Skip to content

At the Risk of Heresy: Why I am not Celebrating with Anna Hazare

April 9, 2011

At the risk of heresy, let me express my profound unease at the crescendo of euphoria surrounding the ‘Anna Hazare + Jan Lokpal Bill’ phenomenon as it has unfolded on Jantar Mantar in New Delhi and across several hysterical TV stations over the last few days.

This time around, I have to say that the print media has acted (upto now) with a degree of restraint that I think is commendable. Partly, this has to do with the different natures of the two media. If you have to write even five hundred words about the Jan Lokpal bill, you run out of platitudes against corruption in the first sentence (and who can speak ‘for’ corruption anyway?) and after that you have to begin thinking about what the bill actually says, and the moment you do that, you cannot but help consider the actual provisions and their implications. On television on the other hand, you never have to speak for more than a sound-byte, (and the anchor can just keep repeating himself or herself, because that is the anchor’s job) and the accumulation of pious vox-pop sound bytes ‘against corruption’ leads to a tsunami of ‘sentiment’ that brooks no dissent.

Between the last NDA government and the current UPA government, we have probably experienced a continuity of the most intense degree of corruption that this country has ever witnessed. The outcome of the  ‘Anna Hazare’ phenomenon allows the ruling  Congress to appear gracious (by bending to Anna Hazar’s will) and the BJP to appear pious (by cozying up to the Anna Hazare initiative) and a full spectrum of NGO and  ‘civil society’ worthies to appear, as always, even holier than they already are.

Most importantly, it enables the current ruling elite to have just stage managed its own triumph, by crafting a ‘sensitive’ response (ably deployed by Kapil Sibal) to a television media conjured popular upsurge. Meanwhile, the electronic media, by and large, have played their part by offering us the masquerade of a ‘revolution’ that ends up making the state even more powerful than it was before this so called ‘revolution’ began. Some people in the corridors of power must be delighted at the smoothness and economy with which all this has been achieved. Hosni Mubarak should have taken a few lessons from the Indian ruling class about how to have your cake and eat it too on Tahrir Square,

We have been here before. Indira Gandhi’s early years were full of radical and populist posturing, and the mould that Anna Hazare fills is not necessarily the one that JP occupied (despite the commentary that repeatedly invokes JP). Perhaps we should be reminded of the man who was fondly spoken of as ‘Sarkari Sant’ – Vinoba Bhave. Bhave lent his considerable moral stature to the defence of the Internal Emergency (which, of course, dressed itself up in the colour of anti-corruption, anti-black marketeering rhetoric, to neutralize the anti-corruption thrust of the disaffection against Indira Gandhi’s regime). And while we are thinking about parallels in other times, let us not forget a parallel in another time and another place. Let us not forget the example of how Mao’s helmsmanship of the ‘cultural revolution’ skilfully orchestrated popular discontent against the ruling dispensation to strengthen the same ruling dispensation in China.

These are early days, but Anna Hazare may finally go down in history as the man who –  perhaps against his own instincts and interests – (I am not disputing his moral uprightness here) –  sanctified the entire spectrum of Indian politics by offering it the cosmetic cloak of the provisions of the draft Jan Lokpal Bill. The current UPA regime, like the NDA regime before it, has perfected the art of being the designer of its own opposition. The method is brilliant and imaginative. First, preside over profound corruption, then, utilise the public discontent against corruption to create a situation where the ruling dispensation can be seen as the source of the most sympathetic and sensitive response, while doing nothing, simultaneously, to challenge the abuse of power at a structural level.

I have studied the draft Jan Lokpal Bill carefully and I find some of its features are deeply disturbing. I want to take some time to think through why this appears disturbing to me.

The  draft Jan Lokpal bill (as present on the website Indiaagainstcorruption.org) foresees a Lokpal who will become one of the most powerful institutions of state that India has ever known. It will combine in itself the powers of making law, implementing the law, and punishing those who break the law. A lokpal will be ‘deemed a police officer’ and can ‘While investigating any offence under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, they shall be competent to investigate any offence under any other law in the same case.’

The appointment of the Lokpal will be done by a collegium consisting of several different kinds of people – Bharat Ratna awardees, Nobel prize winners of Indian origin, Magasaysay award winners, Senior Judges of Supreme and High Courts, the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Chief Election Commissioner, and members of the outgoing Lokpal board and the Chairpersons of both houses of Parliament. It may be noticed that in this entire body, only one person, the chairperson of the Lok Sabha, is a democratically elected person. No other person on this panel is accountable to the public in any way. As for ‘Nobel Prize Winners of Indian Origin’ they need not even be Indian citizens. The removal of the Lokpal from office is also not something amenable to a democratic process. Complaints will be investigated by a panel of supreme court judges.

This is middle class India’s dream of subverting the ‘messiness’ of democracy come delightfully true. So, now you have to imagine that Lata Mangeshkar (who is a Bharat Ratna), APJ Abul  Kalam (Bharat Ratna, ex-President and Nuclear Weapons Hawk) V.S. Naipaul (who is a Nobel Prize Winner of Indian Origin) and spectrum of the kinds of people who take their morning walks in Lodhi Garden – Supreme Court Judges, Election Commissioners, Comptroller & Auditor Generals, NHRC chiefs and Rajya Sabha chairmen will basically elect the person who will run what may well become the most powerful institution in India.

This is a classic case of a privileged elite selecting how it will run its show without any restraint. It sets the precedent for the making of an unaccountable ‘council of guardians’ something like the institution of the ‘Velayat e Faqih’ – a self-selected body of clerics – in Iran who act as a super-state body, unrestrained by any democratic norms or procedures. I do not understand what qualifies Lata Mangeshkar and V.S. Naipaul (whose deeply reactionary views are well known) to take decisions about the future of all those who live in india.

The setting up of the institution of the Lokpal (as it is envisioned in what is held out as the draft Jan Lokpal Bill)  needs to be seen, not as the deepening, but as the profound erosion of democracy.

I respect the sentiment that brings a large number of people out in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill movement. but I do not think there has been enough thought given to the implications of the provisions that it seeks to make into law. In these circumstances, one would have ordinarily expected the media to have played a responsible role by acting as a platform for debate and discussion about the issues, so that we can move, as a society, towards a better and more nuanced law. Instead, the electronic media have killed the possibility of any substantive discussion by creating a spectacle. It is absolutely imperative that this space be reclaimed by those who are genuinely interested in a serious discussion about what corruption represents in our society and in our political culture.

Clearly, there is a popular rage, (and not confined to earnest middle class people alone) about the helplessness that corruption engenders around us. But we have to ask very carefully whether this bill actually addresses the structural issues that cause corruption. In setting up a super-state body, that is almost self selecting and virtually unaccountable, it may in fact laying the foundations of an even more intense concentration of power. And as should be clear to all of us by now, nothing fosters corruption as much as the concentration of unaccountable and unrestrained power.

I am not arguing against the provision of an institution of a Lokpal, or Ombudsman, (and some of the provisions even in this draft bill – such as the provision of protection for whistle-blowers, are indeed commendable)  but if we want to take this institution seriously, within a democratic political culture, we have to ask whether the methods of initiating and concluding the term of office of the Lokpal conforms to democratic norms or not. There are many models of selecting Ombudsmen available across the world, but I have never come across a situation where a country decides that Nobel Prize winners and those awarded with state conferred honours can be entrusted with the task selecting those entrusted with the power to punish people. I have also never come across the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office being hailed as the triumph of democratic values.

Nothing serves power better than the spectacle of resistance. The last few days have witnessed an unprecedented choreography of the spectacle of a united action. As I type this, I am watching visuals on Times Now, where a crescendo of cheesy ‘inspirational’ music strings together a montage of flag-waving children speaking in hypnotic unison. This kind of unison scares me. It reminds me of the happy synchronized calisthenics of the kind that totalitarian regimes love to use to produce the figure of their subjects. And all fascist regimes begin by sounding the tocsin of ‘cleansing’ society of corruption and evil.

When four Bombay page three worthies, Rishi Kapoor, Prithwish Nandy, Anupam Kher, Anil Dharker conduct a shrill inquisition (as they did on the Newshour on Times Now) against two co-panelists, Meenakshi Lekhi and Hartosh Singh Bal simply because they were not sounding ‘cheerful and celebratory’ (Anupam Kher even disapproved of their ‘body posture’) I begin to get really worried. The day we feel self-conscious and inhibited about expressing even non-verbally, or silently, our disappointment in public about a public issue, is the day when we know that authoritarian values have taken a firm hold on public discourse.

Of course, there are other reasons to get worried. All we need now is for someone, say like Baba Ramdev (one of the worthies behind Anna Hazare’s current campaign) to go on a fast on Jantar Mantar in support of some draconian and reactionary measure dear to him, backed by thousands of pious, earnest television supported, pranayamic middle class supporters.

Having said this, lets also pause to consider that it’s not as if others have not been on hunger strike before – Irom Sharmila has been force fed for several years now – but I do not see her intransigence being translated into a tele-visually orchestrated campaign against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The impunity that AFSPA breeds is nothing short of a corruption that eats deep into the culture of democracy, and yet, here, moral courage, and the refusal to eat, does not seem to work.

The current euphoria needs to be seen for what it is – a massive move towards legitimizing a strategy of simple emotional blackmail – a (conveniently reversible) method of suicide bombing in slow motion. There is no use dissenting against a pious worthy on a fast, because any effort to dissent will be immediately read as a callous indifference to his/her ‘sacrifice’ by the moral-earnestness brigade. Nothing can be more dangerous for democracy. Unrestrained debate and a fealty to accountable processes are the only means by which a democratic culture can sustain itself. The force of violence, whether it is inflicted on others, or on the self, or held out as a performance, can only act coercively. And coercion can never nourish democracy.

Finally, if, as a society, we were serious about combating the political nexus that sustains corruption – we would be thinking seriously about extending the provisions of the Right to Information Act to the areas where it can not currently operate – national security and defence; we would also think seriously about electoral reform – about proportional representation, about smaller constituencies, about strengthening local representative bodies, about the provision of uniform public funding for candidates and about the right to recall elected representatives. These are serious questions. The tragedy that we are facing today is that the legitimate public outrage against corruption is being channeled in a profoundly authoritarian direction that actually succeeds in creating a massive distraction.

In all the noise there has been a lot of talk about cynicism, and anyone who has expressed the faintest doubt has been branded as a cynic. I do not see every expression of doubt in this context as cynicism, though some may be. Instead, I see the fact that those who often cry hoarse about ‘democratic values’ seem to be turning a blind eye to the authoritarian strains within this draft ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ as a clear indication of how powerful the politics of cynicism actually is.

I hope that eventually, once the din subsides, better sense will prevail, and we can all begin to think seriously, un-cynically about what can actually be done to combat the abuse and concentration of power in our society.

Allow me to pick and choose my revolutions. I am not celebrating at Jantar Manta tonight. Good night.

490 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 1:56 AM

    The power structures as they exist do not actually allow for vigourous debate of any really meaningful sort, and thus are not, in the foreseeable future, going to result in any of the changes you list in the last paragraph (some of which are debatable, but that’s not the point). With this in mind, your entire article is completely meaningless rhetoric — lots of should, no will.

    The entire system seems to be stuck in a downward spiral the end of which is going to be an absolute nightmare. The Jan Lokpal Bill might take us down the spiral faster. Or it might provide some sort of moral spine that’ll allow us to bootstrap our society out of its current state. Or make the decline rapid enough to force people into *doing* something. So perhaps the time for drastic measures has come?

    • Tee Em permalink
      April 10, 2011 9:51 AM

      “The power structures as they exist do not actually allow for vigourous debate of any really meaningful sort, and thus are not, in the foreseeable future…”

      And your suggestion is to help create an even more unshakable power structure?

      “Or make the decline rapid enough to force people into *doing* something.”

      Like creating an even more rigid, arbitrary law-making body?

    • April 10, 2011 1:05 PM

      The writer of the post brought some serious concerns against the Hazare movement, I in no way can deny the logic given in the post! Rather, I have some questions for all of you to think about:

      “Well…if not Jan Lok Pal…than what? Is there any other solution? Should we accept the current level of corruption as our fate and do nothing and sat good night to everyone? And do you think that, if you can sustain the current level of corruption, everyone else in this country too…? Have you thought for suggesting some alternate solutions to current corruption mess, beside pointing out the loopholes and so called long term consequences???”

      If you can’t answer all these question, they SHUT UP!!! Because if you are not supporting Jan Lok Pal, then you are supporting corruption! And if you have any other view, don’t come up with your view, but come with some solutions instead!

      -Anshul Gupta

      http://ideas8bottom.com

      • Tee Em permalink
        April 10, 2011 7:37 PM

        “If you can’t answer all these question, they SHUT UP!!! ”

        Classic response of those who’d circumvent sensible debate in favour of a quick-fix. Also, brush-up on your grammar.

        • Andrew Stephens permalink
          April 11, 2011 12:07 AM

          Sengupta’s paranoia is laughable. Not only does he jump the gun, he concludes that the Lokpal Bill will lead to anarchy. He should find a good ‘responsible’ job as speech-writer for the most corrupt and bankrupt administration to rule independent India pretty soon.I would be surprised if he doesn’t.

          • Samvit Rawal permalink
            April 13, 2011 11:00 AM

            Andrew,
            I second what you have said. Some people are so cynical in life that they see darkness even on a sunny day. Sengupta wants to attain fame by spitting on the sun.

        • Vijay permalink
          April 11, 2011 2:29 AM

          Learn that putting essential and integral components under one body alone makes it functional. They do not form conflict of interest as some are misinforming. You can not put kidneys and heart outside body and ask it to function well. Components of Janlokpal are its instruments of wellfunctionality. Some rogues have analysed aspects of JanLokpal as conflict of interests which is absolute crap.

        • theGrammarofPolitics permalink
          April 11, 2011 9:36 AM

          @Sengupta: When your big-worded article begs for improvement of grammar and style, I think it’d be unwise/ pointless/senseless to comment on grammar errors committed by others. I agree in parts with the content of your article, though.

        • Karan permalink
          April 11, 2011 6:33 PM

          Mr. Tee Em
          u r taking the matter else where…. grammatical mistakes or the clerical mistakes have nothing to do with the discussion….
          as Mr. gupta said…. he is very right…. one should not come-up with just criticism … but its the solution what is required… if u have give it… or keep ur MOUTH SHUT…..
          Even Mr. Hazare and Co. have said that they are open for the discussion…. and all the suggestions are invited…. so if u have then plz. give ur suggestions…..
          or let them deal with the way they are trying to……. because its not a matter of a person alone…. its the matter of each n every citizen of India….
          it is the aam janta … the common man… who is suffering from this corruption… not the politicians or the riches of the society…… therefore i request you to plz… either give ur advises or keep quite… and let the ones who have taken the initiative….. do their work…

        • Vibhuchandra permalink
          April 24, 2011 3:09 PM

          The moderators of Kafila should have taken care of the comment ‘brush up on your grammar’ – this is outrageous and it can discourage the flow of a free discussion! Perhaps use of ‘SHUT UP’ provoked Tee Emm (or whatever) to respond in this foolish manner but then moderators could have taken care of ‘Shut Up’ also or better perhaps Tee Emm should have the stomach to take it in stride. I won’t mind, if you replace my use of ‘foolish’ with something like ‘elitist’ or……..(I don’t know really) – I also need to ‘brush up on my vocabulary’! However, concerns raised by Sengupta seem to be valid but as someone else also said that this does not mean that people would perpetually be in waiting mode and will not do anything! If you do not agree with Anna, do not support him but please also do not set aside the issue of corruption which now needs to be addressed immediately!

        • joha permalink
          April 26, 2011 10:43 PM

          I think this writer has got some bank account in swiss bank and his back is on fire with this moment.
          Dont complicate urself just tell are you with corruption or against corruption.

      • bilal permalink
        April 11, 2011 2:48 AM

        Anshul Gupta, I think you didn’t read the part where Shuddhavbrata clearly states his support for a Lokpal or Ombudsman-like institution. I think along with working on your grammar (as kindly suggested by Tee Em), you also need to work on your manners and at least Try not be such an anally retentive loser…

      • Naveen Nair permalink
        April 11, 2011 2:27 PM

        “if you are not supporting Jan Lok Pal, then you are supporting corruption! ”

        What is this? Sounds like G. Bush.
        “If you are not supporting US in War against Iraq, you are supporting terrorism.”

        The point is very clear. There should be some mechanism to stop / control corruption. It should start from every one .. the common man.
        Are you ready not to give money for (not) getting done something?
        Are you ready not to give money for (not) getting something fast?
        Are you ready not to give money for an exception?
        if yes, spread that message and make them do that.
        No law is going to protect you, if you continue pay money for Traffic police.
        If you pay he will take and then he will make that a habbit.

        It is not the Artist to decide my case.

        We have a balanced system. Three pillars. No legislation should break that and make a super power over that. Then it will be very difficult to control. They will become a super body above everything.

      • Amarendra permalink
        April 11, 2011 3:15 PM

        Thoroughly chauvinistic response. Shuddhabrata Sengupta is looking at the issue in all its complexity and is trying to understand its implications for a hitherto democratic society.
        Anshul Gupta, first of all, you need to understand the very basic notion of free society and free speech. ‘SHUT UP’! Now what’s that? If someone is wary of the solution, the person can’t be forced to provide an alternative solution. You are demonstrating exactly that which Sengupta is warning us, someone in the fascist regime.

      • vidya permalink
        April 11, 2011 8:52 PM

        it’s true Shuddhabrata Sengupta has not specific solution to offer, except the view that the answer to corruption has to be well thought out, the structure and processes set to to deal with corruption have to be democratic, accountable to people. if they are not, they can be as dangerous as the problem they set out to solve. surely, no one can have a complaint with that! as for a specific solution, all that Shuddhabrata Sengupta seems to be suggesting is that we – all of us- need to introspect and come up with one. to that extent, anna hazare’s fast has helped to bring the issue of corruption to the front pages, and focus the entire nation on the problem. the fast has helped do that, now it is for us as part of civil society to think and come up with a mature solution. let’s not expect Shuddhabrata Sengupta to provide some kind of a ready made answer!

      • mohit permalink
        April 12, 2011 10:46 AM

        What all happened in last few days and the way citizens have acted towards it. It seems that we are fighting with some third person but to the matter of fact it is we only who are responsible for all this so fasting at Jantar Mantar will not help us anyway. We need to start acting like it should be following our duties towards society and I dont think that then we need any kind of bill.

      • August 21, 2011 8:34 PM

        @Anshul Gupta- it’s good that u r concerned about the corruption and seriously want to fight it….but first thing: not every dissenter is corrupt; shun the thought that if someone’s not supporting Team Anna then he is corrupt, no. secondly: u ask about the alternative…..well!! BIG NEWS FELLA….it is currently available in India: the Central Vigilance Commission and your divine constitution. We always render out constitution as null and void…
        Last decade T. N. Seshan was made the CEC and he redefined the whole body, he actually taught the whole commission how to actually use their powers……and the results are before you. An omnipotent Lokpal is not the only answer to the corruption (it’s probably the worst one). The correct measure here would be to extend the scope of RTI and to empower the CVC. Whatever is going on at the Ramlila ground is not a responsible move but rather is an aroused unrest for an over-rated cause…..
        Charity begins at home…..anti corruption movements and agitations should be directed towards smaller institutions which are around you like your office or your college. How did you get driving licence made??…how did you get your passport made??? and if the answer is the “easier” way then you don’t deserve to support the movement.

  2. A Concerned Citizen permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:41 AM

    I’m quite amazed at your cynicism couched as ‘responsible’ opinion…

    Perhaps you need to study a few more systems of law (besides the ones you may have ‘studied’ though you haven’t bothered to mention any) and note the role of judges/magistrates on the European continent (which by the way does not include the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – just making it obvious given your apparent ignorance of certain matters germane to the discourse). Specifically you could look at France and Spain where certain levels of Judges are the investigator, judge and prosecutor. This may help alleviate your stated concern: “I have also never come across the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office being hailed as the triumph of democratic values.” Last I checked, France and Spain were fairly democratic countries – if you don’t think so I’d be interested in knowing what you consider to be acceptable benchmarks.

    Every agitation has the potential to be hijacked by undesirable personalities or causes. One must always be mindful of that to protect oneself or one’s cause. But to criticize the methods themselves, one really needs to be sure one is on a sound footing. Your arguments appear to mirror those of some politicians who are calling these methods fascist. I suppose then along with the names of Mussolini and Franco one must add Mahatma Gandhi’s name to the annals of history!!!

    • Lucknow permalink
      April 9, 2011 10:01 PM

      You said it right. Mahatma Gandhi does belong with Franco and Mussolini due to whom genuine secular leaders like Bose and Jinnah were ousted from congress party.

      • April 10, 2011 10:23 AM

        Dear PERMALINK, Lucknow,
        You got S. Sengupta wrong ! Bapu, Mahatma Ganndhi, started his Satyagraha against a colonial, racist, authoritarian, imperial power where the sun never set on their empire. He brought in Democratic self rule for Indians, most of them dalits, bonded labour, serfs of medieval Maharajahs, Rajahs, Shehn-Shahs, Thakurs, Nawabs of their territories collectively called Bharat Desh/Hindustan.
        We Inians are born to be ” Ji Hazooris !”. In your own state, Republic Of India, has seen the ‘Charan Choo Mantri’, Kamalapathi Tripathi. Ask your parents/grand parents.
        Franco of Spain and Mussolini of Italy were authoritarian fascists who took inspiration from Adolf Hitler and used their armed forces to subjugate their own countrymen who wanted to live as free, disciplined, human beings.
        Kindly see Pablo Picasso’s famous painting ‘GUERNICA’- it shows how Franco used his air force to bomb his own country men. You must have heard of ‘Tiannamaen Square’ of China. That’s how Mao-Tse-Tung’s red army elite silenced protesting Chinese University students. No Guernica or Tiannamen Sq. has ever happened in Democratic Republic Of India.
        Subhash Chandra Bose was part of Indian National Congress. He and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh formed the Garam Dal in INC while, MG belonged to the Naram Dal. MG even offered the presidentship of INC to Bose for the sake of unity. Remember my deer Geek from Lko’, Bose contemptuously rejected the offer. Hotheaded Bose went to Germany, while,Sri Aurobindo went to French ruled Pondicherry. I’d suggest that you read ‘Discovery Of India’ by J.L.Nehru or refer to wikipedia.org about Bose and Jinnahand their great deeds.
        You appear to be a Bajrang Dal/VHP half educated moron to me.
        Please confirm .

        • Pankaj Verma permalink
          April 10, 2011 8:34 PM

          Dear Mathew,
          First you presented some correct facts and then went on some alien route. Bose went to Germany, but answer me one thing; who was the biggest threat to India for that time, british or germans. You know the answer. And relying on the J.L.Nehru’s book, then everyone know that there was a big power struggle between Nehru and Bose inside the INC, which Nehru could able to win only with the help of Gandhiji. So, thinking that Nehru would give a fair picture about Bose is something not so digesting.
          I agree to you that no doubt Gandhiji is in no way in the class of Franco and Mussolini, but you are not helping him by just showing someone like of Subhash Chandra Bose low.

        • Siddharth Manu permalink
          June 3, 2011 6:15 PM

          I absolutely loved the way you proved the truth about Gandhiji.

          A true salute :)

      • kunal permalink
        April 10, 2011 12:24 PM

        agree with that >

        Lucknow
        April 9, 2011 10:01 PM
        You said it right. Mahatma Gandhi does belong with Franco and Mussolini due to whom genuine secular leaders like Bose and Jinnah were ousted from congress party.

      • Benjamin Zachariah permalink
        April 10, 2011 12:43 PM

        To comment on the last comment first: actually, Gandhi was impressed by Mussolini’s work for the peasants, as he saw it. The comparison is not as far-fetched as it now seems.
        But more substantively, a self-appointed set of custodians of values taking over the state, in the middle-class dream of governance by the self-declared enlightened ones, is exactly the model of state that India inherited from imperialism – the idea of those who know better telling the others what to do is taken over by an Nehruvian elite exhorting the ‘masses’ to do what it takes to strengthen the ‘nation’.
        Lest this appear to say that such a bastard Leninism is cynical and self-interested, I should like to point out that much of what we now see as ‘progressive’ was piloted by such an elite. Planned economic development and an attempted state-led dilute socialism was conducted through a Planning Commission of ‘disinterested experts’, not by bottom-up ‘grassroots’ social activism; and if Jawaharlal Nehru is himself to be believed, a secular state was desired neither by a majority of the Congress in 1946-49, during the making of the Constitution, nor necessarily by ordinary people. It was carried through by the moral and political manoeuvering skills of a few in the Constituent Assembly and outside, facilitated in no small measure by the assassination of Gandhi by a Hindu.
        The problem, of course, is that such a state is only as good as the conjuncture of well-meaning people and the structural constellations of class forces and vested interests that temporarily provide room for manoeuvre. More bluntly put, the Indian state has benefitted greatly from middle class educated opinion (people like us) believing that the state is good as long as it is run by people like us. A suspicion of state power is relatively recent in India.
        It looks different, of course, from the north-east of India or from Kashmir.
        (Footnotes can be provided on request).

