Showing posts with label Lokpal Bill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lokpal Bill. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Magnum Opus

'He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires'

Today as India celebrates how the parliament passed the Jan Lokpal bill as demanded by Anna Hazare and his team.
The month long campaign has proved that complete freedom against corruption is a long way away but the freedom of speech by the people and the media sure found its expression among billions of Indians. Many supporting the cause, many supporting the man and thousands against the man.

One of my favorite biographical movie is 'Gandhi' by Sir Richard Attenborough. This timeless movie still answers the many questions that plagues our society.

Watching it for the millionth time, I'll attempt to dissect the essence of what we need to learn..

Disgraced after being thrown out of a train only because he was traveling on a first class ticket, this sparked the first flames of freedom against discrimination.
Even as a staunch follower of Hinduism, Gandhi respected and followed the essence of Christianity. He often called himself and everyone 'Children of God'.
Even when faced with an seemingly impossible task of bringing equality to Indians in South Africa, he never once was disrespectful. Just polite and stern.
From being called 'Citizens of the Empire' to overthrowing the Empire, Gandhi showed us how we need to 'Fight against their anger. Not provoke it.'

Where there is injustice, I always believe fight. But the question is 'Do you fight to change things or to fight to punish?'
The problem with our supposed fight against corruption is that a majority of us are very comfortable with our every day lives (and I've already discussed why here)

When we spoke about Anna's stubborn refusal to budge, I remembered how Gandhi, referred to himself as a 'stubborn man'.
On my maiden visit to the Golden Temple many many years ago, I visited the Jallianwala Bagh. Now converted to a national monument it is one of those monuments that have been restored and preserved well. I could still see bullet holes and dried blood splatter. And the well, now sealed off is a grim reminder of the many dozens who lost their lives. A monument to mindless cruelty and unapologetic ruthlessness.
The way the empire and her majesty (note the lower case) refused to leave India despite the atrocity it committed, reminds me of how corrupt politicians refuse to step down.

When I read about how college students in Bangalore turned violent, I remembered how misguided protesters killed policemen during Gandhi's freedom struggle. But then violence has always been a much easier option for cowards.

Modern times call for contemporary measures. While most of Gandhi's principles is still proven to work in a world filled with turmoil. Prohibition is a farce in Gujarat where you'll always get the booze for the right price. It's not about looking or talking the part. It's about the being the part.

'Nearly all revolution starts as an idea in the mind of one man'. We won our freedom from the British with one such idea which became the most inspirational civil resistance in all history. In 2011, Anna has helped us win another.
Like Gandhi, he led from the front. Boldly, fearlessly and non violently.

Freedom. While we continue to fight among ourselves over who is more right, our politicians have always followed the colonial rule of 'Divide and Rule'. They have done it then and they continue to do it now.

'In our own sweet time.. In our own sweet way, we'll get there'

Britain, an tyrant Empire that once ruled most of the world and once was called Great Britain now reduced to a shell of its former self wrecked by terrorists from both outside and within. An island nation where an overwhelming majority of its citizens live on welfare and government doles. A nation that is still grappling with itself. What an awful turn of fortune. 
The only devils in the world are those running around in our own hearts. And that is where all our battles ought to be fought - Gandhiji
Now, lets drink to that!

This is an ode to Gandhi: The 'half naked Indian fakir' who became the icon who Albert Einstein remarked is a man who 'generations will come which will scarce believe that such of one of this ever of flesh and blood walked upon this earth'

When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time, they can seem invincible but in the end, they always fall.

Hey Ram!

Read more:
The government against satyagrahas, then and now


Saturday, August 27, 2011

By the way...

Just so you know...
Indian democracy is not the most unique or supreme.
If it were unique, we would have had politicians who had the country's good at heart.
If it were supreme, our elected representatives would have delivered what they were supposed to deliver- Justice, Equality and Freedom.

Strangely, the Anna movement has managed to evoke the most controversial statements/behavior with no real knowledge of what the entire circus is about.
We have common people who are largely unaware of the history of delaying tactics and obfuscation by successive governments in passing the Lokpal bill and then we have the government who admits there is rampant corruption (which is a wonderful departure from denying its existence) but desperately want to sidetrack it with irrelevant comments/suggestions.

