Why Some Are Not Anna

If there is anyone in today’s India that would receive more scorn than the pedophile and the baby-murderer, it is he who does not provide the fullest support to Anna Hazare and his Jan Lok Pal campaign. So much as express a smidgen of doubt about the “Second Independence Struggle” and be prepared to be digitally and socially mauled, unfriended, unfollowed, drawn, quartered and subject to death by a thousand cuts. “Congress agent” “Traitor” “Jealous of Anna Hazare’s success” “I cannot believe you are the same person I once respected” and “What have you done for the country? I am bunking work and sending SMS and have you done that?” are just some of the more polite responses you should expect to encounter should you not be a member of “100000 Indians in support of Anna Hazare”. This invective is ironic considering that Team Anna and its supporters, being so zealously possessive of their rights of dissent (and rightfully too),  would be expected to give others the right to disagree without making them run the gauntlet.

But alas.

For many, I believe the Jan Lok Pal movement has taken an almost religious turn. Bhajans are sung on India TV in praise of  the new Gandhi Anna-sahab as he looks indulgently on and “Anna is India” hashtags trend on Twitter (reminiscent of the India is Indira of many decades ago). The movement has a very simple message—-“They” (i.e. politicians) are bad. “We” (aka Anna since we are all Anna) are good. We, the good, will bring the bad to justice. And Jan Lok Pal is our Holy Book and Anna the messiah”. Given that the reign of the UPA government has been marked by corruption on an epic scale, the very simple solution to this problem that the Jan Lok Pal suggests (“We will fix these devils”) is definitely a very attractive one. It is no wonder that people show an almost religious reverence to its basic principle and are confounded as to how anyone with even a speck of decency could not be wholly enthused by this idea.

Here is the thing, respected Team Anna members. The people who oppose the Anna movement aren’t all homogenous in their evil-ness. There is quite a bit of variance in their perspectives and many of these people come from vastly different, even inimical, ideological positions.

In this camp of anti-Annists are definitely UPA supporters. They hate the Anna movement because they find it difficult to control. Of course you will find them taking the principled high road shouting “This is not constitutional” and “Civil society cannot take the role of elected representatives” but as most of us know, these “protectors of parliamentary democracy” are quite fine if the empowered “civil society” consists of their yes-men and sock puppets. Yes I am talking about the travesty that is the National Advisory Council. You will also find a section of the right wing opposing the movement in a very muted fashion. These people find nothing wrong in the aims or the modus operandi of the Jon Lok Pal movement but are not exactly enthusiastic about Anna Hazare as its leader—-they would prefer someone more definitely in their camp like Baba Ramdev. However now since Anna Hazare has become the definite spearhead of the anti-UPA government, they are forced to lie low.

Then there are the Marxists like Arundhati Roy. While they are firmly supportive of Naxals and other dispossessed (including minorities) classes using extra-constitutional means to seize control of a democracy, they are opposed to middle-class, flag-waving Vande-Mataram-chanting urbanites adopting the same means, even though they be non-violent. This is because in classical Marxist doctrine while the former is the revolution of the proletariat (i.e. good) the latter is the counter-revolution of the petty bourgeois, the privileged upper crust that uses nationalism/patriotism (a concept that Marxists hate) as their rallying call. Hence bad. Closely aligned with this viewpoint are those that see the Anna movement as a manifestation of class warfare. The privileged, largely urban Anna-supporters with their cell-phone and twitter accounts and their worship of Magsaysay winners, are seen as representatives of an elite class that is trying to push back against a democracy which they believe has been taken over by the unwashed masses.

And then there are those who come not so much from ideology but from pragmatics. They wonder how corruption, principally a problem of large government, can be solved by adding yet another layer to government. What, they wonder, is the guarantee that the Lok Pal itself cannot be compromised and how many supervisory bodies do we keep needing to add to ensure that the one below that is pristine pure?

Some of these even agree with a few the ideas of the Jan Lok Pal, namely the need to free investigative agencies of the stranglehold that politicians and bureaucrats exercise over their functioning but do not agree for the need to dismantle the existing structure and replace it with another. They believe that unless the root enablers of corruption are dealt with, merely adding layers of enforcement mechanisms will not only not solve the problem but make it worse. They want independence of investigative agencies but they want, even more, transparency and openness. As an example, currently much of government procurement is hidden behind a thick screen of smoke inside which the wizards of graft cast their spells. Among other first steps, they want to mandate a publicly accessible database which has to carry all government contracting opportunities, including notices of proposed government procurement actions, contract awards, sales of government assets. If such a thing could be made to exist, then we may see on what declared criteria treadmills are rented from Germany or when limousines are requisitioned for the luxurious conveyance of politicians or how many contracts the minister’s nephew’s company gets. They want administrative reforms and a reduction of bureaucracy, which they would like us to believe would serve the cause of reducing corruption more effectively than replacing the CBI with a Jan Lok Pal.

And they believe all this can be done through the normal democratic process if only the middle class was unified, at poll time, in making corruption the over-riding issue. To the standard “All parties are equally corrupt” line they say that the reason they are is because corruption in India has never been made to become an electoral deal-breaker. While there is often heat and a lot of light, come election day, the voting masses (i.e. the very few who even bother) put more weight on issues of religion, caste, language and personality. In contests that pit a tainted leader against a so-far-untainted politician, many times it is the former that wins. Corrupt politicians make triumphant comebacks. As one famous politician, accused of multiple graft cases of mind-boggling scales once said “The fact that I am elected time and again proves the people know I am innocent.”

Has fundamental change ever been wrought at the polling station? They point out that it has. After Emergency, the whole country united under the banner of democracy and threw out a government which had never lost an election since Independence. Defeating Indira Gandhi and the might of the Congress party in those days was considered unthinkable. But it happened. And it served its purpose. Since that time, no one has dared to impose the kind of blatant, all-pervasive authoritarian control that the Congress tried to in those days. So yes the system can still be made to work. It is difficult. It requires sustained effort. It is not glamorous and does not carry with it “I am part of the second freedom struggle” feel-good. Most importantly, the solutions that come out are not perfect. But some things, important things, can still be done inside the defined boundaries of the democratic process. If only we let it.

At least that’s what they say.

And why do I say all this? It is to show that not all who oppose do for the same reason and the knowledge of these subtle distinctions may be useful knowledge for those Anna-supporters who want to engage in debate and discussion.

For those not interested, there is always the unfriend-unfollow, “We good you bad” option.

149 thoughts on “Why Some Are Not Anna

  1. Brilliant article, Arnab.

  2. I would be more happy if we spoke on each and every point of Jan lokpal bill.

    What are the points you agree upon and what are the points which you do not?

    When Team Anna was asked what if Lokpal was himself corrupt they replied we can complain about Lokpal to the judiciary who will take steps to remove them within a time frame of 1 year.

    Also a Jan Lok Pall bill gives far less powers to Lokpal than an Income Tax Grade B officer. For eg, an Income Tax officer can issue notices to Cheif Justice of India, the prime minister and everyone. He can search their premises and seize any assets which no explanation is provided as to the source of income.

    Compared to Lokpal, he can just investigate the cases.

  3. was wondering what took it so long???
    bravo bro…u’ve hit the nail on its head.
    with so much of supposedly awakening among the middle class, hope they show the intent in next elections. things wud b far better thn.

  4. It has become more of a Show off !!
    over hyped….
    Wont debate that if its Worth or Not or the usefulness of Janlok Pal ,but yes still the Masses are actually Enjoying and trying to prove how much patriotic one is !!! by simply updating their FB pics and Statuses !!

  5. Great post.

  6. … err, and what is your point exactly? Unless the only premise you have is about not liking the fact that movement has taken an “almost religious” turn, I do not see any argument you make which makes you “un”-Anna.

    … and yes, by the way, of all the people “unfriending , unfollowing” you, has anyone made a remark about you being in the US of A and not really in touch with the movement to be able to make a competent commentary of the events? No? So there.

  7. Hi Arnab, agree with your views here.
    I also wrote about the same issue in my blog a couple of days back

    Must say you have articulated these thoughts much better

  8. Well said, GB. My sentiments exactly.

  9. I hope all the concerned citizens also come out to vote during election time. Meanwhile it would be helpful if they spread awareness and literacy among the masses who are kept illiterate for the benefit of the rich and the powerful.

  10. Hi GB,whole country didnt unite against Indira Gandhi and Congress in 1977.. almost the whole of South India (4 states) voted for Congress back then – tht helped Congress to retain a some what decent no: of seats… Thats primarily bcoz many of the atrocities of emergency werent committed or felt in South India – also there werent any forced vasectomy operations etc. Anothe rmajor factor is that the RSS, which campaigned against Gandhi – the only election in which they have ever campaigned or taken active part, has ZERO influence on the political scene in the south .. While RSS campaign in North India was a success and the region entirely stood against Indira Gandhi, their election performance was really good in South India

  11. Excellent post! Hits the nail on its head!

  12. @MS…are you THe MS? ur bro is supporting anna

  13. The only reason I am not anti the Anna movement is because I am relieved to see that finally people have woken up to the biggest issue that is hampering India; Corruption. TN showed the way when it reduced the incumbent govt. to the third lead (DMK is not even the main opposition party). This inspite of DMK trying to woo voters by throwing money at them.
    Corruption has become so blatant and the political class behave so entitled about it with a “we are above you and your petty law” attitude that people needed an outlet to express their disgust. Anna’s movement has just provided that. Is Anna’s bill the panacea to corruption. Frankly I don’t know. The problem with creating an all powerful overseer is who will oversee the overseer. However, India still has a track record where select institutions have been able to perform exceedingly well because of well meaning individuals. Case in point being the EC. Therefore I do believe that with the right people in charge this committee may actually work.

    Finally the arrogance of Congress is really irritating. managed to catch the big fight in NDTV with Congress spokesperson Renuka. Her arrogance was to be seen to be believed. She constantly put down the opposition and the civil society by saying that unlike her team the others had not won any election and so had no right to speak or anything.

  14. Arundhati being against Anna is a good sign that there is something good in the movement. But I don’t like the presence of the NAC wallahs around Anna. And I don’t like the double standards: “Anna kare tho chamatkar, Baba Ramdev kare tho balatkar.”

    Also, I am sure your stand will attract criticism that since you live outside and don’t have to deal with the govt and corruption here, you believe in nice parliamentary, democratic niceties. Here, who shouts the loudest, gets what he wants, usually. It is related to your previous post about questioning your ‘patriotic’ credentials as you are an NRI. You need to have a personal stake here. You need to get affected by the decisive stand you take on policies in India. That will lend you credibility. Otherwise, I am afraid, however much well meant your intentions or opinions are, being an NRI, will always undermine them.

    Basic funda is: you can’t live a good safe life in the West and feel patriotic too. Having your cake and eating it too 🙂 Leave the feel-good patriotism to the India dwellers, buddy!

