You already know of the four pillars of democracy: Legislature, Judiciary, Executive and Press. But did you know that there is a Fifth Pillar that’s been around since 2006? And guess what, its primary action tool is: A Zero Rupee note!
In 2006, Vijay Anand founded an NGO called Fifth Pillar whose main aim was to fight the corruption that is affecting the citizens of India. In 2007 when Vijay Anand returned to his home in Tamil Nadu, he came backed up with a rather brilliant plan to fight corruption.
The Zero Rupee Note was a visual aid to mobilize people to fight corruption by “paying” these notes to corrupt officials when and where bribes are demanded. The Zero Rupee Note resembles the Fifty Rupees Note in design with the message “Eliminate Corruption at all levels” and “I promise to neither accept nor give a bribe” printed on the front. On the back of the note are the goals, contact details and website address of 5th Pillar.
5th Pillar with the help of volunteers started distributing the notes in market places, railway stations, bus stops, shopping malls, etc. to raise awareness about the issue. As of now, more than 3 million notes have been distributed throughout the country. The notes remain in current use and thousands of notes are distributed each month.
In 2008, the concept became global with the launch of ZeroCurrency.org. This website provides anti-corruption notes in the currencies of 196 UN-recognized countries. About the campaign, Vijay says: “Before I implemented the Zero Rupee note in India I tested it by using it myself and I looked carefully at how corrupt officials responded. They were usually ashamed and worried and immediately changed their attitude. In Tamil Nadu officials now know who 5th Pillar are and they know we will follow through if we learn they have taken or asked for a bribe or if they make any threats to someone who won’t pay a bribe.”
As of now, the 5th Pillar wants to keep expanding and to get Zero Rupee Note operating all over India. The Zero Rupee Note is the perfect non-violent response to corruption, the perfect means to get the corrupt officials to introspect. Indeed, it is the true representation of the Gandhi on the note.
So what are you waiting for? Get your print of the Zero Rupee Note from the official 5th Pillar website here.