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August 28, 2011

The war continues


AAJ AADHI jeet hui hai, poori jeet ke liye sangharsh jaari rahega, so said Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan, Delhi after the Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh met him on the rostrum and handed over a letter from Prime Minister of India informing of the acceptance of the three main issues by both houses of Parliament today.
The unprecedented crowd there burst into jubilation when Anna Hazare announced that he would break his protest fast on Sunday, August 28 at 10 AM. The common man has been invited to be a part of the celebration when the leader of the masses breaks his fast of 12 days plus.

DING-DONG BATTLE

In the last 12 days that Anna has been on fast, the Government of India and some of its ministers like P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal opposed tooth and nail Anna Hazare and his idea of a movement by the civil society to eradicate corruption. The 74 year old simple but determined veteran army soldier hailing from Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra was even denied a place in vast Delhi where he could sit for a protest fast.

The Delhi Police controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs used every dirty trick to ensure that the simple Maratha drawing inspiration from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was left high and dry without any support in the national capital. He was arrested from his residence before he could sit on indefinite fast along with his supporters at the Jai Prakash Narayan park on the plea that section 144 CrPC had been promulgated there. Indeed it was an illegal arrest because Anna Hazare had not violated the law by then. To complete the harassment of a peaceful citizen, the Gandhian protester was sent to Tihar jail along with his colleagues of the civil society.

The citizens felt outraged. The TV cameras presented to the nation what high handedness the UPA government was doing and how the government was violating the basic human rights of peaceful protesters. People took to streets, raised slogans against the prevailing corruption and electrified the mind of common man.

The sensible ministers read the writing on the wall and it is believed that on the intervention of the Prime Minister, all charges against Anna Hazare and his colleagues of the civil society were dropped and he was informed that he was a free man. Now it was Anna’s turn to pay the government in its own coins. He refused to walk out of the jail until all restrictions on his holding the protest fast were removed and a suitable place was earmarked for it. Eventually, after a hard bargaining, the Ramlila Maidan was allotted for the protest fast and silly restrictions removed.

Thereafter the ex-soldier who drove heavy army trucks for 12 years and came under the enemy fire sat in the driving seat. The dirty tricks department threw many googlies but he batted well.

BARBED ARROWS BOOMRANGED

When the ministers of Manmohan government had exhausted their dirty tricks, the Congress party took over the task of spoiling Anna’s image as a crusader for a cause. A young MP and party spokesman, Manish Tiwari briefed the national press that Anna Hazare was an army deserter. Could an army deserter be loyal to the nation or the country, Tewari asked?

But the barbed arrow boomeranged on the Congress party as the Indian Army issued a press statement that Anna Hazare was not a deserter but was given an honourable discharge after completion of normal service. The Army even listed the medals awarded to the soldier-driver both in peace and war.

Same Manish Tiwary burnt his fingers badly when in an angry and sarcastic voice he briefed the press addressing Anna in absentia “tum kis munh se bhrashtachar ka virodh kar rahe ho, tum swyam bhrashtachar mein sar se pair tak lipte ho”? The legal inquiry that he referred to was ultimately found to have discharged Anna Hazare as no personal involvement of his was found.

Another spokesman, Rashid Alwi sarcastically suggested to the press that the civil society movement of Anna Hazare was conceived of and supported by USA. The US government denied any hand in the movement. Possibly a section of the Congress party was embarrassing the Prime Minister by mentioning USA as the PM is seen close to that country.

A suggestion was made by the same ill-natured politicians that Anna’s Aandolan was backed by the jobless misguided youth who were drunkards. The youth did support Anna in large numbers but they were all not in love with the booze. Admittedly some unruly elements did come to Ramlila Maidan to drink and make mischief but they were singled out and asked to leave the sacrosanct soil of mass movement to eradicate corruption.

CONGRESS PARTY AND GOVERNMENT

Some ministers of the Manmohan cabinet consider themselves close to Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president. They were dead opposed to holding any talks or negotiations with Team Anna. Those ministers looked to 10 Janpath for orders and support. Unfortunately for them, the occupant of that address was out of the country for a major surgery and was not available for guidance. However, many a time when the government ministers and Team Anna were on the verge of reaching an agreement, some ministers sabotaged it from within.

Anna Hazare is made of sterner stuff and he remained steadfast to his protest fast. The team of doctors were indeed worried about Anna’s health after he crossed day ten without a morsel of cereal or fruit or any form of solid entering into his stomach. The alarm bell did ring and doctors planned hospitalisation in case the medical condition deteriorated further but the soldier-fighter was determined to fight on. He did fight on and won laurels as stated heretofore.

PARLIAMENT PLAYED ROLE WELL

The Parliament played a positive role and found a way out to satisfy aspirations of the civil society and yet remain within parameters of the constitution of India. Both the houses sat in session even on a Saturday to resolve the ticklish issue. And they succeeded. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress Party cooperated with each other to save the life of Anna Hazare, a brave son of India.