      • rajesh permalink
        April 11, 2011 5:56 PM

        Excellent

      • M.N. Seshadri permalink
        April 12, 2011 3:56 PM

        The problem we are facing is that for the last 60 years the one set of Indians the who have acquired wealth is the politician . His amassing fortunes is entirely through the route of corrution, by way of extortion, getting bribes for everything , like appointments, transfers of officials, and many other ways . There are exceptions of course
        It is a regular practice in our States ( here again there are exceptions like recently Bihar ) to obtain cash to the tune of lacks to issue an appointment order . Just about a month ago , a minister got any thing up to 50 Lkahs for issuing appointment orders for about 50 agricultural demonstrator. Money is received by an agent !! Obviously for the party but a fair percenatge goes to the private funds , all in currency . This is also the case while giving recommendation for admission in medical colleges . It is unbearable corruption right at the top level . We have the Medical council , (who are officials ) and thr RTOs, the Sub registrars , the local police man on the beat and the list is endless .
        The response Anna got was mainly because the Common Man is a harasesd beyond limt.
        It took 2 years for the govt to arrest Raja . and that because of the Supreme Court intervention .So drastic measures are called for /
        Let us unite and fight this menace And support Anna to the hilt .

    • Sumantra permalink
      April 11, 2011 6:38 AM

      Dear Concerned Citizen
      Just because France and Spain does something does not make it right. We have to draft laws and policies which reflects realities in India. We have repeatedly seen that concentration of power in the hands of a few leads to more corruption and not less in a country like India where most of the populace is still unaware of its basic rights.

    • ASK permalink
      April 14, 2011 6:46 PM

      France recently banned the Burqa as you would be well aware. Its irrelevant whether the decision was right or wrong, However I suppose according to you we ‘could’ do the same in India too…. we, like France, are a secular democratic country after all! Wow for intellectual shortsightedness.

  3. April 9, 2011 3:07 AM

    Hi,

    I applaud the tone of your article. Among the ones expressing reservations around the bill, this is probably the sanest voice I found.

    I am sure these concerns exist among the organizers of the andolan themselves, not to mention a considerable number of the following. I don’t know where this fantasy of an unaccountable body comes from, but the bill is not yet drafted. We have a joint committee drafting the bill, and an entire nation glued to how it pans out. I trust that there will be safeguards against the misuse of this power, because once the bill is jointly created, it will be among the first questions coming up. With half the committee being politicians, who will also be the targets of the bill, I doubt if they will let it pass without being fairly certain of mechanisms in the event of misuse.

    It can be misused anyway, sure, but we will be no worse off than we are now – faced with unshakable, institutionalized corruption. What does one layer of pretended credibility more or less matter? Like a bucket of water in the sea. I appreciate your concern that the authority itself being corrupted will provide an even stronger shield for the corrupt. I share it too, but I have chosen to trust that we will ensure that this voice we have fought so hard for will not be squandered. But if that stops us from attempting change, we’re screwed before the starting line. At some point, we see that trust is a choice. At some point, we turn suspicions into alerts and cautions and move on with purpose anyway.

    What I appreciate is that for the first time, a citizenry cowed into a pessimistic silence through unending exploitation and powerlessness finally found its voice. Finding it once makes it easier to raise it again. For whatever cause. The democracy became participative. If all fails, this is still a treasure in itself. It would have been far scarier for the flood of scams to not have any reaction from the people. In fact, I know I was freaking out at the constant “new news” and no protest from the people, as were others.

    One way or the other, once the scams started piling up, this was destined. If it weren’t for the Gandhians, it would be the Bhagat Singhs. If nothing had come up, India’s soul could be certified dead. No way would the people trust the government – elected or not to police itself, because the government has lost all moral authority with them. The only ways were overthrow, or installing a supervisor. For those calling it undemocratic, you can call the wide support an informal “raise your hands” kind of vote.

    The bill is a beginning. It may be flawed, but it is a choice made with consideration for our ground reality and possibilities without throwing the country into a total political collapse. It is a compromise rather than a purist solution. It doesn’t replace the purposeful pursuit of values as a country. It will not “fix” everything, but it provides a powerful tool to aid anyone who finds himself overwhelmed confronting the wrongs of an all powerful government. I think what the people are really celebrating is hope, where there was none.

    Vidyut

    • tanita permalink
      April 9, 2011 1:33 PM

      One of the best counter-arguments Ive read in a while. I share your caution and optimism. very well articulated.

      • Varsha permalink
        April 9, 2011 6:18 PM

        agreed. the sanest argument & counter-argument I have read

      • Hari Prakash Sinha permalink
        April 16, 2011 2:35 PM

        Controlling Corruption in India

        Really, this is one of the best arguments, I have read so far. We should not fear to take the first step toward ending corruption or rather say controlling corruption, for the fear it would not control corruption. The bill is not still drafted. Such issues can be and will be discussed at the drafting stage, I am sure.

        However, on the issue of corruption, I have another idea that is going around my mind for quite some time. The idea is not fully developed but it does give me an outline of a body that can control corruption.

        Since, politics in India has grown into an industry; why not it should get a regulatory body, like SEBI, RBI, and IRDA which regulates the respective industry. Don’t be mistaken; I am not deviating. I mean to say that Election Commission should be made a fully and truly, read practically truly, an independent body. It should have all the powers to function independently. The Commission should function on the basis of our parliamentary structure with one central body at the center and branches in all the states. It should hold its own election to elect commissioners directly from the public. The individuals should be independent members and should be no way connected to any political party or body. The elected body of commissioners should appoint their representatives in the states who should also be elected members.

        The commission should have its own charter about who should not be allowed to participate in the election process. If such persons file nominations, they should be rejected by the body. The concerned people can challenge the rejection of nomination in the court where the election commission body can state why it was rejected. The court can grant final order. It will be a little complex issue, but it will give fair right to the parties, the person and the election commission.

        Some points that must be included in the charter, in my opinion are:

        1. A person with known criminal background should not be allowed to participate in the election process; Media can provide a clear picture of a person, the court can also ban such a person from entering politics for ever for some periods.

        2. If a person is found to be involved in a criminal activities or in a scam or fraud, he or she should be banned from contesting election, till his or her name is not cleared by the competent court.

        3. No person should be allowed to contest election more than two terms, if he is elected. Nobody should be allowed to sit in the government for 20-30 years what happens today.

        4. Political parties should not allow associating with election commission anyway.

        5. If any election commissioner is found to be involved in wrongful act, he can be brought to the court by the general public.

        However, I know many of the present day law will come in the way of enacting such a body. But, the law can be amended.

        In my opinion, Such an Election Commission would be able to ensure that only quality and competent persons enter the government. If that happens, the naturally the quality of governance will improve and the corruption will reduce; it would not disappear, I know.

        For controlling corruption to greater level, two more things must be done.

        1. Reducing the centers of powers and
        2. Increasing transparency in governance.

        Your comments, solicited.

    • Ady permalink
      April 9, 2011 5:08 PM

      Exactly, I can’t understand why he has written this article stating that he has read the draft..”CAREFULLY” … when what everyone is fighting for is to get few people into committee who will create that DRAFT. Clearly there are 3 judges in it who know more than us or the writer of this article about Indian System. So lets first see the draft and then comment on it and write as many cynic articles as you want.

      • shoban permalink
        April 11, 2011 10:28 AM

        Just because they are judges/eminent lawyers they have the right to draft the bill. Look at democracy, it is not talented so called IAS who does the drafting of the bill, it is people representative who does it. Judges/lawyers are meant to be the best interpreters of the law ( they are not the best people to make the law). The so called joint drafting the bill, who gave them the power to do it. Parliament is the only place some one should draft the bill , discuss it and ratify it. For the reality, let us say this committee draft the bill, it has to go to parliament, what happens when it is changed during the discussion, will Anna again do a fasting to get all he has put in the bill. This is nothing but doing everything under the threat. Unfortunately, as some one pointed our it is scam after scam , UPA wanted a saving face, this has provided one and it all these euphoria, the attention has been diverted from the scams itself. I fully agree with the author, this is not the way this bill should have happened.

    • April 9, 2011 8:07 PM

      While the protest was a call for drafting the bill and not for passing the Jan Lokpal version of it,
      I appreciate this article for pointing out aspects that we should be aware of while supporting the drafting of this bill.

      I strongly resonate the Vidyut’s view that atleast people, by participating in the protest have shown that we as a country have not yet fallen into complete cynicism.

      Thank you to the author for bringing this view to the fore.

    • Sunaina permalink
      April 10, 2011 7:28 AM

      Thanks, Vidyut, for a thoughtful reply to the author, who has raised some pertinent points.
      I agree with you that this movement has made , the people realize that there could be a light at the end of what has become a very dark tunnel. We needed someone to show us that light and Anna Hazare has. Yes, we need to be watchful of the Jan Lokpal Bill, as we have not been of our politicians and civil servants since Independence.

      On Thursday, April 7, Anna Hazare rightly said that one of the biggest mistakes we made in 1947 was to let our elected representatives believe they were in no way accountable to us. We’ve paid the price. Let’s ensure that it stops now. Let’s demand transparency and accountability , let’s question our MPs and MLAs. It will take time but future generations of India stand to benefit from the stand we take today.

    • psanjay permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:01 PM

      Very rightly said!

    • April 10, 2011 1:01 PM

      Yes, Vidyut. Very nicely articulated counter-argument. I kind of like the idea of involving Bharat Ratna, Magsaysay Awardees, etc. When we talk about democracy, we need to understand what democracy has given us. In India, democracy is just what illiterate people choose and that too bought by the petty perks given to them by ministers. Clearly, democracy has not been working in India. Why doubt the combined intelligence and moral values of those who earn their credibility through selfless work? Don’t these awards make people credible to choose better people? What does the author wants? To again use public to select those lokpals? or the already corrupt ministers to select those lokpals? Democracy is sometimes a lame argument. We need to get it right.

      • Pankaj Verma permalink
        April 10, 2011 8:57 PM

        Sorry Aviral,
        If your argument is that educated people choose better representative, I don’t agree with that. Our history has shown us that the representative chosen by both educated and uneducated or equally bad. Also the idea of having a noble prize winner or bharat ratna winner is idea not worthy. Reason? Take example of someone who has got a noble prize in chemistry or physics. Without any doubt he has spent his entire life only inside his lab (And I have full respect for him), so in no way he is more informed about the society to chose a chair-person for highest anti-corruption body.

        • Saurabh permalink
          April 11, 2011 12:43 AM

          Not any Noble prize winner would be put in that position, that is one of the criteria to select right person. Those who would be nominated, will be listed out to public for their opinion/concern and complaints. So response is by public is not just blind voting but sensible reasoning. Those who nominate and those who would scrutinise, both would be above average people. If they are not able to select a proper one, forget the democracy itself would work.
          The committee has laid down other rules of proven record of social work, and they’ll also put up profile of candidate transparently. So its best what can be done, if you have better suggestion do let the world know. The activist are still open to good suggestion by the corrupt ministers, so they’ll definitely hear you if you got any sensible ideas

    • Andrew Stephens permalink
      April 11, 2011 12:24 AM

      Excellent counterpoint to an insane piece of commentary by Sengupta.His paranoia is based on unfounded anarchy theories doing the rounds in sections of the pro-administration media.Wait till June 30 Sengupta.Jumping the gun is never a virtue!

    • Salik Yadav permalink
      April 11, 2011 4:46 AM

      Kudos Vidyut.

    • Piyush Jain permalink
      April 11, 2011 1:16 PM

      Vidyut. Cheers mate. This is the best comment to the article.

      I think majority of Indians are gravely upset on the turn of events in the recent years espcly. The amount of money been easily gulped in by a handful of ministers while the mass remains hungry, without shelter or education, is unbelievable. The examples set by the likes of A.Raja, S.Pawar etc have made govt clerks at even municipal levels DEMAND bribe as their merituos right, ”sirf babu log hi paisa banayenge kya”!!
      I full heartedly support the movement led by Annaji, as am 25 and i dont know what fighting for Independence meant until now, i dont know what a cause for revolution could be other than this one and i havnt experienced oppression and exploitation by those in power as intense as Corruption by people elected by myself!
      Now i can only pray that those in the committee (lok Pal Bill) perform beyond expectations of the masses in eradicating corruption from the system or atleast plant fear in thoughts of every individual in this country that if you give/take bribes HELL would break loose unto you, This country has immense potential to not just have ‘one Golden bird on every branch’ but ‘many of Diamond’.
      And if it doesnt still!! then may be another mass revolt is what is India’s destiny and i would be happy that I did atleast go down fighting instead of being robbed of my wealth pride and humility and lie silent witness to mockery of DEMOCRACY which was my sole birth right.

    • Samir Kumar permalink
      April 11, 2011 1:27 PM

      Vidyut – I really liked what you wrote. I, too, feel that we should allow this attempt to succeed, and criticise and overthrow it if it fails – but let’s give it a chance. I feel very confident it will succeed, because of the calibre of individuals who are representing the non-govt. side of things.

    • deepika permalink
      April 11, 2011 1:48 PM

      @vidyut .. sanest response. very well articulated.

    • Pradnya G permalink
      April 11, 2011 6:59 PM

      Thanks Vidyut for a balanced counter-argument.
      I also take Naveen Nair’s suggestion- we all need to stop contributing to corruption in our own right- every little helps!
      I am very optimistic regarding the future- having recently gone through the process of transferring back from abroad, buying a flat, setting up all utility services..etc without paying a single paisa as bribe/’baksheesh’ or employing agents. Surely it means looking ino the nitty-gritty yourself but it can be done.

      We have realised that the traditional phenotypes of corrupt people in these institutions has changed- they now seem to acknowledge that there is a definite group of people who will NOT bribe them. They seem to be happy to leave people like us alone as long as their ‘additional income needs’ are met by others I suppose!! We have had a very smooth headache free transition which was completely contrary to our expectations.

      Pradnya

    • April 12, 2011 12:14 AM

      A very balanced counter argument. Amongst the many opinions against the Jan-Lokpal that I have come across, this one seems to be the one to be articualted well. I do agree, that Sengupta views are quite rational and well founded.
      In addition to this I have an entirely different ‘beef’ with this whole Jan-Lokpal movement. I am not entirely convinced that this movement is addressing the primary issue of corruption.
      Let me start off by this very basic question – “What is corruption exactly ?”
      The common answers that I have got are –
      1) Corruption at the political level with so many laks of crore rupees being swizzled away !
      2) Corruption at the bureaucratic level, with the misuse of power for personal gains !
      And Yes, I think the Jan-Lokpal bill in its ideal form is primarily envisioned to address these issues (to whatever effect).
      But, what about the third form of corruption – corruption at enterprises, with corporations altering policies to such a great extent, only to achieve their profits. I personally feel, this is the more primary form of corruption and in ways is the catalyst for the other forms I listed out earlier. I don’t think, this bill is equipped in anyway to tackle this issue.

      Instead it deals at the more consequential manifestations of corruption, rather than aiming to tackle the root cause

    • Ujjwal permalink
      April 12, 2011 10:48 AM

      I completely agree. There are holes in the effort and they are in any effort made at a public level. Considering that the Bill will become an Act only after it has been whetted by Parliament which is the highest temple of democracy, lot of questions of its accountability would be debated at the rightful place. In an age of sound bytes, yes publicity hungry celebrities would also make their presence felt. Why bother about Lata Mangeshkar or V. S Naipaul being visualized to draft it when there are more relevant and authoritative people who have won laurels and also can add value. Why can’t we visualize Amartya Sen being part of ? Do we choose our examples to substantiate our point selectively. Isn’t that biased?

      There are more relevant issues about how should the civil society act beyond these 3/4 days. Need for us to strengthen our internal dialogue and ability to constantly engage with the administration which should now be offered as alternatives.

    • Gaurav Ganeriwal permalink
      April 13, 2011 2:05 PM

      Very well articulated response to the cynical article…. I cannot agree more.

    • April 14, 2011 2:06 AM

      Oh wow! I was surprised to return here to see my comment so well read and appreciated. I had worried that it was too long :D

      Thank you for your appreciation. I’d like to say that a brilliant start to a conversation inspires excellent answers, which this article provided for me.

    • Siva Ramaswami permalink
      August 11, 2011 1:08 AM

      Well articulated!! Kudos to you!! Many in these opposing camps do not seem to realize that Anna is not fighting for HIS VERSION of Jan Lokpal but for a strong version Lokpal, what ever version it would be. Doing nothing for 64 years after Independence and 40 years of unsuccessfully dithering with Lokpal have really frustrated Anna and the masses. Current situation is the making of the political bosses themselves because of their unwillingness to tackle corruption. Neither Anna nor any one except the political bosses from August 15 1947 are to be blamed.
      Arguments that Lokpal is undemocratic, dangerous to the country, parallel government etc are baseless simply because the details of the bill are yet to be worked out. There is still enough opportunity to shape the bill into a form that will best server the interests of the country and at the same time stall corruption. All Anna is fighting for is to create the awareness and acceptance of existence of corruption and the willingness to fight it. Since 1947 our country lacked both.

  4. Deepa permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:36 AM

    Thank you for this. You have raised many valid points. A Sanghi, an RSS chap, told me yesterday Hazare is SOnia’s man and this is being orchestrated by them! I was a bit skeptical.
    Tell me why you think so too. Is it just a hunch, or is there more than a hunch to it?
    I am tempted to believe you. They need this posturing now.

    • Krishna permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:10 PM

      First let us go back to Gandhi Ji coming from South Africa and took over congress from others who were simply not totally Ahimsawadis.when Subhash became President of India he was hunded by Gandhi and had to leave,where he was and what happened to him afterWW2 is still a mystery.What happened after Gandhi`s complete takeover of the Freedom struggle is well known,millions sacrificed on altar of division of a nation,which Gandhi did not try to stop by falling into Maun Vrata stance,Congress party thereafter ruled India for many decades with opposition for name sake.At present times due to Ramdev becoming more vocal and aggressive being a Yogi became a copy of Subhash Bose,which worried politicians with principals worst than colonial British.Here comes Anna Hazare a Gandhian with Gandhi cap,who as expected from Gandhian will never ever damage Congress specially if heade by Mahatma Gandhi chum and dearest Nehru dynasty,a great tamasha was created where common man was pushed in background and non voting part of corrupt system Elite and celebrities came forward for support to create Media frenzy,to pass some bill or other and gain brownie points to win elections and to take advantage of Gandhi 2.All was going well as expected,suddenly Ramdev came on stage and spoiled the well staged picnic and lo the GOVT hurriedly accepted but not before the damage to hornet`s nest.Things were stage managed in the beginning ,but the delay due to some activists and their asking janata for assertion dragged it to such state that the Govt cannot meddle with this Bill as they could have done if Hazare was not hijacked by some sincere activists involved with him.This agitation has garnered enough propaganda and awareness in general piblic,it has in reality become Gale ki Haddi for congress,which they will try their best not to swallow.

      • Lucknow permalink
        April 9, 2011 10:06 PM

        Just my sentiments too.

    • Sunaina permalink
      April 10, 2011 7:31 AM

      Rubbish. Beware: comments such as these only aim to create confusion in the minds of right thinking people. Please read about Anna Hazare’s dedicated work over the decades. I’ve been following it since I first read about him 20 years ago.

      • Ranjit permalink
        April 10, 2011 8:58 PM

        Sunaina,

        They would not read it – cause some minds always have an inclination towards conspiracy theories… Some are commenting that the timing of this fast to coincide with navratras, after the world cup and before the IPL goes to show the meticulous planning by astute “background” puppeteers..

        Human mind has infinite capacity to fantasize.

        Regards

        • Murali permalink
          April 11, 2011 6:04 AM

          It is easy to categorize opposing views as conspiracy theories. The original article talks about some provisions that can take the power from the people – especially when so called elites control the body. This has happened several times in the human history to throw away as inconsequential dissent. While the bill is not final, we still have option to arbitrate and thinking in all aspects is the right thing to do.

  5. Ankur permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:38 AM

    First the bill is not yet finalized, it will be drafted by the committee with participation of civil representatives and ministers. Second you can give feedback on the bill, suggest changes, recommend measures that help in avoiding the draconian future you refer to. Not being on Jantar Mantar does not solve that problem, and having a weak LokPal as suggested by Govt. also does not.

    It is easier to point out what is wrong, difficult to suggest what to do to fix the problem. India Against Corruption is clear that the bill in current form is draft, and it improves and changes with feedback.

    Participate and Join to contribute to the bill…

  6. April 9, 2011 3:58 AM

    Indian public has once again been misled & fooled. I too join you in not celebrating at Jantar Manta tonight. It is not peoples revolution.

    • April 9, 2011 10:44 PM

      Also I do not understand why 2 members (Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan ) of the same family are made Civil Society Reporesentatives. Has the corruption already begun.

      • Mukesh permalink
        April 11, 2011 8:12 AM

        I think then you would have not approved of Sonia Gandhi selecting MMS as the prime minister of india.

      • Sach permalink
        April 11, 2011 9:56 AM

        Looks like you had just returned from Baba Ramdev’s Yoga class :)

      • Anya permalink
        May 31, 2011 11:47 PM

        Are the Civil Society Representatives the real representative of the people. I as a citizen of India belong to the civil society and would like to know who appointed them. As far as I know they are self appointed and do not represent the majority. Let them stand for elections and if they win they deserve to be there.

        Out of a population of 125 crores why should two people ( the Bhusans) from the same family be the members…are other Indians not compitent enough. Nobody can say for sure without an indipendent enquiry if the CD controversy is true or false till the outcome of such enquiry they cannot be called saints.

        Now everybody says the talk of Kiran Bedi using her influance to get a medical seat for her daughter is only to defame the members….But this was in news quite a few years back when she was not made the Delhi Police commisioner so this is not something that was made up about a month back. So she also cannot be called a saint.

        Also how can Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal be 100% sure the Bhusans are innocent while giving them a clean chit. Are they GOD or are they blessed with some Devine Powers to know the truth

        Anna is the only person who seems clean. The others have just jumped in to Hijack his movement and gain some publicity or be in the news.

        The most transperent way would be for some emenant personalities to put their names forward and then the country should votes for them. This would give some credibility to the movement.

  7. Pallavi permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:01 AM

    I agree with the writer. I too watched the panel discussion mentioned herein (Times Now) and was appalled at the way the Arnab Goswami just dismissed any view that was contrary to his! Infact he even went out of the way to portray the two who did not agree to rejoice with him, as small minded, jealous, upper strata lot who envy Anna his moment of jubilation! That, from a ‘responsible’ anchor was appalling.
    I am struggling to deal with corruption even as this mass movement is on! On refusing to pay the bribe, the official has been sending me back and forth asking for a new document every couple of days! This has been going on for a month now! And I am told that I cannot question him as the position has ‘complete discretionary powers’! That goes to prove the authors point that Power corrupts…complete power corrupts completely.
    We MUST therefore be wary of the concentration of power in the hands of a few. They may well be worthy at this time, but who can say that some degenerate will not sneak in, in the future? You just need to compare the political leaders in the early years of our democracy to those in power now to understand!

    • Maninder singh Sethi permalink
      April 9, 2011 4:37 PM

      Pallavi,

      Our past had been a disaster. In the present scenario our future too looks the bleakest. This movement is for NOW. We should give it a chance. And this is just the beginning. If another monster arises out of this projected bill then there will be other ANNA’S in future. And yet again, then too, cynic’s will raise their heads in arguments, whatever…..

      • shoban permalink
        April 11, 2011 10:42 AM

        Pallavi,

        I really appreciate your resilience, this is what needed of the people. People are equating the Lokpal bill to eradicating corruption. What we (people) doesn’t understand is, it should start from us. I believe, politicians are biggest manifestation of what we are at the ground level. The institutions are as strong as the people can make it. Look at CVC or CEC both are independent institutions, but can easily circumvent to the govt as the case now or as Sheshan had done in the past, where he played havoc with the whole system ( yes, I agree, initial days of his reign were good, I am talking about the fag end of his reign). I believe you should change how we operate the political system, bring in more transparency and fixed terms for all ministers like in US ( President can be in the office max of 8 yrs). Implement RTI to the full extent. Never undermine the parliament, it has to be the final power, because it is chosen by people that is what democracy means.