Recently talking to a close relative, who was largely skeptical of the movement. I listened to her arguments silently before I set out to convince her.
Why now? When the Congress is ruling? Definitely the BJP is behind this.
Of course now. If not now, when? The Congress has been ruling for quite a while now. Except for a narrow break in the later part of last century, the Congress has always been at the helm of affairs. As for accusations of support from the opposition, it is anybody's guess why they would support. While they have been baying for the ruling party's blood ever since they lost their second chance, they have conveniently piggybacked on Anna. Cauterized by a bitter experience down south, they want to appear as the only party will not take corruption lightly.
After decades of corruption that has eroded the very corpus of our democracy, there is a large part of the middle class that has had enough.

Why not run for election so that Anna can make a change that way?
Appearing as it seems the gargantuan sums of money that goes into bribing million people and considering Anna's financial limitations and his character, it is anybody's guess that Anna will loose an election hands tied down. Suggesting he runs for an election is a simplistic view of people who choose to be ignorant.
The obvious result of such a failure would be an ideal excuse to not pass stricter anti corruption laws.
Do you see Red here?

Why not strengthen existing anti corruption agencies?
Not many people would know that the Lokpal Bill did create all of these agencies. Ineffective as they are with little or no right to investigate, prosecute or punish the guilty, they are but a toothless tiger and a huge drain on the exchequer. That and the fact that many of these agencies are headed by cabinet rank Ministers who will not want to prosecute their peers.
Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Armchair activists like the 'one book wonder' Arundhati Roy would do better than to write an elaborate essay on why Anna is wrong. I wonder how much she got paid to write such ludicrous piece of trash. Why the (Indian) media still refers to her as 'Indian Booker prize winner..' still defies my understanding. She wrote just one book and got really lucky there. (By that measure, I must be referred to as 'English rank holder at high school') She has since decided to not test her luck anymore by staying with pro Maoist activism and random tree hugging.

Why a deadline?
A deadline works best when all you've got is a government that procrastinates, delays and manipulates thoughts, ideas and action to correct an endemic disease like Corruption. Given that the congress and like scum had roughly 45 years to pass the Lokpal bill in its true essence, I believe a deadline is what we need.
This time it's our way or the highway, Mr PM.

Why is Anna being adamant about his demands?
Well, there are only 3, for crying out loud.
The government has sat on the Lokpal bill like a hen on a hard boiled egg for far too long. They've never had the intention to pass it. Not then, not now.
It's time for some tough love.

Why the hell is he so bothered?
Most weren't. Were they?
Almost child like, he's accepted your support but never asked you for your donation. So when an illiterate former soldier and farmer fights for the freedom of a billion plus, the least you can do is support the cause that he is fighting for. After all, as Indians we belong here - In India.

But that's the problem with Indians. After having been ruled over by our colonial masters, we've been conditioned to be subservient.
We'll never give a compliment when its deserved. We'll never give a honest feedback when we have to. We're used to poor service and the tag of 'third world country'.

But just so you know, you should never give up.
Spread the word, folks. Our children will never forgive us if we don't clean up our mess.

More Read:
Arund'hate' Roy
Rather be Anna than Roy!
Messianism versus democracy


Monday, August 22, 2011

*RTFM

I hate Anna Hazare!
While there is a clarion call to 'Support Hazare'online, what is upsetting is how many Indians are opposed to the entire movement. (and I'll come to that in a later post..)

Over the past week, Indians (and in some cases, foreigners) have reminded the world how potent non violence is.
Millions of people across the nation marched.
Several hundreds have been fasting..
All in the name of Anna Hazare.
But really?!

While what he is doing is definitely commendable and can by no means be ridiculed or shrugged off, I think there is a growing resistance in the cause.
And for good reason.

As the nation remains split at the middle on the Fight against Corruption, what I am going to do is help dissect the Lokpal bill here...

-While Indians as a civilization have always resented authority figures that have been repressive, what we as a nation that aspires to be World Power is an institution that will rid our nation of its 'corrupt third world' tag. Lest we become another failed state.

