cooked there and he stays there as long as something very urgent does not need him to leave this place. 

While this simple looking person might look very innocuous and harmless, he is a most dangerous person for all the land grabbers of the area. He has faced threats of all kinds including the threat of being murdered, in case he did not mend his ways and did not give up his endeavour. But this stubborn person knows no bounds and he did not leave his attempts mid way, come what may. He told me and wife Nutan that his only principle of life is that one shall never give up and one shall never make haste. He told that when he started this journey some 17 years ago, he was only a school teacher who hardly knew anything about the world. When he initially started his protest/ agitation, no one took him seriously and he was ignored by one and all. When he still prolonged the Dharana, he was given all kinds of serious threats. It was much later in his life, many years later, that he was given some serious thoughts. Till now he has got 136 cases registered in various Revenue and Civil Courts for getting the government land freed from illegal occupation. 


One important thing that Vijay Singh said again and again is that he has always found the Media extremely cooperative in his efforts all through his life. He says that whatever he is today and whatever success he has got so far, a sufficiently large credit for this goes to the Media. He is also of the opinion that Media always supports a right cause and the transformation in Indian society owes a lot to the Indian Media. Thus, here we find a person who is not ungrateful to Media while still getting its support or using it for their own purpose.When we called our children Tanaya and Aditya to get some learning from Master Vijay Singh, he told them that he is not very good in English and the only English phrase he knows is- “When the muscles say No, I say yes.” 

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