13 April 2011

In Defense of Anna Hazare

On 7 April 2011, the third day of Anna Hazare's fast the call to India against corruption to bring in a strong Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombudsman Bill), I happened to be in New Delhi for some other work. Having got the opportunity I thought of visiting Jantar Mantar where Anna Hazare and his associates were fasting. 

I was lucky enough to hear him speak. Some few remarks, which many of us now know are these. On the slogan that 'Anna Hazare Aandhi hai! Desh ke Dushre Gandhi hai!'  (Anna Hazare is a storm! He is nation's second Gandhi we inform!), he said that it is not proper to compare him with Gandhi, because he follows some of his principles and more like his 'paun ke dhul' (spec of dust in his feet). He was sorry that the previous day some volunteers heckled some politicians (including Uma Bharati) and said that this is a public  forum and anybody can come, only that they cannot share dias, as the cause wants to remain apolitical. The issues of corruption that took Anna Hazare to fast at Jantar Mantar attracted media attention,  which along with social networking using missed calls, twitter, facebook, and avaaz aamong others has taken the form of a popular movement.

The government after some initial dilly dallying has conceded and a joint committee has been set up to prepare a draft Bill. There have been many criticism to the movement. Criticism is necessary and we should take it in our stride, but this should not dilute the movement in favour of a strong anti-corruption law. 

One increasingly hears many criticisms. I will try to address some of them briefly. Why is he not following the political route by contesting elections and getting people's mandate? My response is that elections are not the only political route. Raising a movement by engaging public is not only a  political route but one that is democratic too.

His methods at Ralegaon Sidhi have been authoritarian because of his army backgrounds and he is extending the same to the national level. There could be some truth into this, but then the authoritarianism  comes from ideas that you and I ordinary mortals have not been able to provide to engage people at Ralegaon Siddhi on a continuous basis. Well, is there scope to improve this? Definitely, and Anna Hazare  as also people of Ralegaon Siddhi will accept it if you can convince them with reason. This is quite evident from the fact that Anna Hazare has already agreed to the process of public consultation in the formation of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The usage of Hindu symbols and the statement supporting development work in some states (particularly, Gujarat where one had observed communal violence in the recent past) takes him closer to the sangh parivar. First, usage of Hindu symbols is nobody's prerogative. If Anna Hazare is able to connect with the masses by using the symbol of Bhart Mata so be it. But, let me reiterate that this is a secular movement. True,  communal harmony is a constitutive component of development and I would have my differences with Anna Hasare what these specific nuances of development are and one can take up this debate independently, but for this I would not divert my attention from the main concern of corruption. In fact, corruption is one of the main constraints against development. I request you all to take the issue of corruption head on.

Some even say that Anna Hazara himself and some of the faces of the movement, Kiran Bedi and Baba Ramdev are not paragons of virtue. This is a tricky situation. Some of it may be true and some of the instances cited are matters of impropriety (at times legally at other times because we think that something else is proper - we impose our moral order), but others could be politically motivated. But, even if we agree that they are all corrupt, it does not in any case dilute the argument against a strong anti-corruption Bill. Rather, it strengthens it. I request all to be part of this movement so that we can strengthen and bring out a strong Bill.

There are issues where some activists point out that people have given importance to this cause but neglected others. True, there are issues of Irom Sharmila fasting now for ten years against Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in force in some of the North-east states and Jammu & Kashmir that can lead to search, arrest and killing by the armed forces without any warrant; there is the case of crisis in Indian agriculture being manifested in increasing incidence of farmers suicides and many others. These have not been successful and a movement has not been coming by. An analyst has pointed out that if the urban middle class and the media do not identify with the cause then it becomes difficult to sustain such movements. Fights and efforts in those domains should continue. Sad as it sounds, but this should not deter us from supporting the movement against corruption. Come my friends, please join hands to make a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. This will also help us take up the other causes.

A matter of caution is that a strong Jan Lokpal Bill by itself will not root out corruption. It requires other concomitant development in a host of other reforms in administration, electoral  (particularly funding), judiciary and police among others.  They should all happen, but we also need a strong Jan Lokapl Bill. There are merits in taking lessons from the Scandinavian countries experience in the Ombudsman!

