Kudos to Ms. Chitra Ahanthem for her article “A toast to honesty!”( 6 February), through which we got introduced to the honest parking attendant Konjengbam Soniya and her equally upright colleague Tamphamani. Though hailing from impoverished family, Soniya displayed utmost integrity while performing her duties which gain proves that dishonesty is not all related with poverty.
Perhaps it would not be out of context if I recall another jewel named Ajit Guha, a homeguard of Kolkata Police. He used to travel daily from a distant rural place named Gobardanga to perform his duties on Kolkata streets to earn a “princely” sum of Rs.107 per day. In the days of absence, his earning was nil.
His wife was suffuring from cancer, one of his two children was fighting heart-ailments and was in an urgent need of heart-surgery. In October 2003, when he was on duty at a busy junction controlling traffic, he discovered a bag on the spot containing “only” Rs.1 Lakh 26 Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty. Guha could have easily taken away the money. But despite acute poverty and medical urgencies in his family, the economically poor Guha deposited the amount to the appropriate authorities which ultimarely returned the money to its rightful owner. Right from the Government to social organisations, everyone patted his back and promised the moon; but did not deliver it. Still Guha is not bitter.
Rather he boldly states that if again a money-filled bag comes in his way, he will religiously deposit it in appropriate forum.
In this age of ever-increasing desire among the privileged class which feel absolutely no qualms in resorting to dishonest methods to acquire comforts and luxuries; individuals like Konjengbam Soniya and Ajit Guha are nothing but oasis of honesty, integrity and human values. Not the overhyped filmstars, sportsmen and industrialists, but Soniyas and Guhas are the real heroes of the nation and the society will survive only if we emulate them. I offer my humble tribute to our “conscience-bearers”.
D-2/403 Peerless Nagar, Kolkata-114.