  15. Exactly what I think about this movement !! Equally interesting is how our media is covering it….

  16. Well…what to say…brilliant as ever. Was wondering what took you so long. The movement is now controlling the man, as predicted. Without all sense of logic, and reason. The old fool climbed up the willow tree, with his crony Kejriwal shouting and cheering from below…and now can’t climb down. And our great democratic fellow citizens are anyways in the festive spirit, like the World cup celebration is still going on…anyone doubted this will happen?

    Sad part is I actually feel pity for BJP and other opposition parties like the Left and Hindi parties. They are not in a position to not join the bandwagon…nor do they have a spine to stand against both UPA or Saint Anna. Quite a sad state of our democracy.

  17. A very balanced opinion. Rightly points out the various shades of dissent.

    While the efficacy of the bill is debatable (and I’d be open to debating that), the way it is being piloted leaves much to be desired. There is talk about (and rightly so) the undemocratic approach and why the ones who support it now do not show their dissent on election day.

    How about the masses that have shown such unwavering support for the bill (and Anna) going back to their constituencies and exercising their right under the Representation of People’s Act(RPA) to recall their MPs if their MP does not announce support for the bill? If at least 10% of the registered voters in a constituency register their dissent, then the Election Commission will have to conduct a referendum in that constituency for the recall. And if a majority support a recall, then there is fresh election. Let the masses then choose the one who supports what they want. Then there would be no need for these indefinite fasts. Nor will there be a need for the argument of “Either you are with us or you are against us”.

  18. well written article.

  19. Deep3rdMan – I guess GB thinks, debates and then writes about more issues concerning India than do the vast majority of the people participating in the ‘I am Anna campaign’. The breath of matter considered in this blog including pre emptive defenses against NRI argument go to show the thoughts of the author vs. the people who oppose.

    And finally, the argument about having personal stake. By the argument a bihari or a punjabi would cease to be a bihari and gujju once they start working in ‘Mumbai’ or ‘Paschim banga’

  20. Beautiful- such a breath of fresh air to read something written so simply, yet making so much sense.

  21. GB, I was expecting you to take the stand as you did here. You pointed out (rightly so) the religious nature of Anna movement. Most of the Anna critics are asking the same questions really. Why not run for elections, why do blackmail like this. I saw him on ‘Aap ki Adalat’ the other day, he did accept those accusations saying he that he does not have money or resources to run for elections. Now my question to you is given you are in his position you got two options,
    1) Stir up the public movement through media, take the ‘Gandhian’ path of blackmailing. And if enough people join you, you can get the Anti-Corruption bill passed, which will be at least better than the current system in place.
    2) Form a political party. Campaign through the country on ‘corruption’ as the main issue. Educate people to not vote on basis of religion, cast or gifts they get from candidates. Hope that you win the majority in the election. If not, form a coalition with some other party who might not be on the same page as you on corruption issue. As a result, you won’t get to do any major law change in that term. Wait for the next election, do all of it over and over until you get majority.

    Now it is a no-brainer that option-1 is the easier one, that is why Kejriwal opted for it. Now what you are saying is they should have taken option-2, which is more democratic. My question to you is what is more important to you, following the existing democratic process is more important or solving a real problem is more important. In some way are you not being too religious about the democratic process that you think the process is more important than the real problem it is designed to solve.
    This to me is the core of the debate. Do you want to solve corruption or follow the right process. Now, you can argue that Jan Lok Pal is not going to solve corruption, but can it make it better than the current system ? Many think it will because it has a fairly low bar to beat.

  22. We need a much smaller Government. Accounts of all departments except Defence and Intelligence should be completely visible to the ordinary voter.

    Elected governments shouldn’t function like the BCCI !

  23. While the idealistic, stable, and permanent solutions are of course through the reduction in governmental power, and through the use of the ballot to enforce change, both these methods are subverted by the very government in power. Election results are still unpredictable and easily influenced by rhetoric and freebies, and no government would readily agree to reduce its own powers.
    Right now, at least Anna Hazare is making a serious attempt at bringing the issue into the mainstream and raising debates over the issue and its possible solutions. It is a pleasant surprise that the normally dormant middle-class is rallying up in support. This much itself is quite an achievement worth being proud of. It would be unfortunate if the movement fizzles out due to nitpicking over technicalities.

  24. Arvind Kejriwal has openly said that if anyone has any constructive ideas, then they are willing to incorporate their suggestions. So far they have revised JanLokPal in-numerous times (14 Major revisions and several more Minor revisions). If you have anything constructive to contribute then please convey that through your blog.

    Though it is hard to catch why you are not in favor of JanLokPal but lets take the most obvious line. You favor some reforms like autonomy to CBI, administrative reforms, etc, but not a authority that controls the autonomous CBI. Question to ask is who would then control CBI? how would ppl get appointed there? Practically speaking you are advocating the same system as LokPal but avoiding saying that it is LokPal. I am sure that even what you suggest is done, it would put some break on high level corruption.

    Unfortunately, even that doesnt seem to be a possibility. The way all parties went against JanLokPal clearly suggests that all politicians are corrupt. If CBI is made autonomous then I guess almost all the politicians including mute MMS, cancerous Gandhi, crazy Advani will go to jail.

    The intellectual breed of Indians are divided on the technical issues rather than concentrating on the larger picture. Anna is the last hope. There is no one after him who could do a protest like this. We fail this time then probably we’ll witness some 50 years down the line a civil war similar on the lines of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, which would probably also divide the country based on cast, color, creed, region, religion, language into smaller pieces. (Some of your literary readers would not mind that and might have a blog ready justifying the benefits of that).

  25. Arnab
    Good to know that you and Arundhati Roy are on the same side.

  26. @Amit, Your argument is over means and ends. Gandhiji, whom Anna claims to follow, said that means are more important than the end. He could have asked Indians to rise unitedly in violence against the British in the 20s. India would have obtained independence much sooner. But he felt the “means” would be immoral, a precedence of violent action would be set from which the nation would never recover from. So he chose the slower, less dramatic method—non-violence agitation and steady negotiation. Since India was not a democracy in the proper sense, he did not have recourse to voting (the British could not be voted out). So he adopted non-violent protest in the form of fasting and non-cooperation as the proper “means”.

    Hope that answers your question.

  27. 1 point to be noted is that in parliamentary democracy it is very
    Difficult for a new idea with no political support from within establishment to come true. In presidential democracy such as US it would have been very easy. Arvind/ Anna/ Kiran could have stood for presidential elections and implemented their agenda upon being elected. I find presidential system much more receptive to new ideas.

  28. well written piece. thoroughly dissected.

  29. anubhuti beohar August 24, 2011 — 9:53 pm

    excellent article…!!!

  30. GB, finally you break your silence.
    Subverting parliament is a serious challenge to Indian democracy and worries me a lot. But the case here is extraordinary. It is not like a bunch of people asking a temple to be built in Ayodhya, protesting valentine day. Some state wishing to cede, split or Uttar pradesh asking for more seats in parliament(i wonder if it will).
    This issue splits people into
    1.those who profit from corruption (MP, Mla’s Babu’s big and small).
    2.those Set(1) is causing grief.

    Though Set(2) gets a chance once every five years. Set(1) continues the way it is, because Set(1) is natural order of things.
    Further ‘First past the post’ voting system with its inherent disadvantages complicates things and corruption becomes just one of the parameter which a person has to weigh before he casts his vote/caste.

    Lack of Ombudsman is a weakness in the constitution and only a mass movement can correct it. Come on why will any govt want anybody to watch over it. (Just look at what came of out of all party meeting). I agree with Amit and hope that govt chickens out and passes this bill.
    At least the citizen’s charter will be a good thing to have.
    And relax, There is no other masses would support as passionately. Democracy is gonna be fine. (this bill is no other threat, infact it is a tonic). Support Anna and his amigos.

  31. Siddhartha Prakash August 24, 2011 — 10:56 pm

    Most of your blogs have analysis which shows that you are able to read between the lines of what our media (innovator of paid news) shows. It is unfortunate that you too have been fooled by so called ‘religious nature’ of the protest which our media has shown.
    Muslims in thousands joined the protest. The Friday Namaz was also done in the Ramlila ground by them in thousands. The only reason why Baba Ramdev was kept ‘aloof’ of the movement was because he refused to remove RSS members from the stage. Along with bhajans there was sarv dharma (all religion) prayer done at the ground where successively prayers from all religions were done from stage. This is done everyday. The only reason why no ‘Muslim’ leader is in core group is because Cong/BJP have not allowed any independent Muslim leader to be created in this country. Of the 7 volunteers taking care of stage management, one is Muslim. Church leaders from North East India sent a letter of support and one representative to protest at Delhi supporting Jan Lokpal Bill. Muslim religious body from Kerela followed suit. There was one common line in their letter “We don’t support it as Muslims/Christians, we support it as Indians”.
    Trust me “Vande Mataram” is still a patriotic slogan for 99% of the middle class Muslims. Even Gandhiji’s fasts had these slogans and all religion prayers. Calling them ‘religious’ is playing into hands of Bukhari and Ritambara.

    As a Muslim friend of mine, to whom I forwarded this blog rightly said
    “I don’t understand how louder we need to shout so you Hindus will understand that we love our Allah, that corruption is the biggest evil for this country, that Bharat Mata will always be Jai”

  32. Siddhartha Prakash August 24, 2011 — 11:16 pm

    “Gandhiji, whom Anna claims to follow, said that means are more important than the end” and the following is real ROFL content. What a selective and convenient quotation!! The following logic effectively de-legitimizes all protests since independence. ’74 Emergency was also effected by an ‘elected’ govt. Mrs Gandhi was later exonerated of all charges in Allahabad court. Was JP wrong in protesting and not fighting elections?
    Supreme Court has time and again held that misuse of 144 is dangerous to country and cited writings of same Gandhi and Ambedkar to hold that peaceful protest is a fundamental right of citizens. Declaring that voting is the only legitimate way to protest an injustice is binary logic and a cruel joke on a country of 76%(?) BPL population who cannot afford an election and precursor to violent insurgency.
    Thanks to the diligent Ambedkar and others, if by ‘mistake’ an independent judiciary was not present in constitution, the proponents of parliamentary supremacy and voting supremacy would have never allowed it. Or asked us to ‘go and win election’ with a Kapil Sibalish grin.

  33. Siddhartha Prakash,

    If there is anything ROFL here, they are your two comments. I am trying it tough to decide which one is funnier. In the first one, you betray your lack of ability to understand the word “religious”. By “religious” GB means dogmatic. You interpret religious to be communal. In the second comment, you confuse the right to protest (which GB has not even touched on) with the right to legislate from the streets. Now please go back to your Ramlila ground; there is a white “I am Anna” cap missing a head.