There are concerns, and very rightly, being raised about the selection of the  chairperson and members of the Lokpal as and when it gets formed, as it will be a basic structure of our democracy. Here, I would like to refer to Rawls' first part of the second principle of justice (I am referring to his Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, 2001) Some inequities are inevitable and one of them being the choosing of people to positions of authorities. However, the most suitable person needs to be chosen. Extra efforts need to be made to make this transparent and as effective as possible.

(I am thankful to students for their participation in today's class, 13 April 2011, of 'Contemporary Issues in Human Development and Policy'. Discussions, comments and rants by friends in Adda, a facebook discussion group, has also helped.)

Below are comments from the facebook post of this note (put up here on 26 April 2010)
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    • Pramit Bhattacharya
      Sir, with due respect, you have failed to address the key concern of many critics: can an anti-corruption legislation address this issue meaningfully as long as you do not address the issue of electoral funding... It is as if you have rotte...n milk and still make paneer... More importantly, you call Hazare's agitation a 'popular movement' whereas you say that Irom Sharmila's lacks it: by what parameter? I guess the population of the N-E that backs Sharmila, though small, cuts across class and might actually be more representative than Hazare's 'middle-class' movement in a nation where the middle-class means the top decile... I would expect at least an economist to look at proportions and not just raw numbers... calling it 'sad' adds insult to injury... Hazare's contribution is no doubt useful in demonstrating the level of discontent... but fasts and agitations can only be short-term modes of voicing grievances... one in which India has been lucky to have a high degree of success... it is the second part: the painful process of forming incentive-compatible solutions to real problems, in which we have struggled... and in this particular case, we do not know what the end-game would be... I apologize if I have sounded harsh but it is my teachers including you who have taught me to be skeptical of easy conclusions!See more
      16 April at 11:37 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra
      Thanks for your comments Pramit. You are commenting on things that I did not mean. I do mention the need for other concurrent reforms (just that I do not pin point electoral and may be many others). In any case, anti-corruption is intrinsic... and the moot point that I say is that it is we all (the people of India) who have to decide what form and concurrent developments that anti-corruption legislation needs to take. The way Anna Hazare's fast captured people's imagination (of course through help by you people in the media) it became a popular movement. While discussing Irom's fast I had also indicated the crisis in Indian agriculture on which nearly half the population are dependent as a livelihood. I will elaborate the absence of a 'sucessful' movement through the latter point. In this context thee have been mobilization of farmers. The most recent being the Kisan Swaraj Yatra that went across 20 states for 72 days beginning on 2 October 2010 from Sabarmati and culminating on 11 December 2010 at Rajghat, yet none of you (meaning major media houses) were there and the middle class was absent. The question that has been bothering us is that when we had reasonably successful peasant movements in 60s, 70s and even 80s but not so in the 90s when the situation is so bleak. One of (note one of) the answers is the absence of a urban middle class support (call it whatever proportion, you and me are among them). This urban middle class support did exist for farmers during the post independence till 70s or early 80s. The sad part is that today it is not. What is ironical is that the peoples representative who claim themselves to be farmers representative (including cabinet ministers) hardly represent the farmers cause. Does this mean that the fight in these fronts should not continue. Of course, they should but this does not in any way take away the case for a fight to come up with a strong anti-corruption Bill. The same holds for your emotional attachment (repeal of AFSPA). It is sad because a non-violent act (fast by Irom for a decade now) has not stirred the nation. The question that I would rather ask is how effectively have you been able to cover it yourself and more so been able to convince others in your profession? Keeping that aside, my point was that it is not proper to compare the response (either by people or by Government) to Anna Hazare's fast when there has been none to Irom's. My simple point is that there are many intrinsic concerns and they are not mutually exclusive. Here and now, we are in a position to make history for our democracy by joining hands to come up with strong antic-corruption laws. The moment should be utilized and we as a people should take it up and this will in no way belittles other concerns.See more
      16 April at 12:51 ·
    • Pramit Bhattacharya I guess it would be safe to say that time will answer most of these questions: whether this is historic or not and also whether I or others like me achieve success in convincing others (fortunately i have time and age on my side) ... thanks for the link :P
      16 April at 14:03 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      Srijit, How do you silence a barking dog ? You throw him a bone or some meat and he will pick it up and go away wagging his tail. This is precisely what happened with Anna Hazares fast at Jantar Mantar. It was not just Anna Hazare's hunger ...strike that rattled the Government but the media coverage especially CNN and BBC plus Indians were inspired by the events at Tahir Square and decided why not use the Internet, Face Book and Twitter plus SMS.. I agree the support nationally was amazing, something we have not seen in India before. Perhaps we had a small taste of this in seeking justice for Jessica and now we have even managed to get Bail for Binayak Sen.. So the Govt had to act quickly to dipserse the crowds. I am sure Anna Hazare did not expect the Govts proposal. When the Govt offered to form a Joint Committee Hazares team did not even know who they wanted to represent the Activists.See more
