Thursday, April 7, 2011

India comes together!

What a week this has been! Soon after India came together as one on the 2nd of April when MS Dhoni & his Men in Blue lifted the World Cup, within a span of 48 hours we have the nation standing as one behind Anna Hazare. The World Cup victory brought out the patriot in every Indian across the world regardless of caste, creed, language, state, religion, financial standing or political affiliations. Electronic media kept everyone updated and connected as events unraveled. Maybe a hangover of that euphoric feeling of victory coupled with bubbling patriotism amongst 1.2 billion Indians, have driven the same lot to now achieve another victory – this time against corruption.

A series of scams involving politicians and bureaucrats in high offices had shaken the conscience of the nation over the past few months. Despite public outcry, it was felt that no worthwhile investigations were being conducted and that the offenders would get away scot free. This is because of several systemic deficiencies in our anti-corruption systems and because for several decades now, politicians have controlled the system itself to their advantage, as such the enforcement and legislative checks have lacked teeth. A Lok Pal Bill has been languishing in Parliament for 43 years and even if it is finally passed, will again lack the teeth to effectively discourage or punish offenders in high positions. With an estimated USD 1.5 trillion of unaccounted deposits in Swiss Banks, Indian politicians and bureaucrats are possibly the richest of the most corrupt in the world. Recent scams include the Common Wealth Games, 2G Telecom scam, UP rice scam, Cash for Votes, Adarsh Housing, LIC Housing, Karnataka Land scam etc. which have shocked Indian citizens by the sheer greed of our public servants.

Enter Anna Hazare, a 73-year-old Gandhian, who decided it was time to end corruption in India by pushing through a bill that would give an independent body the power to punish corruption even in the highest public offices of the nation. This “Modern Mahatma” is taking the utmost act of courage and determination selflessly by commencing his fast-until-death unless he gets the powers that be to accept his version of the Jan Lok Pal Bill as an Act in Parliament. His fast has entered its third day today and suddenly citizens across the country (and non-residents settled abroad) who had possibly never heard of Anna are standing up in his support in millions.

Anna Hazare’s campaign is not aligned to or against any political party, as he feels that every political party has misused its position whenever they have been in power. Therefore, it is extremely important that the citizens of this country unite to demand systemic changes. Towards that goal he, along with noted social activists & leaders including Sri Sri Ravishankar, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Reverend Vincent M Concessao, Swami Agnivesh, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi, Mallika Sarabhai, Maulana Kalbe Rushaid Rizvi, Justice D S Tevatia, former joint director of CBI B.R. Lall-and several others’ have designed a citizen-developed bill called the Jan Lokpal Bill which has strong measures to bring all corrupt people to book, whether they are corporates, bureaucrats or politicians.The Bill aims to create an independent body, selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities, with enough power to investigate and punish all politicians. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence its investigations. Since 1968, when this bill was first introduced, greedy politicians have thwarted its passing. Now the government is pushing for a watered down Lokpal with no hope of ending fraud, vice and dishonesty -- it gives politicians overriding power to decide who will be investigated, and is a complete sellout.

Pressure is mounting on India’s cleanest Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to endorse the "Jan" Lokpal. Members of the opposition party have begun to make the right noises in support of Anna Hazare. And even the National Advisory Council, a powerful advisory body to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi have come out in favour of the bill. But corrupt politicians and vested interests are doing all they can to kill it, for obvious reasons. The rate at which people are signing petitions in support of “India Against Corruption” , Tweeting and finding support for the Cause on Facebook apart from the several thousands who are swarming Jantar Mantar at New Delhi where Anna is fasting, or those doing candle walks in several cities across India or the Dandi March from San Diego to San Fancisco, goes to show that the cause has become a movement in less than sixty hours. If the demands are not accepted soon, it may just become a Revolution!

So, is India going to go the way of Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain etc.? Not really. Anna Hazare is protesting the Gandhian way, peaceful and non-violent. The Government cannot afford to let his fast continue and as such, I believe that an amicable solution will be reached by discussion by the weekend. With a clean PM like Dr. Singh in place and a selfless social activist like Anna Hazare on the other side, the Jan Lokpal Bill will soon become a reality, paving the way for a new India where development, inclusive growth and the well being of its people become the driving engines, replacing the misguided self-interest of corrupt public servants.

Here’s to a new found hope and the well being of Anna Hazare… ,


  1. Thanks Sanjiv, your blog was helpful in making me understand what Jan Lokpal Bill is all about and what Anna Hazare's fasting is about. Yes, it is frustrating that there are so many corrupt individuals and politicians amongst us existing from decades. Anna Hazare is a blessing in disguise for India and spokesman for all of us. I hope and pray that he succeeds with passing of the Bill.

    Questions we need to ask ourselves :

    - Should we keep quiet and adopt the existing mentality of 'chalta hai' when we hear stories of corruption or do we voice our concern ?

    - Should we wait for God always to bring corrupt people to justice or should we as common men/women do our part to help ?

    - Politicians are after all public servants, is it justified when we elect them to power and then we get scared of them ?

    - By encouraging corruption/corrupt people, we are equally responsible.

    It's time for a change and the time is now.


  2. love it Sanjiv - clear and to the point. I am totally fed up with corruption. I never dreamed that India would actually come to this place of awakening! Everything is happening so perfectly and in Divine Order. The waves of positive change have taken over this world completely. Thank you so much.

    April 7, 2011 11:47 PM

  3. Once again India has demonstrated to the world how a Democracy should run. One man chooses to go an a fast-until-death for a national cause and the entire nation stands up in his support, starting a non-violent movement involving millions of citizens. No damage to public property, no violence, no arson and yet, within 82 hours of the commencement of this movement, the Government discusses and agrees with the citizens of India that the Lokpal Bill shall be a reality before the 30th of June. The official Notification is to be handed over to Anna Hazare by 10:00 am tomorrow, detailing the formation & constitution of the Panel, which will spell out the Bill that would subsequently be put up to the Parliament for approval.

    Victory of the Citizens of India and a Victory of Democracy!