  34. Arnab,even before I read your article,can you read this piece on Anna.
    This man,an IIT-IIM graduate, is convinced that this protest is another orwellian Animal farm in the making.Can you comment anonymously and bring this guy to his senses? He’s a dear friend of mine.


  35. I find the argument that the method of protest is subversive of constitution hard to buy. Corruption, which causes 80-90% of government money not reach the intended receipients according to Rajiv Gandhi 20 years ago, is a bigger subversion of constitution. By not taking a quick decision and bringing an effective bill, the government is allowing the corruption to continue.

    Also, I find the argument by some that this is Hindu movement very idiotic. Muslims are approx. 14% of population and it is not necessary that they have to be participate in the movement in the same proportions. There were people of all religions and castes with different relative proportions at Ramlila maidan.

  36. Holding Anna as a savior come from heaven (Aasman se aaya Farishta!!) is being delusional. I am sure he is pristine and un-corruptible but I am not sure the right way to change the system is subverting it. It opens the floodgates for any crank who wants to hold the country to ransom to do the same. (rent a crowd practitioners are not unknown in Delhi!).
    Also there are many in the middle class who have willingly given bribes to get ahead in the queue when it suited them – maybe we object now since the bribe takers have become too greedy. Also the earlier distinctions between the haves (who were usually the bribers) and have-nots (who were the bribees!) has dissolved.

    The Lok Pal bill (either version) focuses on catching the corrupt after deed is done – how about reworking the system and making it transparent so that opportunity for a babu/minister to take a decision on unknown criteria is no longer there.

  37. We are an over-regulated but under-implemented nation. Another superman with super powers is not the answer. We don’t want super inspectors. The answer lies in swift and expeditious justice and not in street like theatrics. For his stature and standing, Anna has been accorded the necessary respect; but he can’t take that as a licence to stretch things too far. The solution, I repeat, is not fasting for another law but fasting to make the judiciary work faster and smarter. And to tell people that they should not act bribe giver. For some to say its okay “I give bribe, I don’t bribe” is to be dishonest.
    To say, “it’s my way or the highway” is to show a reprehensible contempt for discourse and for democracy. The right thing for Hazare to do, since he seems to be gunning the government (soft option) more than anyone else, is to talk to the Opposition (the BJP and the Left) and bring about such far reaching changes that the final Bill resembles what he and his team call the People’s Bill.
    To give the power to even question the Prime Minister would make it a feast for the opposition parties. And that will make it a hurdle filled race track.

    If the government gives in to such a protest, a protest will be raised for every other issue in the future on the claim of such an action. that is not the way a democracy operates. protests, whether peaceful or violent, aren’t the call of the day.

  38. GB,
    thanks for this superbly written article. Very refreshing. However, it is strange to find some people going overboard with Orwellian, Kafkaesque, Stalinist and such assorted European characters to describe those supporting Anna. Whether lokpal (or CBI/CID-Plus in case of those who want it that way) is truly Orwellian (as claimed by some) depends on the following questions –

    1. Can lokpal pass judgements and make courts obsolete?
    2. Can lokpal veto laws passed by the legislature?
    3. Can lokpal summarily remove members of the legislature?
    4. Is impeaching lokpal going to be at least as difficult as amending the constitution (so that lokpal can itself be obliterated if so deemed by the legislature?)

    If the answer of the above is no then why can’t it be thought of as just another agent in the complex web of checks and balance of a functioning democracy?
    While, I completely agree with you that ‘undemocratic’ and ‘unconstitutional’ methods will eventually destroy a working republic, corruption in India (and boy have most of us (born in 70s and 80s) faced the brunt of it – getting passports, installing electric meters, chalans, railway reservations, permit for opening businesses, clearance for construction etc.) is threatening to destroy the very fabric of the society. It is a fast spreading septic infection. Saying that the ‘invisible hand’ of democracy would auto-correct the situation is like preaching the virtues of healthy lifestyle and exercise to a patient of cancer. Sometimes interventions are needed. If reforms happen simultaneously, the need of lokpal in essence would diminish. The debate should be one shall not come at the cost of other.

    Now to the vaulted ‘constitutional’ methods. If you have been paying attention, they have been thoroughly rigged in favor of the ruling class. If responsibility was adduced in spirit by the founders of constitution, it has been ignored (making legislature work normally without disruptions, individual liberties for citizens etc.), if checks and balance looked too hard to follow, it was amended (yeah close to 100 times after independence).

    Things were being so badly misused by the elected representatives against each other that sanity could be restored only after the ‘undemocratic’ supreme court passed a landmark judgement (S R Bommai vs Union of India). On the other hand, in case the judgements were too unpalatable they were destroyed through legislative actions (Shah Bano, Inder Shawney etc.). For f**k sake, politicians today preaching about ‘constitutional means’ is like a pimp talking about his love for the fairer sex.

    As a common citizen I have practically zero say on who gets the tickets for my constituency. It gets worse from there if the candidate belongs to the ‘chosen’ caste/religion/vote-bank, worsening further if he promises free ‘XYZ’. If you try to ‘raise-consciousness’ – well good luck with that. At best, you will be ‘politely’ warned by an anonymous caller and if you still stick you neck, your wife is going to get ‘taeeq’ pe ‘tareeq’ wearing a white sari till eternity though sometimes she may be lucky (http://bit.ly/pjFfdC).

    You can be lucky if you happen to be a high value – big shot intellectual but then even before you start, someone is going to shove an article up your ass saying ‘what were you doing when Modi was killing trillions of muslims’. ‘It reeks of brahminical elitism’.But I agree, at least better than getting knee capped. However, even if you fail, sooner or later the moral and ideological bankruptcy of the party will be reflected in the financial ravages (India-30 years, Bihar-15 years, WB-30 years etc.) and enough people will realize at least the current lot of rulers cannot deliver the godos and vote them out.

    But not before destroying an entire generation – sometimes irreparably.

    So yes democracy works but it works differently for different societies. Some need more institutions (US-separate executive and legislature) and some can go along with less (UK-legislature led executive). Coming back to India, if the institutions of police and administrative services in Bihar for instance were not so thoroughly compromised by the jungle raj, it is arguable that situation may have been much better for the common people (Nitish started practically working with same cadre as Rabri in her last years in office and changes came within a year). So you see sometimes powerful institutions are needed.

    It is great that we are having a debate on this issue now and this article quite articulately points out shades of opposition but simply saying democracy will take its due course and auto correct is little too vague and devoid of any solace for an aspirational demographic whose prime years are slipping by – Inexorably.

  39. @PartyPopper bravo. You nailed it. Thanks for the articulation.

  40. Very nice post, Arnab. Most people think if I am anti-anna then I am pro-congress. What a rubbish and lazy conclusion. Thanks for this post.

  41. I think the idea of jan Lok Pal in most people’s (at least the we revolutionaries) eyes is a Sunny Deol like charecter of Ziddi who would thump on the table and say ‘Paanch baaje ki baad Deva ka adalaat shuru hota hai’ and them beat the hell out of the politicians

  42. You do have a point,but our immediate concern remains corruption.If our government is so scrupulous,why it refuses the Anna proposed lokpal? It fears the cane post CWG and 2G scams.Entangling it is the opposition which has its own interest to serve,even in the parliament,and plays cards varied of religion,minority and backward classes.Mayawati can erect her statues out of tax payers’ money in a bid to immortalize herself and cry herself hoarse as a “dalit ki beti”.That she remains corrupt in people’s eye is yet another issue.

  43. once again there is a tirade against a doer…a real doer..get a life man..wht tht poor old chap is doing is nothing but an awakening…an awakening so strong the entire world is taking a note..i dont want to debate about how good or bad anna’s bill is..my point is simple; he has shown tht the masses or more particularly the youth wants change..and they’ll get it..it’s a different subject altogether about unfriending non supporters and u know it better that there are always some people who’ll behave that way but not all…

    coming back to u greatbong..do u think u hv the balls to polarize the nation the way anna has..if anna supporters are unfriending ppl on FB u r trying to befriend non-supporters…nothing else..

    just think abt tht guy who is fasting for last 10 days..he is living on a pension and has got nothing to do with the luxuries of life..his intentions are pure and tht is what matters…the whole episode shows the importance of corruption for the politicians..they are ready to lose next elections defending corruption and it’s because corruption is why they are there in the first place..no corruption no politics..

    it’s fun writing abt some people who become zealots abt a cause and start bad mouthing the non supporters but for every one of these kind there are 2 others who are rational..think abt them greatbong

  44. But you see, every movement has its supporters and dissidents (is that the right word?). Even as Gandhi went about his non-violent ways, there were intellectuals, middle-class people, and even leaders within the Congress who often disagreed with him. Again, the opposition then wasn’t always about his method, but often about his political judgement and his decisions.

    R K Narayan was famously cynical about the freedom movement, and often depicted it comically. There’s this really funny episode in Swamy and Friends where Swamy enthusiastically throws his cap in a Swadeshi movement fire. He is promptly rebuked by his father who says, of course I bought that cap from a Khadi shop – I know my duty towards the country, but I don’t support this clothes-burning nonsense (or words to that effect).

    The point is, while the concept of Swadeshi made a lot of economic sense, even Gandhi had to resort to some dramatic mass movements to keep the public interested in the political going-ons. With our perception muddled by post-independent era movies, we sometimes forget that the British were able administrators and not exactly always going about beating and killing Indians for fun. Many of our respected leaders and visionaries benefited from the British education system. Some of the activities in the freedom movement were designed to pinch and needle the administration to do something stupid that would instigate public wrath.

  45. Crackjack….I dont think GB is trying to befriend non-supporter or bad mouth Anna….in fact your reaction is just the kind of reaction he wrote against.
    What is being told here is about the people who simplisitically assume writing a comment of FB is equivalent to crusade against corruption

  46. @Aloha

    > And finally, the argument about having personal stake. By the argument a bihari or a punjabi would cease to be a bihari and gujju once they start working in ‘Mumbai’ or ‘Paschim banga’

    But they would still be living in India and be affected by the policies/corruption prevalent in India. They still have a stake. GB does not have a stake. I don’t doubt his noble intentions, but I am saying he will always suffer from the credibility aspect as long as he lives abroad.

  47. Aranb

    I am glad you wrote this. I even agree with what you have to say.

    However, I have a totally different opinion on the whole movement going on in the nation.

    We attained political liberty in 1947 and economic liberty in 1991. It is now that we have attained dignity. Dignity is a state of mind. Liberty without dignity is humiliating. Dignity without liberty is hopeless. But liberty with dignity is hugely empowering. This is what explains our unstoppable fight against corruption and bribery in India. It is the increasingly self-assured and impatient new middle class, which has finally attained self respect and dignity and is finally being taken seriously by the media.