      16 April at 20:48 · · 3 peopleLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      ‎( Sorry I hit enter by mistake) I cannot believe that we have father and son team in a five member committee. This is a joke. I do not believe that Anna Hazare himself should Chair the committee. He is just a face that was borrowed to get... support from the masses. I do not believe he is an authority on matters of constituton and law and will be merely a rubber stamp endorsing what ever Prashant Bhushan and his Father and Arvind Krejival put forward..Kiran bedi has declined a request to be in the committee and Mallika Sarabhai has publicly questioned Anna Hazare's political connections. Even before the team has been formed the activists group is falling apart. I have done a quick read of the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill.. I think this is a dangerous proposal. Will share my opinion on the Bill ASAP. I suggest you too read the Bill carefully and see if it should become an Act ?See more
      16 April at 20:59 · · 3 peopleLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra
      Pramit/Ram, Yes all of us need to come together to have a critical look at the JLB (proposed as also what will evolve). We should ensure that there is a continuous public consultation. In fact, my write-up was a pointer to the activists (wh...o are totally against JLB) to be part of the process either directly or indirectly. Of course, there are other concomitant developments required. Of course, there are other concern that are equally relevant. But, this is one where we need many more hands and this cannot be left to just the ten people.See more
      16 April at 22:24 ·
    • Srijit Mishra Ram, thei piece by Udit Raj is beautiful - the mental corruption. If we are all honest and sincere and amenable to reason then ideologies become redundant - left, right , faith in market ..... At some point of time I thought that the problem with Manmohanomics is his belief in market is backed by the assumption that, like him, everyone is honest and sincere.
      17 April at 08:56 ·
    • Devinder Sharma
      Srijit is right. People need to provide critical inputs for the JLP bill. On behalf of IndiaAgainst Corruption all I can say is that we are very keen to seek public comments/views/inputs. The JLP draft has been on the website and believe me... we have received enormous response. The draft has been modified suitably a number of times in the process. I remember when we met the sub-committee chaired by A K Anthony (before Anna began his fast), the draft we presented him was 10th version of the original.See more
      17 April at 09:11 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy ‎@ Devinder. Can you give us a back ground of India Against Corruption, who initiated the movement and who the key players are. I am totally in the dark and hence the question. I understand the Jan Lok Pal Bill is the 10th version as you say but who are the people who created this document ? It certainly was not Anna Hazare. How did he become the Face of the Jan Lok Pal Bill ?
      17 April at 11:44 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma I suggest you take a look at www.indiaagainstcorruption.org
      17 April at 11:47 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma the bill was prepared by Arvind Kejriwal in culsultation with Shanti Bhushan/Prashant Bhushan and with inputs from the other members of the team. We have put the draft on the website and we received numerous comments, some of which were incorporated after cosnsultation.
      17 April at 11:49 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra Devinder, in support of Ram's point, the IAC website can give all versions of the JLP Bill, the current one in its site in version no 2.1. This will help analysis as well as researchers to study the evolution of JLP Bill. Ram's blog can also give links to these versions. FYI, Anna Hazare's site gives a link to the JLP 1.8 version. There are substantial improvements when you compare this with the 2.1 version.
      17 April at 12:24 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Yes, that is how we have been improving the JLP draft. 2.1 is the latest
      17 April at 12:31 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Srijit, Piece by Udit Raj is nice to read. Will India ever shed the mental corruption ?
      17 April at 12:31 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma we are having an IAC meeting today. i will let you know the latest version of the draft
      17 April at 12:32 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Devinder, I am sure you agree that religion has no role in Governance. This being the case a Fight against corruption also should be devoid of religion. However the members in IAC web site is a Who is who list of religious leaders in India. http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/aboutus.php
      17 April at 12:35 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma If you are referring to the inclusion of Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Archbishop of Delhi and some other religious heads from Muslim and Jain communities, they are part of the campaign. IAC does not see anything wrong in this. In fact, we would like them to be involved in the entire process of eradicating corruption.
      17 April at 12:44 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      At best it looks like a marketing strategy to include high profile religious leaders of various faiths to leverege the followers of various faiths. Yes we need to fight and stem corruption if we cannot eradicate it. The photos of Religious ...leaders on IAC web site is in fact a turn off.. It is also interesting that we do not see photos of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan considering they were the consultants to Arvind Kejrival. Basically it boils down to a One Man Show that of Arving Kejrival. As Srijit says tere are so many versions floating around on the Internet. I have down loaded a document titled Draft Lok Pal Bill 2010. It does not say which version. Can you include the Latest version of the Bill with its version number in IAC web site plus a note suggesting all older versions to be discarded.See more
