bid:
an offer to do a job for a certain amount of money

bribe:
money offered to government worker as ‘pay’ for letting you do something against the law;

capital:
city where the government is

corrupt:
being willing to take money (bribes) to do bad things (especially at work)

engineer:
person who has graduated from university in technical subject (such as building)

graduate:
successfully finish studies at school, college or university

prime minister:
the leader of the the government

rickshaw:
small two-wheeled vehicle pulled by running man


Satyendra Dubey (easy version)

Satyendra Dubey was born and grew up in a village in central India. His family was poor. He was a good student, and when he finished high school, he was sent away to college. When he finished college, he went to IIT, the Indian Institute of Technology. He was the first person from his village to go to this famous school.

After he graduated from IIT, Satyendra took a job as an engineer with the Indian government. He could have made more money working for a big company, but he wanted to do something to help his country.

For a few years, Satyendra worked in Delhi, the capital of India. Then, in 2002, he was sent to a city called Koderma. In Koderma, he worked on a new road being built by the Indian government.

The work on the road was being done by small companies that were paid by the government. Satyendra’s job was to watch these companies to make sure they were building the road properly. Several times every month, he rode his bicycle under the hot sun and visited the places where the work was being done.

He looked at the new road very carefully. Sometimes he found the companies were trying to cheat the government by doing poor work. Once, when he found that this had happened, he made a company build six kilometers all over again.

In August 2003, Satyendra was sent to work in the city of Gaya which was on another part of the same road. In Gaya, he came to believe that the whole business of road building was corrupt. He had seen corruption before coming to Gaya. In Delhi, he had been offered a bribe. And in Koderma he had seen how many businessmen were cheating the government. But in Gaya, things were even worse, and Satyendra began to feel he would never be able to help his country in his work.

One problem was that although the government was giving the work only to companies that had modern machines and well-educated workers, these companies were not really doing the work. Instead, they were having it done more cheaply by other companies that didn’t have modern machines or well-educated workers. And they were putting the extra money in their own pockets.

What worried Satyendra most was that the government itself seemed to be corrupt: When the businessmen wanted to get a job from the government, they had to make a ‘bid’ saying how much the work would cost if they did it, and Satyendra found out that someone in the government was giving secret information to some of the businessmen so their bids would win.

Satyendra felt that, to help his country, he had to tell the prime minister what was happening, so he wrote a letter to him. He knew that he was doing something dangerous. He knew that the letter might be seen by corrupt people in the government and he knew that many Indian engineers had been murdered in the past.

Soon after writing the letter, some people in Gaya found out what Satyendra had done even though he had tried to keep it secret. These people told him that he would be hurt if he didn’t stop talking about corruption. He also got into trouble with the government. He got a letter from them telling him that he should not have written straight to the prime minister. He wrote back saying that he was only trying to make sure that the road was properly built.

Soon after writing the second letter, Satyendra went to another city for a wedding. He left early in the morning and came back by train in the middle of the night. From the station he phoned his driver and asked him to come to pick him up. But his driver told him he couldn’t do this because the car wouldn’t start.

No one knows what happened next. Satyendra never got home. When his driver went to look for him, he found him dead by the side of the road. He had been shot.

Later a rickshaw driver said that he had picked Satyendra up and, as they had driven along the road, they had been stopped by robbers who had killed Satyendra. But after saying this the rickshaw driver went away and could not be found again. In the end, the police said that Satyendra had just had bad luck and been killed by ordinary robbers, but all Satyendra’s friends believed he had been murdered by the corrupt businessmen he was fighting against.

- information from: http://www.skdubeyfoundation.org; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyendra_Dubey;India Abroad, 03.12.19; The Indian Express, 03.12.06 (Subrata Nagchoudhury and Varghese K. George); The Telegraph (Calcutta) 04.10.26, 04.01.05