    Do you realize? Many men and women in India are for-the-first-time shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai or Inqilab Zindabad? Only a few days back, people genuinely shouting these slogans were frowned upon. Today the politicians know that they simply can not get away with bribery. Crime in Delhi has reduced by 35%.

    Aren’t these good enough reasons for supporting a movement?

    I agree this movement might abruptly end like the anti-reservation campaign. But don’t you think, some, atleast some of the young men and women who participated in the movement will find it difficult to boast about the bribe they paid. An even smaller fraction of people may stop paying bribe and look down upon it. A small fraction of these Anna-supporters may look back to the slogans they shout and seek the real meaning of freedom. Even if 1% of the Anna-supporters change for good, I will call this movement a success. If the Jan Lokpal bill is approved, and everyone goes back to his normal life, I will call this movement a failure.

  48. @Deep3rdMan

    eh. so all those Indians protesting at Indian consulates in western nations do not have a stake and suffer from the credibility aspect? Or are they exempt because they support your position?

  49. Excellent article. Definitely agree with all the different kinds of Anna opponents that you have described. Irony is that you have no qualms in stereotyping and blanket name-calling all the supporters of Anna movement, without recognizing that there too are various different kinds and people with different reasons.

  50. Yes, a problem created by big Government is going to be solved by…. even bigger Government.

  51. @AG
    I do understand the intention with which this post was written…but i dont think u understood my point..my point is if writing a pro anna status message on FB is not going to bring any change neither do writing against the FB brigade on a blog will…plz do understand that it’s an idea whose time has come and different ppl react differently to it..

    if someone feels like venting his anger on FB let him do that..all those guyz wearing gandhi caps nowadays will disappear if something happens to anna…but the movement will be fruitful if it finds even one torch-bearer to take it to next level…if FB produces one of this kind i’ll be thankful..

    I know there are all kinds…when murali was playing his last test against India I was praying for him to reach 800 wickets and people around me started calling me unpatriotic…does it mean i m unpatriotic…look at the brighter side bro..all i want u or greatbong to do is to look at the brighter side…

  52. I am gonna wait for the next elections and vote for anti corruption cause. Alas, i hate to say, we will be where we are – the reason is simple. The govt, will never change unless pushed and there WILL be no one taking cause of administrative changes, etc as suggested by you in one of your arguments. Unfortunately there are many who are suggesting a more ‘sane’ process for weeding out corruption within the constitutional framework, no one and i repeat NO ONE has the guts to stand up beyond a web post, or an article or a passionate interview and fight for that change. Why don’t the Arunas, Sorabjees, etc etc work towards making a strong front who can go and influence government in power (whoever it is).
    Intelligent arguement is one thing and pragmatic action is another Mr great bong.



  54. have u read the bill arnab – its a brilliant bill written by a group of people who have superior intellect compared to yours (not belittling you, its just a fact), and who truly care about the country. people like u being in a little bit of a position to influence others should really think thru with extreme care and responsibility what they post.

  55. By ridiculing the messenger, the message will gain more strength. I fail to find any problem with Anna’s message. Maybe his tactics are not good but nothing wrong with the message itself.

  56. Click to access Jan%20lokpal%20bill%20by%20Expert%20(Eng).pdf

    please read this, its only 28 pages long…..and try and educate ur readers about the positives of this and the negatives of trying to shoot it down. its makes perfect sense, is not draconian (far from it), please read it. ur logic about parliamentary norms blah blah breaks down when the facts of the real world are very different. ever been 65 and frail and paid a bribe to collect a pension? ever paid a bribe to get a death certificate. dude, this isnt a ‘gunda’ review post, this is serious stuff.

  57. In nutshell, you want to let ppl know that many ppl (including you) who are not Pro-Anna have their ‘ideological positions’.

    Okay. Just like you’ve got your right to choose your position, pro-Anna audience has right to do what they want to. So why the rants and heavy criticism against them giving unnecessary examples of their ‘religiousness’.

    I don’t want to beat the same drum 1000 times by saying Jan LokPal isn’t perfect. It is not perfect, indeed. But it’d at least lead the country one level up from the existing nadir. It is easier to criticize, but DIFFICULT TO IMPROVE! If you’ve any suggestions about the betterment of the things, please spare some time and publish it on your blog.

  58. @Mayank – i can’t agree more on your last line.
    ‘Intelligent arguement is one thing and pragmatic action is another’. Well said.

  59. Greatbong, you are oversimplifying Gandhi Ji’s struggle. let me put some facts here:

    a) When Gandhi Ji started his struggle, independence was not his motive. It was not even motive of Congress. That is why congress remained committed to non violence. Congress was a non violent party even before Gandhi Ji. They had every reason to be non violent as they were not asking for independence. They were asking some reforms here and there.

    b) Gandhi demanded ‘Purna Swaraj’ or independence only in 1929. 12 years after joining congress. So, in a way his means where already established for good 12 years before deciding his end goal.

    c) In 1929, he also had given a deadline of two years to British to leave


    Everyone tries to oversimplify Gandhi Ji forgetting he had a 30 yr long political journey in India and his journey had also involved as many twists and turns as you expect in a normal movement.

    You are right that different set of people have different reasons to oppose Anna’s movement but same is true for his different set of supporters and branding them as one class is doing injustice.

  60. Both sides have their point. Jan Lokpal bill may not be the perfect answer to our corruption problems. It may not be the only answer. But Anna & Co are not claiming it to be either of those. All they are asking for is to make a beginning , and this bill could be that beginning in the fight against corruption. If we were to sit and debate on what is THE silver bullet to fight corruption, we would be doing it for the next 60 years. It is important to make a beginning, and see how the imperfections can be addressed incrementally. A perfect system is never built , it evolves from an imperfect one. So, we need to go ahead with its supposed imperfections to start with.

  61. GB, your audience is also much more pragmatic and honest. This audience also want a revolution against your corrupt intellectual regime. We also want to overthrow argumentative and no doer’s reign on this blog and commentators are just doing that here. Ahh but how can a “Disgruntled movie fanatic, wannabe politician” can support a cause that would take away the thing that appeal you most, corruption and power from your goal.

  62. GB,
    Since you pointed out to Amit about the means and ends, I want to know your opinion on this.
    After the April fast by Anna, team Anna were invited to to participate in discussions with the government drafting comittee for the Lokpal Bill. Why were they not considered otherwise (and only after the fasts?)
    Now the government didn’t even want to table the suggestions under the Jan Lokpal Bill in front of the Standing Committe, let alone the floor of the house.
    Till 4 days back, government believed that its just not worth it to even consider the Jan Lokpal Bill suggestions and went ahead and put forward, its own version of the Lok Pal Bill.
    Then why did it take a national movement of this magnitude, for the government to realise, that there were severe shortcomings in their version, and it should consider the Jan Lokpal suggestions also.

    My point is that for the government to accept the fact that their version is inept and other voices should be tabled, a mass movement of this nature was required. And I am not even saying that the Jan Lokpal will be passed. But just tabled.

    So now what democratic option did team Anna have to get their views tabled in parliament?
    If you have a better alternative, please suggest.
    And please dont say that the Jan Lokpal Bill has its own shortcomings, coz that is not what I am asking. It might be totally flawed, but then parliament can always dismiss it. Here the question is about considering an opinion outside of government itself.

  63. I don’t want to beat the same drum 1000 times by saying Jan LokPal isn’t perfect. It is not perfect, indeed. But it’d at least lead the country one level up from the existing nadir.

    Actually, not at all clear. And the problem of corruption is misrepresented. To see how, note that you can be accused of being corrupt only if you actually take a decision. If you don’t take a decision, then by definition, there is no corruption.

    What we want simultaneously is that (i) the government should take decisions in an efficient manner, and (ii) the decisions should not involve corruption. What needs to be realized is that the two objectives can clash with one another. If I am a bureaucrat/politician and every decision I make is going to be subject to review by the Lokpal, then I have every incentive to avoid taking decisions. Or at least, I will take decisions only after extensively documenting the reasons for every decision. Inevitably, this will slow decision-making. We ought to ask if this is what we want.

    One might ask if this is a genuine fear. I remember reading a blog post by the World Bank economist, Jishnu Das, where he suggested that part of what happened in the Laloo years in Bihar was that the set of corruption scandals in the initial years led (indirectly) to a state of affairs where bureaucrats simply avoided taking decisions. I don’t know if this is indeed true, but I would not dismiss it off-hand. And I know from listening to my father — a veteran of 37 years in the Indian bureaucracy — that if there is anything the Indian bureaucracy knows how to do well, then it is to avoid taking decisions. There are any number of techniques in this regard.

    Such dilemmas are there elsewhere too. Based in Britain, I have been following the debate on the National Health Service (NHS). The debate centers on how to accomplish two conflicting objectives: (i) treat as many patients as possible so that queue lengths are minimized, and (ii) ensure that errors in care are minimized. If you want to pursue the second objective, then inevitably you have to do a lot of documentation. That will obviously interfere with the first objective. The whole debate centers on how to achieve both simultaneously which — in my opinion — is a futile endeavour.

    I actually came across a blog written by a Chinese who suggested that though China is as corrupt as India, at least the Chinese get things done. We seems to combine — wonderfully — corruption with inefficiency in decision-making. The blog is not particularly flattering to India and Indians, but the point he/she makes is worth thinking about.

  64. I should have added the following: Just as the problem before the NHS is what will achieve the best “mixture” of the two objectives, the problem before us is what will achieve the “best” combination of fast decision-making and low corruption. Focusing solely on the latter may not be desirable. By doing so, we have, in the bargain, achieved a system which does neither well.

    This is not a new point. Years ago, Kaushik Basu wrote a newspaper article on corruption where he suggested that pursuing corruption exclusively may be counterproductive beyond a point. Of course, he got flak for it. But his point is still valid.

  65. Here’s a prediction:
    G-R-E-A-T-bong (what kind of bloated ego gives himself a name like that?) is not going to reply to Party-Pooper.
    He has realized, after reading the comments here (Party Pooper & Amit deserve special mention) that he has goofed up in trying to be different from the majority. Actually, I suspect, that is his real reason (and not all that means-before-ends bullcrap!) for his stand against Anna: trying to be different.
    So now he will do what he does best: S.U.L.K.
    Or he will promptly post another blog (another inane favourites-list from Bollywood?) to avoid further humiliation for the current blogpost 😀

  66. @Back from Leh

    OK, this is the info gleaned from the official PDF version. The JLP has the power to receive complaints from the public and investigate them. It then has the power to initiate prosecution, cancel contracts and blacklist companies. Please note that there is no mention of a court sanction for doing any of these – in fact there is no requirement for the JLP to place these before a court at all. The JLP can dole out these punishments as long as the JLP is satisfied by the results of the investigation ordered and executed by the JLP’s own investigation arm. Judge, jury, executioner and inquisitor to boot!