    • Pooja permalink
      April 10, 2011 4:24 PM

      Pallavi,

      I completely agree with every word you’ve written. I saw the show as well and was completely shocked at the mockery of journalism that was being aired. Rishi Kapoor, Anupam Kher and Pritish Nandy put on the panel as ‘common’ citizens; Anupam Kher commenting on someone’s body language; it was one of the shows that enraged and disgusted me.

    • Mukesh permalink
      April 11, 2011 8:14 AM

      I did not read anywhere that Lokpal once selected will forever remain lokpal.

  8. Vishal Santoshi permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:33 AM

    I dare say, Me SenGupta’s logic seem to reflect a paranoia of the unknown. His willingness to equate a LokPal with being the sole conserver and an all powerful entity with dictatorial tendencies, is far fetched. Leaving that aside, the reluctance to accept that the cabal that runs this country today is far more insidious than any LokPal can ever be, is mind blowingly naive. An institution where the stake holder ( a single individual ) is bound by law of the land is easier to confront, than multitudes that make the ruling elite. It is far easy to confront aberrations of an institution when they as an entity deviate, than confront a bunch of politicians who have perfected the art of the slip. I do know that danger of subversion of democracy is real, but if that is the only reason that the author writes, I would welcome his take on the current. Is not what is being done by our elected representatives subversive ? Are they not undermining the very foundations of the institutes they profess to represent ? Is it no fair to say, that if not provided with redressals the very nature of what we know as parliamentary democracy will cease to exist ? Is it also not fair to say that if folks have gravitated to this radical approach of Ana, the reason is there disgust at being irrelevant ? Is it also not fair say that money drives elections and representatives or the options that a common man are limited to a few powerful ? Is it also not fair to see politics become a career, rather than an extension of social service ? Is it not fair to say that all scams reported all day every day and the lack of any accountability smacks on the effectiveness of what the author is trying to defend, the institutions? Mr SenGupta , if you are really concerned with preserving this democracy the way it was cherished , rather than what it is , you have lot’s of other thing to worry about , than a LokPal.

    • Vishal Santoshi permalink
      April 9, 2011 5:50 AM

      I would go further .. Your point on other reforms that need to be done and may be more effective are well received. Yet the issue remains that though one has known a need to address them for ages now, the ruling “elite”, b’coz of inertia or sheer incompetence or other hidden/malicious agendas does not seem to move on any of those. No body desires to go without food for days, I have other work to do than file this reposte, I am sure folks who have thronged Jantar Mantar have other things to do. Yet it seems until and unless some drastic steps are not taken the government sleeps.

      “Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread” . The French revolution followed. It is the disgust at how removed the cabal is from what a common man goes through every day, that is the most disconcerting .

      If issues known are addressed by due process, why would anybody resort to these histrionics. And if they do, do you believe that those would gain any traction with the common man. Yes, for you this may seem an overreaction, and it may ultimately be one, but than no action to redress any grievance has been forthcoming and what would you want common man to resort to other than peaceful blackmail.. I hope you understand the alternative.

      • Gaurav permalink
        April 10, 2011 2:42 AM

        on the contrary, our democracy (with all its warts included) is teh only thing that is saving us from descending into insignificance. yes, that is the fact of it. and perhaps it would help you to be a little less smug regarding your conclusions about our ‘corrupt politicians’. there are many in this country who find in electoral democracy the only means of making themselves heard publicly–considering MOST of our public spaces/institutions are intolerably bourgeois and brahmanical. and this attitude, that seems to treat the conduct of our politicians to be a resolved question is precisely the kind of high-handedness and snobbishness, is precisely the root of the problem. The Lokpal, even in its best intentions will corrupt democracy. how about that? this bill is one more step towards turning the political institution of the state into some sort of corporate entity, and political processes into simple regularised, workflows that can find a name and place for anything. politics is the only place where we can question our most fundamental social assumptions. don’t turn it into a business. this whole ‘movement’ is incredibly middle-class, both in its composition and in its perspectives, and would do itself a world of good if it saw its ‘movement’ for what it is worth. too much talk about representing the demands of the people has made us too full of themselves.
        look beyond our cities, and the countryside is on fire with protest and rebellion. AND a will to ‘do something about it’. and we still think we are the ones igniting the revolution. we really haven’t changed since we deluded ourselves into believing we liberated the nation.

  9. rohit permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:34 AM

    Agree with you 100 per cent… The people, and especially the youth who have forever been taunted as disinterested and apathetic, need an outlet… And the occasional spectacle like hazare will only bring brief respite…

    In demanding monitors for the monitors of our democracy, we end up retransfering power to covert, unknown, indistinct groups, which completely negates the point of their appointment anyways…

  10. Rakesh Sengupta permalink
    April 9, 2011 6:44 AM

    Thank you very much for writing something that should be read by all of us who have not lost our faculties of perception and reason. Philosopher kings were not a good idea even in Plato’s time. I have one small point to add to your brilliantly written piece.
    We always see the solution to a problem in India is to get a new problem. If roads are clogged by traffic, we build flyovers. If state universities do not work we create IIT’s. We live in a ongoing saga of never having to fix an existing problem. If the political system does not work, we build Lokpal Bill flyover, so that we can sleep at night dreaming that something has been done… letting go of our yoke of responsibility

  11. The Promethean permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:26 AM

    Really a pointless article. And very premature observations. The Jan Lok Pal committee is yet to be appointed, the bill to be drafted, debated, enacted and then enforced. The author has any other solution to tackle this problem of corruption? It is very easy to keep theorizing about anything and everything as long as you don’t have to do it. 8 versions of the Bill in 40+ years and we still have people saying it won’t work without ever trying. The author’s apprehensions are totally misplaced. The real challenge will be to find a ‘democratically’ elected representative that is clean. Or as Anna Hazare later corrected to mean “least tainted”. So Sengupta ji, don’t fret. Be positive. Drink lot of butter milk and stay cool.

    • April 9, 2011 2:27 PM

      “The author has any other solution to tackle this problem of corruption?”

      So, if someone cannot come up with a solution to an issue immediately, he should not point out the obvious?

      GROW UP!

      • Gaurav permalink
        April 10, 2011 2:48 AM

        maybe if you stop going on and on about jumping to ‘solutions’, you would actually stop to think things through a little. your anti-intellectualism makes your demand for action/solutions sound a little hollow.
        kind of reminds me of the typical shiv sena/bjp saffronites who try to justify themselves with a lame “at least we are doing something”. well, your “at least” might actually be doing more damage than it is setting right.

    • April 9, 2011 3:42 PM

      “The author has any other solution to tackle this problem of corruption?”

      So, if you cannot solve, you don’t have the right to criticise? Well, I believe that any time someone has to resort to saying that while countering a point,automatically loses the argument.

    • Maninder singh Sethi permalink
      April 9, 2011 4:58 PM

      Agree with you in totality, The Promethean. The main problem is that we Indians have become so used to ” THE CHALTA HAI” attitude that no matter what, they still want to carry on with this attitude. Come on guys, here’s a chance, an opportunity. Don’t count the eggs before they are hatched. This bill is in “draft mode” at the moment. And to try and decipher its outcome is nothing but CHILDISH. In fact, FOOLISHNESS. The author has every right to give his opinion, but sorry author, you can not force it down anyone. So as The Promethean has suggested to someone, ” Drink lot of butter milk and stay cool. And yes GROW UP, man.

  12. April 9, 2011 7:37 AM

    I completely agree with what your saying. Do consider joining us and telling the world out there that we exist.

    facbook.com/nojanlokpal

    Thanks and Cheers

    Ajay Kumar

  13. April 9, 2011 7:52 AM

    Completely agreed…

  14. April 9, 2011 8:46 AM

    I truly respect your position and find that there is substance in what you have said. Our country is not a perfect democracy. Its no doubt tough to govern a country of a billion people. But we have witnessed over the last couple of years, gross malpractice being carried out in multiple areas of governance. I am trying to recall when was the last time a politician or bureaucrat accused of corruption was severely reprimanded. Sure if you go by the books the accused needs to be convicted, sure the right course of action is to engage in public debate and make sure the government is accountable. I am guessing a lot of people have tried this route, maybe your one of them, and if you have succeeded its great news.

    The scams of CWG, Adarsh and 2g should not have happened in the fist place. I do not want to see my country being run by people who allow for such things to happen. There needs to be zero tolerance. It seems as though our government, no party excluded, has become much more than just tolerant. This movement shouldn’t be about targeting any single political party, it should serve as a message to all our office bearers, from the highest political office to the grassroots level, to get their act together and deliver. If you cant, please get out of the way so somebody else can.

    Its great to see the country get together and unite in the support of an idea. If not for this unity the soul of Jessica Lal would still be yearning for justice.

    I understand that radicalism has severe consequences. But what else would you have us do. Just sit back and enjoy the show or take action and demand answers. The latter seems to have got the attention, but it should not stop here. There is so much more that needs to be done.

  15. Saurav permalink
    April 9, 2011 8:59 AM

    The author of the article seems to be confused with the very basic fact of the bill & that is the Jan Lokpal bill is still a suggestion & not yet implemented & would not be implemented as it is, because there would be lots of debate on this, & that is what we want.
    We didn’t want a one sided weak Lokpal bill made & proposed by the corrupted GOMs & that is the victory of common Indians. We forced Govt. to include the civil society in this process (politicians dont think themselves as the representative of the civil society, they think they are the king of of the civil society).

  16. voyeur permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:26 AM

    Sir,
    I am also not joining the celebrations at Jantar Mantar tonight. But for reasons different from yours.
    A lot of the voices against this fast seem to be speaking as if a) Jan Lokpal bill is a certainty, Anna Hazare will not eat until his version is enacted b) This is some kind of subversion of democratic process where if their plans come to fruition Anna Hazare and gang will suddenly pass the legislation as an ordinance.
    My understanding of the situation is that he is merely asking a) draft a good jan lokpal bill b) take inputs from civil society for this c) introduce it parliament without delay.
    One of the principles of administration is that when any administrative action (be it a statute/notification/rule ) it should be done after a due consultative process. Now is it so rare that an unelected body helps in drafting or even drafts legislation that are introduced in parliament? One example I’ve been giving on every forum is RTI. The example I should have been giving is probably a different one. I did an internship with FICCI. I worked on a couple of legislations and innumerable policy changes that were effected by way of notifications and circulars. These would be forwarded to the finance ministry/ commerce ministry/ SEBI/ IRDA and a lot of them would be passed or notified without virtually any changes. And this, mind you, is very different from Mukesh Ambani lobbying to get a huge tax break. That is a subversion, this is the accepted norm. How is it that when we easily accept policy framed by a body with clearly vested interests, we are suddenly crying about someone who doesn’t seem to have vested interests (at least prima facie).
    I also find it shocking that ”voices of sanity” are decrying this fast far more than any rant I heard against any Bandh/Hartal. Now if I may make my point without questioning the cause of the Jats recently or the Gujjars a couple of years ago, wasn’t the stopping of trains far more dangerous and damaging to the public? If this is ‘emotional blackmail’ what is that. ‘wrongful imprisonment’? Coercion maybe? Standard mode of protest in my state when sponsored by political parties is to torch a bus. All the people who are objecting to this ‘bypassing of parliamentary democracy’ by Anna Hazare I ask you to recognize that this is probably one of the most peaceful ways a demand has been put forth in recent times.
    Going back to the statute itself. I too find many of the clauses unacceptable. At first I put it down to the blind passion of anti-corruption crusaders. Then I felt that this might be a negotiating position they want to work from.
    I’m not celebrating yet though, because it is not a very big thing they have acheived already. Only if a good mechanism for curbing corruption at the highest level is set up and starts functioning effectively, then perhaps I will look back upon this day as a landmark. From here to there it is a long and uncertain journey. But I will certainly not deride the satyagrahis today.

    • Parmeet permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:20 AM

      I ask you to recognize that this is probably one of the most peaceful ways a demand has been put forth in recent times

      very well pointed out

  17. Vineeth permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:51 AM

    If people were smart enough to elect the right representatives, we wouldn’t need a lokpal in first place.

  18. April 9, 2011 10:01 AM

    Yes. Indeed.

  19. voyeur permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:04 AM

    Also a mirror site of Savita Bhabhi has been banned as of day before (not exactly mirror, but a place where Savita Bhabhi could be read freely). Now they’ve pissed me off. I can’t wait for a electoral process to unseat the govt that denies me my erotica.

  20. Rakesh Sengupta permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:18 AM

    I do not think this article has vague or paranoid undertones. If history has shown us time and again that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Aphorisms aside, it is Immanuel Kant who ones said the maxim of enlightenment reason “argue as much as you want, but obey”. And our reasons and rationalities are fostered on that bulwark. We all here in this forum will do probably just that even when we participate in formation of the bill.
    However before writing a superstructure on ourselves we should at least ask why we can not even think about cleaning the existing system and just want another system which may be just as bad. Just saying it is hard is no argument at all.

  21. Upal Deb permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:19 AM

    Logic fails each time we try to understand events…why Hazare and not Sharmila…fair enough…one can easily say…why World Cup Cricket and not Vishwanath Anand…or why Sharmila and not the starving peasants…casuistry won’t take us far…grab at any chance coming your way…advocacy needs colours…India needs be tracked well….for events here happen and fizzle out….Sharmila’s turn will come too……such a romantic issue..Hazare deserves solidarity now…..sophistry can wait or be left to thinkers….!!!

  22. Zahir Koradia permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:28 AM

    Definitely a good read and particularly so for generating interesting debate among readers. To me the best part of what has happened over the past week is that the government has agreed to have civil society as a part of a committee to form a bill. The fact that this bill is intended to make the ruling elite accountable is even more encouraging. It is still a long way to go from finalization of the bill, to getting it passed as a law and strict implementation of the law and it’s revision based on learnings from its implementation.

    Regarding the skepticism about the powers made available to the Lokpal office, I share the skepticism. I also feel uncomfortable about awardees forming the selection panel. But I donot have better solutions right now.

  23. Shuvo Brahmachari permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:28 AM

    One of Anna’s previous agendas was also to impose total alcohol prohibition in the country. I’m sure he could garner enough frenzy about that. How many of us who like an occasional drink would enjoy that?

  24. sudhanshu permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:37 AM

    “Hosni Mubarak should have taken a few lessons from the Indian ruling class about how to have your cake and eat it too on Tahrir Square.”

    >The author seems to suggest that throwing the government out is the only solution to a problem. We as Indians should look within the framework of the existing government to find a solution to our problems.

    “These are early days, but Anna Hazare may finally go down in history as the man who – perhaps against his own instincts and interests – (I am not disputing his moral uprightness here) – sanctified the entire spectrum of Indian politics by offering it the cosmetic cloak of the provisions of the draft Jan Lokpal Bill.”

    >Indian democracy is evolving and the coming in of a Jan lokpal body will indeed purify the Indian politics. I am hopeful about it.

    “This is a classic case of a priviledged elite selecting how it will run its show without any restraint. It sets the precedent for the making of an un accountable ‘council of guardians’ something like the institution of the ‘Velayat e Faqih’ – a self-selected body of clerics – in Iran who act as a super-state body, unrestrained by any democratic norms or procedures. ”

    > India is evolving from a ruling democracy to a participative democracy. Now our leaders are taking decisions and that is not questioned by anybody. But now, there will be checks put by the people in the form of this Jan lokpal body. What it essentially means is that there will be broader participation in taking decisions.

    “I have also never come across the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office being hailed as the triumph of democratic values.”

    > Since you have never come across a thing, does not mean that it is not going to work. India is the world’s most unique democracy. We should not fear the unknown.

    “Unrestrained debate and a fealty to accountable processes are the only means by which a democratic culture can sustain itself.”

    > What you are saying is correct. The Jan lokpal bill is merely a push in that direction. In the future, once the bill gets passed and is implemented, it will create more transparency in government decisions and dealings. The use of technology will make the system more transparent and accountable. Let me tell you one thing. I am a big supporter of IT. I feel that in future, all government transactions and dealings will take IT help so that people get the information by the click of a button.

    “Finally, if, as a society, we were serious about combating the political nexus that sustains corruption – we would be thinking seriously about extending the provisions of the Right to Information Act to the areas where it can not currently operate – national security and defence; we would also think seriously about electoral reform – about proportional representation, about smaller constituencies, about strengthening local representative bodies, about the provision of uniform public funding for candidates and about the right to recall elected representatives.”

    > Mr author, I think you have deviated from the topic. I have serious apprehensions that your suggested solutions are going to work. Look at the fate of smaller states like Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh. Yes, right to recall the elected representatives will be good for Indian democrary. I am hopeful that this will come up as the Indian democracy evolves furthur.

    As a completeness to your topic, I would say that you are narrow in your vision. You do not like to tread an unknown path. Can the Jan Lokpal bill, once implemented, may be abused ? Yes. But we will still go ahead with it.

  25. Asma Rizwan permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:37 AM

    You have raised some very valid points. The Lokpal will be more powerful than the highest office of our country. putting so much power in one person could prove to be dangerous. I hope the joint committee members would rub their brains and head together and come up with a bill which addresses the concerns raised by you and other discerning voices. although i support Anna Hazare ‘s crusade against corruption but that does not mean that anyone raising concerns against Janlokpal bill should be booed down and condemned. a healthy democracy is one where there should be healthy debates before coming to conclusions.

  26. Prasad permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:40 AM

    I love being a contrarian, don’t get me wrong.

    But over a period of time, I realized it is just so easy to find fault with others. Unfortunately, imo, that is all you are doing. You raise objections, valid ones at that. But let me ask you this—find me one approach, including doing nothing, where I cannot raise equally valid objections and potential abuses.

    There is never an easy or straightforward way out. It is always a razor’s edge. Your job and my job is not point out that we are walking on the edge, but to help in balancing. That is what citizens, as opposed to subjects, do.

  27. RajivMalhotra permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:41 AM

    This article and the writer is using a fallacious argument. Let me explain why?

    1. Firstly Lata Mangeshkar is not sitting on judgements. She is only one of the many (who are known to be upright) selecting members of Lokpal (3 people like in CEC).

    2. It is these people who will select ex Judges & others who understand law to sit as Lokayukts or Lok Pals.

    3. Legislature has robbed us – how can you call that democratic when 35% of our population is uneducated and gets swayed by Rs 100 or a shawl and vote in favor of a party or politician who has criminal charges? They have allowed uneducated to remain like that. Our spend on Education is less 2.5% of our GDP while it should have been 7- 10%. And importantly these legislatures know that educated people have a harrowing time living their daily life that they cant come out and vote. So the 35% mask the 15% (educated who vote 3:1 and that is why people with about 50% turnout win election – can that be democratic?

    4. By having control over CBI and CVC, legislature has made it ineffective. This lok pal bill, allows it to be independent of Legislature. We have 4 legs – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary and Press. We need another leg to be stable (That is Lok Pal). A 5 leg table is more stable than a 4 leg table :) !

    5. Judiciary is not elected – they too come from a Collegium. And the excutive thru Exams – which too are getting diluted by the legislature thru reservation.

    6. Importantly we already have a Prime Minister (head of Legislature) who has not won ANY election and has been thrust upon us for 8 years w/o winning popular vote. What democracy is that. He is a proxy PM (a modern day Shikandi in the garb of honesty allowing people to rob the nation).

    7. The most important – It is not ahopless stae. If Lop Pal or Lok Ayukts err, they can be impeached and thrown out andjailed too. Can that be said in the present circumstamces. The current UPA over the first term was willing to take help of JAILED (under criminal offences) MPs to bail itself out. Does anybodyknow what price or amont was paid by us?

    . Everybodyknows who the corrup are – whathas happened. Today Legslature has absolute powers – w/o recourse for 5 years ! And in those 5 years they nominate their own CVcs, Transfer important folks to NHRC and their prodigies as Governors and even Presidents :)!

    The arguments are fallacious to say the least. The person is giving too much importance to Democratic setup (which is the weakest link) ! Corruption has been vbred byLaloos and Mayawatis and also both main stream poliitical parties. We dont trust them. How can uneducatedguys be asked to lead us and frame law? Minimum criteria for beingin the Legislature should be not money power but education. And restrict legislature term to maximum 2 terms in a life.

    • abhishek das permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:59 AM

      d best argument till now..very well said..kudos..:)

    • Spoilsport permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:15 AM

      A 5 leg table is more stable than a 4 leg table :)… Ha Ha Ha !! Biggest Joke of the year. How about adding 6th, 7th & 8th legs. Check your basic concepts, Man.

      • abhishek das permalink
        April 11, 2011 2:58 AM

        hahaha…wat a jerk!!! u actually think dat d guy is talkin of a TABLE here???
        to make it less complicated fr you(who has d cranial capacity of a BUFFALO)..ever seen a stage??where people perform(sing n dance n gyrate..or wateva shit)???
        duck below it n check how many legs it has..dat might clear ur mind..we r talkin about a bigger concept(d system) here buffalo head.. n not merely a TABLE..
        now go CHEW HAY!!!!

        • a rebel with a cause permalink
          April 11, 2011 11:52 PM

          My friend Malhotraji feels Lataji is equipped, responsible and eclectical get involved in the Lok Pal parafarnalia (I think she has an epic exploiter herself in her profession) and he goes on to advocate an economist is not suitable to run the country. Govt preys on such psyche, Indians had one car, one two-wheeler, one actor, one political party, one sport, one…. to chose from for over 5o years.
          I think Sengupta is spot on, though he has not provided an answer, but thought for the answer. The answer will come from within us, when we can break the shackles of our thoughts – that have been programmed for so long. Jago Indian Jago, we have been taken the mick by one and all, and all we cay is ‘pehle aap’.
          I am sure technology and the ‘young India’ would rebel appropriately, they are just satiating themselves in this new found freedom.
          Read the Lok Pal Bill, it would be monsterous.It is like the Mien Kamph, every body has a copy, but no one reads it.

  28. ek underdog permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:44 AM

    some times it may be fashionable to be unfashionable by wearing dhoti to attend a meeting where everyone else is likely to be wearing jeans. this article is a similar and shall i say silly exercise. problems with media should not be confused with other issues.i dont like big media but that does not mean i end up supporting a.rajas stating that in a democracy these non-political elite are the least accountable to public. should i support a.raja as i dont like arnab.
    anna is not promising us that all problems are solved with lok pal bill.trying to solve one problem does not mean that others problems will also get solved. A strong RTI is desirable and a strong Lokpal is not anti-thesis of RTI. Finally the cynicism against the political class is so wide spread that people trust courts than the assemblies and parliament.who is responsible for this.

  29. sudhanshu permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:44 AM

    @Rakesh Sengupta: Sir, corruption is essentially a mindset issue. Nobody stops any politician to be honest and truthful. Look at some of the bills passed in Bihar and actions taken by chief minister Nitish Kumar.

    • Rakesh Sengupta permalink
      April 9, 2011 11:46 PM

      I am sorry, but I don’t think I implied that anybody stops politicians to be honest. However by expecting them not to do so is our mentality, and frankly you can even ask what can you do against such power? The question to ask is why can’t we? What stops US from acting? And whether it is so improbable to dream that the existing system is so beyond repair that we need another system which does not need to even answer to democratic processes.
      And a further point is that one member of the selecting committee is an ex five star general. It’s the first time that the military establishment will have a say in the selection of a civilian authority in our country. All one should ask is whether we are searching for the silver lining in the wrong places.

      • Rakesh Sengupta permalink
        April 9, 2011 11:52 PM

        Sorry a correction in my previous post, I meant is our system so beyond repair that we can not even think that the system will not work until an equally faulty system (that does not even have to answer to democratic process) has to supersede it? Is it so improbable to think otherwise?

  30. Just Optimistic permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:47 AM

    Our sad intellectual class can never ever see the silver lining, only the dark clouds. Yes thee are always pros n cons, but justsitting n cribbing is not going to take us anywhere. So to all the know-alls, all I can say is wake up n stop crying.

  31. Shivika Mathur permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:00 AM

    The Times Now panelists (some of whom I am sure have never had a brush with corruption on a daily basis like a commoner has, and displayed pretty idiosyncratic views on corruption) simply refused to accept the fact that the real battle begins now. The unprecedented nature of the Jan Lok pal Bill has to prove itself so in letter and spirit. As for being cynical, it is a fancy label used loosely for those who demand a balanced and nuanced approach to things. Any finetuning of this victory is being seen as blasphemy.
    As I see it, it is only a victory of ‘civil society’, let time alone tell whether it translates into victory of the people. I hope it does.