Both the houses of Parliament witnessed good debating skills of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley but none from the treasury benches except Pranab Mukherjee, leader of the house. Many a times, it appeared that negotiations were coming to a nought but senior leaders like Advani Ji, Prime Minister himself intervened to save the day. Speaker Meira Kumar sat smiling and reminding the unruly elements to maintain decorum by saying ‘baith jaiye, baith jaiye’.

Rahul Gandhi put in an appearance, a rare event, during the zero hour and made a ten-minute speech that was objected to by the BJP benches. The scion read out from a prepared paper and that is not permitted under the rules of the Lok Sabha. But the Speaker did not forbid it for reasons known to her. Instead of helping solve the tangle, Rahul threw a red herring by saying that the Lokpal should be a constitutional post and not only statutory.

Perhaps he wanted to shelve the issue for the present to avoid unnecessary problems that might crop up later about the wealth of their extended family. He rallied those who did not wish Anna well but eventually their strategy did not stand the test of the time. Common man opined that Rahul Gandhi undid what good work the Prime Minister had done the previous day.

The solution hammered out by all concerned was to incorporate the three points sent by Anna in the recommendations to be forwarded by the houses to the standing committee. The ticklish points comprised:

1.) Inclusion of lower bureaucracy in the ambit of Lokpal

2.) Citizens’Charter for all government deptartments. And their observance to be under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.

3.) Establishing Lokayukta in states on the lines of Lokpal at the centre.
It was the bonhomie prevailing in the house that enabled the inclusion of these points before sending the recommendations forward.

ROLE OF MEDIA

The media, specially the TV channels, played a major role in keeping the common man informed and maintain pressure on the government to listen to the recommendations of the civil society. Times Now stole the show by informing and entertaining the viewers. AAJTAK and ZEE News were head and shoulders above others in their coverage from the Sansad to the Ramlila Maidan and doing good political commentaries.

Bollywood came out in full force to support Anna Hazare. Sonu Nigam sang songs and moved the crowd emotionally with his rendering of the popular martyr song’ mera rang de basanti chola’. Aamir Khan came over to express his solidarity with Anna Hazare and sang a song from Lagaan that went well with the crowd.
The youth was well represented at ground Zero all along. Professionals like lawyers, doctors, and teachers came over from far and wide. There was even a serving civil judge from the Tees Hazari courts. Many retired army officers, police officers, and some serving senior officers came over to express their support for and solidarity with Anna Hazare.

WAR WILL GO ON

Anna Hazare thanked one and all for the support given to him. He especially thanked men, women and youth who stood the vagaries of nature but did not move out of the Ramlila Maidan. He was especially happy that the Movement of Civil Society remained non-violent and ‘Ahimsa’ was the mantra for them.
The common man and the civil society have to remain awake so that the Jan Lokpal bill eventually becomes law.

If the activists go to sleep, the govt will go into coma.
Even after the Jan Lokpal comes into existence, corruption has to be eradicated by the common man. No one should ask for a bribe and none should be offered by no one. There are other areas awaiting reform like the electoral reforms, bringing the black money of Indians back from foreign banks to the Indian banks and so on.

Anna Hazare and the crowd raised slogans of patriotism vande mataram and Bharat mata ki jai time and again. Under the influence of pseudo-secular policies of a government the slogan with which the war of independence was fought, the Quit India movement was made a people’s movement, Vande Mataram had almost faded into oblivion.

Even on August 15 ceremony at the Red Fort every year, Vande Mataram is just not sung because Nehru onwards no Prime Minister encouraged it. Anna Hazare revived the national spirit by asking the crowd to accompany him in raising the patriotic slogan, Vande Mataram.

August 13, 2011

Anna's Never say die attitude

Anna Hazare, an ex-Army soldier and presently a social activist is determined to root out corruption from the Indian polity. The masses are with him. The corrupt government opposes him at every step.



INDIA IS economically poor but spiritually rich. India lives in two extreme situations. Some live in palatial houses and some find it difficult to have a thatched roof overhead. Some are clad in Savoy Row suits but most have half a piece of loin cloth to cover the private parts and save the other half for a later day. Nevertheless, the people of India have one aim: DHARMA TO BE FOLLOWED AND PRACTISED. Dharma is much more than Religion. Dharma is not rituals. Dharma is what you do the whole day, nay, the whole life is assessed at the end of the present life. The next life, that is life beyond Death depends on your KARMA - action and inaction. Thus, by and large, most Indians are conscious of the Dharma for guidance.

PHILOSOPHY IN ACTION

The philosophy of life that has been summarised in the lines above guide the day to day life of an average Hindu. It is his belief that this philosophy of life emanates from the most ancient scriptures in the library of MAN and known as VEDAS are not only sacrosanct but also are to be taken as, what the Christians call- the Gospel Truth. That explains why poor people may forego meals but would resist the temptation to steal.