    Then, the bill implies that the JLP can direct various govt agencies to change the way they work if the JLP thinks that the current way causes corruption. Once again, no need to go to court for this – all that is needed is that the JLP should be satisfied that the change must be made.

    This body can cancel contracts, blacklist companies, order transfers and suspensions of officials and it can order agencies to change their functioning, all before anything is proven in court. It’s going to become very lucrative for corrupt private entities to buy members of the JLP.

    And that brings us to Alan Moore’s question: “Who watches the Watchmen?”

    Apparently, allegations of corruption against JLP officials will be investigated by the JLP. Anna and Co keep asking how the CBI can investigate the govt when it is controlled by the PM. Fair enough, but why doesn’t that logic apply to the JLP and its own officials?

    Then it also says that, public officials should submit a statement of their assets and liabilities (Sec 28) and these will be published online. Public officials have a right to privacy in their financial affairs – they are human beings too. By what right do you demand that assets be publicly revealed before guilt has been proven, in fact before there is even a suspicion of guilt?

    These are just some questions that pop up if you read the JLP with the view that this org will be staffed of human beings vulnerable to the same kind of corruption that infested the rest of the govt machinery.

    None of this is to endorse the govt-sponsored LokPal (or as I like to call it, “JokePal”) which gives too much power to the govt. Yet, does that mean the solution is to go to the opposite extreme and creating an overpowered organisation?

  67. I respectfully disagree to your post.

  68. Democracy in India has become more of 51 people telling 49 to shut up… and hence Anna and his team believes that getting this bill passed in both houses is not possible as it would be hitting the MP’s and MLA’s.
    About an independent bodies performing within the corridor of democracy – it would be in-effective as they will have to report to either Home Ministry or the President (Home Minister is appointed by the ruling party and President is just a nominal held of the constitution).

  69. Tha Mantal Bwoy August 25, 2011 — 1:52 pm

    Arundhati Roy
    Aruna Roy and now
    Arnab Ray (Ray Roy same difference as stated before on these pages)

    There is some connections, I think.

  70. @ chiron – thanks for reading the bill, and good points raised – all of them. mind if i get back in a few hours with an explanation please. thanks.

  71. Well, I am neither UPA supporter, nor NDA supporter, I just cannot be Marxist/communist and I find Arundhati Roy is mean and demented.

    Yet, I don’t support Anna. I didn’t support Ramdev too and I have rational issues against these movements. Let me also add that I am not democratic, I am libertarian.

    Corruption is basically because of scarcity of resources and there is nothing natural about this scarcity, it is because of irrational distribution of resources which is made by the government. Corruption is also because there is no competition for government which may force it to provide honest, cheap and efficient services. Many a times we bribe government officers to increase their efficiencies, otherwise they are unable to work, and it is not their fault, it is a situation which occurs in any monopoly and we live in government monopoly. Even if we have a limited private sector, we have license raj and regulations to control this private sector, ultimately, it is the government which rules all and nothing can compete against it.

    This situation is potent for corruption. I watched GURU and I feel it is the best movie that I watched, and let me sate that I watched Lagan, Rang De Basanti, Tare Zameen Par, Chak De India and all other movies that can be said as good. But none was better than GURU.

    Guru explains why bribery cannot be said as illegal and it definitely not immoral.

    When a traffic cop catches us, we bribe him to not to cut a ticket/chalaan. But while doing so, we make him more alert, efficient and pompt to catch anyone who breaks traffic laws and to deter accidents. The more people he will catch breaking laws, the more he may earn through bribes and the more he will be helping to reduce number of road accidents. It is a genuine process.

    Bribing can be reduced, if you privatize road system and allow private owners of roads to employ their own traffic security services. Let them have a proper set up and they will ensure no bribery. In case of government, it is impossible to reduce corruption.

    Now when corruption will certainly not reduce, what will Janlokpal do?

    It will actually add 28,000 more bureaucrats to check that other 1.25 crore bureaucrats and 548 parliamentarians are not committing crime of corruption. So they will ensure that we don’t bribe the traffic police. Ok, but what will happen? Police will start feeling distant and irresponsible because there won’t be any incentive to stop breaching of traffic laws, result will be more accidents. Same will be in medical hospitals where many serious patients won’t get a bed even if they are willing to pay bribe because if wardboy or doctor takes bribe, he will be caught by Lokpal.

    It would be reaching toward’s George Orwell’s fantasy land of 1984.

    Being a libertarian I oppose Anna and I stress that the only way to reduce corruption is LIBERALIZATION and as NR Narayan Murthy said, we should Legalize bribe-giving, it increases efficiency of government servants.

  72. talkaboutcoincidences August 25, 2011 — 2:22 pm

    But…but… I just finished feeding the facebook trolls and its like you read my mind… talk about coincidence.

  73. Ramrajvi,

    Allow me to answer for GB. The government has also met Hurriyat conference terrorists and they would’t have met them had they not been Hurriyat Conference Terrorists. Now go back and read your comment.

  74. As an aside, has anyone noticed the irony of Anna supporters calling GB all sorts of names, like questioning GB’s own personal integrity, thus vindicating one of GB’s basic contentions, namely that Anna-worship has taken a religious turn wherein anyone critical of Anna is attacked with fervor reserved for, to quote a GB-ism, “someone who has drawn my Prophet”?

  75. GB, you argue in favour of working within the boundaries of the democratic process. But can you suggest what can ordinary citizens do if political parties are united in their opposition to the ordinary citizen’s concerns? On Lokpal, while the pros and cons of “adding yet another layer to government” can be debated, please note that there are such Ombudsmen who work very well in many countries all over the world like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden etc.

  76. @ Suresh You are concerned that bureaucrats may stop taking decisions if there is fear of Lokpal. Please note that under the Lokpal, not taking decisions will be investigated i.e. a citizen can file a complaint if a government department does not deliver a service within the time frame laid down in the citizens’ charter.

  77. @Skeptic: That may address some cases, but not all. And if failure to provide a service is also going to be investigated, then my misgivings about the Lokpal bill only increase.

  78. I am not sure from where you picked up that Arundhuti Roy is a Marxist.
    She never referred herself as such.She does take up topics on civil rights bla bla and other nonsense dear to Western Media but I thought those are symbols of Yankee stooges.
    I never see her commenting on any global topics like aggresion in Iraq,afganistan,Latin america etc which riles Marxists
    God you will next being saying Medha Patekar is a communist.
    On the main topic I will say Anna may not be fully right but that he is fighting agaisnt the sky high corruption of UPA is good enuf for me.
    Fasting for 10 days is not a easy job and that in itself deserves respect apart from highlighting UPa corruption.Those UPA guys were running away with murder and none seemed to have any capability to stop them

  79. Why are the Anna-badis this ignorant? This guy Sauron says “I never see her commenting on any global topics like aggresion in Iraq,afganistan,Latin america etc which riles Marxists”. ROFL ke upar ROFL. My darling Sauron, Arundhati Roy was “Chair of Jury of Conscience at the World Tribunal on Iraq.” And google “Arundhati and Iraq” before coming to barf around on web-forums.

  80. You make a valid point about voting with ONLY corruption in mind at the next election. But let’s face it, that’s not going to happen. India forgets easily. 2014 is a long way off and Lord knows how many things (errr attacks, scandals, economic things) will happen before that.

    While I am cynical about the movement too, it is in a way heartening to see at least some teenagers and 20-somethings rethinking their stand on paying their way through life. Ten years ago when I was in college in Mumbai, that was unheard of!

  81. As much I love the cause of Anna+team, I believe this is no way to coax a promise out of the elected representatives. Sadly the elected representatives themselves mostly are corrupt to the big T – and they only sat up and took notice after Anna staged this ‘uprising’. Its all a vicious cycle. Only solution that I can think of (after going through this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Lokpal_Bill#Difference_between_government_and_activist_drafts) is that government and team Anna should sit together (and end the fast etc – enough light has been attracted) – and jot down a lokpal bill that closes the plugs and bridges the gap between the escapist govt lokpal and the all-powerful anna lokpal.

    And yes – GB is suited to his own opinion, and ridiculing him is not what a civil society should do. Don’t embrace the bushism ‘either you are with us (read anna) or you are against us!’

  82. Creating more liquor shops to cure alcoholism

  83. It is good to swim against the tide to get eyeballs.

  84. In 1982, In Singapore, LOKPAL BILL was implemented and 142 Corrupt Ministers & Officers were arrested in one single day.. Today Singapore has only 1% poor people & no taxes are paid by the people to the government, 92% Literacy Rate, Better Medical Facilities, Cheaper Prices, 90% Money is white & Only 1% Unemployment exists… Re Post this if you want to live in a corruption free country.. !!!
    Those who are proposing change & debate on Anna’s Lokpal bill are misiing the entire point .The govt. is only buying time for his health to detiriorate & parliament session to end. It’s now or never..

  85. please write abt how congress first attacked Anna by calling him corrupt then apology from Manish Tiwari and then Anna calling all congress members as luteras but PM calling Anna as Anna Ji . This addition of JI shows real character of our PM and his luteras as Anna calls them. Anna says he is fan of gandhi …But when are we getting fan of subhas chandra bose, bhaghat singh etc …who can do some fast track job on some selected top corrupt guys.

  86. Very well addressed…Excellent post!!

  87. Great post. Just touched my heart. This is the hot topic at this time.

  88. @Greatbong,
    Focus should be on the message – which is anti-corruption, rather than the messenger- which is, Anna Hazare.
    If the government is right in its stand (constitutional propriety and all that), then why are they slowly giving in to Anna’s demands? After all, the demands have remained the same as they were 10 days or even 6 months back. If they were dangerous demands, then the government should not have acceded to them.
    I do not agree that the Jan Lokpal bill should be passed as is. I am not even sure that the LokPal (jan or not) is an answer to the scourge of corruption at all levels. But, the government vacillated so long, allowed time to lapse without any progress in meaningless negotiations. Now that it has precipitated a crisis, they are saying Anna is holding a gun to their head.
    The whole episode shows that we never wake up and face up to an issue in right earnest unless there is a crisis- whether in doing “nightouts” before exams or in dealing with government bankruptcy (Manmohan’s first budget) or in dealing with Anna Hazare.
    Anna Hazare is not the issue- corruption and the political response (not singling out UPA here) to the issue is.

  89. Totally agree with you on every point! Feels really good to know I am not the only “I am NOT Anna” …

  90. @Unpretentious Diva…u r hillarious..i cant stop laughing..just too much..