  32. Manish Pathak permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:01 AM

    Its okay not to celebrate. Its your wish. However, if you have noticed the news of politicians siphoning the tax money in recent past and getting away with it, you will certainly be happy with little hope. Your writing is ‘immature’ enough to ignore the plight of common man and ‘criminal’ enough to visualise it as emotional blackmail.

    You seem to be unhappy with the choice of ‘Collegium.’ I agree, it need to be refined. By the way, I am glad that media people are kept away from the Lokpal. Infact, one of the main pillars of Indian democracy, whom we trusted wholeheartedly has disappointed us by selling its soul. If the current system would have brought the culprits to justice, we wouldn’t have thought of Lokpal.

  33. Nadi Palshikar permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:08 AM

    the proverbial child who dared to comment on the emperor’s new clothes.
    and so well written..

  34. April 9, 2011 11:09 AM

    corruption is a worldwide phenomenon. more than government corruption it is corporate corruption that should be targeted. the way in which speculators on the stock, commodity, bond and currency markets are the most highly paid and continue to be so even after the 2008 meltdown. No law, however, good it may be, can prevent the corporate honchos from bending governments to their will surreptitiously. this basic fact of capitalist liberal democracy was realised quite early in the nineteenth century itself. however, the attempts to bring about a socialistic order too failed to establish mass democracy and that still remains the challenge. movements centred around the moral strength of a single person cannot bring about decentralised mass democracy as has been established by the failed efforts of Gandhi and King earlier. to get laws implemented there have to be dedicated struggles at the grassroots against corruption, impunity and oppression. These struggles have to then build up to challenge the rule of capital worldwide. how this is going to happen is a conundrum because after thirty years of grassroots struggle in just one district we have still not got anywhere.

  35. shruti permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:11 AM

    brilliant piece. totally agree.

  36. T Venkat permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:15 AM

    Dear Friends,

    It is not to castigate one side or the other. Let us remember that the very people who have fought for this legislation and more importantly the manner in which the bill should be drafted are people of character whose moral guidance and struggle has benefited all of us.

    But it is important that we dont loose ourselves in the euphoria and end up in deeper trouble. The fact that thousands have joined the struggle is at once a great sign of things to come but also a great responsibility of the leaders of the movement.

    I have a feeling that all of us have played into the right wing media. We seek civil society participation in drafting legislations against corruption, but will the media come with similar coverage if we seek civil society space in SEZ approval boards or Environment approval boards. We will have the very same people there, no body different. Try it, go for a hundred day fast and you wll only die, not the government not even the media will be there.

    A lady has been in fasting for 10 years WHY is AFSPA not yet repealed; will the government notify a committee comprising Agnivesh, Hazare, others to sit in judgement of whether to repeal it or not?

    I have a fear that we are letting a back door for the so called ‘civil society’ primarily yuppee middle class with the backing of right wing media houses, a free pass to govern. This committee might be differnent, but the precedence it sets is not amusing.

    My humble suggestion to the to be constituted committee, is not to fall prey to government time tables, utilize the cadre base created by this formidable campaign and take the discussion of the bill to every ward in the country so that a semblance of representativeness gets built in.

    sorry for the long comment

  37. Kubis permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:46 AM

    One should never join or approve any movement where Bollywood celebrities , TimesNow channel have joined the bandwagon.

    Bollywood celebrities can ruin and spoil even the most just causes. Any cause taken up by TimesNow is inherently suspicious.

    I was wondering why these silly celebrities and TimesNow channel are supporting Lokpal bill. Mystery is solved now. These people never gave a damn about Irom Sharmila and her fasting.

  38. April 9, 2011 11:47 AM

    Democracy is about electing the legislature and executive. It need not be about electing the judiciary, and I don’t know of cases where the bureaucracy, police, etc are elected. So I don’t quite see why the Jan Lokpal Bill is undemocratic. Meanwhile, most of the USA’s executive is appointed by the President, not elected; while the judiciary is elected, which, some say (and I agree), is a really bad idea.

  39. Another concerned citizen permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:47 AM

    I don’t understand how the writer concludes, “It will combine in itself the powers of making law, implementing the law, and punishing those who break the law”. How and where is the power of making the law? As for the other two, a district magistrate holds a court and also passes executive orders – effectively combining the implementing and punishing part. So this kind of aggregation exists within the present structure.

    Not to mention that the process of enacting bill is in itself at an early stage.

    I am jubilant solely about the fact that there has been a strong voicing of public opinion.
    I am saddened by the fact that the support base of the movement is still not wide enough. Corruption flourishes because it enjoys widespread acceptance. Just about every government office is saddled with corruption – do we expect those people to join this movement?
    Do we see the really poor and destitute in this movement?
    What worries me is that when a Congress spokesperson says that this movement has support from specific classes within the society, he might be true.
    If the corruption benefits a section of people and another section starts a movement against corruption, does it lead to a wider class struggle?

    I would appreciate a debate based more of logical arguments than the metaphors and hyperbole that this author employs in most of this article.

    The corrupt leaders go scot free for the sole reason that the people who elect them do not care enough about corruption.
    How do we get the people to treat corruption as the biggest poll plank ? How do we get the people to not vote for corrupt leaders ? How do we get people to not indulge in corruption themselves?
    That is the biggest challenge facing this movement right now.

  40. kasturi permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:55 AM

    Suddha,

    You have made some excellent points – this response was crucial and much needed.

    “There are many models of selecting Ombudsmen available across the world” – I would be much interested to hear more about this.

    Thanks for raising a sane voice among the mass hysteria, namely Jantar Mantar [LIVE].

  41. April 9, 2011 12:14 PM

    Interesting perspective to the mass hysteria that I have been personally and proudly part of!!! And the whiff of cynism lingers strong Mr Sengupta….

    Whether staged by the ruling political party or not, this might be the first big step towards weeding out some, if not all, tainted people from the government. Small v/s Big Fish.
    Ruling parties can go to any length to win another term…remember Indira Gandhi & Bush? And in our case we rid of small fish while allowing the Congress to rule this country TILL we have other options. Options for People and options for Ruling Systems.

    We have a long way to go before this bill is actually passed, if at all, and whether its implementation will actually benefit the aam admi and whether this country will be split between the awardees/writers/singers on one side and wise elders/council of gaurdians/dictators on the other. But I do know one thing. The way things are changing around the world, our change is imminent and we have taken our first step. The internet acts as a collective consciousness and every youth/gen x is plugged in. Right or wrong is not significant here. We are witnessing the same in the Middle East and North Africa. Nobody knows how the future of the Economy, Religious Sentiments and Political Parties in the world will pan out even in the next 2 years. Is sitting around being couch activisists and whining about the flaws in our country do anything different than it has in the last 60 years? Isnt that reason enough to put some energy in motion to make some changes?

    I think we dont take to the streets because we lack courage and being part of a collective. The ‘chalta hai’ attitude springs from a deep disregard for one another. How we drive, how we clean our homes and rid the garbage on the street, how we are still entrenched in the beilief of scarcity, how we follow rules abroad and dont when we are in India and how we can be the biggest racists are more important issues to think about right now. Corruption is only an effect. The cause is deeper. Its part of our DNA.
    From here on, we should only be focussed on the fact that everybody is looking at India as the NEXT BIG THING. Lets live up to that. And we can only do that when we are personally accountable for all we do and say. Are you ready Mr Sengupta?

    Sangeeta Singh

  42. Rohini Hensman permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:25 PM

    The most telling point, perhaps, is the contrast between the public and media response to Anna Hazare’s four-day fast and the lack of response to Irom Sharmila’s ten-year one. Corruption is bad, agreed. But apparently killing innocent people with impunity is all right. At least that is the message that seems to come across from the lack of public and media support for Irom Sharmila.

  43. Suhasini permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:33 PM

    For us as a society, as a people, fast falling into a cesspool of characterlessness, there is little remedy.

  44. Manu Mahindroo permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:33 PM

    I am completely dis agree with this that 130 cror people are begin g for implementation of work which is is favor of the people of India. from 584 person whom we had selected and send to the parliament . For the rights of of the people no doubt Mr. Hazre is doing the good work .But behron ko sunane ke liye dhamake ki zarorat hoti hai . Gandhi ji ke anshan se kuch nahi hua tha toh unho ne karo yan maro ki niti apni the.

  45. April 9, 2011 12:38 PM

    Keep the faith .. and don;t loose hope. I did liked the overall tone of your article but lets pause there .. Instead of letting the vultures of today , who are nibbing away INDIA.. to go free and do as they please.. This BILL when drafted by the committee will be more fruitful in its way. Its always better to have something rather than nothing at all. KIndly note each and every YOUTH of India , incl yourself will be keen to know .. how this turns out to be… BUt atleast there is a direction.. There is hope… for me and the next generation to come.

  46. Shakuntala Vasudevan permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:38 PM

    I think that we waste our time in argument… Maybe we have to go back to the wisdom that this country has inherited…. where Arjuna paralysed by the arguments in his mind turns to Krishna….. and Krishna advises him , that he has to seize the moment for action since everything has conspired to bring him to that moment…… the results of which would never be in his hands ….. WE HAVE TO RESPECT THE MOMENT THAT HAS COME AND THE COURAGE THAT IT HAS TAKEN FOR PEOPLE TO ACT……The process has begun and i think we are not equipped to judge the outcome… that will have to be left to the History books …. LETS SAY A PROCESS HAS BEEN INITATED ……. IS THAT OK OR NOT ???

  47. rajeev permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:38 PM

    The spate of scams that have precipitated in the last few years are really not the beginning of it, it actually is the beginning of “civil Society’s” grip on the system and that is a great beginning. I would not patronise the print media at all as they have really lost credibility in the recent years, Electronic media is singularly responsible for bringing this malaise to national scene. Print media is struggling and finding itself marginalized when compared with the speed of information decimation of electronic media. But these are the messengers only – why shoot the messengers, the real highlight for me thats staring in our face is – lack of credible ‘Leadership’ what kind of democracy we are celebrating, its complete mediocracy, in the entire nation there is not a single party that can claim to be ‘clean’ every single party is down in the gutter and we call this democracy?? Not one department within the government can claim to be clean not one corporate entity can claim to be clean, they all would like to grade themselves on levels 50 to 100, below 50 there is no one! What kind of country this is? That to me is the idealism from which Anna shines like a beacon of hope, hope that there can be leadership that thinks beyond itself, there can be legitimate campaign that does not get straddled in endless debates and the fact that “truth” is still a relevant and powerful tool to engage and use in public life. I’m amazed at the cynics, really the disgust of living in this filth all around us, no one seems to take care and no one seems to be responsible. I really feel Annas movement as once again reminded us the gift of Gandhi and the pronounced impact it can have – a note for all the cynics though is that this tool of “selfless sacrifice” is no ordinary tool and not every person who goes on fast until death gets his wishes fulfilled, that would be really naive to imagine. The ‘purpose’ has to be selfless, the power of ‘truth’ is supreme, very few people have that in them, and thats why every leader can not go on campaign and derive national support like Anna has achieved. Comparing corruption with singular issues like armed forces atrocities etc is just waist full argument, just compare the issues and it should be clear that cynicism is taking roots on thinking processes. I strongly believe this national malaise and shame will not end till we have Leadership that can stand on the platform with Anna and assure the nation. It need not be thousands of persons – Just One Man, who has the courage to Lead this nation out of its vortex of greed and more greed….. The Lokpal bill is not what this movement is about, if it was just that we would be missing the point altogether, there is already a robust constitution and elaborate laws and eminent Judges and lawyers, all that exist already another bill will not dramatically change any thing. the message is what this movement is about – message to the elected representative, message to greedy corporates and message to individuals that the nation is not a ‘dead body’ with no sense of its existence but it is actually ‘alive’ and can just like a Tsunami take very thing back from people it has give so much….thats what I feel is the message from this movement.

  48. udaiveer permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:40 PM

    just btw.

    the entire tone of this article is CHRISTIAN-istic.

    from heresy to inquisition, all parallels r Christian,
    may be, because of a bias of the writer’s education, in ENGLISH medium – ONLY!!!
    LOL
    i think the writer is closet Hazare-lover, but refuses to say so,
    but the article says the same nonetheless.
    kind of reverse-psychology, attempt.

    yes i do agree the just indian origin is wrong.

    LET NAIPAUL GET HERE,
    KICK HIS BUT BACK TO WHERE-EVER HIS QUEER HOME IS.
    India is not.

  49. Anna H permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:43 PM

    Mr/Ms Sengupta

    You seem to have done some low level of research before writing this article so I must congratulate you as you do stand out among your brethren but let me tell you some things:

    1. The finer details about the Bill are yet to be resolved so please refrain from commenting before they are finalised.

    2. You talk about RTI being powerful, do you not know that it was Anna Hazare who brought that Act into power??? Do you not think that someone who brought such a powerful Act with huge repercussions would not have ensured that this JLP Act is in best interest of nation? To add to this, the number of eminent legal personalities (apolitical) that have supported him are very much in favour of this Bill. Please give more credit to the intelligence of leaders who are backing him such as Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal. These people have ALREADY achieved something for the people UNLIKE you

    3. Regarding the method of Anna’s campaign, let me tell you that Desperate times call for Desperate measures. This Bill has been around for 42 yrs and is not some random thing that Anna sat on fast for one fine day. Besides, Indian people and as you rightly say, the Indian middle class is NO FOOL. We know what we are standing for. Do not for a second, think that people like us and personalities like Kiran Bedi, Soli Sorabjee etc would stamp their seal on to any random thing (referring to your example on Baba Ramdev). Do not for a second think that some RELIGIOUS campaign can exercise the power that Anna’s campaign has shown. I do have a thing against journalists. Most of them are less smart of the entire lot of kids that graduate from institutions and somehow they assume this moral righteousness from their half baked knowledge of doing secondary research. The only good articles that I read are those written by people with some REAL degrees and some REAL WORLD experience. The rest seem to write Fiction in the garb of news, information and knowledge. Reading your article does make me quite sure of your background.

    4. You say that you are NOT a cynic but your last line sounds EXACTLY like one. You have not shown the least bit of appreciation for the awakening that Anna’s movement has brought. 100’S of Anna’s who are willing to fight for this country have been born and that VICTORY ALONE stumps everything that you write. This nation has been facing a severe leadership crisis but I worry NO MORE.

    Best Regards
    Another Anna

    • surjit singh Thokchom permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:34 AM

      Please, for God sake don’t worship Annajee. He must not be mystified. Annajee has good intention and he is indeed a great man but not a political thinker nor an elected member. The argument in the article is valid. I don’t think that the article pull down him but rather caution the people of India to be more critical. Yes, we have too much corruption but the so called corruption is not the disease but the symptoms. Good governance is necessary but is neither sufficient nor primary. I do salute Annajee for his courage and this does not meant that he and his opinion must not be subjected to critical scrutiny. When a corrupt State can agree with XYZ, it is important for us to examine critically why it is so. Keep your eyes open: there are several leaders who are fighting for India. The State subjugate them, destroyed them. But why not Annajee. I don’t see any steep resistance to him by the State. Why ?

  50. April 9, 2011 12:47 PM

    This article eloquently articulates real concerns about the Lok Pal legislation’s potentially undemocratic powers, and worries about the Hazare tv-energised euphoria, but this elite view should not obscure the big picture importance of this week’s country-wide protests against corruption – see my blog http://wp.me/pieST

  51. April 9, 2011 12:49 PM

    Dear Mr Sengupta,

    You are right on. They will dargh you down. Who am I ? We worked in our own way iwth Annza Hazare , self-righteosu TV talk show queen Dr Kiran Bedi, Medha Patkar and many. Don’t bother abou the sheep.

    If anyone read Dennis Lilles’ “The Art of Fast Bowling” , she/ he would draw parallels:

    First send a delivery way outside off side where the batsmen just lifts his bat and lets go but pretend you nearly scattered his wickets and hold your head in despair . Second send a bouncer. Third give him a loose delivery for him to hit a four . Fourth send a brilliant out swinging delivery probing his of stump – the corridor of uncertainty. The batsman tries to get back over first delivery drama, previous bouncer, confidence over loose delivery and slashes wildly and spoons a catch.

    Game is in the mind.

    But now we see it is going on outside the field!

    Currently the HACB (Honest and Anti-Corruption Brigade) team’s batsman is at third delivery.

    PS: If anyone says Dennis Lilee is a “racist” Australian , kindly remind wannabe Harsha Bhogles that Lille founded the MRF Pace Bowling Foundation in ‘87 . And some time back, Sachin Tendulkar aka God was initially sent to the Foundation to acquire training in fast bowling. However, Lillee suggested him to focus on batting instead, which worked. Jai ho!

  52. sumit permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:56 PM

    i think u r extraordinarily cynical….mr sengupta having a cup of coffee with chocolate cookies could give a splendid evening to write above expression of thoughts….the entire write-up is devoid of reasonable thoughts to create a reading effect…i guess u shud think more about mass movement . leave apart right or wrong in your sane thoughts…first collect people to share your thoughts…u may probably be in-sync with democractic model of functioning…but i still appreciate your rhinoceros thoughts. hv a nice day and keep thinking

    cheers

  53. Simple Simon Fernandes permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:57 PM

    http://www.pragoti.org/node/4354

    Shuddhabrata-bab, warm greetings from Goa, I think you will enjoy reading the above link, as will Kafila’s other readers.

    This is a very important point you have raised and believe me, tonight I will go to Forsu’s watering hole again, feeling much happier.

    Only last night, much feni was drunk and even more argument was had over whether Jantar Mantar was like Tahrir Square or not – and all this of course, while we were watching Arnab Goswami behave as if he was the prophet himself.

    You will be happy to happy to know that much heated discussion centered on the differences between the print media and the TV news Channels in English regarding Jantar Mantar. In Goa of course, most of us are not too comfortable in English and our own news channels and newspapers only do what either the mining companies who own them tell them, or what the government who supports them, allows them to cover. So we read the national papers a day late, and watch the news in the bar at 9 o’clock…it is a nice life if you go to see…

    I think you must realize that Arnab Goswami understands the power of media better than all of us: more than NDTV (where poor Barkha did them in for credibility with her dreams of power), Arnab, with his slicked down hair, his timed pronouncements, his burning eyes, knows how to make the news ‘SEXY.

    His team of reporters are like very accomplished stage actors, right down to their smallest inflections. He’s trained them well…and we shall see more of them, people well-trained to keep whatever spectacle Arnab chooses for them going, until, with his marketing department, he chooses the next one.

    (InterestinglyPost-Barkha, NDTV is desperately looking for someone to fill her shoes when she is put out to pasture. If you watch the channel these days from that perspective, you can actually see the battle for her successor raging, each anchor trying out new inflections that reveal concern and passion…)

    Arnab was badly advised to bring in Pritish Nandy and Anupam Kher: One is a failed poet cum successful businessman who has always wanted to be seen as a Bengali intellectual, the other is a middling to good actor who now has, it seems, political ambitions. Anil Dharkar is a wimp who has always tried to palliate the establishment. Interestingly, both Dharkar and Nandy played crucial roles in killing the Illustrated Weekly of India…

    One must say with great pleasure that Meenakshi and Hartosh actually spoke volumes in whatever little time they were given, although both would have benefited from a small visit to Forsu’s bar first, is what we thought.

    In any case, Meenakshi gave Anupam Kher one tight slap questioning his credentials for being there in the first place; and Hartosh gave Nandy a lesson in what being political meant. Both have free drinks in Forsu’s place any time they choose to visit. And fried prawns and Forsu’s chicken cafreal. If they are vegetarian, then fried garlic potatoes, boiled and spiced gram with onion and lime, and in this season, freshly made mango slices in brine and green chilly…

    On a more serious note, both the young panelists on Arnab’s show show that they were carefully selected because they come across as safe, clean-cut and well-meaning. In fairness, they WERE well-meaning, more or less impassioned, but also quite incoherent about where they wanted the country to go. After the bill is passed, if it is passed, what then?

    This is their country, this is their world. Many of us have been its custodians in the best way we can, and I think most of us would willingly let them lead, because, after all, it is they who have the energy to take on the baton.

    But how come not one single voice in any of the young persons being interviewed at Jantar Mantar and other places mentioned Binayak Sen’s unnecessary and illegal tribulation? Why did not not even a single young person mention how India’s environment is badly being screwed by industry and government working in collusion? Why nothing about the displacement of people from land acquired illegally?

    (In Forsu’s bar they are saying, that as soon as the IPL starts, k to their lives behind various screens thoughtfully provided to them by the entertainment industries, be sure there will still be a few million young Indians “Anna who?”, “Binayak who?”, “Which forests?”, “Jaitapur, where’s that?”)

    I hope you and your readers do not think that we only drink in Goa and comment on the news as it takes place in the rest of the country.

    Actually, some of us were also thinking we should do something. We thought of taking our sarpanch who owns and operates two illegal stone quarries and throw him in the river. But then he only does what the MLA in the area tells him to do, who in turn only listens to one or two of the ministers in Panjim who are into real estate. There are 400 illegal stone quarries in Goa, mainly because there are so many Gurgaonwallahs looking for a second home in Goa in a gated colony, the real estate lobby is second only to the mining one. The Goa government is now planning to ‘legalize’ everyone of the 400 illegal quarries.

    Corruption is a huge disease in Goa, so here we think it is okay to get angry during the day, provided at night there is the space to go to one of our bars and watch the news and drink feni.

    Just yesterday, five of us in our small village received a mail from one of Goa’s leading activists. It went as follows, and I wish to quote it in full, with the typos and horrible syntax and swearing on my father’s soul that it is authentic – if only to point out that the need to do something to stem the rot of this country, requires more than just strong, largely impulsive feelings:

    It reads:

    “Goa has been found the most corrupt state in India in a report by Transparency International. There is no way that we cannot respond to the amazing movement that is developing around Anna Hazare. This is our moment to stand up in Goa and be counted. As citizens who are concerned for India and for our state we cannot stand by.

    “I am suggesting a completely non political stand under the banner ‘ARTISTS FOR ANNA’.

    “This is what I suggest.

    “A candle lit vigil TOMORROW ( Saturday) evening, 7:00 p.m. onwards at Azad Maidan. A large banner that says ‘Artists for Anna’. And a statement to the press that clarifies that this is indeed us artists standing up as concerned citizens of a very corrupt state.

    “I request all artists, writers, photographers…. to please be part of this.

    “I would request other groups to join us – it would be wonderful to a ‘Writers for Anna’… a ‘Quizzers for Anna’ …’Architects for Anna’… ‘Doctors for Anna’… ‘Activists for Anna’ and so on… the more the better… THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO TAKE A VERY SIMPLE NON POLITICAL STAND

    “Prominent and eminent citizens – you are very welcome! You know the press always sits up and takes notice of you and it is very important for media to carry this support protest.

    “There is no point doing this if there are not enough numbers. Can you please reply to this mail so that I can start counting how many people are on? and can you forward it to whoever you think cares enough to join in?

    “Once again here are the basic facts

    “ARTISTS FOR ANNA/ OTHER GROUPS FOR ANNA

    “CANDLE LIT VIGIL

    TOMORROW – SATURDAY 9TH
    AT AZAD MAIDA FROM 7 P.M. ONWARDS”.

    All five of us who received the mail went to Forsu’s bar two hours earlier!

    I hope all of you noted the lines: “…a completely non political stand under the banner ‘ARTISTS FOR ANNA'”…and…in full caps no doubt, “THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO TAKE A VERY SIMPLE NON POLITICAL STAND”…

    Some of you out there who come to Goa for your two-week holiday by the beach, may think that Goa is a beautiful place where everybody sits under a coconut tree playing a guitar, but actually – at least that’s what we say in the bar – it’s a like a microcosm for what’s happening in the rest of the country…

    Goans, as most young Indians today, are terrified of the words ‘politics’, ‘political’, and by that measure, it seems, even ‘commitment’. You can’t blame just our politicians for this because they have just been doing for the past 42 years what they know best to do, namely, make money to get some power, then make more money to get even more power and so on and so forth…

    Spare a thought for this country’s archaic but effective schooling system, where parents and teachers collude into neutering our young, so that they know nothing apart from facts to be memorized and then vomited. Spare a thought for millions of parents who have exhorted their children to first study and get a high percentage, then do what they really want to do, or, who tell their children not to get ‘involved’ with anything apart from their studies – by which time of course, it is too late. In Forsu’s bar we have a joke that goes, “Why are Indian students such good marxists?”

    The answer is: “Because they all want high marks”…

    Spare a thought for teachers who silence their students with the words, “Don’t worry about all that, it’s not in the syllabus”. Spare a thought for the complicity between parents and industry that has made most of our privileged young people in constant need of being entertained and amused…

    • Philip VInod Peacock permalink
      April 9, 2011 2:32 PM

      Brilliant, I loved it!

