The Journeys of Eby J. Jose
The journeys of Eby J. Jose are always through the paths less traversed by politician and social workers. Invoking public conscience against social issues ignored by rulers and officials has been his passion for the last 17 years.
"None of us are bothered about our responsibilities to the Indian Constitution though we are fond of making incessant lectures on the merits and demerits of the Constitution,’’ says Eby.
He has every right to say that, attests several legal battles initiated by Eby to protect the basic principles of Indian Constitution. Eby uses all available sources including media to create awareness among people on the responsibilities of a citizen to our Constitution. He organized many such movements, both successful and unsuccessful.
A student politician-turned-journalist and social worker, Eby has to his credit the titles of several magazines like Pala Times, Kera Sabdam, Information Today, India Monitor and Dil Se. At present, he is editing the monthly Gulf Life. To strengthen his fights, Eby had joined some organizations and organized some movements. National Unity Front, Rajiv Gandhi Peace Foundation, Catholic Youth Council of India, Cheriyan J Kappan Foundation, Anti Narcotic Movement of India and Small Scale Farmers’ Federation served as suitable platforms for Eby to raise various demands. When the film stars in Kerala formed an organization called `AMMA’, Eby retaliated with an organization of viewers called `AMMAYI’. He is now serving as the chairman of Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation.
His determination to fight against vices was seen during the campaigns against drugs, pan masala, single digit lottery and for creating AIDS awareness. Kottayam and Delhi were the locations for these campaigns.
The campaign initiated by Eby against awarding Padma honours to film stars and sports stars had invited the attention of national media. "Padma awards have been instituted to honour the great sons of India who give rich contribution to the development of the country. We can’t include film and cinema stars in these category. They do their work by accepting handsome remuneration. Many of them do not even pay tax and don’t even know the value of a Padma award,’’ says Eby. He had already written to the President of India and Prime Minister requesting not to give Padma award to film and sports personalities in future.
Eby’s protest against a recent liquor advertisement by Padmasri award winner and actor Mohanlal was hot news for national and international media. ``Prohibition is part of the decisive principles listed in Indian Constitution. But, this Padma awardee had acted in a liquour commercial by accepting remuneration worth Crores. We have requested him to refrain from the ad for the sake of morality but of no avail,’’ explains Eby. According to the sections of Prohibition Act – 1950, promoting liquor is a crime. My argument was based on that but he didn’t pay heed to it. Even the reports in international media like BBC and CNN could not prevent him from doing that ad, says Eby. Eby wrote to Mohanlal’s parents and wife requesting them to correct their beloved. ``The government has removed the ads from KSRTC buses and directed to remove the hoardings on road. Now the company displays the same ad for a chips brand. Can you buy the chips manufactured by that company from anywhere in the world?’’ asks Eby, who vows that he will continue campaigning against the Superstar’s anti social policies. He says even Mohanlal’s new movie Hallo promotes the habit of drinking.
On the contrary, Eby had a sweet experience from the distributors of Rajanikanth’s latest movie Sivaji in Kerala. The initial posters of Sivaji carried the ad of a liquour brand. Eby wrote to Johny Sagarika, who had the distribution rights in Kerala and the agency withdrew those posters and issued fresh ones.
You may remember the shocking visuals aired by Surya TV some years back that portrayed a man being drowned by another in Padmatheertha pond in Thiruvananthapuram. The visual also showed police men and fire force personnel with disgust. Moved by the visuals, Eby wrote a letter to the High Court. Justice Sankara Subban and Justice Lakshmykkutty Amma registered a petition based on that letter. They ordered to give a compensation of Re. One lakh to the victim’s family. It was a rare case, in which one who has no relation to the victim had approached the Court and secured a favourable order.
Eby is also leading a battle against 23 Union Ministers including the Prime Minister and Home Minister. According to him, these ministers reached the cabinet through the back door, that is through Rajya Sabha, without facing the public directly. He sees this as a bid on the life of democracy. "When a candidate who lost the polls becomes the Minister, the one who had defeated him waits in the queue to meet him. This is irony,’’ explains Eby.
If you ask him which is his masterpiece campaign, Eby will point his finger to a well kept and clean national flag in his room. For the past 12 years, this young man has been engaged in relentless fight to ensure that the tri colour always flown high. ``It all started accidentally. Once I got an opportunity to travel with then Minister A.C. Shanmukhadas. In the evening, the driver took the national flag from the bonet of the car neatly wrapped it and kept inside. I asked what was wrong in keeping it there,’’ says Eby about the birth his most dedicated campaign. Das told him that the national flag could only be used during day time, after the sun rise and before the sun set. That was a new piece of knowledge to him. He began to collect all the details about our national flag like its history and the rules to be followed while using the flag.
His sharp eyes soon began to detect the misuse of national flag in and around. The flags put on tables at the meeting of some social organizations, plastic ones, those with heads down, the flags in which slogans are printed. He collected a number of evidences and approached the High Court with a petitition, admitted by then Chief Justice A.R. Lakshman. Four days ahead of our 53rd Independence Day, Justice Radhakrishnan reminded all cititzens about the greatness of the tri color and the code of conduct to be observed while handling the flag.
From ace motorist Narain Karthikeyan to the architects of Tamil movie `Annian’. many careless citizens had to taste Eby’s legal notices that are intended to educate them about the national flag. Recently, Babu M Pallissery MLA withdrew the national flag from his web page after an alert from Eby. The latest errant is the optical firm Essilor India Private Limited. After reading a letter sent by Eby, the company withdrew its advertisement featuring tri colour printed on the eye lids of a model.
He has recently launched a project `Mission Flag’ to create awareness among school children about the National flag. He targets to reach 10000 schools in an year with this message. A website maintained by Eby, www. Freewebs.com/proudtobeanindian will give you useful tips on the flag code.
His love and respect to former President K.R. Narayanan, who took birth in his neighbouring village, has resulted in a beautiful book `KR Narayanan Indiayude Sooryathejus’ published by Jeevan Books, Bharananganam. Eby is also the secretary of K. R. Narayanan Foundation.
Eby J Jose is the son of Pala Moolayilthottathil Baby Joseph and Ammini. His wife Sindhu is an employee at the LSG department. Children: Liya Maria, Diya Ann and Riya Elizabeth. Brothers:Aby and Biby.
Flag code of India
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