  91. I have been a reader of your blog for the last two years and have really enjoyed your posts. This, however, is the first time i am venturing a comment. Many people seem to be worried that the current agitation is setting a dangerous precedent and in future we may be faced with cranks holding society to ransom by fasting and staging rallies. They seem to be missing the point that just any odd person fasting for a cause, right or wrong, does not have an impact. Let us understand this very clearly that Anna could fast to death for all anyone cares. Irom Sharmila is fasting for a decade. The reason why Anna has everyone in a tizzy is the huge numbers of his suppoerters. Were it not for the huge crowds thronging Ramlila Maidan, you would not have a post about Anna, there wouldn’t be the media frenzy and the government wouldn’t find itself in a fix. I have been to Ramlila Maidan and had earlier gone to Jantar Mantar as well, but i did not go for Baba Ramdev’s agitation, though both have the same core issue- corruption. My reason for not participating in Ramdev’s rally was that i have always found the man suspect. The reason why Anna has huge numbers supporting him is simple- it is about an issue that has affected all of us at some point or the other and more importantly, people think he has the moral authority to take up the issue. His authority to make demands does not stem from force, or money or law or vote. His authority is moral. He has lived a simple life, made a change in his immediate community and subsequently in his state. That is why people are rallying behind him. tomorrow you or I could fast for a worthy cause but no one would look twice.
    Do i think the Jan Lokpal Bill is panacea for all evils that plague India? NO. will it end corruption? NO. Corruption is inherent in the human nature. There can never be a corruption free society anywhere in the world. But i think this bill will put the brakes on the out of control institutionalized corruption that is choking this country

  92. At the risk of being bracketed into any of the above stated categories, I would like to say the following:
    I would start by qouting the famous words of V “Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”. Come to think of it, it is a very romantic idea that we are the victims of corruptions rather than the perpetrators of it. No wonder the middle class is taking to it like a fish takes to water. I wonder how many of these “revolutionaries” belonging to the telecom gaints refused to work and sat on the dharnas when their companies “allegedly” payed bribes to A. Raja to get the 2G spectrum at the rate of dirt. How many of rest refused to use the services of these co.s because they indluged in corruption. How many of them sold their holding of such companies because they are corrupt. How many of the “revolutionaries” are willing to undertake any of the above state even now. That can only mean one thing, as long as we benifit from it, we turn a blind eye or we pass it on as “we do not have a choice”, only when we are at the recieving end would we have a sudden sprout of conscience. Convinient aint it!!
    Now some might say, even those who indulged in the above still have a right to protest. I do not debate that, I would like just like to extra-polate that logic and ask, how would they feel if A. Raja or a Kalmadi also joined in?
    Well, coming to the crux of the matter, how can corruption be curbed. There are some, who believe we need to address and remove the root cause of corruption i.e. the oppertunity/reason to give/take bribe and so, things in this country need to be deregularized. Interesting idea, that we move away from a socialist democracy to a capitalist one. I for one see no harm in this solution execpt for the fact that the lower segements of would be then left at the mercy of middle class and the upper class. And going by the level of consience demonstrated by both in the recent past, I shudder to think of what becomes of them in such a society.
    Then there are others, who feel if there are enough provisions within the system to checks corruption and they need to be strengthened. I would agree but that would need a herculean effort and patience. I do not think there is scope of patience on this matter, at least the iRevolutionaries of today.
    As for the JLP bill, the bill in no way ensures that there can’t be corruption. If anyone here can educate me otherwise, with a single example from the history of statutes/laws/bodies in India, I would rest my case. Bills have been passed and watchdog bodies have been created, one after the other, and still nothing has prevented corruption from taking place, and how. So, I would like to ask the fine gentlemen and ladies here supporting the bill, to point to one clause in the bill that one can’t get around with a little bit of imagination. A will can’t be stopped by a bill. And conversely, a will needs no bill.
    At the end, some might deduce, that I intend that nothing should be done. And, I would agree with such deductions. I strongly believe that there is nothing that can be done to address this issues, atleast politically. The “enemy” is not external, it is within. And hence the solution needs to be social rather than political.

  93. @crackjack: remove your Anna cap and re-read her post. Yes, it’s not something you’ve heard of before, and I can understand your fear and bewilderment when confronted with new ideas, but try and give it a shot. You may have to stop meditating in front of that Anna statue first though…

  94. @shubs..i m not wearing d cap..i m just asking for fair treatment..u may be unpretentious but see how u reacted when someone opposed ur idea..who gives u d right to oppose others ideas..and particularly of those who r DOING something….

  95. @shubs…i do understand whatever is written in that post but strongly feel that the views are not even worth discussing…u know what legalizing corruption means?? and do u hv any idea how the governments across the world are functioning just fine without corruption…we r not making anyone alert by bribing we are just making them inept..the traffic cops dont control the traffic they are just there hiding behind trees to catch someone so that they get a bribe…d government employees are inept because of corruption, they intentionally delay things so as to get chai-paani..legalizing corruption will mean all these will be free without even the guilt factor..and how do u plan to fix the rates..who will monitor whether a traffic cop is taking the right amount of bribe..ha ha ha..u guyz r floating these kind of ideas to look different but no one has the balls to do one meaningful thing in life..and a person, a very genuine person is fasting for a nation to be corruption free..to make every rupee of tax payers money count..to stop newly built bridges from collapsing..to stop corrupt officials from working with anti-social elements..to use indians hard earned money in a constructive way..and what he gets in return is ideas, filthy ideas from people who have comfortably parked their bottoms in air conditioned offices after a heavy lunch of chicken biryani…so much for unpretentiousness…

  96. corruption is a by-product of inequity of power, such as in case of monopoly. Remove that monopoly and inequity. Corruption goes away. We no longer have to pay bribe to get a phone. This is not due to Lokpal. But because we have choices today. The monopoly of government is gone.

  97. @padma..i second u..

  98. darling anonymous…not every body need to know their individuals through google.Maybe Arundhuti Roy may have made some comments on US aggresion that does not make her a Marxist.Try to know the basic tenets of marxism(google could help u there) and u will see its totally different from what Arundhuti roy preaches.Try reading the god of small things for which she became famous.Regarding calling others names as ignorant fools that doesnt deign a reply.I used to think GB is a right wing fanatic.This is article makes me change my mind.He tries to be diferent in every thing that makes him similar to MS Roy

  99. You bunch of morons. Next time don’t complain
    when you have to pay bribe to get a police case registered against
    someone who has killed your family member.

  100. “If there is anyone in today’s India that would receive more scorn than the pedophile and the baby-murderer, it is he who does not provide the fullest support to Anna Hazare and his Jan Lok Pal campaign.”

    That is the hardest truth that we have to accept.


  101. No wonder PoschinBong is a deep shit state with all the bhodralok
    arguing but not doing much.

  102. @Dark Lord

    No, the same thing applies. They can support or oppose what they like, but sorry, credibility is suspect. If it doesn’t work, fine, go home and enjoy your developed life. Put your money where your mouth is. Patriots who prefer not to live in their own country. Funny.

  103. Myself, and I suppose, many of Anna Hazare supporters are also for small government. But that does not mean we should never ever create a new branch of govt. The current system is highly ineffective in curbing corruption and a strong ombudsman can act as a deterrence and atleast reduce corruption by some extent. Many people are saying that a change should come from within, but fear of punishment will also help bring the change among people.

  104. @PartyPooper -v v well written..

  105. Lol, as solution to end corporate corruption, Tea Party is fighting for less government, while Anna wants more red-tape.

  106. While the whole article is well written, I loved the line where you say that corruption is a problem of large government. That hits the nail on the head.

  107. Arnab,

    Call me naive but I’m just happy he’s doing SOMETHING, yes we can poke holes in the way in which things are getting done but frankly the end is more important than the means at this point (to me at least).

  108. Terrible post. You complain about opposers being viewed as homogenous, but paint the same brush stroke over the supporters of the bill. You then go on to dream up a “if only all of were to magically vote for the right thing at the polling station”, we could achieve this all democratically. Really?? At the last election, India voted for the Congress, and some allies. Which one of us voted for the 2G scam, which one of us voted for the fiasco that was the Commonwealth Games, which one of us voted for Karunanidhi’s family to own Tamil Nadu (and whn I say own, I mean literally, own)? Therein lies the flaw of representative democracy. Decisions get to be made in those 5 odd years that none of us ever voted for.
    So, what’s wrong with having a body that sits outside the electoral mechanism that will guard the guards? Aren’t the courts just that? Are the courts relevant therefore just because the constitution accounts for them? Then, would you accept it if the consitution accepted the lokayukta and lokpall, which is what we are clamoring for? Could the lokayukta be corrupt? Sure, just like we have corrrupt judges. But I am waiting for the day when I can prosecute the registrar who asks for a bribe when I register an apartment, without having to go to the police station, and bribe somebody ther.
    As for the snide aside about being eviscerated digitally, surely you don’t understand the freedom of expression grants us the ability to call you an idiot when we want to. That does not mean we are denying you the right to speak, just saying that you are stupid to have exercised it.

  109. After going through zillions articles,blogs,posts,takes and the Original Bill itself I want to clearify some points.

    1) Dear MaunMohan Singh,Yes we all know how hell bent you are for removing the cancer of corruption from our country since last 7 Years. So please answer this simple query : Why does it took you (err..Soniya Gandhi ..You’re mere a puppet only,Aint you) 11 days to decide that the Team Anna bill should be DISCUSSED in parliament? Or you had gone into comma? If you are “CHINTIT” about corruption (If at all you are in the first place) why that CHINTA took so long to surface up?

    2) For all those people like every Arundhati,Meghna,Digvijay (What a combination !!) who opposes the Tean Anna’s draft,I have a question for you. Have you really gone through the draft fully? With open mind ? Have you read all the clauses and attached annexures ? Secondly, No System,No Regulatory Commision and for that matter No Country is ever perfect. Everything has to go through a process called Evolution. And for God’s sake Somewhere we have to start. For all those ludicrous fanatics who cry over the powers and position of Lokpal,Please read the draft carefully. It has mentioned all the amandements in detail as well as easily understandable. Though there are some flaws in it which can be DISCUSSED open mindedly .But for that the govenment MUST have the political will to let it pass through the parliament and not dismentle it saying “its unconstitutional and abrupt.”

    3) Last and the most important point. Awareness. Take a bow,Anna. No. Really. It takes ball to stand against these bastards. Peacefully. Non-violently. With all possible weapons to shoot upon you. I selute your morale. Someone has rightly said this : Its the idea whose time has come. Anna is just messenger to us. To make us rise against The wrong.

  110. Forgive my ignorance about intricacies of how our democracy works, but is there any provision for or say of the voters once they have voted? Can they impact the party alliances? Let’s say Party A was given a very low majority, but can the voters now stop that party from forming an alliance and eventually getting to rule the country?

  111. @Megh

    For all those people like every Arundhati,Meghna,Digvijay (What a combination !!) who opposes the Tean Anna’s draft,I have a question for you.

    You could avoid lumping together everyone who opposes the JLP with Roy and Digvijay. It isn’t much better than George W Bush here.