    • sandeep permalink
      April 9, 2011 8:59 PM

      Excellent piece – you should consider writing separate articles!

    • April 11, 2011 12:43 AM

      Brilliant! I now have to visit Forsu’s.

      One approach to communicating well when emotions run so high is to leverage humour.

    • Deepa permalink
      April 11, 2011 8:14 PM

      Simple Simon.
      Well said. Now am a fan. I left a comment for the cricket reply too. You should blog more, or tell us where you’re blogging. Solidarity, Deepa

    • usha permalink
      April 11, 2011 11:41 PM

      Brilliant! and thank you for the generous dose of humour after all the vitriol in other responses. and I already love Forsu’s! Simply superb Simon!

  54. Neshat Quaiser permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:58 PM

    I agree with what the author has stated – there may be few more things that could be added – but I would like to point out one thing which has almost been taken for granted – that is to deploy religious symbol to mobilise ‘people’ against corruption. The central banner on the Stage displays Bharat Mata – Durga like image – on the map of India – this is something which should not be allowed to go unnoticed – What is all this?

  55. April 9, 2011 1:02 PM

    Brilliant piece. Anna Hazare is nothing but the unelcted,self-imposed representative of the brahmanical class who want to control the system without contestinv elections and thus subvert democracy which has become the voice of the underprivileged in India. Who wants to deal with the smelly, swaty real India?You cant defeat a Mayawati so bring in a bill to punish her. Why cant there be a law to sack babus who indulge in corruption. Has a single bureaucrat ever been convicted for corruption? The most corrupt Babus all come back to haunt us after serving their suspension and then getting back all their pay. The so-called Indian Civil Society is nothing but a brahmanical grouping who want their hands on the levers of power. Manmohan Singh has no balls or he would have shown them up for what it is. Baba Ramdev the most corrupt, land grabbing fraud yogi bankrolls this so-called people movement. As the writers rightly says the Lokpal Bill will subvert all forms of governance and gun only for political leaders who do not mount the mantra of brhamanism.

  56. April 9, 2011 1:02 PM

    Its is naive of anybody to assume that just the Lokpal bill is the solution to the menace!!
    But there has to be start and thats what the country as witnessed. After all alert citizens is the need of the hour.

    I’m shocked that you take examples of what happens on a rubbish TV news channel and formulate you opinion.

    and lastly, Its a democracy buddy..u need to ask anybody ‘permission’ to pick n choose ur revolution :)

  57. April 9, 2011 1:03 PM

    Lighting the candle and marches are all good and maybe make us feel we have contributed but the real contributions will be in our day to day actions because a large part of it has nothing to do with government.

    Do not depend on super umpires because Outsourcing of a Revolution will not work.

    http://futurechat.in/experiences/outsourcing-of-a-revolution-will-not-work/

  58. lokayukta permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:04 PM

    It is a very tapri conception of ‘democracy’ that underlies this piece. It should be pretty clear that the Indian government lacks a civil representation in its polity because of the lack of a strong and clear executive branch. This is a feature of the Indian Constitution and IMHO, a much harder problem to want/attempt to solve. It is no secret that the Indian representational system is clogged with vote bank politics A conception of modern republics that focuses exclusively on elections to influence policy is misguided. Republics work on check and balances, and a history of any modern republic shows how most of these checks and balances evolve over time, and are often led by reform movements like the one hazare is supporting. Hazare isn’t attempting a coup d’état and the precious little testicles of the ‘people’s representatives’ are not exactly being chopped off. Also, it seems to be elementary that the lokpal bill that this mix civic-cabinet committee will produce after vetting, will not only have enough participation from the legislature in the approval process (though a controlling stake is dangerous; maybe the president can be the deciding vote), but also powers to initiate impeachment on malfeasance grounds.

    There is an obvious unchecked legislative bias in the current system. The janLokpal bill, in its current form is decidedly immature, but it is not a lemon and most of the criticism against it can be answered by easy amendments to it. The fact should not be overlooked that the fast was to force the government to agree to a committee to vet the bill and not to pass the bill in its current form. Getting it to pass and be implemented may take another movement.

    Also, a people’s movement is like any other process in a democracy. If it doesn’t get enough supporters because it is badly managed or doesn’t evoke broad censure, it doesn’t go anywhere. That a movement X gets broad support but movement Y does not, through vox populi, doesn’t necessarily say anything about the movement’s merits and seriousness. Just another reason why democracy is a bitch. Everyone who has led a successful movement understands that it has to be managed very ingeniously. It may very well happen, for instance, that the lokpal bill is again defered. All it needs is a bomb blast or 2, and some smart handling by the government. Or IPL ;)

  59. prashant dogra permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:14 PM

    the most i will agree with the writer is that this is not the best possible step. but then arm-chair analysts like this writer will not even let half a good step happen. Becuase such intelligensia can only speak from their rooms, and not act on the street

    People like the writer and like myslef should try and improve on this good initial step, and make it better. Appreciate someone’s good hearted initiative. And see if you can constructively improve it

    if even this was not done, then nothing will ever happen.

    As one comment said, maybe this will hurtle us faster into the downward spiral……..but maybe it could have a bit of a moral lifeline. Its worth trying. Improve on it if you can

  60. Mahesh S. Panicker permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:21 PM

    very much agree with the sentiments expressed in the article. there is no 2nd opinion on the need to fight corruption, but for that to happen, we do need our democratic institutions. civil society can be an agency that mobilize public opinion, but the moment this unaccountable weak construction of different people appropriate to itself, the function of the law maker, implementer, adjudicator, all to itself, you have trouble.

  61. rajesh permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:22 PM

    good effort for making focus other side of jan lokpal bill.
    some points must be kept in mind while drafting it.
    But it seems your attention was totally on against the motion.Try to make balanced statements which enable people to support any fact while reading any article…..

  62. Chintan Tyagi permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:23 PM

    Of course you should chose your revolutions – so maybe this is not yours and you are welcome to your opinion. In the whole writeup there are no solutions – maybe it will serve us well if you can come up with one. Run it through your circle and see what feedback you will get and then try to do something with it.

    One person is leading and thousands are following – the only thing we should judge right now is if this is in the right direction from a short / mid / long term and is there a scope of course correction.

    Metta..

    • Jonathan permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:08 AM

      Well I disagree that there are no solutions in t the write up… maybe you should read it up again. As for criticism, common sense should prevail in understanding that even if one works from ones room the evils definitely affect everyone. The writer has only tried to look at the entire issue on a broader perspective. It is hard to make sense of how this consolidation of power will help. To whom will the Lokpal be accountable… and what if he is equally corrupt if not worse? A questioning mind is a boon to a democratic setup…and that is exactly what the writer is enlightening us to.

      • Chintan permalink
        April 10, 2011 12:53 PM

        Dear Jonathan – except for some indication of having a knowledge of how a system like Janlokpal works in other countries in the para “I am not arguing against the provision….” there is no mention of any solution – I don’t think this blog post is meant to give a solution that’s why I am requesting one.

        The questions you raise are valid but this is not the time to sit and delve in broader perspectives while the country bleeds and the masses continue to feel helpless and emasculated. The need is of action and if someone can provide a better time-bound plan to fight corruption lets hear it. At same point the question mind should abandon questioning and get into action.

        Regards

    • Jonathan permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:13 AM

      Well I disagree that there are no solutions in t the write up… maybe you should read it up again. As for criticism, common sense should prevail in understanding that even if one works from ones room the evils definitely affect everyone. The writer has only tried to look at the entire issue on a broader perspective. It is hard to make sense of how this consolidation of power will help. To whom will the Lokpal be accountable… and what if he is equally corrupt if not worse? A questioning mind is a boon to a democratic setup…and that is exactly what the writer is enlightening us to. I appreciate the views of the writer :-)

  63. April 9, 2011 1:46 PM

    Exactly my point of view…I just wrote a similar stuff a couple of days back…but was instantly marked as “dishonest” since I am not supporting Anna Hazare…

    http://dailyworldwatch.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/annas-jihad-against-system/

    Great minds and all that…wonderful write up…honestly…

  64. April 9, 2011 1:53 PM

    By definition, an ombudsman is an outsider to the organization. A democratic political structure like India SHOULD NOT have an ombudsman that participates in the parliamentary procedure. The decision to have political outsiders – eminent citizens, is very sound.

    It should be noted that this does not violate Indian democracy in any single way. In fact, it strengthens it. The actual power of drafting laws rests with the legislature that remains accountable to people. The actual power of executing rests with the experienced bureaucrats. The actual power of judging the execution rests with the judiciary well-versed (and totally loyal to) the constitution. It is this separation of powers that are crucial to democracy. This should not give way to a single institution – for example, the parliament to overwrite everything else. That will indeed be a weaker democracy because it devolves into certain sections of the society getting absolute power.

  65. George Jose permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:53 PM

    the arab uprisings was copied to India, thanks to the tv media and our facebook generation, we have our own anna revolution. the media has claimed “victory” for the people of india and will move on to the next big topic, the ipl matches. no one was hurt, everything was non-violent and every one has won. everyone feels he has done a great job.

    or so it looks.

    the current government needed an emergency diversion as the supreme court was on its tail with constant monitoring of the various glorious scams. anna hazare led anti-corruption movement was a convenient weapon to divert the attention of the public from a government in deep scum. i wonder whether the the anna revolution was a conspiracy engineered by the government and tv media, along with some “sarkari” civil society members to give a shine to the battered UPA government. Anna and his company could also be innocent victims who were taken for a ride by the media managers of the ruling party. political managers of the UPA would be having a merry week end laughing all the way (to the swiss banks!) watch out for the victory celebrations of the government. keep watching the rising star, kapil sibal.

  66. BAPTY.S permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:58 PM

    My friends appreciate your views. at one end of the spectrum one could imagine WHETHER this whole thing has been planted by CONGRESS .WHY DID THE MEDIA NOT GIVE ANY PUBLICITY AT ALL FOR BABA RAMDEV SWABHIMAN RALLY MEETING AT RAM LILA GROUNDS IN DELHI ON 27TH & 28TH FEB 2011.,IGNORING THIS ASSUMPTION, SINCE IT WOULD BE SAD REFLECTION ON ALL INDIANS . IF THAT WAS THE CASE WE WOULD NOT HAVE NARENDRA MODIS,NITESH KUMAR,S.K MODI ETC WHO ARE ALL INCORRUPTIBLE. ON THIS SUBJECT THEY ARE PAR EXCELLENCE & CAN HOLD A CANDLE AGAINST ANY IN THE WORLD & IN INDIA.
    MANY THINGS NEED TO BE DONE, CHANGES IN CONSTITUTION, ELECTORAL REFORMS,ETC.
    BUT COMING BACK TO “JAN LOK PAL BILL”, MY COMMENTS ARE AS FOLLOWS.
    1.COMMITEE CANNOT HAVE 5 CONGRESS MINISTERS,WHOSE GOVT HAS CREATED WORLD HISTORY BY THE LARGEST CORRUPTION RECORDS. THEY SHLD BE IN A MINORITY MAX 3 MINISTERS.(THE PRICE THEY PAY FOR BEING SO CORRUPT)
    2. MERE ELECTION TO PARLIAMENT GIVES NO PARTY, NO MINISTER OR M.P ANY RIGHTS TO LOOT PUBLIC MONEY.
    3.MERE BIG NAMES FROM DELHI CITIZENS,OR SO CALLED VIPs CLOSE TO GOVT OR ANY PARTY,PADMA AWARDEES,OR NOBLE LAUREATES SO CALLED PSEUDO ACTIVISTS MUST NOT BE IN THIS COMMITTEE ,”ESPECIALLY FROM CITIZENS SIDE.”
    4.IT WOULD ALSO BE ADVISABLE NOT TO HAVE ANY ONE FROM MEDIA,TV CHANNELS, & INDUSTRIALISTS & BUSINESSMEN , CRICKETERS, BOLLYWOOD& TV ACTORS OR ACTRESSES, ON THIS PANEL. “THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST.”
    5.ADVICE FROM OUTSIDE IF NEED BE CAN BE TAKEN ON A PARTICULAR ASPECT, BUT NONE OF THOSE MENTIONED ABOVE SHLD BE ON THIS PANEL.
    6.ANNA HAZARE HIMSELF IS LIKE A GANDHIAN, SO PEOPLE HAVE TRUST & FAITH IN HIM, HIS TRACK RECORD & BANK BALANCES PROVE IT OVER LAST 40YRS.
    7.THERE ARE EXCELLENT VERY SENIOR EX GOVT SERVANTS, WITH ABSOLUTELY PROVEN TRACK RECORD, I MAY NAME SOME, LYNDGOH, GOPALASWAMI IYENGAR BOTH EX CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS,J.F RIBERO IPS RETD POLICE COMMISONER FROM MUMBAI, TSR SUBRAMANIAM EX CABINET SECRETARY GOI,MR JOGINDER SINGH EX CBI DIRECTOR.
    8.THERE ARE ALSO VERY WELL SELECTED YOUNG IAS OFFICERS WHO ARE AT COLLECTOR AT DISTRICT LEVEL OR DY SEC LEVEL IN MANY STATES WHO ARE DEAD HONEST& DEFIED VERY STRONG POLITICIANS& C.Ms
    9.SELECT WOMEN OF GOOD TRACK RECORD IN ADMINISTRATION THEY ARE PERHAPS MORE HONEST THAN MEN., JUST LIKE KIRAN BEDI.
    10.PREFERABLY NO LAWYERS WHO ARE IN PROFESSION PRACTISING IN HIGH COURTS OR SUPREME COURTS,AGAIN THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

    IF THE TEAM IS SELECTED SOMEWHAT FROM PEOPLE OF SUCH CALIBRE , CLEAN TRACK RECORD, & PROVEN MERIT THIS MOVEMENT WOULD BE A GREAT SUCCESS. WE DONT NEED BIG NAMES THROWING ABOUT THEIR WEIGHT,OR POLTICAL CONTACTS,THATS THE LAST THING WE WANT.

    FURTHER THIS COMMITEE NEEDS TO DO A LOT OF SERIOUS WORK,BE A WATCHDOG(OMBUDSMAN) SO IT SHLD HAVE KNOWLEDGE,EXPERIENCE, LOVE & INTEREST FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK.ITS VERY IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE WHO SIT ON THIS COMMITEE SHLD NOT BE THOSE TO GET NAME & FAME, BUT SHLD BE VER SINCERE ON THE TASK & ITS ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

    DANGER WITH SOCIALITES, TOUTS, PADMA AWARDEES LOBBYISTS,PEOPLE CLOSE TO MEDIA CHANNELS WILL BRING INDIRECT INFLUENCE.YOU NEED MEMBERS TO BE AS CLEAN AS ANNA HAZARE, “THIS IS A PATH BREAKING JOURNEY NOT ONLY TO INDIA,BUT THE WORLD, SO SUCH COMMITEE MEMBERS SHLD BE LEAST BOTHERED OR INFLUENCED BY AWARDS,PARTIES,FOREIGN OR U.N AWARDS ETC.

    MY FRIENDS THESE ARE MY HUMBLE COMMENTS & I BELIEVE IF DONE HONESTLY THIS WILL WORK VERY WELL. CITIZENS POWER IS GREATER THAN CORRUPT GOVT POWER.
    THANKS & GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU MAY INDIA MOVE FORWARD RAPIDLY, ITS YOUNG INDIA & IAM SURE IT WILL. DONT GIVE UP.PATH IS NOT EASY BUT NOTHING COMES EASY INLIFE.,ESPECIALLY TRUTH.

    • abhishek permalink
      April 12, 2011 3:03 AM

      please wrie with caps OFF

  67. Mohan permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:59 PM

    My feelings after seeing the TV program are reproduced by you. I dont have the capacity to write like you. What you have said is absolutely correct.

    want to know further views of two panelists, Meenakshi Lekhi and Hartosh Singh Bal. please update me.

  68. kamini bobde permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:02 PM

    Corruption is too prevalent in India to lay the blame only at the doorsteps of politicians.
    For correcting any political, government, social defect in a democracy what is needed is just two things:
    1. A good Constitution. Which India already has.
    2. A good leadership to be an example, to have the passion to do good, to let the Constitution & law & order be effective & if it is not to see that it is.
    That is all. The rest is creation of systems & systems, law & laws, Bodies, etc.
    Even in present day India, the above is living out as an example of good, honest, development for all model in Bihar under the leadership of the erudite, visionary Nitest Kumar.
    He has not added a word to the existing law, nor set up new bodies or changed existing bureaucrats, etc etc. But, he is doing phenomenal work in a State riddled with the worst of all the problems put together for whole of India.
    The only reason why Bihar is changing is because the Leadership is leading in the right direction. The above two factors being fulfilled democracy & its wonderful results not just for the rich but the poor in far flung regions of Bihar are benefitting.
    The Jan Mantar show was like its name….Jantar Mantar ka Jadoo,,,All the clebrities of the country waving their magic wand and CORRUPTION GONE IN A JIFFY FROM THE COUNTRY!!!

  69. April 9, 2011 2:03 PM

    Although, I had a sense that something is not right about the media frenzy around a messiah in our not-so-messiahnic times… after reading Shudda’s article, I feel that my apprehensions were not misplaced. I didn’t know that this bill is to enable an oligarchic model of power. But that kind of power is desirable only in one instance; to tell Arnab Goswami to keep quiet.

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:59 PM

      Hmmm – help me understand this. You are against oligarchic model of power but seem to be against a fellow citizen’s freedom of speech. What brand of democracy is it?

  70. April 9, 2011 2:13 PM

    I’m not usually the skeptic, but you’ve put in words exactly what I’ve been worried about too. I pray and hope that you and I are wrong, and this is all going to be a movement for the betterment of our country – I’m also happy that people are coming together from all walks of life, but somewhere something doesn’t add up.

    We’ll continue to hear the music from others for being skeptics, and that’s fine. Any good society needs notions challenged by at least a few people so that there are no loose ends, no ambiguity and worst case scenarios considered too. May peace, good sense and justice prevail!

  71. Baba permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:35 PM

    Aah it’s now de rigueur to be skeptical….the naysayers rise.
    It is indigestible to the armchair pundits that an old old man tries to do something about corruption (however flawed the method/bill may be) and gets something done.

    Questions that arise when I read your lengthy diatribe above (and perhaps waste my time doing so):

    1. Have you ever done anything actionable against corruption?
    2. Do you have an alternative plan or would you rather sit back and watch like you have done for decades?

    • H P permalink
      April 9, 2011 9:43 PM

      It was also inevitable that someone [in this case, you] would show up to question his [authors] credentials, and that someone like me would call you out on that. The dance continues.

      • Ranjit permalink
        April 10, 2011 1:01 PM

        He is not questioning is credentials – he is just asking for an alternate solution from the nay sayers. Maybe you have one.

  72. Preeti Sampat permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:39 PM

    Bravo Shuddha. Hand on the heart. ;)

  73. April 9, 2011 2:39 PM

    I am mourning for Indian democracy.

    The biggest corruption in Indian history happened today. Until now, India was only losing its money to corruption. Today it lost its democratic system and constitutional process to corruption. We can earn money back, but not our constitutional process once lost…

    Millions of people gave their lifetime over generations to build Indian constitutional processes, including Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Many sacrificed their lives to protect this constitutional process. Billions of people send their representatives to protect it and act according to it..….. And it was hijacked by a Drama…

    And, what a great drama it was for 4 days and so meticulously enacted. How successfully handful of dubious people with couple of TV channel fooled the entire nation. Many unsuspecting citizen get them self carried away by this act.

    Indian youth has shown its emotional immaturity as its vulnerable underbelly to anti-national elements to take advantage-of. Our great Indian constitution is in danger after this act. Sane people in right frame of mind must come together to safeguard it. We must not let such hijack of Indian constitutional process in such a manner again.

    Congress government has not only failed in preventing corruption it also failed in protecting Indian constitution.

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:07 PM

      Dear Smruti,

      What is the difference between what Anna Hazare did and what Mahatama Gandhi did? The cause, context and opponents are different but to me Anna Hazare followed the principles of non-violent satyagraha to the core.

      You reading of youth is not correct – they are not immature, I think they are not cynics like the 50s / 60s / 70s generation and hence are daring to dream.

      Regards

  74. April 9, 2011 2:42 PM

    the best article on this matter I have read so far!!!! Thanks for the nicely written article….

  75. April 9, 2011 2:44 PM

    Very well written. Superb counter-argument.

  76. heh permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:48 PM

    fabulous article, this. haven’t read the comments above, but another thought that struck me was that in a context where people are excluded by policy (there is no provision for housing for all in delhi, for eg.), an anti-corruption law can be misused against the poor who often have no choice but to rely on para-legal arrangements which are, objectively speaking, ‘corrupt’, for basic livelihood needs. given this, any such law sounds quite dangerous to me, even if ideally, an india against corruption wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    • April 9, 2011 3:14 PM

      Sir, amazing article. Salute you for standing up. I am with you. Plus, why keep a fast rit after the world cup. End it right before the IPL, and that too keep ot during the navratras. I have found this entire thing very fake.

  77. Satya permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:01 PM

    100% u r fooooooooool

  78. April 9, 2011 3:20 PM

    y nt we r questioning upon the prime minister chair where a non-elected person is ruling this country. the selection of Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the selection of Harish khare who is media advisor of PM. we seem to be very hurry in raising question abt anti-corruption reform without giving deep thought to create dialog among people. i see this movement as a step of adding maturity in our democracy which ws need of the hour.still nothing has been fully decided on this proposed bill since it is still in process of enough correction. you still have time to have yr say instead of putting yrself in risk of Heresy.

  79. Ameya Naik permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:54 PM

    As noted earlier, thank you for a sane & balanced post in opposition. Can’t say I agree with you on most of it, but I do appreciate the concerns & how well you articulate them. As to the concerns themselves –

    As regards the bill itself, please, let’s reserve judgment for the actual bill that gets tabled. As noted by one commentator, when you know you have to negotiate with an intransigent party, you tend to adopt an inflatedly extreme stance yourself. The entire selection procedure & “no review before a court” provisions do make a very plausible red herring. Care should be taken, lest they distract from informed criticism of other aspects.

    On the lack of checks & balances, here’s how this works. Suppose they pass this very draconian institution. How do they do that? By a law, in Parliament. This automatically means that such a law is open to judicial review. Since the doctrine of separation of powers is held sacrosanct under our constitution, there is every chance that the Supreme Court will strike down any legislation that contravenes it. Ditto any provision saying Lokpal rulings are not appealable in any court.

    Also, many of our institutions do combine investigative & quasi-judicial functions. The Collector has this role in many disputes. The Lieutenant Governor sometimes in Union Territories. Admittedly, none of them extend to criminal matters. But it is hardly unprecedented.

    On the media circus & how it amounts to inventing your own opposition to cast yourself in a favourable light. I have (only semi-deliberately) been exposed to almost no television coverage, just print media. If I take your descriptions at face value, it is certainly a serious concern. Hardly unexpected, since P.R. has always been a strong suit for this government. The relevant question is, how many people are falling for it? Again, I would like to reserve judgment.

    You are dead on target about the middle class urge to avoid the messiness of democracy. Mea culpa, even. Again, relevant question – where does it stem from? You’ve named the symptom, now do take on the malaise.

    And finally, on the role of coercion in a functional representative democracy. We agree that coercion is corrosive of democracy. Witness the massive lobbying in Washington D.C. In our context, however: one of my friends laments “India isn’t Egypt, okay?” – and this is where we disagree. No, we are not that far gone, but we are well on our way. We may have no Pharoah, but we certainly have our insulated ruling elite, and little we do seems to touch them. My faith in the democratic institution of parliament & elections rings hollow while Sharad Pawar is still Minister of Agriculture, yes? Short of enacting an auto-activated Right of Recall I do not know how to remedy this. I will make every effort for this, but I am not happy allowing the other side to consolidate power while I endeavour over electoral reform.

    If that means that for faster and more persistent change I have to resort to non-violent, even trite, moral blackmail, so be it. If it means I have to share the dais with pranayamic causes & the demand that Manmohan Singh consult an astrologer daily, so be it. I would rather be out there with those crackpots than inside with the apologists & serial procrastinators. And before I am accused of false dichotomies – better out there than here, at my laptop, critiquing each new development. At a minimum, I will have to contend with fewer vested interests outside!

    The question that I am yet to answer, even to myself, is: how do we make this work for us, when it hasn’t for Irom Sharmila. If the answer turns out to be, it will work for us because UPA finds us useful, I will be ashamed. If I have to look for solace, though, try the Lok Satta party’s sign-off line: “If India gains, who loses?”

