Top 5 Take Aways from the Anti-Corruption Movement

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 –

Anna Hazare Anti-Corruption Rally, Delhi

Anna has found support from people of all age groups

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 towns and villages, holding live debates and educating the people about the various fine points of the Lokpal Bill and the importance of each clause. This has never happened before. Politicians have never bothered to debate with the people about the fine prints of any bill. By involving the public and making them aware of why and what they are doing, they have enabled a healthy environment which has resulted in the strengthening of the democratic institution.

2. Hopelessness to Hope

If you would have asked anyone about the issue of corruption in India at the start of the year 2011, you would have only got hopelessness and pessimism in return. But in one year, Anna has changed that mood to one of hope and optimism. People have seen the power of peaceful protests and how they can pressurize the government to do their job properly. This must be the biggest take-away from this movement.

3. Uniting India for something other than Cricket

When India won the World Cup this year in April, people came out on the streets and danced and partied all night long. I wondered that do we have the same unity and patriotism for other issues which are much more important to our country. But my doubts were put to rest as during the two fast-unto-death’s which Anna underwent in April and August, he received huge support from people of all walks of life – from big cities to small towns and villages like. It was so glad to see the whole of India united and fighting for a cause that really matters to every one of us.

4. Gandhian Values

It was India who gave the world the weapon of peaceful protest – Satyagraha. But questions have been raised in recent times about its relevance in a 21st century world. But this movement put all such speculations to rest and showed that Gandhian methods of peaceful and non-violent protest are as much effective today as they were 70 years go. It was amazing to see young leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and others using technology (internet, social media) to gather support and spread their word quickly among people.

5. Patriotism and Power of Youth

A famous quote says that “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government“. This movement has shown the power of youth and the importance of patriotism in democracy. By coming out in big numbers and by even courting arrest in huge numbers, the Indian youth has shown the importance of public protests in democracy. It has shown to the world that even a corrupt government will find it difficult to operate if the public is aware and ready to hold the government accountable for their actions.

I would like to conclude by saying that just as a strong and responsible opposition is needed to keep the government on its toes and working properly, a strong public (or civil society) is needed to keep any democratic institution on its toes to do its duty responsibly.

5 Reasons why Anna Resonates with the Masses

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 village into a model village, self sustained and free of all social ills. People from all over the world have come to see the amazing work he has done. He has not married and devoted his entire life to his village, and later in his fight against corruption. After that he has fought corruption in Maharashtra and he was one of the active crusader behind forcing the Maharashtra government to bring in the Maharashtra RTI act, one of the first in the country. He has given his life for the service of the nation since the last 35-40 years..

Clean Image

He has devoted his life to social activism, mostly in Maharashtra. He developed his village Ralegan Sidhi into a model village which people from all over the world come to see. It is considered a model of self sustainable living and of environmental conservation. The World Bank Group has concluded that the village was transformed from a degraded village in extreme poverty to one of the richest in the country.

More than a lakh people march from India Gate to Ramlila Grounds on 21 Aug

More than a lakh people march from India Gate to Ramlila Grounds on 21 Aug

No Personal Assets or Motives

Anna Hazare lives in a small room attached to a temple in his village since 1975. He has no assets and has a bank balance of Rs 67,000. Whatever land he has is being used for development purposes for his village. His only source of income is the pension which he gets from the Army. He has devoted his life for the betterment of his village, and after that fighting against corruption. He has never done anything for his personal motives.

Gandhian Principles

What is most heartening is to see Anna Hazare following Gandhian principles and using the same methods of fasting and Satyagraha for his cause. In a generation which has come to doubt Gandhi and the relevance of his principles in modern times, this was ample proof of the relevance of his methods irrespective of time and generations. He has called to our souls in the same peaceful manner that Gandhiji did.

Given Hope to Millions of Frustrated Indians

More than anything else, the one reason why Anna has resonated with the masses is because he has given hope to millions of frustrated Indians. Everybody knows there is corruption in every nook and corner of the country. But the BIGGEST problem is that nobody can do anything about it. Everybody is helpless in the regard that there is nobody to complaint, and even if they complaint, they end up being harassed by the same people. Anna has given people hope and shown them a way which might lead to a corruption free India. That is why he caught the government totally unaware!!

It won’t be wrong to say that Anna Hazare has come as the Messenger of Hope in the current state of our country. He has managed to turn all the cynicism and pessimism into an enthusiastic and optimistic revolution by the people of India.

Ripple of Hope

When nothing around you is going your way,
When nobody is hearing what you have to say..
Times like these are the real test of your will,
For amid storms is the challenge to stand still..