      17 April at 12:50 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      Basically it boils down to a One Man Show that of Arvind Kejrival. As Srijit says there are so many versions floating around on the Internet. I have downloaded a document titled Draft Lok Pal Bill 2010. It does not say which version. Can yo...u please include the Latest version of the Bill with its version number in IAC web site plus a note suggesting all older versions to be discarded. Just like Arvind and Pradeep I am also an IIT Alumnus and very active on the net. Once I get the final version I will make it a point to debate each and every point amongst 10,000 IITians in PanIIT and IIT Global and Inter IIT Groups to raise awareness of a Bill that we are currently backing blindly without proper evaluation. Not one sould I have interacted with so far has perused the bill leave alone critique the bill.See more
      17 April at 12:57 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma I will ask the IAC secretariat to put up the latest version. That's a good idea.
      17 April at 13:11 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Regarding what you call as one-man show, the other way to look at it is to see what one man can achieve. Arvind Kejriwal started it all and this should in itself be a lesson to all those apologists who say what can I do as an individual.
      17 April at 13:13 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma The photos of religious leaders may be a turn-off to a few but is appreciated by millions. And these millions cannot be discounted. Instead they need to be drawn into the debate.
      17 April at 13:15 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Kamayani Bali Mahabal TODAY ANNA SAYS- i can take agurantee for myself not others and hence shanti bhushan ahs prove his innocence btw..... having baba ramdev and oothers he could done without.....
    • Devinder Sharma No, I don't agree. Now Anna is a household name. But at one stage only Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shanker were able to provide numbers. In any case I have no aversion to their presence in the movement.
      17 April at 14:07 · · 2 peopleLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma The latest draft is 2.2 and it will be up on the website in a few hours.
      17 April at 18:33 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra See the EPW editorial, 'What ‘Movement’ Is This Anyway?' http://epw.in/epw/uploads/articles/15939.pdf
      and Madhu Kishhwar's piece 'Elected Representatives are a Quintessential Requirement of Democracy' in Manushi, http://www.manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1499
      17 April at 22:10 · · 1 personRam Krishnaswamy likes this.
    • Babuji Bose Yes, interesting views by Devinder, Ram, Pramit ... hope to see more of them ... as also in larger issues of economic stagnation, private sector corruption, role of politics and more
      18 April at 18:32 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra Sarthak Gaurav, Nirupam Datta, Rishi Kumar Tiwari, Upasak Das, join the debate here
      18 April at 18:33 ·
    • Krishna T Kumar I need about three to four days. I am in such a crazy tight time schedule with deadlines that I cannot handle them. The only way seems to be to delay or postpone some work that I like!
      19 April at 02:38 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy A Devinder: How did the meeting go ? Can you tell us who attended and what issues were discussed and the outcomes. Is the latest version of the Jan Lok Pal Bill ready yet ?
      19 April at 06:02 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Yogesh Dubey
      What we are not able to understand is tht why did the activists r talikng abt extending the deadline of passing the Jan Lokpal Bill in the very first meeting of the joint committee and showing extreme flexibility? Anna himself says if Parli...ament (filled with many corrupt politicians of all parties though all of them may not be corrupt) doesn't pass the bill he ll accept tht but they hv not passed it since more than 5 decades...See more
      19 April at 08:15 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Krishna T Kumar If the parliament does not accept the bill as drafted by this committee then not only Anna Hazare but all of us have to accept that as a reality and mobilize a movement to vote out all such fellows in the next general election and put up candidates who can pass the bill in the next Lok Sabha.
      19 April at 08:43 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Yes, if Parliament does not accept the bill, the people of India must stand up and force them to accept it. Parliamentarians only represent us, they are not our feudal masters.
      19 April at 09:03 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma The latest draft of the bill numbered 2.2 is on the IAC website.
      19 April at 09:04 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma ‎@Ram: Some of the core members of the team are here in this video clip (from an earlier press conference) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg8ZZ__sPlg
      19 April at 09:06 ·
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Devinder, how do you force the parliament to accept the bill ?
      19 April at 17:09 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy How about just listing the people who were at the meeting as opposed to asking me to watch a video. I don't recognise all the faces.
      19 April at 17:10 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma
      Instead of asking all these questions the best way is to do something that you can do. I admire the NRIs who have started an India Against Corruption Overseas. I admire those who are reaching out to people, sending sms', bringing people tog...ether in groups, using the facebook/twitter and so on. Come, let us all join in strengthening the movement against corruption, build a crescendo of uproar aginst corruption, and believe me Parliament would listen, parliamentarians would behave.See more