    Have you really gone through the draft fully? With open mind ?

    Speaking for myself, yes. But even if many opposers haven’t read it, how does it change things? Many (if not most) of the Hazare supporters have read neither the entire bill nor a synopsis of the issues that many people have with the JLP, and are merely going along with the hivemind and asking for it blindly.

    A few weeks ago, I was one of those indulging in groupthink “I am Anna” supporters. Then I had a relook of the bill, read some of the articles both for and against, and the arguments on the “against” side were far more convincing than those for the bill. Can you claim the same? Have you gone through the bill in detail with a critical mind?

    Yet, the discussion of the bill should be on the merits of the bill, not the merits of its supporters and opposers.

    Secondly, No System,No Regulatory Commision and for that matter No Country is ever perfect. Everything has to go through a process called Evolution.

    True, no system is ever perfect. However, that is a product of not knowing all the implications of the laws you’re drafting. The situation with the JLP is different – we know a good number of serious problems with the bill (for details, read my previous comment here or the much better articles on it by Nitin Pai at the Acorn). Not addressing an issue which you don’t know about, that’s normal course of action. But if people tell you to relook because there are known problems that must be addressed somehow, and you plunge ahead with no regard to consequences, you lose the right to claim that “nothing is perfect” because you didn’t even try to fix problems when they were pointed out.

    And for God’s sake Somewhere we have to start.

    Did you watch Yes Minister? They depicted a logical fallacy called the Politician’s Syllogism pretty well: “We must do something. This is something. So we must do it.” Most of the “this is a starting point”, “something is better than nothing” arguments are poorly veiled examples of the Politician’s Syllogism.

  112. Nice post. The problem with LP is not that it is not useful, but it is the LEAST EFFECTIVE way to remove corruption. The problem with Anna is not that he is not a good man, but he is a “moral tyrant” (http://sabhlokcity.com/2011/08/is-anna-hazare-a-moral-dictator-has-he-flogged-dalits-for-eating-meat-lets-beware-the-great-man/).

    Arnab, I accidentally came across your blog. I suggest you consider browsing thro’ my blog/book and if it makes sense, joining the Freedom Team. We need serious thinkers and leaders to join FTI and offer an alternative, classical liberal government.

    In particular, the solution to corruption: http://sabhlokcity.com/2011/08/are-you-serious-about-removing-corruption-then-follow-the-positive-solution/

  113. I think the Lokpal bill will reduce corruption. Here is how :

    Corruption is a profit-making venture. To stop corruption, you need to make it unprofitable. There are 2 ways to make something unprofitable, either reduce the revenues or increase the costs.
    Revenues of corruption are decreased by reducing the government permissions required for any activity. This has been done to a large extent by liberalization, but more can be done. However, some regulation is required in any industry, so the government regulation should not be eliminated altogether.

    The second way to reduce corruption is by increasing the cost of corruption. This is where the Lokpal steps in. The Lokpal/Lokayukta offers another layer of government agencies probing charges of corruption. There is always a chance that the Lokpal might itself be corrupt, but it increases the cost of corruption since the corrupt official must pay a share to the Lokpal as well. So there are some activities where corruption no longer remains profitable, hence corruption gets reduced.

  114. lol. the pesticide in pepsi moment August 27, 2011 — 2:19 pm

    Dr Abhijit Vaidya, founder of Arogya Sena

    My first encounter with Anna Hazare was when I was requested by veteran trade union leader Dr Baba Adhav to come to Ralegan Siddhi as a doctor to examine Hazare on the 13th day of his first notable hunger strike in 1998. At that time, his relative and a close associate showed me packets of glucose and electrolyte powder, which he was giving to Hazare everyday, and asked me whether the quantity was sufficient.

    This came as a shock to me since I was familiar with the Gandhian way of satyagraha and fasting …

  115. True many are not with Anna.

    It is a mass hysteria which swept urban India because of TV channels.

    Dalits, OBCs, Tribals, Minorities were not as fervent in the Anna movement.

    It is elite urban class that supports it because it wants to do something and despite its hypocrisy–it will continue to pay and receive bribe–it feels it is driving India.

    Many supported Hazare, Many opposed him but it is hoped that this energy will force governments to take action against corruption in country and their respective states.

    Even if you die-hard anti-Anna, erything can’t be bad. Some good may emerge of this movement.

  116. You are welcome to hold whatever views you want to…but at this point of time, you don’t have much credibility on this issue. You are living in a far off land hardly affected by most decisions or movements in India. You may be well-meaning and I am not suspecting your values, but sorry buddy I think you do have a serious relevance problem on this issue.

    Your views hold about as much importance as of those foreigners posting on cricinfo.com commenting and seeming to understand the intricacies of CA (Cricket Australia) and reasons for decline of Australian cricket. You can comment all you want to…it doesn’t mean much. And yes, in my opinion the aam-junta who may not have access to blogging or even internet in India does hold a more valuable position in this regard.

  117. Dear – its a well written article – but i choose to disagree with you because of one simple reason – that the ‘complete truth’ is a moving target! One can never be 100% right about anything at all… there will be view points and counter points. It takes a lot to create a crusade like what they have created… and there are reasonable compromises that have to be made – and a bit of rigid stance is a small price to pay for a cause like that…

  118. I am a bit of a Lokpal agnostic, in part because I don’t think I have enough information or expertise.

    Have been on the road a lot recently, it doesn’t look like a urban middle class phenomenon anymore to me. I saw a lot of support in villages for this in two states I travelled through. Otherwise parties wouldn’t have given a rat’s ass about it. One of the biggest anti corruption tool RTI came out of a movement like this some time ago, so lets wait and watch how this goes.

  119. Amidst all the Lokpal noises , our Honourable President maintained such a “dignified silence”…and some really front page disturbing news got lost out e.g the slaying of 11 more policemen in Chattisgarh , the bravery of Lt Navdeep Singh while foiling the biggest infiltration bids in recent years and the atrocious renaming of bengal as “Paschimbawngo”…

    I personally believe that an overhauling of our existing judiciary system which, despite having a backlog of millions cases is closed for around 200 days, may reduce corruption by 20-30 %.

  120. Here are a few of my thoughts. First, I appreciate the article and the great job of slicing the various layers of public sympathies on a movement which has touched one or more chords of everyday life in India.

    Here’s a grassroots movement which has for the most part taken shape from public frustrations in dealing with our everyday issues with beaurecracy and the resultant corruption in its various forms and guises. From a simple procedure with the RTO in registering your vehicles, to capitation fees for admission to schools and colleges and the many other innumerous interactions that we face with beaurecracies (Government), the frustrations just keep on mounting.
    The Anna movement tries to cap the problems top-down with the Lok Pal Bill. That only creates another body of supervision which is again prone to corruption, and that’s a guarantee it will.

    Since the Anna movement is a grassroots movement why not start at the grass roots level. The other day I saw a large group of very well-intended folks in the software district of Bangalore line up a few Kilometers of the center median of Outer Ring Road chanting in support of the Anna Movement. Around them were big pot holes, clouds of dirt and smoke, unbearable traffic conidtions from road construction, open man-hole covers and uncleared roads from construction-debris along with unsupervised road junctions compoubnding the traffic problem. With monsoons the roads on several occassions are flooded with water. One could point out several places which could be a life-threatening situation and inspite of it all it probably occurs to a few of us that we do not need a Lok Pal Bill to confront our local politicians and corporators to address the problems. Why not spend the time to go to offices of local corporators, the local government folks at ground level and bear upon them to deliver services. Why not go to the RTO’s Office, and the Registrar’s Office and the local government bodies and bring about fairness in efficient government services.
    As for capitation fees in Schools and Colleges, why not just refuse to pay and let the institutions be forced to admit students on merit basis. I am afraid though that demand out-weighs supply and there will be some folks who would want to muscle in with capitation fees. As far as private institutions are concerned (who do not enjoy Government subsidies), I do not think that the public at large can command a no-capitation fee requirement. That would be against the grain of free enterprise.

    Count me in with the Anna Movement if it wants to tackle the problem at Grass Roots level

  121. Even you must concede that this has been a huge mass movement that has brought the issue of corruption into the mainstream political discourse. Corruption as an issue has so far been largely a political football among the various parties, with lots of finger-pointing and little action. There was a widespread notion among the political class that this was largely a middle class drawing room matter with occasional steam being let off in TV studios and no electoral impact.

    However, by bringing the govt to its knees, the movement has made a radical impact on this dynamics. Why did the govt eat the proverbial humble pie, even after playing macho and arresting Anna ? Because, it was simply not possible to ignore the political (and possibly electoral) capital of the movement. The main opposition groups more or less came on board after some initial hand-wringing. People now have the belief that concerted action on corruption can make the high and mighty tremble, and this can be a sound launching pad for a voting booth movement as you suggest. I think that in terms of impact, this movement is less about specifics of the bill and more about making the larger political point regarding corruption.

  122. I like what Chandan Mitra said. If you are paying a bribe to the constable, he is perhaps demanding a bribe because you jumped the red light.
    I am sure at least 90% (100% ? )of us who were supporting Anna have bent the rules sometime or the other. Humble appeal for some introspection please.

  123. aap ko 1 baat kahein ? aap sochte hain aap bahut hi logical argument karte hain– but ye saara bakwaas jo likhe hain wahin tak hai ya fir kuch kiya bhi hai thoda bahut ? koi kuch kare toh log ya sahi woh galat ki bakar bakar bakar.

  124. We need a revolution, a complete change of mindset and a mass movement, to get rid of our inertia and take our country towards real development. Arguments, debates, brainstorming, etc. are all fine but they tend to paralyse us to a point of confusion, stupor and helplessness. Major overhauling of our system needs to be done and everybody needs to play an active in this direction. So, come on guys, let’s do it for India! Jai Hind!!

  125. The mela at ramlila was one thing that gave me my daily dose of entertainment those days. When the likes of Sambhavana seth and Pooja bedi addresses the gathering, when a female model writes “I am Anna” on her bare back, when a male model offers to strip in return of enactment, (search TOI website for all this and more) you know the gravity and seriousness of the great revolution.

    I am not against the cause. Bad governance, and corruption in particular, has been the main cause of India’s lack of development. So reforming governance and eliminating corruption is the key to India’s prosperous future. I had always wished to see a revolution in these lines. But sadly such a revolution is not going to take place for a very long time. The lok pal revolution allowed people to give a vent to their anguish which had piled up considerably after some of the recent gargantuan scams. And i would say that the result was no way worth the effort. So the fatigue that has set in after the 10 day anti-corruption mela will only deter the occurrence of the actual revolution for a very long time.

