Manjunath Shanmugam was a well known and respected alumnus of IIM Lucknow, batch of 2003. He is described by his friends as an amazing singer whose voice would bring a smile to your face and light up your hearts. His was an unwavering voice that spoke out fearlessly against the oil adulteration practices that he observed in his area, as a Marketing Manager of IOCL in Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh. On November 19 2005, the light was blown out and the voice silenced forever when he was brutally murdered, his body riddled by six bullets.
Manjunath’s death shook the world and once again brought the corruption rampant in our society onto the surface. What happened was not something out of place. Several people in PSUs and several other organizations faced menacing threats to prevent them from speaking out against malpractices. But Manjunath, unlike most people, remained unfazed by threats, and did his job honestly.
Manjunath’s death was a wake-up call to the nation, especially the young generation, reminding them of the importance of integrity in each action of theirs. The onus is upon this generation, to set an example of exemplary ethical conduct and to report any unethical practices that they come across so as to take India forward into a corruption-free era.
On 19th November 2009, students and faculty across 25 colleges nationwide came together for candle light prayer meets to commemorate Manjunath’s fourth death anniversary and to take an integrity pledge to remind the nation of what Manjunath died for.
At IIM Ahmedabad, one of the institutions where the candle light prayer meets were held, students of all years and from different programmes came together and observed silence to pay respect to Manjunath and to pledge to fight corruption in every form.
As Prof. Abraham Koshy, PGP Chairperson of IIMA said, “If we want to move from being one of the most corrupt countries to a corruption-free one, the onus for the move will lie on the youth of the nation. They need to raise their voices against corrupt practices and strive hard to make a change. The youth need to sow the seeds of integrity right in the beginning to ensure a corruption-free development.”
Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Into that heaven of freedom, my
Father, let my country awake.
That is the dream that Rabindranath Tagore and our founding fathers had for India. And that is the dream that Manjunath died for. Let us all try and treasure his memory in our hearts today, inspiring us to dream the awakening of India into an era without corruption.