  80. Bhabani permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:55 PM

    You have a point of view which could not be ignored

  81. April 9, 2011 4:07 PM

    there are a lot of problems with the way in which the enactment of a lokpal bill with “public” participation is being blown out of proportions and there may be internal collusion also between the political parties and the activists but the fact remains that a strong lokpal bill will be in place soon. that is an improvement on the present situation and affords some space for further activism against corruption. in the present situation this is the mosts that can be achieved. even if irom sharmila has not got the same kind of media support that should not detract from the fact that hazare has. if hazare had simultaneously asked for the public auditing of the accounts of the ten biggest corporations in India instead of this being done by chartered accountant firms then he would not have got the same kind of media support. he has been shrewd enough to latch on to only the politicians and babus as whipper boys.

  82. Urvi Sukul Singh permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:09 PM

    I am sorry I have not read many of the learned comments before me so if I am repeating anything,do forgive me.Firstly,I have a legal background and have been on RTI groups where other far worthier lawyers are present.I am one of the people who has repeatedly been posting on the Group trying to build up support for the institution of Lokpal which appears to me to be a necessary adjunct to the proper management of administration and governance.One has no idea how this “Act” will play out but I wonder that had we had this Act many years ago(as it has been doing the rounds of Parliament),maybe we would not have had so much corruption!
    I,too,am concerned about the combining of the CVC’s ofice within the ambit of the Lokpal Bill and am surprised this concept has not been vetted by a full and diverse apnel of lawyers!
    It is,however,a good thing to have a Lokpal.I find it odd that you,the author here,have chosen to speak AFTER the event.If you really do have India’s interests at heart why did you not make your views known earlier?This is going on my Facebook page and on other Groups where RTI and IAC people will read it. Better late than never?

  83. saurabh permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:11 PM

    Hey Shuddha…this is …Simply Superb…Brilliant…so happy to read your views
    And definitely support them!!!

  84. April 9, 2011 4:30 PM

    With Due Respect In the name of Gandhian a seventy plus year old man was made the poster boy ( Bali K a Bakra) of India’s Modern Democracy by few for own interest. In a country like India there are many Civil Society and active Citizen.

    So my question is with whose consultation / democracy system Government identified the committee with a co-chairman and members. So tomorrow if I will go for hunger strike to review the Constitution, then will the Government form a committee with myself as a Member? If the answer is no, then what is the credential of these representation at the Joint Drafting Committee? Why they cant put their views during public opinion?.

    A Member of Parliament or Minister may be corrupt but he / she is a Democratically Elected Public Representatives. So whats stops these Groups to participate in Election run the country than doing this short of Drama.

    Let us be remember Mahatma Gandhi never enjoyed power nor recipient of Nobel or Magasaysay award. That does not mean he was not leader nor respectable. Today every Nobel or Magasaysay award recipient is one or other way because of his thoughts follower. So let us civilise ourself first than raising finger to other. Until we are civilised corrupton will be there and these short of leaders and activity will continue.

    I wish a unbiased media role or debate would have been very much useful.

    Now let me wait till June to post my views when Parliament will seek for Public Opinion, as am not a high profile Civil Society representatives or high profile Citizen of the Country nor a poster boy for Indian Media.

    Not to Hurt any one but a honest opinion abut last one week news

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:12 PM

      Dear Dr Rout,

      You say “With Due Respect In the name of Gandhian a seventy plus year old man was made the poster boy ( Bali K a Bakra) of India’s Modern Democracy by few for own interest.”

      Can you tell us who are these “few” and what “interest” they have.

      You are alleging that Anna Hazare is a political stooge and its a serious charge.

      Regards

  85. Himadri Ghosh permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:41 PM

    Desperate situations need drastic remedies. Having said that, I feel that while the Lokpal should be an authority with real power, we should never forget in our enthusiasm that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hence, provisions regarding the election and removal of the Lokpal need to be debated rationally and dispassionately.

  86. Tapan Pati permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:56 PM

    The writer is in danger of being carried away by his own rhetoric. The argument on the erosion of democracy, inter-alia, because only one elected person will be on the panel to select the Lok Pal is pathetic. No judge or civil servant is elected to that position by a public vote. Does that make them ‘undemocratic’ and unworthy of their office? Does it make their office itself unworthy?!! If the civil service in India was not reeling under the coercive pressure of a morally bankrupt political class its true competence might have shown through. Alas, a well educated IIT-ian in this avatar as an IAS officer may often have the misfortune of reporting to an ill-educated criminal political boss. Just as a competent bureaucrat does not cause an erosion of democracy, a competent Lokpal will not cause an erosion of democracy but be a safeguard against the existing mockery of democracy.

    It is fallacious to even presume that our democratically elected MPs with their fixed terms are accountable to any section of the public in any meaningful way. Further, an MP who is not interested in re-election has zero fear of non-performance. Electoral reform is an answer to not allowing criminals to enter politics but the Lok Pal mechanism is meant to check corruption once a person is formally elected/ selected.

    Consider the charge that ‘this is a classic case of a privileged elite selecting how it will run its show without any restraint” like the Iranian body of clerics!! The Lok Pal will operate within a statutory framework which may have to be sanctioned if required by a constitutional amendment to make it accountable but impervious to judicial pressures since it will police the judiciary as well. Since the Lokpal mechanism will operate with statutory powers which are again statutorily constrained, where is the possibility of ‘running its show without restraint”. It’s an unfounded fear. Some of the ‘privileged elite’ are members of constitutional authorities like the Supreme Court and the CAG. This ‘privileged elite’ is er..perhaps privileged because they have certain competencies that qualify them to discharge the demands of their public office. If so, why the derisive use of ‘privileged elite’. What India needs sorely is competent and upright public officials and leaders. To dismiss anyone who satisfies this criteria as ‘privileged elite’ is reprehensible. If the ‘privilege’ to discharge substantial public obligations follows from competence and credibility it ought not to be denounced so thoughtlessly.

    The Lokpal operating with a defined statutory mandate cannot be regarded as a ‘super State’. If it is, then a Supreme Court operating with a wide constitutional mandate may also be regarded as a super State. The Lokpal must be vested with all requisite powers to discharge its obligations. Power must go together with accountability and required immunity. The Lokpal can’t be made accountable to the very institutions it is meant to police.

    The view that “the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office” is unprecedented is factually incorrect. In inquisitorial legal systems that exist in civil law countries like France the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case in addition to discharging its judicial function. Also, the role of investigator, judge and prosecutor may be combined in a single institution, i.e. the Lokpal but different individuals may be involved for different roles. The right to defense will always exist.

    The pressure for political accountability from civil society (with support from the media) represents a very democratic non-violent mass movement (supported by the mass media) born of legitimate long-term grievances of the Indian people. To call this “a massive move towards legitimizing a strategy of simple emotional blackmail – a (conveniently reversible) method of suicide bombing in slow motion.” is completely unwarranted.

    The draft Lokpal Bill must be carefully debated before it becomes law; not because it will destroy democracy in its current form but because its dilution may one day spell the end of any real democracy in India.

    • voyeur permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:37 PM

      Absolutely sir. As they say on twitter +1 or as they say on Facebook voyeur likes this. People (both the cynics and the crusaders) need to recognize this as the beginning and not the end.

  87. prashant permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:03 PM

    Well. I think there will certainly be a provision to check the guards by the process of impeachment. Lot of extremely powerful posts of the country are not filled by democracy but by qualification. Army, navy n airforce chief. supreme court justice, election commissioner n many more.. these people can be removed only by impeachment. Have they turned themselves as dictator??? are they keeping the country as hostage?? If anyone, then the politicians are doing such things.. So please dont start criticizing the unknown.

  88. Ishwar Dost permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:19 PM

    Nice article. But its many assumptions are strange.
    Baharhal , Kranti ke liye man, wachan aur karm ki SHUDDHAta chahiye:
    1. Yes to Shuddha revolution. No to any reform. Otherwise, there is a risk of trapping in Ruling class’s game.
    2. There would always be a risk of being appropriated, unless opting for Shuddha restructuring.
    3. Shuddha supporters: All the people supporting a cause should themselves be shuddha. If bourgeoisie media supports a cause, we should oppose it.
    4. Shuddha consequence: If one agitation is marginalized, other should also be dismissed.
    5. Shuddha Awsar: We should criticize political parties (read left) from the standpoint of civil society and civil society from the stand point of politics.
    6. Shuddha consipiracy (courtesy Lala Amarnath): Either RSS or Congress or both are behind the movement.
    7. Shuddha Bill: It may take another 50 years, but a bill should come out in it’s conceptually shuddha version.
    8. Everyone should be democratically elected. Only exception is radical intellectuals, who will guide the movement from without.

  89. Manash permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:22 PM

    Politically, ethically, intellectually: Spot on.

    All those who soberly and critically disagree with the piece suffer from a Nehruvian guilt of high modernity faced with a quasi-primitive, quasi-Gandhian figure who espouses virtuous politics. But it is fascinating to know the number of high, civilian awards the otherwise intransigent state has offered him, as well as the honour accorded to him by the World Bank. Moral politics has a good halo around it, and if it legitimises the State’s paternal duties while carefully leaving out the State’s coercive excesses, the figure of moral churning is welcomed by the middle-class. The media and the government laud him. I have a problem with the attention Hazare has received until my questions are answered: When will the PM also laud the similarly non-violent Irom Shormila? Will the World Bank honour Binayak Sen?

    On a different note, if oppression isn’t devoid of pleasure, why shouldn’t people feast (and not fast) while protesting? Do we struggle for love or asceticism? Must we be saints or fallible beings of a fallible democracy?!

    The line in this piece which every disagreeing person should be able to have a counter-answer for is this: “The impunity that AFSPA breeds is nothing short of a corruption that eats deep into the culture of democracy, and yet, here, moral courage, and the refusal to eat, does not seem to work.”
    Exactly! Why does it not work sweethearts?!

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:23 PM

      Funny – you seem to be having a problem with the attention Hazare received and the way Government capitulated to his demands but at the same time you seem to be supporting the cause of Irom Sharmila.

      To me they are similar struggles within a democratic setup of elements of democracy which need to be addressed. And success of one struggle should give hope to the other.

      To answer your question – It does not work because it is not supported by the masses – it is not supported by the masses because Manipur is not on their radar. If its on your radar why don’t you try feasting at Jantar Mantar.

      Regards

  90. Romesh Bhattacharji permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:44 PM

    Excellently put. To denigrate politics is to attack democracy. Its bad luck that we are stuck with the present crop, but not all of them are dispensable, as Anna and his cohorts suggest. Anna has focussed on one of the two biggest evils (the other is communalism) plaguing India. But his prescription is doomed. Are there no Indians capable of being in the Lokpal except “recent Magasaysay winners” etc?

    Corruption is everywhere. The 2G scam is the biggest version. The vendor on Delhi’s streets has to cough up Rs. 500/- every week to the beat constable and another Rs. 300/- to an MCD official. If one does not pay Rs. 2 lakhs one can not become a policeman in Haryana. In Madhya Pradesh one can get some one else to sit for the Matric Exam for Rs. 5000/- a paper. Thereis corruption everywhere. And don’t forget the biggest beneficiaries of corruption- the trader, the businessmen and the indutrialists. They pay Rs.1/- as bribe and make a killing of Rs.300/- or so. And what about the people who have misused power and influence to benefit themselves or their relatives. They are in Anna’s coterie too.

    Congratulations for this article.

  91. mindcruise permalink
    April 9, 2011 5:48 PM

    Totally agree with Pallavi and Mohan about that TV program.
    Glad I came across these pages and discussion.

  92. April 9, 2011 6:22 PM

    It comes as a reminder of some basic issues on the Bill itself and implications, aspects which seem to have lost in the “spectacle’. It is like the situation wherein yesterday’s solidarity visit of media friendly Baba Ramdev (and his followers) have almost reduced to Anna Hazare to an uneasy or feeble context to the former as the visible text of the moment. However, the demand of wider consultation on the issue of this Bill, which this movement insists, should enable us to take care of the issues related to the Bill per se as well. I also like the way you have positioned the issue within the larger concerns of a democratic political culture. In this regard, your observation on Sharmila’s fast comes not only as an acknowledgement of a presence that continues to remain an absence but also a reminder of the dogged prejudices of people who otherwise present themselves as liberal intellectuals and democrats.

  93. Bhuwan Ribhu permalink
    April 9, 2011 6:27 PM

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    (Who will guard the guardians?) —- The Republic

    The key question being faced on a daily basis by millions of Indians is not whether there is a dearth of policy or not (read: whether there is a requirement of a new and, of course, robust legislation against corruption or not), but how to ensure that the existing legislations and policies are enforced/ implemented properly for the larger good?

    Each time a person is asking for a bribe, another is giving, and at the risk of being called a ‘cynic’ or ‘suffering from paranoia of the unknown’, everyone has to agree that the fundamental principle of a democracy (flawed or not) is the representation of the people.

    Such representation of the masses can never come from the “privileged 5″ who get to be on some drafting committee of a legislation of the Govt., with many of these ‘civil society representatives’ having never had a constituency or any work at grassroots.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.. said Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. For India has become two nations within the same geographical boundaries, one of the ‘who haves’ and the other – of the ‘who have nots’.

    With one of the best legal systems in the world, and India also has one of the lowest enforcement of the said legal system. So we (as a society) can go on demanding (and sometimes successfully making) new laws and policies and new offices to implement these policies but we must keep a close eye on our track record in the effectiveness of these systems/ offices.

    And thus, the question to be asked from the legislature, the judiciary, the executive and the media, the so called “NGO wallahs” (read : civil society), as well as from the millions (including myself) who are involved at an emotional level in our living rooms and on our t.v. sets, from people who support the idea of a fight against corruption and for changing the system is –
    On a daily basis, What are we doing about changing the lives of the millions of vulnerable & downtrodden people, Gandhi’s last men and women of society, once we are no longer standing at Jantar Mantar?

    So, if a question can be raised of the ‘institutional mechanisms’ of Parliament and the Supreme Court, a question can also be raised of the so called ‘civil society’, who has just as abysmal a record of integrity as any other institution. Such a demand for extra constitutional power and disregard of institutional mechanisms raises serious concerns in my mind about vested interests demanding a societal anarchy in future.

    The demands have been met but how is the constitution of the Drafting Committees, the Chairmanship of the same, a draft as such, or even a very very good law going to check corruption on its own?

    Law is nothing but a piece of paper if it is not enforced. Demand of this so called “civil society” sitting at Jantar Mantar – for creation of new and newer ‘guardians’ because the existing ones are not working properly is interesting to say the least as they have not once demanded institutional reform.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    If this “civil society” is the answer, I shudder to think of the fallout.

  94. Sridhar permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:10 PM

    @ the writer : first i would like to state that am no way associated with anna or his organization.. I just wanted to tell u this.. when a writer like u can think of such consequences , y wont their team comprising a retired justice , think of all those ?? THey have already worked for more than a year and brought out the draft of the jan lok pal.. And a kind information for u , its not just noble prize winners who decide about lok pal executives.. The ultimate authority is with ppl.. There’s somethin called right to recall which is also looked upon to be implemented along with this .. kindly enrich ur knowledge before being pessimistic and attracting traffic !!

  95. April 9, 2011 7:38 PM

    Wow. fantastic arguments. case by case, it has shaken the complete myth created by Anna and Hazaaroo ki fauz.

    Certainly agreed, that , it is noble cause for which Anna is fighting,but we should be cautious of the gang like swami agnivesh- who openly advocates the adducing of the orissas collector and if fact was fighting the cause of maoist, medha pathekar- who is completely anti-development, baba ramdev- who should be among the first to be referred to the lok pal bill for looting the troubled men and women for their pain, the fellow who is minting crores and crores is giving advice on simplicity – can’t fool for long.

  96. Kuttappan permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:42 PM

    Well written. What’s required is not yet another bill or institution. We have enough of these already. Need of the moment is a stringent review of all that we have now, a dismantling for closer inspection before re-assembly.Print and electronic media can apply themselves to this task of reviewing efficiency of all the legislation made so far, and establish whether or not they have served the avowed intent. Guys like Anna Hazare can only stage spectacles and cause further damage as Sengupta pointed out.

  97. psdf permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:52 PM

    This whole movement has become popular because it seems to have touched a cord among the non-voting government criticizing class i.e. the educated middle and upper middle-class. Instead of arm twisting the government, the activists should stand for elections (as a start in the coming assembly polls). Get elected on the Jan Lokpal mandate and then make the change through a democratic process. But maybe that is a difficult ask as the ‘poor’ voting public does not seem to have corruption as their main priority.

    Unfortunately in our country, there are only two lots who play a role in the elections and the government. The poor majority who actually go out and vote in large numbers and bring government to power and the rich and super-rich who then hijack the government from there on. And subsequently the poor has nothing to do with the government till the next elections. But their hope is amazing..

    The middle class and upper middle class seem to have nothing to do in the process of electing governments but they seem to be one who are most in contact with and requesting government services. And when not served, because of accessibility to media (and being the biggest denizens of the internet) become the most vocal critique of the government. And now the arm twisting methodoly. What a class act! What’s starkly visible is that the constituents of civil society in the newly formed committee is entirely from the participants of the hunger strike. Well, now we essentially have two voices in this committee..which essentially don’t meet eye-to-eye. If, for the appeasement of the hunger-striking class, the idea is to include views from civil society, then choose a civil society team in a much more democratic fashion..Or maybe as per my previous point, this class maybe does not really believe in the essence of democracy..

    –I happen to be one of the arm chair critiques as well..part of the class that prefer to disenfranchise ourselves..but feel the need to criticize everything..

  98. Sanjay Dayma permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:55 PM

    A very well written piece indeed Mr. SenGupta, but your piece is a classic example of what has made India a totally dysfunctional Democracy… And that is art of intellectual masturbation for the sole purpose of self glorification… the panels on the channels do it… opinion makers do it… literate people like you do it & so does everybody who gets a chance or a mike in his hand… your intellectual arrogance is second only to the arrogance of the political class…

    You are willing to believe that you from your comfort zone are more aware of the dangers in the proposed bill than the constitutional experts who have lend their might to this movement… social & human rights activists who have fueled this fire… and the common man who has chosen hope over cynicism?

    I don’t mean to offend you or anything but lets take a look around. Your piece talks about the demons that will be unleashed if & when the Jan Lok Pal Bill becomes a reality… while it totally ignores the demons that have run havoc for the last 6 decades… when Indian democracy was, if you are to be believed working itself up into maturity.

    Let me paint you a picture that you have conveniently ignored… UPA -2 wasnt elected for the sole purpose of staying in power at any cost… it was a mandate of belief against better judgement in the absence of a credible option…

    A Raja couldn’t have done what he did in a functional democracy… but can dare to do so only when the democratically elected government starts to believe that they can offer ‘Coalition Dharma’ as a credible defense… absolving itself of even the modicum of responsibility…

    A Raja finds the courage to ignore the Prime Minister & some of his colleagues to auction the precious resources of this country… not because he has a bigger mandate but because he believes even the PM will not be able to do much as & when he unearths the shit… and when the Prime Minister is whipped into action not by his sense of outrage but by the supreme court… its time to act not indulge in idealism…

    When & how did the most powerful office of this country (PMO) become so toothless & spineless… unless there is a quid pro quo scenario… DMK keeps Congress in power & DMK gets absolute rights over certain resources for the next 5 years… so on & so forth… is that your idea of a functional democracy? (This is not an anti UPA rant… just contextual realities)

    Are you honestly telling me that you truly believe that forcing the ruling elite to allow Civil Society to at least participate in formulating such an important bill, truly poses a threat to democracy?
    That it is still purely coercive in nature… even when all methods have failed?
    Should one stick to failed ideas or idealism at such an expense?
    Or would you say… in the face of such hopelessness one CAN & should take a potentially risky path if that is the only option left?

    Believing in a hero is far more rewarding than believing in just fate!!!

    If ‘anything-goes-as-long-as-we-stay-in-power’ is democracy for you… Good luck dude!

    My only appeal to you is at least give the Anna’s & Kejriwal’s a chance to run the full course before you reject their methods…

    I truly believe that your opinion is as important as mine & we must share & exchange them to evolve…

    But I believe restrain is an essential part of wisdom… not optional!!!

  99. Bhupesh Trivedi permalink
    April 9, 2011 8:40 PM

    I read Shuddhabrata’ blog just now. He too sounds very repetitive and could have edited it a bit, to deliver the punch that he intended to. My thoughts go beyond corruption, beyond the lokpal bill and beyond the mastery of the Congress party in manipulating and manouvering situations. The biggest gain of the entire thing is-> the people of the country seem to have gained some voice and a lot more confidence – that their opinion counts. We used to hear for ages, “nothing will make a difference.” After 26/11, we saw civil action leading to resignations of union home minister, maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister. Now, Anna Hazare’s action also kicked off a major civil action across the country and among NRIs as well. A series of civil actions can wake up our resilient and tolerant population. That is indeed the change that I expect. Lastly, the blog keeps crying over the powers of the lokpal. If citizens are awakened, everything can be tackled. We have to start somewhere first. Is the author crying, “tiger, tiger….”, when there could possibly be none? Isn’t it premature? Why can’t we just welcome a positive change for now and deliberate the next steps (rather than just deride the importance of what has happened)?

  100. Paul Mathew permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:07 PM

    With rigged elections, bribed voters, hooligans and criminals in parliament, and high court and supreme court judges accused of corruption, do we really have a democracy in this country? I agree that unlimited power should never be vested with individuals or committees no matter what awards they have won or posts they have held. However, expecting our current system of ‘democracy’ to offer any solutions is totally unrealistic. Many people who have tried to use the RTI act have been silenced. People seeking basic rights to livelihood and dignity are being hounded as Maoists and imprisoned or eliminated. So instead of outright condemning the public excitement at this crusade against corruption, let us try and find ways to channelize this collective energy and commitment to a cleaner country and governance, to explore viable solutions. Cynicism does not serve any purpose.

  101. Chitta permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:15 PM

    A few things this whole issue has brought forth to people’ attention is that (a) currently there is a dearth of “good” people in elected office. (b) the current process of getting elected makes it difficult for people without connections to be elected.

    I think if that can be fixed then it could have a bigger impact than a Jan Lokpal bill where we put all our eggs in one Lokpal. We need more good people in the governance and not just one super-good Godlike Lokpal. That is too risky.

    While many in India are skeptical of borrowing from West (and especially America), we should look at the system that was able to elect “self-made” persons like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama as President. (The emphasis is here on “self-made”.) Same can be said about the election of Bobby Jindal and Niiki Haley (both of Indian origin) as governors of Southern states. It seems to be much rarer in the Indian system.

    So the bill I think that can make this happen is a bill which forces all recognized parties to have primary elections to decide who is their candidate in the main election. Currently, the decisions are made by high-commands of various parties and one has to suck up to them (and not to the people) to become a party candidate. (It is almost impossible to win elections as an independent; and making a new party from scratch is extremely hard. There are of course exceptions.)

  102. kasturi permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:16 PM

    To the author: It would be good to draft an open letter/petition which people can sign, comment on, and send to the PM.

  103. Vinita Upreti permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:23 PM

    The truth is out there ..but will never be known…Partly spontaneous partly manipulated…..the uprising was ….a letting off the STEAM…..by the Janta…..and when in heat the finer nuances are often overlooked ……The real implications of this revolution will slowly unfold……
    Everyone talks about the imminent persons ..awardees , lawyers ,judges..etc ,etc…..what of the common man…..why not have some representations from all sections and stratas of society…..totally unknown faces,unheard hero’s and heroines…..sometimes great WISDOM comes from the most HUMBLE sources……

  104. telef permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:26 PM

    Your article is quite a journalistic fable. But , the most important thing that you should note is that huge damage has already been inflicted on the political parties

  105. H P permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:35 PM

    An expected article. However it is true, this country needs to stop running on sentiment and start using its brains when deciding public policy. The basis of using State Honors for selecting members is absurd. Those awards are given for achievement in a field, and not incorruptibility.

  106. Sumanth Cidambi permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:59 PM

    Very well articulated. I have merely stood in the sidelines and watched this drama unfold. Reading your article here removes my indifference somewhat.

