Published: 12th October 2017
Belling the tiger: Anna Hazare launched Srijan Pal Singh's latest book The Black Tiger, which attempts to provide solutions for corruption
Srijan Pal Singh is out with his next book The Black Tiger in which he offers suggestions to tackle corruption from all angles
After regaling us with heartwarming tales about the former President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam last year, Srijan Pal Singh is back with another book, but this time he wants to bell the cat named corruption. Titled The Black Tiger and published by Fingerprint Publishing, this book attempts to not just talk about the various kinds of corruption that exist in India, it also gives us best case practices adopted by other countries to combat this menace and what we can do as students, teachers, parents or whatever role that we play in the society. "We need to understand corruption in totality and we want to reach out and tell people that it is solvable," he says.
On stage: Srijan Pal Singh delivering a talk
Two years in the making
It's been two years since the 33-year-old author, who was a close aide to India’s Missile Man, has been working on this book. When we met him last at the TNIE's 40 under 40 Teachers Awards in June, he had already finished writing the book and was in search of a publisher. He launched the book with none other than Anna Hazare on October 3 and when we catch up with him, he gives us a blow-by-blow account about the various angles of corruption tackled in the book.
People think corruption will go away if we increase transparency, but it won't help unless we increase accountability too
Srijan Pal Singh, author
The good, the bad and the fake
While the first chapter opens with demonetisation and its impact, the second chapter talks about politics and "how one can ensure that good leaders enter the system", he tells us. He despairs how in other countries you can become a politician at the age of 40 without any family background, but in India, to achieve the same would be difficult. Moving onto bureaucracy and administration, the book talks about how all the departments should be allowed to function with transparency and accountability. "We need a major judicial reform to root out corruption," says Singh, while talking about how law is linked to corruption and how "no one fears it, at least the powerful ones do not," he says.
Fake news is becoming an industry in itself, he opines, quoting the example of a small group of teens from Macedonia, USA, who made a fortune spinning fake stories last year during the US Presidential Elections. Though fake news doesn't have India in its clutches yet, it could get there, which is why this topic forms an important chapter of the book. And so does black money, corporate corruption and medical corruption. "All data is backed by hard evidence," says Singh.
First glance: Srijan Pal Singh's latest The Black Tiger
His to-do list
After understanding corruption from all angles, the book gives pointers as to what we can do, in our own capacity, to root out the "cancerous corruption" from our country. "You do not need to picket or do a lot to fight corruption, you can start a movement within your own home or your own office," Singh advocates.
Apart from the extensive research involved in writing about best case practices across countries, the Lucknow-born author also spoke volumes about ordinary citizens as they are the ones who are crushed under the weight of corruption. "A small businessman or an anganwadi will tell you how corruption affects them much more than others. I wanted to understand what is happening at the grassroot level and adopt a bottoms-top approach," Singh says, adding enthusiastically, "If we reach the corruption level of Singapore, which is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, our GDP could touch 14%!"
Esteemed guest: Renowned social activist, Dr Vishwambhar Choudhari was also present at the launch of the book which was held at the Constitution Club of India in Delhi
In the pipeline
Next, Singh is working on a sequel to Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Better Future, which he had co-authored with Dr Kalam in 2014. We can expect this in the beginning of next year, he shares positively.
As CEO of the Kalam Centre, Singh tells us that it's a place constantly buzzing with activities. Currently, their expert team is designing a syllabus for low and middle-income schools, which will enable them to dream big like Dr Kalam and Swami Vivekananda. They also plan to start the Ignited Mind Academy across 100 colleges in the country and ask student volunteers to teach students, in their own communities, what classes can't teach them with the help of a syllabus that will be designed by the Kalam Centre.
D-Day: At the launch of the book
Singh requested Anna Hazare who "has been the face of fighting against corruption in India" to launch the book. Singh remembers those days in Delhi when Anna Hazare was the name on everyone's tongue. "He was the voice of the voiceless, the ones who suffered silently under the weight of corruption," Singh recalls. After Dr Kalam, it is Anna Hazare who is the face of anti-corruption in India, feels Singh