A Non-Violent Weapon of Non-Cooperation Against Corruption

A number of factors contribute to the success of the Zero Rupee Note in fighting corruption in India. First, bribery is a crime in India punishable with suspension and jail time. Corrupt officials seldom encounter resistance by ordinary people that they become scared when people have the courage to show their Zero Rupee Notes, effectively making a strong statement condemning bribery. In addition, officials want to keep their jobs and are fearful about setting off disciplinary proceedings, not to mention risking going to jail. I believe that the success of the notes lies in the willingness of the people to use them. People are willing to stand up against the practice that has become so commonplace because they are no longer afraid: first, they have nothing to lose, and secondly, they know that this initiative is being backed up by an organization–that is, they are not alone in this fight.

Distribution: Zero Rupee Notes are distributed by 5th Pillar volunteers in railway stations, bus stations, and market places to raise awareness about bribery and reminding the public of their rights and alternative solutions that are otherwise available. Information desks were set up at the entrance of marriage halls during wedding ceremonies, birthday parties and social gatherings and Zero Rupee notes are distributed and information booklets and pamphlets were distributed.

SIGNING A CONTRACT WITH MY COUNTRY: Students and the public were urged to sign on huge Zero Rupee Note banners of 30 ft in length and 15 ft in height which were carried to more than 1200 schools, colleges and public meetings in the last 5 years, thereby obtaining more than 5 lakh signatures from citizens as a mark of endorsement to their “Zero corruption” pledge that “I will neither receive nor give bribe” which is printed on the bottom of the front side of the Zero Rupee Note.