Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Valentines your India


Valentines Day is less than two days away! On that special day, I’m sure you are planning to show your significant other that you love them, care for them, and respect them.

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I’d like to ask that you take a moment to show a little bit of love…to India, by supporting 5th Pillar.

Since 2007, 5th Pillar has been fighting to end corruption in India.  As you know, corruption is a dangerous, overpowering, and pervasive disease that has a stranglehold on all of India.  Only a major revolution can heal the people from their defeatist mentality and empower them to take a stand to kill corruption…for ever.

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Due to the committed, dedicated, and passionate staff/volunteers of 5th Pillar, we have managed to raise awareness among 3 million Indians about the Zero Rupee Note, trained 10,000 Indians on how to use the RTI act, and educated 500,000 future leaders of India on how to live an honest and corruption free life.

What you may not know is that we do not charge any fees for our servicesnot one paisa.  Millions of Indians cannot afford even the smallest amount and have suffered enough at the hands of corrupt officials so it is our primary objective to ensure that all citizens have access to our services without any barriers, hindrances, or obstacles.

Additionally, we have turned no one away who has had a legitimate cause.  Every individual who has approached us, asked us for assistance, and has a legitimate cause, has been helped.  Many non-profits have to turn people away due to lack of resources.  We at 5th Pillar have not…and don’t plan to.  Ever!

Examples of those whom we’ve helped:

After 1.5 years of humiliation and denial by government offices, a 70 year old illiterate grandmother was able to get an education loan for her granddaughter within 30 minutes of handing over a Zero Rupee Note.  She called our office and in tears said that all her life she was treated like a dog in every government office…but that day…for the first time in her life…she was treated like a queen.

A 5th Pillar member filed an RTI petition to get his ration card and used our Chennai office as the mailing address.  In 20 days we got a call to our office asking for his home address so the ration card could be delivered to the member’s home!  Have you ever heard of a Ration card office hand delivering a ration card to a citizen’s home?

These are only two (2) stories I have shared with you.  We have thousands more success stories.  And we want millions more to be told.

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So, how can you show India your love? 

Because we charge no fees and because we turn no one away, we depend on our supporters to pay for our expenses. 

At this critical time we face many challenges.  Our funding is running low, our ambitions are running high, and our staff/volunteers are struggling on where to focus our time.

On the one hand we have been asked to and want to expand operations into other Indian states, to provide a satellite RTI program for overseas Indians, and to provide online training on the RTI act and other ways to fight corruption.

On the other hand, there is only so much we can do in addition to our daily activities with resources that are drying up fast.

At this critical juncture I ask that each of you take a moment to think about what a corruption free India means to you.  To think about your dreams, your vision, your hopes, and your aspirations for your motherland.  Think about the times you have wondered why your home country cannot be as successful as your adopted country.

We all know India has the potential to be a great nation and an even greater power.  It has been one in the past.  India has a rich history, a long tradition of greatness and it can reach those heights and climb even higher…if we put an end to corruption.

I ask that each of you become a member of 5th Pillar (membership application).  To make it easier, we have, as a Valentines Day special, dropped the requirements from $50 to $20 a year (membership application), with the hopes that this initial investment will be small enough to expand our fundraising base ever larger that can then step forward to help expand our reach wider into other Indian communities in the US and in other states in India (To become a member in India: call +91 (44) 6527-3056 (Indian membership application)).

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We also have a premium membership for $50 (membership application) which will entitle you to discounts at 5th Pillar events and a 5th Pillar T-Shirt which you can wear proudly knowing you are part of an organization that has a 100% success rate, has a clean track record, and is run by dedicated staff/volunteers.

If you would prefer to help in other ways, we welcome any and all initiatives…but our primary need at this critical time is financial.  Please do find a way to show your love to India by making a $20 donation, a $50 donation, or any amount you feel you can share (membership application), (To become a member in India: call +91 (44) 6527-3056 (Indian membership application)).

What happens now will determine the future of 5th Pillar and the future of our anti-corruption programs.  We want to reach out to all of India, to empower every citizen to stand up to and beat corruption, and to finally create the India we all long for.  And we will do it…with your love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

5th Pillar partners with SRM University at AARUUSH 2011


5th Pillar was an 'Anti-Corruption NGO partner' at AARUUSH 2011, SRM University's Techno-Management festival. The inaugural was on Tuesday, 6th May at 3 pm, followed by a students rally within the sprawling SRM University campus, with student volunteers of the institute carrying banners, charts and placards of 5th Pillar along with few other participating NGOs. The festival organizers had provided a stall for 5th Pillar throughout the 4 days of the event.

There was a panel discussion on Wed 7th Sep on the topic "CORRUPTION FREE INDIA REALITY- YOUTH ROLE". It was conducted with 5th Pillar's inputs and summarizing at the end. Around 150 students joined 5th Pillar as student members, and more than 500 students have registered to be added to our volunteers/newsletter database. The festival organizing committee has promised to connect with us in the first week of October to brainstorm and kickoff the 5th Pillar SAC unit at SRM University.