    Regards
    Sumanth

  107. gaurav garg permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:17 PM

    i think the part of your essay prior to your discussion of the a particular “draft” of the proposed jan lokpal bill has been merely written to catch the attention of the discerning readers. it has serious conceptual errors and wild conjectures, the kind of which people make for the sake of debate and/or “sound-byte.”
    your analysis of a draft of the bill makes more sense. but i hope your realise the that the aim of the “movement” was to set the ball rolling to create a lokpal. the draft proposed by “india against corruption” is not necessarily the one which is going to be tabled in the parliament. the joint committee will clause by clause go through the bill and these concerns which you have raised ( and many others) will be looked into. it is precisely for these discussions that a committe is formed. there are problems with the draft you have discussed.
    you believe the movement is going to help the political parties help save their reputation. then you go on to express fear about the power a lokpal is going to wield and that he would be selected by just 1 elelcted member, among others. when mubarak is more naive than manmohan according to you, i dont understand you should be concerned that there is going to be only 1 person accontable to the people. further exapnding rti is fine but rti is not an anti-corruption act. a lokpal is a natural compliment to rti.
    you are not a cynic, many of your arguments are important and must be looked into so that we have a reasonable yet effective bill and then Act. however this article suggests you are status-quoist – there is corruption but dont protest, lest it makes the elite look good, dont suggest or push for reforms, just suffer and grumble..given the present scenario that is just not on

  108. April 9, 2011 10:22 PM

    I do agree on that point: when I read the proposal, the first thimg that sprung to mind was that it was bypassing democracy. Not sure that was the intent. As for your comment on the middle class dream, I have always been struck by the contempt (deserved ?) of India’s educated towards their political scene, and yes noticed how many seemed to wish to have India work without it…. That being said, the tendancy to see civil society as more pious, more effective than politicians is shared in Europe as well….

  109. Mohan Pant permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:29 PM

    The context in which this movement was initiated needs to be seen- the Lokpal bill draft presented by the government & the unabated corruption around us. People lost confidence in the government as the draft was, as has been said,- “toothless”- and government’s response to corruption “pathetic”.

    The final draft is still to be prepared and the apprehensions expressed by the writer, if genuine, can be addressed.

  110. Hemant permalink
    April 9, 2011 10:40 PM

    This Kafila artilce that is doing the rounds has some serious flaws of argument: It says: The outcome of the ‘Anna Hazare’ phenomenon allows the ruling Congress to appear gracious (by bending to Anna Hazar’s will) and the BJP to appear pious (by cozying up to the Anna Hazare initiative) and a full spectrum of NGO and ‘civil society’ worthies to appear, as always, even holier than they already are.
    That is assuming a lot and undermining the reality. None of these three things have happened. The ruling party appears to be more scared than gracious. The BJP has always been , and more so, seen as an opportunist without a backbone. As for activists, they aren’t holier than thou. They are more sensible than erudite article writers who have nothing better to do than espouse ‘status quo’.

  111. Payal permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:05 PM

    The ‘cynicism’ expressed is well founded and I am glad that someone listed out why exactly the cause is questionable and the tactic even more so.
    It is necessary to ask the question ‘why’ before joining the pied-piper of mass mobilisation. Ascertaining the imperviousness of the ombudsman to corruption is difficult in a country like ours, where the fragments are tooo many to piece them into a coherent picture.
    The piece makes for an interesting read and I wish mainstream media could come up with something more on these lines than an hour-to-hour commentary and mundane looped discussions akin to flogging a dying horse!

  112. April 9, 2011 11:15 PM

    Folks,
    May I add a link to this thread by one of my long time heroes and former RAW oficial, MR B Raman, titled: An anti-corruption Ayatollah:

    http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers45/paper4415.html

    Worth a read.

  113. Ashish Kumar permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:19 PM

    Author has dissected well the nitty-gritty of this Jan Lokpal bill or National Ombudsman,but she has horribly wronged on the point of providing an alternative arrangement following a spate of scams gripping the country of late. I see the ombudsman on par with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa which is non-arbitrary and has proved a potent weapon against the corruption involving the high and the mighty! there is no harm in bringing it into reality and then eliminating the loopholes,if any over time! prejudging the entire lokpal issue with beautiful words would do little!

    • patnam permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:14 AM

      @ Ashish: I would like to have some constructive criticism on my opinions abt the alternatives..

  114. anil permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:22 PM

    i find it biased. when the committee to draft the bill had all corrupt ministers I did not read a diatribe by Shuddhabrata Sengupta abt the futility of the excercise. nor after the draft was so toothless. nor did he comment abt the bill languishing fr 42 yrs under 5 diff govts.

    now he is hyperventilating of a calamity – citing – lata/ naipaul – against who – sharad and kapil ha ha. the com is 50 / 50 and finally the law dept will ensure its sensible. it can always be challenged in supreme court. so why cry abt the baby’s dna before its formed ????

    its sad. i say since 75 JPs time the GOI has kissed XXX cause elections due shortly n its wary of internet. i wd choose the wisdom of a naipaul/ lata/kalam/ kejriwal/ anna over the crowd nominated earlier cause i cannot defend neither sharad nor sibal in front of morons.

  115. April 9, 2011 11:25 PM

    Well, you mentioned some really knowledge-full facts. Irom case could really catch a better media intentions if it had happened in New Delhi….

  116. pongsp permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:26 PM

    Well five years down people will and should agitate against Lokpal. Somehow that courage and cohesion may come. The real problem is that there are too many escape routes open to corrupt and criminal. The more they escape justice more powerful they become. More power to more corruption to more cynicism is a continuous spiral. It may be that even MPs, small men & women clinging to fishes & loaves power offers, get used by the system. That phenomenon travels all the way down to every civil servant, every policeman right upto a peon or a constable. When they have no sense of honour but only a sense of power and aggrandisement they will not stand for anything bigger than their own self interest. This makes every one pliant to varying degrees and those who do not fall in line are beaten or bypassed. Everyone is coerced every one is collaborative. The real power then gets centralized in a coterie who believe they can do anything and get away. It is also an issue of effective governance when people in decision making places have no time or inclination to go to the root of a problem and are content with tokenism and fake posturing. When messages are read wrong and messenger shot.Will LOKPAL, just another individual, change all this ? Let us wait & watch. Let us give this new idea a chance but remain on guard less this new instrument itself is captured and used cynically.

  117. April 9, 2011 11:29 PM

    It’s understandable that supporters of the Jan Lokpal Bill feel disheartened at articles such as this one. For once, we seem to have a man who is morally upright espousing a worthy cause and yet critics of the man and his movement can be found in prominent places. However, before you criticize this article and the author, please ask yourselves: Haven’t such movements happened before?

    Of course they have. In fact, they happen on a regular basis in every part of the country. Sit down strikes, hunger strikes, fasts-unto-death, peaceful protests on the street…these are practically daily phenomena in our country. Therefore, what is so special about the Jan Lokpal Movement that has gathered so much support? The answer is simply that we identify with the cause and consider it worthy.

    But who are we to judge whether a cause is worthy or not? Industrial contract workers who go on a hunger strike to get better wages are ignored by us. 26 years of protests against the Government’s attitude towards the Bhopal tragedy haven’t seen 1/10th the kind of support that the Jan Lokpal Movement has. Yet, these are valid causes too and most people would agree that these are so. But still, so many of those who enthusiastically support the Jan Lokpal Movement today probably sat back during these other protests, offering a number of arguments – some of them very valid arguments – as to why they chose to not participate.

    And yet, many of the same supporters are dismayed by people who choose to join the Anna Hazare movement. It seems to be hypocritical but I don’t think this is hypocrisy. Whenever there is a major political event in any society, there will always be some who support the event, some who oppose it and some who don’t oppose it but have reservations about it. In fact, this is a sign of a healthy society where alternative views are encouraged and listened to, even if not followed. I think the supporters of the Jan Lokpal Movement need to accept that there are valid arguments for not supporting the movement and these arguments stem from very valid concerns. Change is definitely needed but change is not always good…so it’s wise to be careful whenever change is imminent.

    This doesn’t mean I don’t support Anna Hazare’s intentions. I believe him to be an upright man with good intentions but like the author of this article, I am apprehensive about the bill’s provisions as well as the manner in which it is being enforced. The good thing is that the bill is still being discussed. This gives our society a chance to debate the provisions of the bill amongst ourselves and make sure we don’t end up making choices that we’ll regret later. As some Jan Lokpal supporters said “The time is now”. However, it is not the time to wholeheartedly support the bill but to wholeheartedly discuss its implications. Meanwhile, let us continue to support Anna Hazare’s vision of a corruption-free government.

    • sandeep permalink
      April 11, 2011 6:58 AM

      A very good and constructive comment!

  118. srini permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:38 PM

    Your concern for abuse of power (Jan) Lokpal may be true. But what are we doing about the abuse of power by 512 MPs, thousands of MLAs etc? You mentioned about “erosion of democracy”, but im not concerned about that as I believe Good Monarchy is better for anyone than Bad Democracy. In the name of democracy, we have been just watching for 60+ years, how politicians are abusing the power. Its enough!

    • patnam permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:04 AM

      @Srini: Yes , what you is said is true but pls go through my comment and let me know, whether it proves useful in the current situation.

  119. subhash gatade permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:52 PM

    Just Superb Shuddha..

    Hats Off to you !

  120. patnam permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:53 PM

    To the Author: The article has a meaning in the present scenario of tremendousness support to Mr.Anna by most of the sections of Indian society,without actually knowing what the bill exactly says. But I have strong objection if u say that the Jan-Lokpal bill is of absolutely no use.

    Its absolutely true that we are all part and parcel of the corrupted society and are fostering it Knowingly or otherwise. courageous people had taken the gauntlet of solving the issue in the past, but they lacked a right platform to address the issue. Now, it is the high time for all of us to appreciate and join our hands with constructive criticism towards the issue.

    I must say that Lokpal bill,or any other for that matter, will not be efficient in rooting out detrimental effects of corruption until there comes a basic change in the very thinking of all of us(Indians).

    The basic question is why should we have an autonomous body dealing with corruptions in the state,which has a governing body representing all of its stakeholders. It essentially implies that we are not confident about our selection of leaders which again implies that we are not effectively involving in electing our leaders. The Problem may be solved by educating people about the importance and implications of electing a right leader. Given the current scenario of events happening in the country(2G scam , Common wealth scam etc.. and now even a kid nows about these scams), it is far from reality in the near future to have right,courageous,dedicated leader to setright the the situation. So, there is a great need to have a missionary , which can question the leaders and bureaucrats and demand them to be accountable for their deeds. To this end RTA has proved to be a bit fruitful. But it has its unique limitations.

    The authors concern regarding the members of the Joint committee,which governs Lokpal, must be the debate of the time. The committee should have Social workers, Social Scientists(Professors form Universities) , Retired judges along with a flexible space for ordinary people who want to be part of it. Noble laureates or receivers of civilian prizes in India can not prove useful in the committee,for obvious reasons.( an Indian noble laureate in chemistry need not have to have an idea of how society works). It should completely be with probable intellectuals of the society as mentioned above. The committee must consider the voice of ordinary people in making decisions, other wise it will prove to be another stereotypic governance.

    What i exactly wanted to say is that there is a dire need to address the grave conditions of governance in the country by some thing like Lokpal, but for it to be effective it should be a best representation of(forget of entire people of state representing it) people who have understood the functioning of state and society, unbiased by personal feelings and sheerly looking at the issues towards building progressive society. To this end the above mentioned gentle men may prove useful at least to rage a voice against malfunctioning of governance in the state.
    ———————–
    Thank to all .. comments and suggestions ate welcome.

  121. Skartik permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:05 AM

    Hello author!

    I disagree with your opinion completely. I would like to leave aside all the speculations raised by you as they never helps. Having several similarities to the judiciary, the lokpal bill have the difference of infusing all the powers in a single person: the lokpal who is more independent from the political circle. He would be kind of a dictator: “a God father” of a state for small-scale issues which is a good idea, as otherwise we have no provision for dealing with such a large chunk of complains which constitutes the acts of corruption too. Now, you see, the idea would only be good if it ensured that the lokpal is always a good one or else the worst situation can arise. To ensure that, the committe, which you have ridiculed in your whole article, is in fact, the best committee. Nobel laureates, bharat ratna awardees, etc., are usually the most dedicated and pure people of their fields. So, they have the mettle to judge and the purity to alienate with the political pressure and nominate the most able lokpal. The democracy you are talking about is the worst hurdle to eradicate corruption. Why do you again want the stupid bunch of people to elect lokpal who have already shown their lack of prudence by electing the corrupt, illiterate government in the first place? Also, you have not read the bill properly. Lokpal will not handle all the cases but only the small-scale complaints. Lokpal will not decide anything, he can only initiate investigations after which it would be the duty of the judiciary and the investigating body to handle the case. You appear to me a little too sophisticated from your article, yet a man of reasonable intellect, so I hope you would understand.

    ——- Skartik

    • eastwords permalink
      April 10, 2011 12:27 AM

      Dear Skartik

      “Why do you again want the stupid bunch of people to elect lokpal who have already shown their lack of prudence by electing the corrupt, illiterate government in the first place? ”

      Why indeed? It would be far better if the Council of Senior Artists and Emminent People also appointed all other public officials and replaced the parliament. We’ve already made a start by appointing an emminent dignitary and non political figure as Prime Minister

  122. kasturi permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:07 AM

    Here, listen to one of the masterminds behind “India Against Corruption” platform, Ms. Kiran Bedi’s motivational speech (sic) on what great perks (according to her) an anti-corruption movement will beget – upto 30 years of income-tax free zamaana, and a chance for every common person to get into IITs and IIMs:

    Such a shallow and distorted understanding of corruption needs to be exposed, and no wonder this catches the imagination of the Great Indian Middle Class who are rushing with candles to Jantar Mantar [LIVE]. It is “their” tax money that is being looted, so uttisthita, jagrata etc. etc.

    Bazeecha-e-atfal hai zamaana mere aage/ Hota hai shab-o-roz tamaasha mere aage. :-)

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:39 PM

      Agree its jingoistic and might have factual errors but its simplicity is appealing. Do you really think the middle class needs to be helped in “understanding” corruption – and whose understanding would you like to espouse?

      By the way if its not the tax payer’s money or national assets being looted away then what is??

      Regards

    • smita singh permalink
      April 10, 2011 2:00 PM

      oops!

  123. April 10, 2011 12:16 AM

    I am not going to say much beyond…”Finally! a Brilliant argument!”

  124. Vilas permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:20 AM

    Kudos for having the courage to dissent openly on this matter. I have a more fundamental issue with this whole Lokpal/Ombdusman issue. Even now we have checks and balances in our system. There are institutions which are supposed to take cognizance of crime (mind you corruption is nothing but a crime, albeit of different variety) and act on it. If all those institutions have failed, what is the logic behind people’s thinking that one more such institution is likely to work? Do we create a Lokpal for Lokpal in case original Lokpal turns out to be corrupt? Why aren’t they fighting to make existing institutions more accountable and effective?
    Are people expecting one Anna Hazare to clean up this system miraculously? This is very naive and farcical at the same time.

    BTW Gujrat state has enacted the Lokpal bill but never appointed any Lokpal as there is a logjam in the committee which is supposed to appoint one. What is the guarantee same thing will not happen at center?

  125. Ranendra Prasad permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:44 AM

    Who ever said about “no” thinking before acting! There are many perspectives from which an issue can be reasoned, or rationalised. Who would know this better than students of Humanities & Social Sciences! The whole ‘act’/’spectacle’ of the hunger-strike can be questioned or valourised depending on the arguments which one would want to choose to present. But the best of all is the example of Irom Sharmila, which Sengupta uses. For me now the issue is fairly simple: Should we take all his arguments and many more such like which we can conjure up; and do nothing under the present condition? Let us not forget that the issue of the Lokpal Bill did not come up just yesterday………. Also, with the sort of movement which we are seeing now is open to being appropriated by powers that be, and the same is also known to those that are running the movement. No one’s a fool, on either side of the divide I’m sure! The ‘Final’ Lokpal Bill needs a lot of work before it is passed. But we also need a [short not infinite] time-frame for it, we need the checks & balances as well, but not a diluted bill. The bottom line is that it is imperative to have a strong body to run it & forcefully bring about reforms in the Judiciary, Electoral Process, Police Administration, Armed Forces, etc.; which the political class in this country is unwilling to make on its own. Democracy is the ruse which can be both used & misused by us on either side of this argument, for not actually doing something about corruption………… As I believe, our democracy is not perfect, but neither is any other. Every one is unique & it will evolve to keep self-rectifying!

  126. Atreyi permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:03 AM

    It is refreshing to see this article. Thank you Suddhabrata, for writing it and giving us the hope that there’s still some sanity prevailing amongst this frenzy. A frenzy that does not seem to be very different from the one we saw just a few days back after the world cup finals. Infact, quite suspiciously similar, in more ways than one. The timing could not have been better. The scams, the wikileaks and then the world cup. I am not suggesting that this is how it was planned – just that the pieces fell very nicely together.

    This whole movement, or crusade I’d like to call it – reflects the great disconnection that is more prominent today in India than ever before. If one goes through the bill, you can clearly see participations are invited from the net savvy, facebooking, well-behaved (in the eyes of the state) aspiring middle India.

    Would also suggest this particular article – http://izquierdista.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/of-spectacles-farce-anna-hazares-fast/

  127. Just.. permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:17 AM

    Para 1/2: Unnecessary, message could be conveyed in 2 lines
    Para 3-6: Conspiracy theory, ZILCH evidence, in fact not even a WHIFF of it, pure imagination
    Para 7: Author mentions SOME features, next 4 paras rant on 1 feature of the Bill
    Para 12: Heavy words those, without features of Bill being finalized!
    Para 13/14: Useless rant, 2 sentences could have sufficed
    Para 15: Ignorance of legal aspects shown
    Para 16/17: No comment here, some BLA BLA to fill space
    Para 18: Criticism at Anna’s method – hunger strike
    Para 19: Support for Irom S’s campaign, who is using EXACT SAME Anna’s method from Day 1 of her campaign w/o having waited even 1 year
    Para 20: Back to criticizing Anna’s method and doubting the intelligence of every Indian that took part in this movement (talk about changing sides)
    Para 21: Reference to RTI Act which too was brought about with Anna’s effort. How ingenious of the writer, probably a similar reference will be made to JLP Bill in his article a decade after it is implemented
    Para 22-24: Total BS!
    My questions to this highly creative and eloquent writer:
    1. Why is this article related to FLAWS in the bill written POST the entire 5 day affair??? What great service were you doing to the nation if not educating the unenlightened masses about this draconian Bill that they were foolishly supporting?!?!?!
    2. Why does only 1 para (para 11) carry relevant information to the bill and everything else remain a conjecture? Even para 11 is fraught with misinformation!
    3. Why do you contradict yourself on Anna’s method? Please be sure of what you are advocating BEFORE advocating!
    Articles like yours are the EXACT reasons why people like me can ONLY read the EDITORIAL pages, written by people with some REAL degrees and REAL experience. Articles such as this which are beautifully decorated with words are a waste of time for the evolved reader. PLEASE MEDIA HOUSES, PUBLICATIONS..REQUEST YOU ALL TO PAY MORE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES, only then can we see some high talent come into this field. The current crop of journalists (most of them) is a huge disservice to the nation!

    • Samvit Rawal permalink
      April 13, 2011 11:05 AM

      Sengupta doesn’t even know what Anna has done in Maharashtra. Anna has fought for issues without caring two hoots about the “powerful” sugar lobby in Maharashtra. He has made his own village a model village. Sengupta, if you ever get a chance you must visit Rallegaon Siddhi you will see what a man like Anna Hazare can do. As far as you are concerned, you are a wannabe who dreams with glares over his eyes.

  128. April 10, 2011 1:22 AM

    Crap on the outset! Well I don’t have the time to waste on such useless rhetoric, though my first reaction after reading the title was “CRAP”! That’s what it deserves!

  129. Akshay Madan permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:56 AM

    I really liked your article. I read both the drafts of the Lokpal bill – of the govt and civil society, and i feel that the govt’s one was better, though that too can be improved. And i found the civil society (i don’t know why the media is calling it so) one quite immature..

    Nice article. Specially i really appreciate the 4th last paragraph that starts from ‘Finally, if, as a society..’ Your views are genuinely good..

  130. Ankita permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:02 AM

    All I want to say is, the item this article is based on is a ‘draft’. Yes draft. The actual Bill has to be framed, and will include in its committe five members of the government as well as of civil society. Do you really think the government will make itself so powerless? While I agree that this body seems to have a frighteningly immense amount of power, I feel that the final product will be more toned down, just as Hazare’s demand for only a chairman from civil society was toned down to co-chairmen. Let us not start by being pessimistic. And hey, if the Bill indeed turns out to be draconian, we can always start a fast unto death against it!

  131. toshna permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:43 AM

    A brilliant counter argument. GREAT !

    • Ranjit permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:42 PM

      Dear Toshna – is that what it is? A series of argument / counter arguments? Corruption is eating away our society and we can only say brilliant counter argument. I would have loved to see a comment “Brilliant alternate solution”.

      Regards

  132. Debanish permalink
    April 10, 2011 3:56 AM

    Five days ago I thought Hazare (with all due respect) would be forced-fed by now with a tube stuck up his nostril, like Irom Sharmila. Oh, I forgot the AFSPA is not about corruption.

  133. arun permalink
    April 10, 2011 7:57 AM

    Dear Shuddhabrata … you do have a point ….but the point that was to be made in these last few days was not on the perfectness of the bill but on getting people to atleast realise that we have a seriuos issue in hand …..if you call it an elitist ….then yes … so be it …In a country like india every mass has its own way of protest …The middle class has never experienced coming on the roads ….atleast now they have realised that they can ..peacefully …..All forms of democratic and constitutional processes have been tried out and are still being tried out ……Yes, I agree that Media has to some extent made it a spectacle …..But that cannot be helped because unfortunately WE the audience wants a spectacle …..like the world cup, IPL ..and now this rally …. Please do write your views to Aravind or Prashant Bhushan …..and participate in the debate that you have rightly advocated …. And Lastly ..you do not have to go to Jantar Mantar ..but if in thought you oppose corruption … then you are very much part of this ..because this is not to support Anna Hazare ..it is to not-support corruption ….Anna happens to be the face of it …. Thhnks for reading ….Arun

  134. Jhuma permalink
    April 10, 2011 8:07 AM

    Anna Hazare became the grand old poster boy of the great Indian wannabe Egyptian Middle class. But, but, but Baba Ramdev ji hijacked the show. Good start for Bharat Swabhiman Trust I reckon.

    For once I am glad that the phoren media did not pick this up and Jantar Mantar was not made to look like Tahrir Square! Imagine the shame.

  135. April 10, 2011 8:58 AM

    Maybe Sharmila should have staged her protest with a couple of Magsaysay awarders in tow as well… I could never ever imagine anyone getting close to Anna with a feeding tube in hand… here’s a good read on the same.. http://www.wahsarkar.com/?p=224

  136. anil permalink
    April 10, 2011 9:16 AM

    Is corruption of a thousand crore rupees the same as Rs 200.00. For example the police can invoke certain laws and disallow Redi-wallahs to ply their trade. At a whim (like CWG) they can force them to pack up and leave. Redi-wallahs then are forced to pay Hafta to continue their business thus make a living and provide for their family. I would want to know if this can be classified as corruption. What are the consequences if hafta is refused? What may happen to all the three parties concerned ?

