Dec 27, 2011
Dec 12, 2011
Anna Hazare has been voted as the Person of the Year / The Indian of the Year by many news channels and newspapers recently. Even international press has noted him as one of the top news makers of the world in 2011. And why not? After all, this 74 year old Gandhian has changed the way Indians look at corruption and given all of us hope that this disease can be removed from our country. As I wrote in a poem, he has come as our Messenger of Hope in 2011.
Below are what I feel are the top 5 take-aways from this movement so far -
1. Strengthening of Democracy
Anna Hazare has spend all his life promoting the decentralization of power in democracy and his asking for a Lokpal, free of any government control, is another step in this direction. By directly involving the people in his protests, and highlighting the point that the people are the real masters and the politicians only public servants elected by them, he has made it clear that they should proceed in accordance of the will of the public.
He and his team have taken the issue of Lokpal to the people in small… Read the rest
Oct 10, 2011
With the recent Anna Hazare led movement against corruption and the amazing support that it has received from the common man, everybody is busy pointing out the failure of the government. The media, social activists and the common man, have all come out and criticized the government and its ministers of the way they have handled the issue of corruption. But what about the opposition? How have they fared over the past few years? And on a general note, what is the role of the opposition in a democracy?
What is the role of the opposition?
I feel the role of opposition in a democracy is as important as that of the ruling coalition. The most important job which the opposition has is the responsibility for keeping the government in check and making sure they are delivering their promises to the public. Just because you are sitting in the opposition, it doesn’t mean that you are not liable or don’t have any commitment to the public who have elected you.
In fact, in my opinion you can do more good in opposition if you are really committed to serving the people of your country. The opposition should be sensible, intelligent and… Read the rest
Sep 8, 2011
Some people, by the mention of their names, spark arguments and controversy like someone has just thrown oil to a burning fire. Narendra Modi is one of those names. The controversial but highly celebrated Chief Minister of Gujarat has been in the news ever since he came to power, either for the communal riots of 2002 or for the various development projects he has undertaken which has turned Gujarat into the state driving the Indian growth story. There are two kinds of people in this world, one for whom world opinion and the ‘right‘ way of doing things matter, and the other who do what they feel is right, irrespective of debates or consequences. No points for guessing which kind of person Mr Modi is.
Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. From becoming the Chief Minister in 2001, when Gujarat was suffering from the aftermath of a massive earthquake and its economy was shrinking, Modi has transformed Gujarat into a state with the highest growth rate among all Indian states. Some of the plans or schemes he launched are Krishi Mahotsav, Chiranjeevi Yojana, Matru Vandana, Beti Bachao, Jyotigram Yojana, Kanya Kelavani Yojana, among others. Read about them to know what all these are… Read the rest
Aug 29, 2011
I have been hearing many questions in the minds of people regarding the ongoing movement against corruption. In this post, I have tried to document and answer (according to my thinking) some of the most frequently asked questions. These questions have been asked on social media websites or on my blog on the articles I have written related to the Anna Hazare led movement.
Q – I do not identify myself with no corruption. Can those lakhs of people pledge on their life that they will never ever engage in corruption?
A - It is very important to see people who give bribes (for small/individual corruption) as victims and not culprits.. I think most of the us will prefer not giving bribe if work can be done without it. Big corporate and large scale corruption is another matter altogether. They use corruption for their own advantage, while the common man mostly has to shelve money to get something which is his/her right, like getting the passport, or a birth or marriage certificate, etc.
Q - It’s a part of our mindset. Its more of a psychology thing. It can be reduced, but never totally eradicated.
A – Yes, it… Read the rest
Aug 22, 2011
There is no hiding the fact that corruption is prevalent everywhere in India, with babus, bureaucrats and politicians sitting at the top of the list of ‘most corrupt people‘. Corruption has become the elephant in the room, which everybody knows you have to face at every walk of life, but nobody wants to discuss it or stand for a solution. We have to pay bribes to get your birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate and everything that comes in between.
I guess corruption seeped into our social fabric during the pre-1991 era when Nehruvian methods were followed and every big industry was a public sector company. State Bank of India, Bhel, LIC, BSNL, Indian Oil, NTPC and ONGC became the companies where everybody wanted a job, for it provided job security and ‘under the table‘ earning options too. People working in these companies formed the Indian middle class during the pre-liberalization era.
But after the economic reforms of 1991, competition opened up and many foreign companies set up shop in India. It also led to the emergence of the service economy with the booming of the BPO and IT sectors. A lot of youngsters started earning handsome salaries and… Read the rest
Aug 5, 2011
In my previous article , I had a doubt about how the public will react to Anna’s second fast unto death. I was more skeptical about the response to his Jail Bharo call. But I am glad all my skepticism has been proved wrong. The public has responded, and how. Tens of thousands of people have come out on the streets in support of Anna Hazare. People have courted arrests in hundreds and in Delhi, police has to convert a stadium into a jail to keep those arrested. There were around 100,000 people marching to India Gate in Delhi and around Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Now can the government arrest them all?
I am really glad that the public has risen to the call given by Anna Hazare. But what is special about Anna Hazare that he has galvanized the whole nation when most of us didn’t know him at all a few months ago. How is one man able to dictate terms to the government? How has he cut across the social and economic divides of the populace which is so deeply entrenched in our society?
History of Work Done
He is an ex-army man who fought in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and later build his… Read the rest
May 5, 2011
In April , the government agreed to a joint drafting committee for a Lokpal Bill as they were ‘bound by duty‘ of the people to do so. They promised to discuss the points raised by Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and others and present a Lokpal Bill in the monsoon session of the parliament. August is here, four months have passed since Anna Hazare galvanized the whole nation with his fast, but has the last four months been anything but a hogwash by our politicians?
The talks never got anywhere because both sides blamed each other before and after every round of talks. The demand for televising the talks was never accepted by the government. Even after numerous round of talks, there was no consensus on the various contentious points of the Jan Lokpal Bill. This was very visible in the press conferences by both parties after every round of fresh talks. It was clear there was no trust between the two sides of the drafting committee, from the very beginning. Without mutual trust and respect, expecting a positive outcome from the committee was like expecting Tom and Jerry to become friends because they were on TV.
Finally, the government is ready to… Read the rest
Over the last month, amid all the controversies and media debates around the Jan Lokpal Bill , I feel we have somehow lost the essence of the movement. There have all kind of remarks in the media, from comparing Jantar Mantar to Tahrir Square, whether Jan Lokpal Bill will give a lot of powers to Lokpal, or the smear campaign against the civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee. Somehow, nobody is focussing on corruption and the urgency to tackle it but everybody seems to be interested in small trivial issues raised by some egoistic individuals. Below I am listing four very important points about this movement from my observations and point of view -
1. Jantar Mantar is not India’s Tahrir Square
Anna Hazare’s fast and the kind of support it gathered from the general populace have made many people, including the media, compare it to the protests in the middle east countries. There were calls of equating Jantar Mantar with Tahrir Square. While I agree that people are frustrated with the current state of affairs in matters of corruption in this country, it will be unwise to compare both. An Egypt type of agitation is needed when… Read the rest