How does one explain hundreds of cases of crime that are detected by the police and criminals put in jail after a legal trial? Well, they are the people who have no faith in Dharma or the path of righteousness. Those law breakers, big and small, are the ones encouraging corruption, indulging in corruption and looting the government treasury where poor man's money is kept.
There is an unholy nexus between the politician, the police, the bureaucracy and criminals of the underworld to be united together to swindle the public money. Since that money born of corrupt practices cannot be deposited in the Indian banks, the economic criminals, including government ministers and heads of political parties deposit them in Swiss banks and elsewhere. No questions are asked there and they aid corruption to flourish.

ANNA HAZARE MOVEMENT

THE SEPTUAGENARIAN DIMINUTIVE MAN CLAD IN HOME SPUN CLOTH CALLED kHADI HAS PUT HIS LIFE AT STAKE TO CLEANSE THE INDIAN SOCIETY OF CORRUPTION. He was a non-commissioned officer in the Indian Army driving heavy vehicles across the country. He earned his bread honestly and on retirement gave his entire savings in charity to build wells, Dharamshalas or free rest houses for pilgrims and motivated his village people not to grease the palm of govt officials for doing the work of common peasants. He enlarged the scope and encompassed the state of Maharashtra. With People's support he succeeded in uprooting many ministers of the state and having the corrupt governments fall. The success never went into his head. He continued living in a small room in a free public rest house that he had built for peasant travellers.
Anna Hazare came to cleanse New Delhi and is at it now. The entire population of India is fed up of the corrupt practices of govt ministers, bureaucrats, police officials and the rest of the govt paraphernalia due to their making money under the table. If you ask for an honest minister in the government of India, you will draw a blank. These corrupt people stash the ill gotten wealth in foreign banks which are tax havens. Anna Hazare has taken a vow to cleanse the society of the aforesaid corrupt elements and thus make the society corruption-free.
The ultimate beneficiary of a corruption-free society will be the common man.

MODUS OPERANDI

The Anna Hazare Team comprises Arvind Kejariwal, Kiran Bedi and a host of volunteers who support the movement and move with the crusader bag and baggage from place to place. All volunteers spend their own money and time. They do not expect anything in return. This phenomenon is not only surprising but amazing to the corrupt people and they do not believe their eyes when they see the selfless workers. The dishonest govt officials go on an overdrive to defame the Anna Hazare Team and leak out all sorts of uncomplimentary stories and anecdote to defame them. However, the canards fall flat because the mischief mongers cannot face the Anna Team that has the Truth as its support.

Right now the ministers of govt of India are advocating that a Lokpal may oversee investigation of corruption cases but the said Lokpal, as per the govt draft, will have no teeth to implement his own decisions. On the other hand, the draft Lokpal bill submitted by Team Anna has provision for a powerful Lokpal who can arrest criminals, prosecute politicians including ministers and carry the case to the hilt. Team Anna wants to include the Prime Minister, members of parliament, judiciary and so on within the purview and jurisdiction of all kinds of the Lokpal. Thus, the new Lokpal will have sufficient tooth to bark and bite and thus root out corruption of allsorts from Bharat.
It is such a wonderful idea; where is the hitch? Well, those who have been corrupt all along in service may find it difficult to forsake that style of life. Hence, under the leadership of corrupt ministers, the bureaucrats, police and politicians have united to raise technical objections in the proposals of the representatives of the civil society as the Anna Team is referred to. It is an old game of bureaucracy to ask a number of questions, both relevant and irrelevant, keep the case file pending and gain time hoping that people’s enthusiasm will wane and the mass movement may peter out. That indeed will open the door to corrupt practices wide open for accommodating one and all. The swelling numbers of criminals and law breakers will be awful and thus the corrupt officials and ministers may succeed in intimidating honest citizens.
The Team Anna is of the opinion that the intentions of the govt of India in getting a bill passed to promote a powerful Lokpal are doubtful. The corrupt ministers and bureaucrats wish to create an institution of a weak Lokpal who would just be a paper tiger without any teeth.

LAST DITCH BATTLE

The ministers of government of India are adamant in not conceding any point to Team Anna. Team Anna is determined to deliver the goods for the good of common man.
If nothing comes out of this agitation where the masses have given full support to the Team Anna, they would lose faith in protests, agitations and challenging the evil sections of the society.

There is so much bloodshed and corruption in the society not because the Evil is stronger than the Good but because the good people suffer in silence and do not raise their voice in protest. The Good must challenge the Evil and eventually defeat it. The battles in the Ramayan between Ram and Ravan give us that eternal message. The Mahabharat was a major war fought for eighteen days and the entire country was at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The message of both the Ramayan and theMahabharat is loud and clear. The forces of Good people in the society must challenge the Evil forces and defeat them decisively so that they are silenced for good.
Anna Hazare has made his intention clear. 16th August 2011 onwards he would go on fast unto death to let the government of India see reason. The aim is to have an act of Parliament for establishing the institution of an effective Lokpal who would help eradicate corruption and rein in the corrupt elements in future too. The end result will be COMMON GOOD OF THE COMMON MAN