      19 April at 22:56 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Devinder, I always do what I believe is right. I do not jump on band wagons especially when I know the wheels are going to fall off soon. Anti Corruption Yes. Should be devoid of Politics. The Jan Lok Pal Bill Version 2.2 is just as flawed as the Windows 2000. Pity you guys did not discuss this widely before you launched it. Cannot believe it was drafted by lawyers either
      20 April at 04:51 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra Devinder, I agree that we should all join hands. I also agree with the fact that those who are opposing are not doing so because of a smear campaign. People like Ram and many others are willing to engage. Please address their concerns and get their inputs. My suggestion is this. If Ram with inputs from others gets an alternative to 2.2, are you willing to listen and discuss.
      20 April at 07:21 ·
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      Srijit, I printed Version 2.2. Even the definitions in this draft in the first few pages are so outlandish to say the least. I have a hectic week ahead with family visiting us from overseas and it is also the Easter break. I am highlighting... everything questionable I foresee a problem. The draft 2.2 version is being circulated widely amongst many yahoo groups as a .doc file. Any man and his donkey can edit these and create confusion and mischief. IAC should only make available PDF versions. Sadly there are no page numbers to use for reference in discussions as ready reckoners. Even the PDF file should have a footer of sorts to ensure it is an authentic IAC document. If IAC are so lax in protecting a draft document, are they capable of stemming corruption ? As I said I am all for fighting corruption. Look at the Jago India Yahoo group that was created long before Arvind Kejrival became an activist. I was there with Varun Arya all the way the last ten years fighting corruption. He forced the hands of AICTU and obtained accreditation without paying bribes. To Day we can say Varun Arya through his hunger strike at Jantar Mantar has forced the hands of the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and got approval to build a campus for AIM. IAC has fallen prey to the same marketing ploy as PanIIT using some famous people as the front for Branding IAS. Try and get Pan IITians to talk about Rajat Gupta, one of the founders of PanIIT in USA. In case you are confused Yes I am an IIT alumnus, No I do not belong with the Honchos who claim to represent 175,000 IITians even without asking us. IAC is doing the same, hosted a Gala show backed by the media and rich and famous at Jantar Mantar. To day we do not hear from all the Bollywood stars who backed Jan Lok Pal Bill. As for the masses well they are just that like the 50,000 that packs a cricket stadium in India. They are all cheers when India is doing well. The minute Sehwag and Sachin were removed in the finals there were only sad faces in the stadium until Gambhir ( perfect name for the situation) salvaged the situation and converted it into a Victory. Mallika Sarabhai, RamDev, Shanti Bushan, Prashant bushan and kiran bedi for all practical purposes are clean bowled or stumped. Arvind Kejrival is still at the crease along with Prashant Bushan ( in terms of credibility). Can they save the situation and not disappoint the nation ?See more
      20 April at 07:56 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Srijit, we certainly welcome suggestions/ideas/critic. The draft 2.2 on the website is for discussion. People are sending their comments and that is how the draft kepps on getting revised. It is work in progress. If any one has any comments/suggestions I would be willing to take it to the committee.
      20 April at 08:58 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma
      But certainly I am not going to waste my time worrying about wild accusations. All beneficiaries of the present system are worked up and would point fingers. So be it. To say that it is a BJP orchestrated campaign is one such accusation. Wh...en we started to work against corruption some months back, believe me we didn't even think it would come to such a stage. Even Anna is overwhelmed. He says when he left his village he didn't imagine that it would hit the national cord.See more
      20 April at 09:04 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma
      The lesson from the success of this campaign is that don't just sit in your bedroom and sulk, get up and do something. Not many know, for instance, that the another successful campaign was against Bt brinjal was actually ticked off by three... of us sitting in Trivandrum five years back. We decided to build up a national awareness campaign, and educate people about the dangers of GM food. It took us four years to build up the campaign, and eventually the govt imposed a moratorium.See more
      20 April at 09:08 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma There are a lot of scientists who draw you into a debate on GM foods, and initially I used to debate with them, but eventually I realised they were paid to do the job. I have since then stopped participating in these unnecessary high-sounding moral debates and instead devote my time to some meaningful work.
      20 April at 09:10 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Even if the draft of the Jan Lok Pal bill is heavily flawed and will fall as Ram thinks, I am not going to give up. I have always believed in what Robert Bruce learnt from the spider. The spider fell some 27 times before it got up again and completed its web.
      20 April at 09:13 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Devinder no one asked you to give up as that is accepting defeat even before anything worthwhile happened. You may not be keen on answering my questions and that is fine but one day you will wish you had when the activists get mauled in the committee by astute Cabinet Ministers..like Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal plus you wont be there. you will be on the outer circle then.
      20 April at 10:06 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Here is what another supporter of the Anna Hazare fast had to say
      20 April at 10:15 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      ‎"The IAC is a rather broad-based platform of diverse elements. From Ramdev to Prashant Bhushan.