    Any responsible and democratically elected government is never going to accept Team anna’s prescription for curing corruption in its totality. To the thousands of Anna supporters, the Jan lok pal bill, with its several utopian features, is like a typically bollywood movie of the 90s. Crowds use to throng theatres to watch the thrilling fights and titillating dances, knowing very well that in real life they don’t get to see both. SO WATCH THE FUN AS LONG AS IT LASTS. When Kiran bedi “educates” the people about the jan lok pal bill by saying that if they face corruption, they just need to dial a unique phone number (like 100 or 101) to contact the lok pal, all I can think of is Anna Hazare, in a superman costume, descending down from the skies and bashing up the corrupt official just like what sunny deol does to bollywood villains.

    What India needs now is a two pronged revolution. One to bring transparency and accountability in government and the other to strengthen the ethical and moral fabric of the society.

    Improving transparency and accountability can go a long way in rooting out corruption. I always cite the case of allotment of accommodation to government employees to prove that transparency can root out corruption in a big way. Earlier the allotment was riddled with corruption and favouritism. Nobody had access to the waiting list, if ever there was one. So either through political influence or by bribing the clerk over there, you could bypass many other eligible persons and get a quarter allotted in your name. A supreme court ruling changed all that. Now the directorate of estates has to prepare a waiting list on the basis of seniority and has to put it in public domain. So I know what my position is in the waiting list and I can also know if someone junior to me got an out of turn allotment.

    To prove that accountability can root out corruption, it is good to look at the latest development in pension disbursement. Earlier, pensioners had to bribe the officials for timely disbursement of their pension. Recently government has brought out a rule that if a retired government servant does not get his pension within a month of his retirement, a certain amount is deducted as penalty from the salary of the official who is responsible for timely disbursement.

    These may be small cases. But the inference is the same. Transparency and accountability can root out corruption.

    However, we need to remember that politicians and bureaucrats are also a microcosm of the society in which we live. As said in the Bible, only the man who has not sinned has the right to throw the first stone at a sinner. How many people who attended the mela at ramlila would not have evaded paying taxes, not have bribed the cops for condoning traffic offences, not have undervalued prices while buying/selling property? I am sure they would be in a miniscule minority.
    So the campaign against corruption should also be accompanied by a campaign for promoting ethical and moral values in the society. If we look at all the developed countries, a common strand we can find is that the civic sense of the public is far far superior. It is the collective enhancement in the economic, social and political lives of the people that bring about development. An ethical and responsible way of life is a precursor to that. And I sincerely hope to witness that in my lifetime.

    Arnab, sorry for spamming your blog with such stray thoughts. I just wanted to say all this to someone.

    P.S If you meet a die hard anna fan don’t bother to argue it out with him/her. Just say INDIA IS ANNA, ANNA IS INDIA! JAI RALEGAN SIDDHI!

  126. Nicely done…you have pointed out almost all that is wrong with our psyche…ANyway i do have an opinion on this topic on my blog as well. http://wp.me/p1gbPf-3l

  127. Finally some political view on which Arundhati and GreatBong are on the same boat, may be with subtle differences in their opinion.

  128. In 1982, In Singapore, LOKPAL BILL was implemented and 142 Corrupt Ministers & Officers were arrested in one single day.

    Singapore is rich not because of Ombudsman law but because of huge liberalization patterns Singaporean has accepted. Liberalization makes riches not restrictions. Janlokpal in India will increase the mess of bureaucrats only. Without proper liberalization, progress is impossible. and as scarcity will increase, even the head of Janlokpal will have no option but to get corrupt.

  129. Real-life consequences of a blindly emotional and recklessly polarizing campaign run by egomaniacs:

    Student drowns after campus gang chases him into river – for opposing an anti-corruption protest.

    This is just the beginning folks…

  130. farting inactive self proclaimed intellectuals . impotent and incapable of action but they must comment

  131. Hmmm…Hope that Chetan Bhagat supporting this cause is not the whole-sole reason for you, to not supporting this movement…

  132. You said – “Here is the thing, respected Team Anna members. The people who oppose the Anna movement aren’t all homogenous in their evil-ness.”

    To that, I reply – Here is the thing, respected Demented Mind. The people who support the Anna movement aren’t all homogeneous in their foolishness. We may not be as demented as you, but we are foolish in many different ways.

  133. I’m waiting to see the reaction of the “I’m Anna” brigade if the final Lokpal Bill incorporates the suggestions of most other saner activist groups and throws out most, if not all, of the Anna coterie’s draconian demands (chances are, that will remain a pipe dream based on the political calculations of our parliamentarians).
    That’s when we’ll know whether ‘Team Anna’ is driven by true national interest or by the heady brew of noveau political power and messiah complex.

  134. “And then there are those who come not so much from ideology but from pragmatics. They wonder how corruption, principally a problem of large government, can be solved by adding yet another layer to government. What, they wonder, is the guarantee that the Lok Pal itself cannot be compromised and how many supervisory bodies do we keep needing to add to ensure that the one below that is pristine pure?”

    Ahhh Arnab…you and I should be having a pint together and shooting the breeze :).

  135. @lalu: “farting inactive self proclaimed intellectuals . impotent and incapable of action but they must comment”

    As must you and prove Arnab right with your vituperative ad-hominem attacks, that reek of sheer dumbassery. Now, get tae fuck!

  136. Excellent. The best take on the lokpal scenario. September 3, 2011 — 6:12 pm

    Excellent. The best take on the lokpal scenario.Comprehensive analysis.

  137. I did not show my support to the Anti Corruption mela on FB, Twitter or by physically being present in any rally / meeting / candle light march.

    I have immense respect for Anna and what he has been able to achieve. He has given a voice to the frustrated middle class, woken them up and brought them together for a truly worthy cause. I would defend him in any discussion. But, I do not believe another Bill or another authority is the solution to this issue.

    One way corruption can be defeated is through clear, simple, transparent processes. Imagine a country where each and every process (starting from getting clearance for a particular factory, to getting your vehicle back after it is towed) is accessible, simple and has defined TATs and escalation matrix. With the introduction of UIDs and probably electronic voting, this might even become a reality.

    Now, there is another bigger component, which needs to be tackled. WE as a nation are, for lack of a better equivalent in english, ‘jugaadu’. Tell us that it will take 3 days to get a gas cylinder, we will try to slip in a 20 to the clerk to push up our request; tell us we have to go to three places in the same office to get three signatures, we will try to find an agent who can get it all done faster; tell us we have to elect a government which is responsible, and will take 2 – 3 years to actually do good for the country, we will try to find a representative who gives us the best immediate incentive for our vote. The problem is, money CAN solve almost any problem, expedite any process, get anyone anything that he / she wants in this country. Everyone wants more of everything and he / she wants it now! We have become the truest embodiment of capitalism there is!

    Do I belong to the above class? Truly, NO. I have never paid a bribe, but I have never voted either. Do the Anna cap wearers belong to the above class? Maybe. Not because they want to. But, because not belonging to the above class, and doing things the proper way is HARD. I don’t know if I can continue to do things the hard way, and if I can bear the hardship it causes to my family, when I do have one. Hence, going back to my initial point: Good processes. Make doing the right thing easier.

  138. Five reasons, why I support Anna’s movement –

    1. Instead of trying a new minister in every election, Indians now want existing parliamentarians to WORK in the great institution. HENCE PUTTING PRESSURE ON THEM AND SAVING COST.

    2. 120 crore people can not contest election, they don’t have option to reject all contestants in election in their constituency, they can’t recall ministers selected by them so what are the other better ways existing to be the part of system other than paying taxes (major part of which swells tax heavens).

    3. Expecting every Indian not to pay bribe to eliminate corruption is not feasible. The tree of corruption grows from top to bottom hence parliamentarian, the ministers need to be cleaned first and the change will be propagated automatically downwards to improve the system. Anna’s movement targets the source of corruption hence it is supported widely.

    4. NO SYSTEM IS PERFECT. Closing our eyes and say that we respect our democracy doesn’t make it perfect too. We need to study the democracy of India post independence before writing such blogs. People mostly write against the movement just to attract more eyes and just to receive more hits on their blogs. Majority of politicians have been selected in the “great dance of democracy” on populous movement, on sentiments, on muscles etc. They never had even an intention to work following the principals of democracy. They bend all rules to be unaccountable. The movement aims to make them accountable to the system, to the democracy.

    5. Last but not least, I respect Anna, team anna and also our ministers both in government and opposition because without their respect for democracy, such massive but peaceful movement couldn’t be a reality. A strong lokpal bill, these movements may not clean the system completely but they can really make some significant difference to correct the system.

  139. Another NRI.. who doesn’t know what is happening in the ground just thinking he knows everything and scribbling something based on media reports…

    Why don’t u NRI’s think of the nation where u are instead of poking u nose in India’s activity… we Indian’s are matured to support what we think is correct…

    And it is that writing in FB in not useful, writing in blog like you do is useful ?

  140. I support Anna the rallying point, not Anna the movement as much. The fact that all this time only he alone could raise the clairon call and rouse people en masse on this pressing concern in itself is enough to make me admire him, rest being irrelevant. What angers me though is people who themselves can never pull off anything of the kind sort of being stirred into doing what they best do, that is, write about all sorts of unsavoury things this could lead to. They should first themselves lead such a movement then return to the comfort of their homes and report it in their characteristic cynicism!

  141. The important thing about the whole deal is that Chetan [edited] will write a refreshingly original love story around this issue and call it revolution 2020. Are you ready for a revolution?

  142. Anna Hazare has become synonymous with anti corruption. Well, written 🙂

  143. very well written..

  144. ” we want a corruption free india with the great anna ji as our leader, a country where only politicians and beaurecrats n govt. servants are prohibited from doing any form of corruption. a country where citizens can freely mess up with the existing laws and then bribe the cops to evade a challan or fine. how d hell can a pvt enterprise(n employees) or non-govt agency be corrupt.?out of question. because pvt. companies are so stuffed up with sadhus, fakirs and monks from d vedic periods of civilization. no?

    n then arnab’s concept of freewill donation at colleges and dowry , they are perfectly justified. they are out of your freewill and not a compulsion.

    yes! we want a corruption free india. where corruption would not be in the governance but in the core blood of the citiz-annas.

    and bloody i hate writing stuff in proper punctuated english with british spellings and all. i love abbreviated lingo.first thing it hides my messed up sense of spellings and second, it brings out ‘more core’ from within me.

  145. I am as much an Indian as any ‘I am Anna’. However, I think this article is brilliantly written. Everything that you have written about the ‘I am Anna’s is well proven in the comments section of this blog post. Thanks to Arnab Goswami, the ‘I am Anna’ s are showing highways to anyone who even dares to question the bill.

    And a mention must be made of Ms/Mrs. Kiran Bedi. What a performance! After seeing her and the likes of her (read Arindam Chaudhry, Om Puri and who not!) at the maidan..I have full trust in the movement..yeah!

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