-Autonomous. In a country where the judiciary and law enforcement is often used as tools of political and personal vendetta, there must an Institution which will perform without the fear of getting 'that phone call/fax/email from the top'

-The CBI, having been used as a tool for political vendetta for many decades has failed to secure enough convictions. This leads to a weak trail where the guilty are not arrested nor charged. We definitely need a justice system which will instill fear of the law into the corrupt. The guilty must be punished. Swiftly.

-The fourth point of the bill is perhaps the most contentious. Making sure that the corrupt restore the loss caused to the exchequer will not only rob the corrupt of all his wealth but also reveal the money trail. Simple yet potent.

-In a country where nothing can get done within a reasonable time-frame and where deadlines are nearly always extended, the fifth condition of a lokpal is definitely what the doctor prescribed. When the rest of the world can meet deadlines and finish projects at breakneck speeds, this condition will make sure that India will come up to speed with the 21st Century.

-The sixth condition of the Bill remedies and redresses a myriad of ills that plague our society. We definitely need an institution that will make other parts of the government work in perfect harmony. Indians should not be afraid nor discouraged when report corruption.

-Making sure that the Lokpal is headed by people who are beyond reproach is a no-brainer.
While the public perception of an Indian politician is poor this point in the Lokpal makes sure that imminent people who are beyond reproach is chosen and given the power to function effectively rather than just be a figure head is the need of the hour.

-Assuming that the incorruptible become corrupt, the eight point in the Bill provides for an open investigation where the Officer will be dismissed within two months.

-Naturally, the existing anti-corruption machinery within the country have floundered badly. After decades of inaction, we need a mechanism that will work. Fearlessly. Ruthless. Honest.

-Whistle-blowers must be protected. Because where the people can reveal corruption without fear of reprisal, there lies a progressive nation.

Read more here:

There. The most controversial Bill against corruption in Modern India.

If you support this movement and know the bill. Good job! Now spread the word.
But if you are not supporting this because you don't know what the Bill is about, then Read The Fu*king Manual!


Friday, July 29, 2011

And you have the right to remain silent..

At high school, I've had to write hindi essays on 'Corruption'. Of course, learned by rote, I hardly knew what it was and didn't really understand a word of what I learned or wrote later. Living abroad you hardly experience corruption as blatantly as you do in India.

A decade and a half later, having to experience corruption in close quarters, I have just one question reverberating in my mind : How would you beat Corruption?

The time worn question here is, when did our nation go into a tailspin into destruction?
Like all things nostalgic, I'd like to believe that politicians were noble back then.

Like a child who started with small white lies and petty crimes, our politicians have graduated to trillion dollar grand theft and nepotism on a scale that is beyond belief.
And to make matters uncomfortable, they seem to have woken up the warden. Us.

While we can all make a lot of noise, the buck stops when we are expected to act.
I've had unfortunate friends who tire of all the noise online.
While most of us are indeed keyboard activists and nothing more, we remember to forget that the greatest changes in human history happened when people started revolting. It could have been graffiti on the wall, a march or even a bold move. It was always the power of One.

While many of us rue about being just a drop in the ocean, we forget that many drops make the ocean.

Question of the Day:
Should we be ranting against the corrupt on social networks? I think we must. That is the least we can do. Definitely not enough, because unless you talk, you won't act. So as long as people are going to be complacent and silent about corruption, we are doomed to be silent spectators in the world's largest debacle.

We are looking at a really bleak future where their children (that's right, the corrupt are breeding like much yeast too) rules this country. A nation where we've allowed corruption to breed, into a generation that will be even more awesomely wicked than ones that we have now.

Anna will definitely win. He may not live to see the fruits of his selfless crusade, but we will win because of him. Like the fruits of freedom that we enjoy because our soldiers died for us, we will live with our heads held high. It will take time. Many will pick up the cause. Few will remain.

More than 60 years ago, when Gandhiji announced the Quit India movement, not many even thought we would last. But last we did. We emerged victorious as battle worn veterans, our history continues to inspire.
Are you doing your bit today, tomorrow and the day after? It could be noise to someone else but unless you make it, we are forever doomed to remain silent.

And my response to all those who think this is noise...
'I'm sorry that you were dropped on your head when you were born. Quit India. Go live in Somalia'


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