      Of course there will be jockeying by (at least some of) these elements to drive the campaign in different directions. One has got to be vigilant... about that.

      But by itself the goal of curbing corruption in public life is a laudable goal in so far as corruption helps to maintain and further aggravate an iniquitous capitalist order.

      The campaign has forced the unwilling government to redraft a new Lokpal Bill, that is definitely welcome.
      We must do our bit to ensure that the process is open, with adequate space for public consultations, and transparent.
      And a good act is legislated. We must also ensure that there is no scope for the Lokpal to turn out to be a Frankenstein while having adequate powers to curb corruption.

      As the Bhushans' CD goes to show that powerful forces, including a section of the media, are out to subvert.
      We must keep vigilant.

      Sukla
      The message is the same from most intellectuals. we have o make sure we do not create a Frankenstien. Right now many believe it is.
      See more
      20 April at 10:18 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra Devinder, Taking a cue from Ram let us have a pdf version with date/time mark. It makes sense. There also has to be a cell to address the barrage of questions.
      20 April at 10:18 ·
    • Devinder Sharma I am not worried about what happens in future. I just can't give up b'cuz many of my colleagues might get mauled up by asture Cabinet Ministers. What worries me more is that there are a number of people who want to kill or derail this initiative in the very beginning. They are a bigger problem than what the nation will encounter later.
      20 April at 10:19 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      Devinder you are not listening. Idea to stem corruption is Great. The Current draft bill needs to be killed as it is Draconian. We cannot have an ACT that overrules all laws of the country... Yes there may be corrupt people ( 1 in 5) who wi...ll want to kill this initiative..But by running a closed shop you run the gauntlet of alienating millions who endorsed the campaign without reading the proposed bill. It is AIC that will be killing believers not the other way round. Believe you are too close to the action and hype and unable to grasp the essentials from critics. You cannot tell me Mallika Sarabhai is wrong. You cannot tell me Sainath is talking through his hat. You cannot tell me Aruna Roy is cheesed off as you chaps did not include her in AIC... This is a good race but we cannot back wrong horses can we ?See more
      20 April at 10:35 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra To add to Ram, we need to listen to some important dissenting voice. Discount the inconvenience in their tone or body language. Let us look at the points/issues raised and see how to address the same.
      20 April at 10:39 ·
    • Devinder Sharma Again the same argument. I am saying that if you have something to add/comment/suggest on the draft, please do. People are doing it every day. Who is stopping you from doing your bit?
      20 April at 10:40 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Mallika is right about what she said about Modi. Anna has accpted that publicly. What is the problem now?
      20 April at 10:41 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra Devinder, the problem is that people do not know and are harping on old points and issues that have been addressed by the group. For instance, in discussion you will find people raising objections to the 1.8 version that is not there in 2.2. I do not know how to do it, but the group or cell has to also tell how JLP is evolving and changing because of comments from people and this has to be conveyed.
      20 April at 10:45 ·
    • Devinder Sharma In any case the bill will be discussed/debated/analysed clause by clause by the joint draft committee. I am sure many provisions will change. It will go through a churning process. that is what we asked for. The final draft will certainly not be the same as to what is presently being put out (latest version being 2.2).
      20 April at 10:46 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma But to simply cast aspertions is wrong. And Sirjit, I agree that we must listen to the disssening voices. We are doing it every day. In fact, IAC plans to have a meeting with some of the loud critical voices this weekend in New Delhi.
      20 April at 10:48 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra A digression: Let us keep pdf versions with date and time mark of all versions. All these will be valuable documents for posterity.