Thanks to all the 5th Pillar team members- Mrs.K.R.Selvamani(State President-TN), Mr.Bhanu Kumar(Executive Director), Mr.Jayaselvan(Admin Manager-HQ), Mr.Natarajan(Ooralvaaimozhi, Tirunelveli Dt Cooridnator) Mr.Mohammed Moideen(Pudukkottai Dt Coordinator), Mr.Jaganathan(Programs & Chapter Coordinator), Ms.Sabitha(Executive Assistant-HQ), Bagyam(Admin Assistant-HQ), Ms.Priya Francis(Student volunteer from Ramanujar College of Engg), Ms.Hema Raju(Patron & supporter)..

And of course, all these would never have been possible but for all the wonderful leaders and volunteers of the AARUUSH team- Pallavi Bulusu, Varun Vijay, Harleen Kaur, Umasankar, Kirthika, Avani Bahuguna, Amrita, Aditya Katiyar, Bhargav, Pragya, Anusha, Neeraj, Urmeelan, Mukunda Priya, Indu Prakash, Mahati, Dhiren, Shrinjoy(forgive me if I left out anyone by chance). These people inspired me and the rest of the 5th Pillar team that went from Headquarters and they have reinforced our confidence in achieving our goal sooner than later. Their selfless attitude, commitment, sincerity, organizational skills and the clarity in execution was highly impressive. And all the above qualities were consistent throughout the festival and not just in spontaneous bouts of excitement that typically happens among many people. Kudos to the entire AARUUSH team and special thanks to all the student volunteers who facilitated the 5th Pillar campaign at the festival.

Vijay Anand

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5th Pillar motivates students & public of Coimbatore to form Human chain and sit on fast to urge the Government to implement the Lokpal Bill

Today, 5th day of 5th Pillar’s indefinite fast in support of Anna Hazare’s fasting began with large number of students joining us and extending their support. Later the students and public formed a human chain supporting our indefinite fast nearby our venue at Presidents Hall, Avinashi Road, Coimbatore. As the time went nearly 5000 students from 36 different colleges got united and the human chain extended to more than 3 kms on either side of the road. 

After the human chain, members of 5th Pillar and people from other organizations motivated the students with their valuable speech for eliminating corruption. Many students voluntarily shared their views about Janlokpal bill and their support for anti-corruption. Zero Rupee Notes were distributed to all participants and they pledged against corruption and signed the zero rupee note banner. 

They also signed the 'Petition to PM' to request for implementing Anna Hazare’s Janlokpal bill. After that about 500 students sat with us for one day fast. Later 3 students Mr.Manikandan, Mr.Lingesh & Mr.Prasath decided to sit for indefinite fast with us. The day ended with inspiring the young minds on a "unified India free of corruption". 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

5th Pillar organizes hunger strike in Coimbatore under the banner "Coimbatore against Corruption"

5th Pillar organized a hunger strike on 19 August 2011 in Coimbatore in front of Hotel Tamil Nadu, under the banner “Coimbatore against Corruption” in which many organizations like ACM, AIMS INDIA, Annai Trust, Assoc. RTI & CSO of TN, Bharatha Vote Bank, Catalyst Trust, Coimbatore Consumer Action, Coimbatore-Peelamedu-Pollachi Consumer Voice, Eeram, FEDCOT, Helping Hearts, IC Centre for Governance, KEXWWS, KURAL, NACM, Sigaram, Velicham, Women’s Empowerment Trust took part. 200 students from many colleges took part in this protest and distributed the flier and voiced their opinion. 

Vanitha Mohan-Managing trustee of Siruthuli inaugurated the event. Dignitaries of Coimbatore like Ms. Anusha Mahesh- CEO of Park Institution, Mr. Shankar Vanavarayar- National President of Young Indians (Youth body of CII), Mr. Mohan Sankar- Patron of 5th Pillar & Chairman of Coimbatore consumer forum, Mr. Krishnan- President of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Pratap Gokuldas-Former Rotary Dst Governor, President of Gujarat Samaj, Mr. Kandasamy- President of CODISSIA took part in this protest and addressed the gathering. Student volunteers went around collecting signatures for the petition to the Prime Minister from the public. 

Hunger strike will continue tomorrow, 20 August at 5th Pillar’s office at 69 Barathi Park Road, 7th Cross, Saibaba Colony, Coimbatore. 

Mr. Vijay Anand- Co-founder & President of 5th Pillar has started on indefinite fast from 11 AM on 19 August and will end the fast when Anna Hazare will end his fast. Mr. Rajkumar Velu- Director of Operations of 5th Pillar, Coimbatore has begun his indefinite fast from 10 AM on 20 August. 5th Pillar members , students and public will participate in relay fasting starting from 20 August. 

Public are welcome to join the fast or take part in the signature campaign by visiting the 5th Pillar office, Coimbatore. The petition to the prime Minister is attached below.