Basanti Roy is a Trustee of Women's
Movement for Peace and Prosperity
At a time when we are bombarded with images
of note-flashing politicians, it is heart-warming to know that
there are still people who refuse to submit to corruption. There
are many unknown persons who di their duty come what may.
The following article titled 'Wah Basanti'
appeared in the Bombay Mirror dated: Sept 18th 2008
of SSC Board, Basanti Roy, finds out the hard way, the desperate
lengths parents will go to for a few marks
We know parents will go far to protect the interest of their
children, but Basanti Roy, divisional secretary of the
Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary education,
will tell you exactly what lengths some of them will go to.
Roy had a narrow escape after a parent who is also a principal
and against whom Roy had initiated an inquiry for forging her
son's answer books, staged an elaborate charade to trap her in a
This is how the story goes: In March 2008, a class X examiner
brought it to
notice that the main answer sheet and the supplementary answer
sheet of the maths paper of a student, Sanket Patil did not
match. In addition to the discrepancy in writing,what was
startling was that in the questions answered in the main sheet
the student had scored only two marks while in the supplementary
sheet he had managed to procure 25 marks.
"When we checked, the handwriting in both the books did not
match. We then called for specimen signatures of all the
supervisors on duty that day and shockingly the signature on the
supplementary book did not match any of the signatures," said
Subsequently the Board conducted an inquiry and found that
the student in question was the son of the principal, Anjali
Patil, of Paranjape School at Andheri from where he was
appearing for his exam. Anjali Patil was also the centre head
for the board exam. "We called the student to the board for
questioning him, and he himself denied having written any
supplementary book. He maintained that he had only given the
main answer book. We suspected some foul play at the principal's
end," said a senior official from the board not wishing to be
quoted. A further inquiry was then ordered against the principal
by the school management.
That's when Patil and her husband who is an RTO official
to "consider their case."
duly informed the school management about this. Not finding any
leeway there Patil and her husband then approached
neighbour, a certain dentist called Suresh Devappa. "One day he
requested me to come to the clinic and I was shocked to see the
couple sitting there. I was furious and asked my neighbour to
not get involved in official matters. At this point Patil's
husband offered me Rs one and half lakh. I warned my neighbour
that I would call the police, and forced the couple to leave,"
Some days later Patil's husband called up Roy and asked her
why the inquiry had not been stopped as she had taken the bribe.
"That's when I learnt that the dentist had taken the money on my
behalf and assured the Patils that their work would be done,"
says a seething Roy. "I reprimanded the dentist and asked him to
return the money."
On Monday, the dentist approached Roy on the pretext of solving
a leakage problem from her residence to his clinic below. "After
a couple of minutes he again brought up the topic of the Patils
and this time I was livid. My brother joined in and he (the
dentist) was forced to walk out," admitted
Just a few minutes after that a lady dressed in civvies
on the pretext of official work but was told that she did not
entertain official work at home. It turned out that she was from
the anti-corruption bureau who had been called in by the Patils
in the hope that Roy would accept money. But after
Roy raised a hue and cry the dentist was
found with the marked notes and has been arrested. "The couple
had laid a trap for me
and had alerted the ACB. It was sheer coincidence that he did not
throw any money at my house. The couple stated to the bureau
that it was Devappa who promised that he would get their work
done through me. This is a shame that even government officials
stoop to such level. I did not lodge a complaint purely
considering that he was my neighbour, But it was a 33 year
career record that was at stake," said
The board as procedure found the student guilty and has
debarred him from next 6 board exam including the one that he
appeared for this year.
K Subramanayan, additional director general, anti- corruption
bureau told Mumbai Mirror, "We have arrested the dentist and he
is in judicial custody now. There was no evidence found against
The world was expected to end by the year 2000.
I think it did. The world the way we knew it.
Because I feel that a new world was born soon thereafter.
A Thinking World!
I have always believed that Human Consciousness grows when it goes through
crisis and pain.
And the world has had a big chunk of that.
Terrorism struck Bombay in 1993 killing people and damaging buildings and
confidence of its inhabitants.
The vicious earthquake hit Gujarat on the 26th of January 2001.
The world gaped in horror as it witnessed a horrendous terrorist operation on
Sept 11, 2001, in America, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the
And then Godhra ‘happened’ in Gujarat, and its aftermath.
And then Ram and Maya were reborn.
Ram Maheshwary is the General Manager of the Times of India. He came up with
the idea that one of the ways to unite the world was to spread the knowledge
that was common to all religions. He calls it ‘Singularity of All Faiths’.
Maya Shahani, a multifaceted charming, lady, is instrumental in bringing
together interesting thinking people from different religions and different
walks of life to the group.
I was introduced to Ram and the group, through Maya.
Ram and Maya make a great team! Maybe the names are not a coincidence.
Now it is to be seen whether with the people that came together under their
aegis, a new world is born.
I am going to share with you a few ideas, conversations, suggestions that
peeped through the crevices of the thinking minds.
Maybe these observations will inspire, maybe they will be the parents of
something new that will be born through them…Here goes:
At one of our first meetings we met Rashmi Mayur the director of the
International Institute for Sustainable Future connected to the UN.
He believes in an education that teaches the children to smile forever. He
believes that if ‘we all continue on the present path of brutality and
exploitation, humanity may be extinct before long. Already, the human savagery
has killed more than 100 million people during the last century…’
At our last meeting at ‘The Times’ some interesting observations were
It is woman’s wisdom that could bring peace into the world.
One of the worst acts according to the Koran is a divorce.
That one has to allow a certain period to elapse before ‘Talaq’
(divorce) is pronounced 3 times, to allow the differences to be dissolved.
Jesus will appear on top of the ‘Kaaba’ on the day of ‘Kayaamat’
(End of the world)
Islam is the 1st Religion to grant property rights to women
That the Koran does not need to be reformed, it needs to be understood.
The Vedanta Branch in Hinduism believes in ‘Advait’ One God.
Hindus believe that because God is Omnipresent, God is present in the
That Hindus and Muslims do coexist and respect each other’s beliefs in
Kashmir. I was told that by and large, Hindu Kashmiris do not eat pork and
Muslim Kashmiris, do not eat beef!
We all cheered as our Australian friend Geoffrey said that he likes the Hindu
concept of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’(The world is God’s family).
Then Maya shared with us information about innovative approaches adopted, to
promote coexistence between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel. It believes that
while accepting that disagreements will remain, and total love and friendship
may not be possible, one can still make an attempt to co-exist.
Could we do the same in India?
How does a regular person help?
By opening homes and listening hearts.
Let us open our homes to neighbors of different creeds, and listen to
understand, not to argue!
Ram suggested that each of us
present, belonging to different religions write out the ‘Gems of our
I feel that the world requires more than quotes.
I believe that after the horrifying incidents, the world has to look at
‘Who stands most to benefit by the incident’ and stop being exploited by
We could argue at nauseam as to
who started all the trouble. I believe that one has to stop judging the past and
start afresh. In the world of Electronic Mail that we live in, we have to use
the ‘pen’ rather than the ‘sword’.
If we are conscientious, and do not give in to incendiary lashes, we have the
‘Times of India’ with us!
If all of us commit ourselves to save the only home we have, this beautiful
planet. Can we fail? I don’t think so!