      20 April at 10:50 ·
    • Devinder Sharma Instead of arguing, please tell us the points/issues that you feel need to be looked afresh. We will do it. That should be the approach.
      20 April at 10:51 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Devinder Sharma Let us help build up an excellent JLP bill. This is an opportunity, let us not fritter it away. History will not provide us another similar opportunity. Even if you think you have all the wisdom in the world, please do share it so that we can make a difference.
      20 April at 10:52 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Srijit Mishra
      Putting a note from another thread, as I am deleting that thread, Kamayani Bali Mahabal
      Thanks srijit, well i do disagree with u and u know that :-) you were there saw all teh fervour, i was also in Mumbai seieng all the fervour at azaad mai...dna in name of anna... we ahd people taking of go hatya... the rss messages and bhp ems...sages platform being sued for all and sultry..... badri raina has put it very beautifully.. do read....http://www.zcommunications.org/communalism-bad-development-good-by-badri-raina....................See more
      14 April at 19:35
      See more
      20 April at 17:59 ·
    • Srijit Mishra Subhasish Panda Asis Kumar Swain Srideb Nanda Sarat Panda see the discussion and give your views
      20 April at 18:01 ·
    • Asis Kumar Swain
      Srijit, i think corruption can never be eradicated. Its an intrinsic part of governance be it democracy or any other form. What we want is that the system should incorporate the following: public servants not asking for money while executin...g duties, transparency in any form of selection, a responsive grievance redressal system and a public that demands what is right. Anna provided a forum for the people to take part and express the anger. Thats it. We the people of India have deep sense of insecurity. We don't even demand what is legitimately ours. We don't have the will to pause and question the wrong. So what will the JLP bill do? Why did the 100 odd people in the haryana village not prevent a rape accused from killing two women in public? Why is the CM of Haryana saying that it is a stray case? How many cases of honour killing has to come to light before the CM accepts it as a significant statistic? Anna protest is a "feel good factor". Its like the movie "BORDER" where we as Indians enjoy the enemy being destroyed. I wish that the JLP bill is introduced and it serves a purpose.See more
      20 April at 23:15 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy Asis I agree with your thoughts. Corruption exists in all walks of life and in all forms of governance globally. It is worst in communist countries where every one is equal but some people are more equal than others :-) There are many forms of corruption not just exchange of money. Corruption can be moral or mental corruption, people in power exchanging favours like appointments in key posts for family and friends.
      21 April at 06:09 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy There can be corruption within an organisation not involving the public. For example it is common knowledge that police Inspectors and sub inspectors pay a few crores as bribes to senior police authorities to get posted to police stations where bribe revenue is high. How will JLP Bill fight this ?
      21 April at 06:12 · · 1 personLoading...
    • Ram Krishnaswamy
      Indian customs is a cess pool for corruption. Business men bringing goods from overseas into India know that containers will not be released unless they make cash payments to officers in charge. In one instance a sub collector of customs de...manded Rs 1 lakh to release a container. the business man refused only to find that no one else he complained to would release the shipment. The longer it took the more demurrage charges he had to pay. The Officer was away on leave the business man was told and asked to come back on a specific date.. This time the demand was for Rs 6 lakhs. When the businessman asked should I bring it to your house, the officer laughed and said. This is no secret. Every one in this office knows about this.Bring the cash here and give it here in this office. So the businessman delivered the cash the next day at the office. The sub collector then asked his staff members to come and count the money in his office before he signed the release papers for the shipment. This is how blatant corruption is.See more
      21 April at 06:19 · · 1 personLoading...

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