Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement gathers momentum in India!

Anna Hazare and his team members were arrested in the morning of 16th Aug, 2011. The reason for the arrests was their proposed protest by “Hunger strike” in a Park in New Delhi, which Govt of India did not want to let that happen. Delhi Police used the powers they have to stop the protest.

Anna Hazare was taken to Tihar Jail, where infamous politicians like Suresh Kalamadi of CWG scam and Mr A Raja of 2G spectrum scam are being kept.

This did not go well with the people of India. There were protests every where in India, and even overseas. The Govt of India saw the mass support for Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and buckled under pressure. They agreed to release him in the evening, even though he was sent to the prison for 7 days, and also allowed the “Hunger strike” to go ahead in Delhi.

Anna Hazare and his team, including vast numbers of Indians, want Indian Parliament to pass a stringent anti-corrption Bill [Jan Lokpal Bill] to tackle rampant corruption in India. Govt of India, however, wants to pass a weaker Bill, excluding some of the people who, Anna Hazare & team [including Kiran Bedi, Shashi Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh] want to be included in the Bill.

Corruption is a fact of life in India and it affects every one and every walk of life. It is a big menace. People are sick of it. It needs to be tackled effectively and immediately.

The concept of accountability has to be implemented. A strong anti-corruption Bill will go a long way in tackling this menace but it will not be sufficient unless accompanied by a persistent campaign via mass media and some changes in the education system. This would also need the provision of sufficient funds and personnel to allow the Jan LokPal to do its job in a timely manner.

Corruption can be controlled provided there is a will power in the system. The example of ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption, ] in NSW is a good example.

There is a public movement in India and this is telling the Govt that people are sick of corruption. Govt should listen to the feelings and moods of the people and get on the business of eradicating corruption.

The current state of corruption is not tenable.

Anna Hazare is not just a name. It is in fact a name of a movement which has support from the masses. Govt has a choice to make. Listening to people and do something about is going to give the Govt some brawny points while ignoring or, worse, suppressing it is going to cause a lot of harm to them.

Anna Hazare movement is creating history. Just like Indians in India, I and my friends are supporting this movement. While we can’t do much sitting in Australia, we can definitely participate in this movement, and support this movement, by writing to the Consul Generals of India and High Commissioner of India in Australia.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/18th Aug, 2011

India wins. Thank you, Anna Hazare!

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.

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.

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.

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