When your life will take a sudden turn,
When you will reach a point of no return
Just keep moving ahead despite of every hurdle,
For there is always light at the end of the tunnel..

When all you get is blow after blow,
When every hope and promise seems hollow
You have to decide how high you want to rise,
For you know in every crisis there is a prize..

When nobody around you knows what to do,
When everybody is searching for a clue
That is the time for you to stand strong,
For every night ends no matter how long..

When everything looks like falling apart,
It is very important not to loose heart
For every step you take against the slope,
You are giving rise to a ripple of hope..

Let us all spread a ripple of hope

Let us all spread a ripple of hope


Don’t allow yourself to use the word “tired”

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, who has been a state level Taekwondo Champion of the state of California. She was telling me about her strenuous training program which she used to follow when she was training. Among other things, the one thing which she told me was that they were not allowed to use the word “tired even if the trainer asked them to do 300 push ups. She said “tired” was the word which they could use only after they turned 80.

It is often said that what you say is what you get. What we think leads to what we say, and what we say leads to how we act. So in a way, if we closely watch what we are thinking and saying, that defines our actions and results. Whatever we say, whether good or bad, is picked up by our subconscious mind and and it makes that real. So saying that you are tired will actually make you feel tired and you will have all the symptoms of being tired to prove that. But we don’t realize that it was our word which caused it in the first place.

So when someone asks you “How are you doing?” and you reply with, “I am tired” or “I am not feeling too well“, we are actually contributing towards the impending tiredness or sickness by saying these words. The same goes for all the negative thoughts that come into our mind and out of our mouth, like “I don’t have enough money“, “I am not lucky” and so on.

Remove these words from your vocabulory

Remove these words from your vocabulory

The point is whenever we say something, we increase our belief in it. We give power to outside situations, individuals and circumstances which is always disempowering. Athletes, like my friend in the example above, are not allowed to use such language because the trainers are aware of this fact. When we speak something, we are actually laying the seeds of making that statement a reality. And if you don’t believe me, look at your lives and introspect for a while. Do you see a connection between what you have been saying and how your life is turning out?

Similarly, there is amazing power in positive thoughts and sayings. When somebody asks you, “How are you doing?” and you reply, “I am doing great!!“, you will actually feel a smile on your face and some adrenaline rushing through your body. It is impossible to say “I am doing great” without actually feeling good. And you pass on this positivity to your surroundings too. So if you are stretching your limits while doing a task, instead of saying “I am tired“, next time try saying, “I am not tired” again and again, and you will gain the strength to go that extra mile and achieve the impossible.

So one of the quickest ways to improve your way of being is to change the words you use, to others and to yourself too. When I say words, it includes the spoken words and the unspoken thoughts to yourself. Just by changing the words we use, we can release a lot of tension and create joy. So the next time you speak, be aware of the words that come out of your mouth. Be aware how other’s negative words make you speak out negative words, and vice versa. Then try to catch yourself when in a negative state and say positive words instead. Speak words which profit others, depicts hope, courage and inspiration and which create positive images. Then notice the difference in how your surroundings and people around react to your positivity.

Use more of these words

Use more of these words

There is a popular quote that goes like below –

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

So the next time, instead of saying –

  • “I can’t exercise more, I am tired.”, say, “I am not tired, let me do one more round.”
  • “I can’t work outside because I have asthma”, say, “I will work outside to prove I am bigger than my asthma”
  • “I can’t do this because I don’t have enough money”, say, “How can I earn enough money to start doing this?”
  • “I am not feeling good, it is going to be a bad day”, say, “Today is going to be a great day and I am raring to go”
  • “My life sucks”, say, “My life rocks!!”

Do this and see your days getting brighter, dreams getting real and your life rocking!! Do this when you wake up. Do this when you are going into a negative frame of mind again. Do this once. Do this again.. and again… and again!!

Crossing the Road

When one crosses a road,
It’s a triumph over a challenge!
In few steps hope is echoed,
Inspiring others to take a plunge!!

Roads get crossed everyday,
By people like me and you!
Many will follow the way,
But lead shall only a few!!

Have you rested too much,
Then why not begin to play?
It’s time to leave the crutch,
And see what is far far away!!

Riding on the shoulders of hope,
And dancing under the blue sky!
Jump holding on to destiny’s rope,
And even gravity we shall defy!!

Lets leap into a dream land,
Where nothing is impossible!
It is time for all of us to stand,
To fight for and win our battle!!

On the way hardships might arise,
If you think you can’t take the load!
Just close your eyes and visualize,
The sight of a man crossing a road!!

Take hope from smallest of acts

Take hope from the smallest of acts