Anna Hazare and his fast unto death at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi has attracted the attention of Indians all over the world. Almost every friend of mine in Australia has heard about it. The messages of support to this cause have been spread by Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and emails. Social media has again proven to be a powerful tool.
Anna Hazare was not alone in this protest. Shanti Bhushan, Retd Supreme court Justice, Santosh Hegde, Swami Agnivesh, Baba Ram Dev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mallika Sarabhai, Kiran Bedi and RTI activist, Arvind Kejriwal were all with him. Millions of Indians were supporting him and numbers were growing by the minute. India media also supported him in this fight against corruption.
As we all know, corruption has become a menace and a massive problem. You might recall Rajiv Gandhi saying famously that only 19 Paise out of the 100 Paise from the Govt money was reaching those who the money was meant for and rest was gobbled by the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. It was 19 Paise in 1980s and I am afraid it might not even be 10 Paise now. Something had to be done!
Our great social activist, Anna Hazare, and the whole India have achieved a massive win. They have forced a backdown from the Govt of India which has agreed to introduce a “Lok Pal Bill” in the Parliament by 30th June, 2011. This Bill/Act will have significant powers to combat corruption in India. Govt’s initial Bill was not good enough and was therefore rejected by Anna Hazare and the Indian people. http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/why-hazare-others-oppose-govt-s-lokpal-bill-2010-96609
The Bill will be drafted by a 10 member committee, to be chaired by Minister Pranab Mukerjee and co-chaired by Mr Shanti Bhushan, a very reputed Jurist. Mr Bhushan, one may recall, is the same Barrister who fought a case against Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi in the High Court, Allahabad, which led to the judgement that her election was invalid.
The Lok Pal Bill will spare no one from corruption and will include the provision of an outcome within a period of 12 months. Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs, bureaucrats and parties are all covered. http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/what-is-the-jan-lokpal-bill-why-its-important-96600
Lok Pal insitution will be chaired by people who are selected on merits and without political favour. It will be totally independent.
I am hoping that it will be more or less like ICAC [Independent Commission agaist Corruption] in NSW. http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/
I am very happy that Indian Govt was compelled to listen to the demands of the Indian People without use of force or bullets.
That democracy is thriving in India is beyond doubt.
What has been achieved is nothing but a milestone in the history of India!
Having said that, there is a word of caution which we must not ignore. Some concerns have been raised about the accountability of the so-called “civil society”. “Who are they responsible and accountable to” has been asked. We need to remember what Edmund Burke, a famous member of the House of Comons, had said before. ” This cynicism about politics and, by extension, Parliament only makes you think ill of that very institution which, do what you will, you must religiously preserve, or you must give over all thoughts of being a free people”.
In our system, we must not try to create an alternatives to the Parliament. Indian Parliament [SANSAD] must remain the ultimate source of power. It can’t be bullied or undermined by anyone. Parliament must remain supreme but must be able to listen to people, gauge their mood and deliver things which the country needs. It will undoubtedly have more chance to do so if our Parliamentarians are of superior quality-morally, intellectually and spiritually. That brings us to the issue of the process of election to the Parliament. This process needs to be reformed, improved and protected from corrupting influence of casteism, communalism and money-ism.
India had witnessed a successful reform movement which has been termed a mini-revolution today but we need many more revolutions to get to a stage when we all can say “Mera Bharat Mahan or My India is great!” with utmost joy, satisfaction and pride.
Corruption in India must be eradicated or at least controlled. The first stage has been successful but it would require a long and hard struggle to reach the final result.
Lok Pal will be a giant step in getting the result.
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/09th April, 2011
- Government concedes Anna Hazare’s demands (hindu.com)
- Anna Hazare refuses to bend, Govt refuses to blink – Hindustan Times (news.google.com)