  137. Ahmer Anwer permalink
    April 10, 2011 9:27 AM

    On corruption… well my thoughts on this are a little athwart of some others. There’s no gainsaying that the campaign vs “corruption” is important, central, a necessary one at any rate, and linked to the very survival of the moral fibre of an increasingly demoralised society. Still, the city elites’ absolute and essentialist monofocal privileging of corruption as THE public ’cause’ is a bit dodgy. It obviates structural and systemic dimensions of an exploitive and regressionist, asymmetrical socius. Then take the Jan Lokpal Bill. There is something a little troubling in the idea of instatement of special cherry picked citizens (who/what decides the Higher Beings?) as vigilante groups and watchdogs over society and democratic processes/institutions at large. Or take the luminaries involved in the evolution of the legislation. Shanti Bhushan is arguably a disguised, genteel soft-saffron jurist. People like Lyngdoh – too much starched collar belief in Self and Discipline in a bureaucratic frame of meanings, perhaps not enough for demotic sentiment and need. Or take the city elites’ hyperactivist erstwhile hero, TN Seshan. Raged, ranted and stomped around as The Guardian of political probity and order, became autocratic and utterly self-referential, even morally narcisstic, then eventually landed in the lap of the Shiv Sena, a feudal-fascist riots-organising, booty calling, extortionate bunch of thugs and glorified mafiosi in the political and cultural sphere whom only sections of the Indian urban middle classes could reward with electoral success! And then there is that new dimension of real democratic depoliticisation whereby this TV democracy discourse allows pious media hystericists in the broad generic category of an Arnab Goswami to adopt the mantle of a high-toned moral indignation and scold everyone everywhere on such on issue. A tad excessive, the theatrics and the anti-corruption fury, when there is no accompanying critique of the systemic and cultural correspondents: class, caste, multinationals, international capital and globlization/liberalisation ruthlessness, feudal remnants in land and social relations, excess/scarcity, religious fundamentalism, heinous gender discrimination, and the rest of our myriad scourges.
    This is not to say that it’s alright for public officers to be mired neck deep in the slime and muck of venality and mendacity. I think persons in public life should be exemplars of probity and personal integrity. I think that alone gives them the moral energy to get after people who use laws and loopholes therein to milk the people, siphon off public funds meant for least advantaged segments and derail developmental programmes and initiates. But it’s important to remember that it’s big business that has the big bucks and the shady deals to push through and launder, that requires/sponsors the moral decay. Without the power games mega-sharks and their investment in suborning and prostituting those in power there could indeed be no corruption, yet the loudest naysayers of corruption have apparently little to say on market capitalism and its grand neoliberal social experiment in which this social group is in fact fully inbvested. Politicians may be corrupt guys, but the money bags and social mafias are the corrupters and booty collectors/dispensers. It’s not just corrupt politicians by, in and of themselves. That is a partial picture and creates disrespect for democracy among the Gandhigirists. In any case, after the exposes on Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and the likes, the roaring custodians of pious clean-up morality tom-tommed over urban-focus electronic media waves are a little suspect when it comes to a right to play moral gendarme and articulate a Swiftian “saeva indignatio” on corruption and sleaze. Finally when an Anna Hazare launches a ‘Gandhian’ tirade vs corruption surrounded by religious icons and symbols that after the last two decades are no longer innocent (if ever they were), but have become inerasably contextually contaminated through association with communal outfits, incendiary slogans and bloodbath mobilizations, it should give pause for thought.

    • arunima paul permalink
      April 10, 2011 11:23 AM

      I just wanted to express how much I appreciated the above discussion and the really thoughtful explication of issues that the author as well as respondents have provided here. I just wanted to make one comment in response to Arun, whose concerns are well-taken. It is true that the Indian middle class on whole has only disdain for messy political sloganeering on the street, however, it did make an exception in this regard more recently (which only proves the larger point being made in the various posts here) with the anti-reservation campaign for elite educational institutions 4-5 years ago, when middle class students of IIT Delhi and Delhi University congregated “Rang de Basanti” style to ‘speak up for themselves’ and to protect what they had ‘earned on pure merit’ at India Gate. In other words, to protect their claim on these institutions that facilitate their future interpellation into the conduits of global capital.

      • April 10, 2011 4:31 PM

        True :) What irks me is the fact that our people are at best half informed about every political/social issue. We have failed to engage people in effective, informed debates so that our public campaigns are based on sound knowledge of the issue rather than mass hysteria. Unfortunately, we seem to be moving towards mob justice… where the elite are just making sure they can fool the rest into an illusion of “equality”.

  138. Tee Em permalink
    April 10, 2011 9:47 AM

    Your article highlights just how eager we are to believe things will change without any real effort. So eager in fact, that we spend entire afternoons going on marches for bills that we don’t understand. Because we haven’t bothered to read them. The anti-corruption tag alone seems to satisfy every moral and logical requirement for support. Well-researched and clearly explained. Thanks for writing.

  139. Gireesh Kerala permalink
    April 10, 2011 9:52 AM

    We witnessed all forms Government in the last 40 years ever since this Lokpal bill was first tabled. All the governments ..Congress, BJP, Left ,right, all mixed ..none of them took any concrete action against corruption. Now that somebody(Anna Hazare) came forward with the courage to force the government to do dome thing … be it a small step.. all these so called “Intelligentsia” is coming out and questioning its effectiveness..enhanced power and what not. Chill guys..they are going for a joint committee..and will be tabled in the Parliament, who are our elected reps. These newly emerged security guards of democracy are not even talking about any alternative solutions for curbing corruption. It is hard to believe that they have any sincerity for what they are talking other than trying to get some attention “by standing against” the mainstream.

  140. suhas permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:03 AM

    Let us respect contrarian views they keep us healthy.

    A let us also not look for cloud on clear sunny sky in summer. Even if it rains it is no big deal.

    Suhas

  141. T N Menon permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:16 AM

    I share your concern. However, let us not reach premature conclusions before the process runs it course and let ourselves be seiged by fear of the unknown. Let us hope the panel comes up with a bill that has enough teeth to combat corruption without creating a Frankenstein. You refer to the TV channel discussions where two panelists (Meenakshi Lekhi and Hartosh Singh Bal) were chastised for celebrating the “victory”. While Hartosh Singh Bal, drowned in melancholy was speaking as if a calamity has befallen the nation, Meenakshi Lekhi’s problem was that Anna Hazare did not damn Sonia Gandhi enough!

  142. April 10, 2011 10:57 AM

    I’m a bit skeptical about this – surprise attack, jingoism high on world cup , great PR support from ‘news’ channels, urban start, moved to hinterland…all of which makes for a great civil rights movement.

    Yet…I think the political animals will find the ways and means to feed on it…Sonia backing it , so is Yeddy!!! – many more would if they hadn’t been booted out – the ones who managed to stay supportive were smart enough to do it from a distance. They’ll all end up backing it and then pull the rug with a diversionary tactic and all the ‘patriotic’ fervour will just get diverted or merely vanish into thin air…

    I’m intrigued how the writer of this blog saw the establishment stage-managing “its own triumph”…humph??? I didn’t see any of that in the bluster of oily Moily, or the slimy slickness of Abhishek Manu Singhvi or any of the other ‘spokespersons’ of Congress when they tried to tell us how it was impossible to do a joint drafting and then holding out over the GO. Less so when they had egg on their face at the end of it all. Neither Sonia’s in-principle (!) support nor Manmohan’s squeaky (no, not squeaky-clean) defence of his clean-up act (as his bosses clean out) came across as particularly winning. So, where did you see the triumph? They didn’t fool anyone – not even the most tri-coloured of viewers of their silly charade!

    On a lighter note, as long-running civil protests go this could well qualify as a T20 – maybe the IPL trophy should be named after Anna for ending it when he did…after all millions of sticky cricket eyeballs were glued on him for 4 days! Meanwhile, online support for Anna keeps growing! It’s easy to click with him, capsice?

  143. Aditi permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:01 AM

    Hi.
    I think you have very well articulated the dimension which was so far totally ignored in this campaign.I believe that the intent of this “India against corruption” movement is commendable and was much needed but content should be revised more carefully.

  144. I just want to understand things permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:07 AM

    First things first, I consider myself a more than average english reader from India and for me most comments above (including the article) are very difficult to understand because of the tough english – full of literary idioms, complex proverbs, euphemisms etc. I am unable to understand your motivations in displaying your literary skills here.

    My thoughts:
    1. Anna Hazare is an idiot: He is a morally upright man but at the same time an idiot who has been fooled by the Congress intermediaries to go for the fasting and eventually conceded to his demands thereby gaining widespread public support (at least as it appears from the media). –
    2. Timing: The event was perfectly timed between the World Cup and IPL and before the assembly elections in 5 states. I cannot understand such perfect timing – just before the IPL inauguration the demands were conceded.
    3. One more Bill: A few fundamental reasons why such bills cannot be effective – a) they can be good only on paper like the preambles and directive principle – how can the bill ensure a case to be solved within 2 years if the procedure for evidence collection itself takes several years – forget democracy, representative participation, moral codes of practices etc. – the bill simply has illogical features and provisions. What if some corruption case is relating to land and the title documents need to be examined to 500 years back in history? For everybody’s knowledge, in India the majority of the civil cases pending are relating to land and lack of easily accessible land records are the biggest hindrance to rapidly solving these cases. So instead of drafting bills after bills, the government can simply digitize all land records and a large part of India’s judiciary system will be solved. Once this is achieved, the judges will be freed up to handle more and more cases rapidly, and the public will be brought forward to lodge more cases against incorrect practices in every walk of life.
    b) Who cares if the Bill allows public to directly file a case against a MPs/MLAs – no ordinary and reasonable human being will dare to act against such dangerously powerful people of the society. The ones who can dare can already do so by getting whatever approvals required from whatever level to lodge the case.
    c) Here is what I feel is the most fundamental problem of Indian judiciary and for that matter any undeveloped economy’s judiciary: Say a person “A” files a corruption/any other case against person “B”. The net impact of the case is expected to be a transfer of wealth of 5,000 rupees. For solving the case the judge and the state machinery will have to spend ~ 50 highly qualified man hours (judges, advocates, police). Economically the above proposition is not justified. The state is currently not in a position to economically serve the legal needs fully under the current levels of prosperity. So the poor and the oppressed are to remain so for many years to come – (anyway reading from the unabated flow of flowery language above, who cares about them!!).

    And here is my ultimate solution to a large number of problems of the country:
    One simple modification the RTI Act: that instead of a reactive legislature (i,e State to disclose public information only if demanded) make it a mandatory disclosure (speak of it as inside out approach OR negative list approach) – i,e any information which is publicly disclosable or which has not been explicitly classified as non-disclosable has to be put up on some govt. website within say 3 months of the production of that information. Otherwise there will be very strict financial penalty on the public information officer (PIO). Fine tuning to this can be done to achieve unprecedented effects.
    Anyway the last paragraph is just a rhetoric, as I believe that this fasting was not for any fight against corruption but a well designed election campaign for the Congress and to coax the elite Indians (myself included) into masturbating their keyboards into ejaculating white but slimy words worth only to be flushed down the toilet seat.

    • the reluctant truthie permalink
      April 11, 2011 6:24 AM

      *performs a kowtow*

  145. Abhishek permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:10 AM

    I think you have got your facts inverted. First, Anna Hazare never said he wants the initial draft of Lokpal bill. He is against the current version and wants a broader committee to draft the same. If you have read the current Lokpal bill draft, you will agree it is a huge scam in itself.

    Secondly, it is wrong to use fast to blackmail. But it is completely fair to use fasting to mobilize the public for a right cause. The government didn’t kneel for Anna’s fast but for the public opinion supporting the same. If you feel millions of people were supporting an unknown person simply because he was fasting, then you are doubting the intelligence of the supporters of this ‘movement’, if I can call it that.

    But I do agree with you that the initial Lokpal bill draft was as bad as the current one.

  146. April 10, 2011 11:22 AM

    I agree with the author 100%. He hits the nail on the head. People unfortunately are herdish and its showing once again in the manisfested reality we are seeing.

  147. Ashima C.L Sharma permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:27 AM

    Nicely articulated but naive and prejudged at the same time….The bill is yet to be placed and we are talking about its re-percussions..Surprisingly, we are all so fond of negation that when it comes to act we can certainly tell what not to do…and there is this man who is standing and saying what to do…Personally, I am comforted by the idea itself that someone came out to speak against this acute issue that has been draining our economy for decades now….What you foresee as tomorrow’s fascism is the power of today’s democracy….Tomorrow this might take us down but, if we don’t act we are already falling at a faster rate…

  148. Anis Mohiuddin permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:34 AM

    There is no point looking the other way. Something had to be done about the corruption and the action has started, thanks to Anna Hazare. I take this as pre monsoon shower. If things do not work out the way the common man sees it, Anna can be relied upon to understand that and respond suitably with full monsoon shower.

    However, the nature of corruption, madministration etc. clearly visible – like PM saying ‘he is helpless because of coalition politics etc. – and Sonia quietly approving his views, Pranab with his usual antics – I think he is the chief architect of Lalharh through his economic policies over the years – Sharad Pawar getting away with just his resignation – this malaise has reached such a level that an al-nino like phenomenon is evolving and I even think Anna will rise to the occasion.

    So, prepare yourselves – all those whose lives, their children’s lives are at stake – for a full fledged revolution that will require overthrow of existing form of Democracy to be replaced by more participatory kind.

    I find this PM the most shameless man. He is still on top despite the fact that all the recent actions simply degrades his position completely. Is he unaware of it? He is the one who could not tolerate CPIM because the leftists wanted him not to sign the paper Bush gave him to sign, despite the coalition agreement. He is also the one who tolerated another coalition partners despite open corruption for ‘coalition compulsions’. This PM is a joker. I think we, as common people should force the elected representatives to appoint a PM of our choice and not the choice of Sonia Gandhi. She is likely to bring her pyjama clad joker son who can not be acceptable as replacement.

    • abhishek das permalink
      April 11, 2011 3:12 AM

      hahahaha…brilliant..:)

    • shishir permalink
      August 18, 2011 2:12 PM

      exceptional.!!

  149. Jyotirmaya Sharma permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:58 AM

    Brilliant! I think this ought to be said as forcefully as you have done.

  150. Anis Mohiuddin permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:04 PM

    OhMIGosh, I bet you could simply walk into any office in India including Congress party’s office and ask openly ‘where to deposit money?’ and I am sure there will be some taker ready to give anything you want with full approval from some party leader who has the powers. Anything, defence contract, arms contract, ministerial berth etc. Everything is on sale there and everything can be bought in India. UPA Government has shown this in this current tenure. So, if you have the money and you know what to buy, just go ahead. You can get everything, including the conscience. Go and rejoice.

    Hurrah.

  151. Priya Das permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:14 PM

    However reasonable and sensible ithe article may be it still does not convince me that the movement was not worth it. Let the debates follow and the nuances of the bill worked out but that will have been possible because the issue was brought centre stage and a starting point established. At anytime in there will be a government and they will react in the way they choose to—it is not the design of the movement to provide a legitimacy to it…how it is goint to be read cannot be the reason for people not to react! Even the best of use have to work with a government to bring about change ..the fact that it is a vindication of the govt is incidental and part of the process…although I dont think most see it as a vindication.

    2nd as regards the content..they havent asked for the bill to be passed in toto. They have only asked for a drafting committee…bring in all the suggestions, correction and inputs! Who is stopping that? Build you alliances and support it in the way you want it! Sort out the problematic nuances.

    Third when one fights a cause you build unlikely alliances! So what was wrong with this one? The similar suspects are there in many forums and this one worked not because of them but for the numbers of the unknown entities who came together! Some group or the other will try to make hay when the sunshines! Can that be the reason not to start at all?

    Just because the media is not focussing on Shramila does not mean that no other similar issue should not be focussed on?

    Fourth…media is both good and bad and so are its audiences…how should that negate the issue on the ground! Its again us who have made arnab who I personally feel is terrible , popular. I am not going to judge the worth of this outcome by what crazed people like Anupam Khers and Arnab Goswamis have to say!

    Priya

    Its easy to be intellectual and negative…its an important…do your bit in the way you think it is right! Thats what one man did. Stop your ngo factionalism and politicking and for once work for something constructive ! I dont see what you do at local level….for eg. the yatra of ekal naree and what happened now as very different in principle !

    I too choose my own revolution and I am with this one!

  152. Rishi Nirvikalpa permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:15 PM

    Shuddhabrata’s viewpoint many might not agree upon but it must not be neglected either or in fact any relevant opposing viewpoint. He has stated some very important points which should not be discharged as being trivial or insignificant. And support Anna Hazare or not, his role in all this struggle against authority has been crucial in making common people like us realize our power when we’re united.

    Only one battle has been won as of now. The war has yet only just begun. Let the righteous and the victims of dysfunct systems all unite and change things the way we want them to be. Let us all become aware of the power we can unleash if we’re united. It is our duty to spread this message and support each other in these dark times, only then will the true light unfold.

    The victory is not in any bill or law. It is in our unity, awareness and using our brains to build foolproof systems. We must fight till the end.

    Jai Hind!

  153. kamini bobde permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:20 PM

    Just two pointers:
    1.The Indian Constitution encapsules all that is needed to fight corruption right up to the highest places of the land.
    2. It is not new bodies or Committees that we need.
    Only the will of the leaders or even one leader is good enough. Look at what Nitesh Kumar has achieved in the worst State of the country without setting up any new bodies, changing laws, etc. The same people, the same bureaucrats, the same political parties. But, the leadership is what is different.
    Good leadership is the key rest all is only on paper.

  154. abhishek permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:27 PM

    small pple small thinking !!!

  155. Anis Mohiuddin permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:47 PM

    Kamini Bobde makes sense. Nitish Kumar example is a good one, but Sonia and Manmohan Singh are not impressed because they were impressed with Raja and CWG activities. Manmohan Singh likes money, big money. He was the only one in this ‘World’ who found George Bush’ as his best friend when the whole World was choosing best of expletives for GWB. Manmohan Singh, king of Raja, boss of Kalmadi is disgusting. He should be sent back to his village.

  156. Tashi Pemba permalink
    April 10, 2011 12:59 PM

    Much ado abut nothing—-cynical to doubt Anna —-stupid to debate the bill before even a draft is discussed and definitely playing into the corrupt governments’ hands by raising intellectual doubts about the ant corruption movement.

  157. veena permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:03 PM

    while you do make some pertinent observations, the superb prolixity of your article encumbers its purpose (Editors.. extensive vocabulary doesn’t translate to good writing). also, apart from the critique, it would have been much more effective if you had suggested some alternatives to the feted ‘Jan? Lokpal Bill’. Because as much as you’d disagree, you do come across as another one of those caviling cynics. So if you have a problem, try to be creative and at least propose a solution.
    cheers

  158. BIKASH permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:04 PM

    To kill the corruption, we have to change our Constitution.India may need arm struggle.

  159. PRATUL BANERJEE permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:37 PM

    Thanks to Mr. Sengupta for his article that very analytically voiced the concern about the Jantar Mantar style of movement and the commercially ( read TRP) and ( most likely) politically motivated electronic media in promoting it. While I could never behave like a college kid or a page 3 celebrity (as I don’t belong to neither) in joining the thrill and excitement of the event, I was not sure whether or not any dissent against it will help dousing or fanning it further. I am happy that the timing of Mr. Sengupta’s article has been just right. There is no live fire now on the issue. I also appreciate that our Governance at the Center has matured in leaps and bounds to handle it in right manner. There is no two opinion about handling the corruption at high places in the best possible measure, Lokpal Bill or No Lokpal Bill. But I was certainly wondering how can a Government coming to its seat of power through the currently available route of parliamentary democracy can accept the emotional blackmail of a group of non-accountable people! I was apprehensive that any false arrogant step by the Government might lead to another unaccountable “Total Revolution” wave that will purport no positive course correction in Indian politics of the moment. The Chanakya (s) did no mistake this time. And, for God’s sake, let us have an evolution of our governance and our society. Our children can not afford a revolution, less so, a Total Revolution, at this juncture of time when may be we have done a little turn around, as 2011 Census shows.

  160. Himanshu permalink
    April 10, 2011 1:43 PM

    Why do we need a lokpal bill?

    To change the system of corruption most important is to change how politicians, Civil servent and judges are selected and given a free hand.

    But the institution of judicary, bureaucracy and parliament need to be accountable to people of India not a Lokpal!

    Lokpal bill will create another power house of corruption itself.

  161. Nancy Adajania permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:27 PM

    Shuddha, excellent analysis of the draft Jan Lokpal Bill. It exposes the true nature of the demands of Hazare’s campaign. Far from upholding democratic values, it is a call to dictatorship. Paradoxically, the televisual spectacle of dissensus is actually an acquiescence in authoritarianism.

  162. Basanti permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:33 PM

    Thank you so much for this piece!
    As an Indian all the scams left a bitter taste in my mouth but the campaign led by Anna Hazare (not doubting the fact he did it keeping India’s good interest in mind) really made me sad. “Weed out corruption!”, yes we as Indians are all sick and tired of the corruption that prevails in our (mostly) non functional (when things really have to be done for deprived Indians) government/ babus. But Hazare’s fast unto death commitment banked on the post world cup finals – they struck the right chord at the right moment. All Indians still had that lingering feeling of patriotism after the win. So good for them, strategic planning and their luck that India brought home the cup.
    The thing that really disgusted me was the fact that supporters of Hazare who were present in Jantar Mantar/India Gate had not even read the Jan lokpal bill drafted by Hazare and his counterparts. They failed to understand that they were supporting something totally UNDEMOCRATIC while being citizens of the WORLD’S LARGEST DEMOCRACY. So much of mass hysteria, co-operation but for what? It’s sad that we as Indians have an innate flock mentality residing within. If they believed that by coming out on the streets and shouting slogans corruption would vanish then am sure this would have happened a long time ago. But we need to understand that its much more complicated than that.
    So next time when we UNITE, please I beg lets ALL UNITE only after knowing what we are standing for/against!!

  163. Sundarraj Mahadevan permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:45 PM

    Good food for thought.

    Having said that, I’m not surprised that this post has been labelled as spam by one of the worthies at Facebook and so can’t share it any longer. Typical of the one-sided thinking of the arm-chair m(u)iddle classes that reign the airwaves & wires.

  164. anurodh sharma permalink
    April 10, 2011 3:24 PM

    ur article is thot provoking….thank u!!!
    having said that….let me say there seems to b criticism of concentration of power in the hands of few or one with the advent of this lokpal bill….m i right sir, the author?
    well, let me ask u abt d present state of affairs in india…abt the concentration of unbounded power….take a guess…. ok let me help u…soniya gandhi!!!
    she actually wrote a letter to anna hazarey on 2nd day of the fast…expressing sadness at his fast!!! she assured him complete support!!!
    u may ask how did i know…well i was there in pandal from 10am on fast with anna….actually anna read out the letter from soniya…to all!!
    now coming to ur issue of ombudsman…. let me ask u wt do u feel is the amount of cash stashed away in forign banks by indians? make a guess…… well its more than the wealth possessed by usa/ uk put togather!!! is there any effort being done to bring that weath that belongs to india back in to india???? do u think usa or uk or switzerland or tax heaven nations where its stashed, will help bring it back??? simple answer is no!!!
    So who will bring it back? do u think it shud come back?
    i know my diatribe may sound silly….but really i m a common man who is pained to see that wen it comes to criticising good efforts good citizens like u hv fantastic skills to pen down things which make monsters out of angels n even angels look like monsters!!!
    but let me agree with u….regarding the draft that u hv read…remember its a draft….this 10 member committee is formed to make that draft……so wt u hv read is not final!!!!
    this committee will actually work to make the final draft….which will then b presented in both houses for approval!!!
    do i mk sense????

  165. k.gopu permalink
    April 10, 2011 4:10 PM

    Corruption has grown into a full blown cancer into the society. what was just a small benign growth after
    independence has come to stage 4 cancerous growth. U need a body to regulate and put an end into this
    growth. We have police stations, though they are also power centres for punishing but yet it shows its
    power only on helpless innocents. We cannot have fool proof system to regulate such activities but yet
    the society cannot be a silent spectator to such atrocious daylight robberies. The movement has just begun
    and it will take a few months or years before u could see the fruits of such Lokpal bills. In the absence of
    any other alternatives to the current scenario, one cannot afford to just criticise the loopholes or the
    possible misuse of the bill. Instead Mr. Sengupta shud join the movement and lead it to its logical end which
    in turn will benefit the larger sections of the society and not confining to elites or middle class.
    I fully support the movement of Shri Anna Hazare.

    k.gopu

  166. April 10, 2011 4:20 PM

    I wish you had written this earlier. I hold the exactly same viewpoint, but am not such an eloquent writer!

    http://ruhisonal.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/fight-against-corruption-move-towards-order-or-anarchy/

    Btw, I tried to post a link to your post on facebook… but it has been reported as “abusive”!!! Some democracy we live in!!

  167. smita singh permalink
    April 10, 2011 4:33 PM

    I went to a candlelight vigil/ protest meet for the Jan Lokpal. A lot of it happened in a language that I did not understand but I could make out the word corruption over and over again. The youth seemed charged, everybody had something to say and sing. A lady got up to say that the great Indian civilization was doing so well before the British came and the Islamic invasion happened- she was of course quickly made to sing a song and shut up-one of the more positive notes of the evening especially since just then a muslim gentleman had spoken about how his daughter had not wanted to keep a Ramadan fast but kept one in support of Anna Hazaare and how after finishing his prayers he decided to replace his skull cap with the Gandhian topi. I mean what’s an all india mass meet without hindu- muslim bhai chara, no?

    I may have missed it – literally – but I don’t remember any specific talks or attempts to deconstruct what the Jan Lokpal bill meant, what it could do. (For some reason the second
    I heard about the inclusion of awardees, it was Lata Mangeshkar’s name that kept ringing in the panic part of my head all through.) Even so, this is still too early and although there is without doubt a need to argue, fine tune or even junk the draft, people participation in backing someone with good intentions cannot be written off completely. In fact In the beginning it was great to see placards stating this is also against land grab, violence of development, corporate corruption, the rich stealing from the poor but It did start to get a bit alarming the rate at which people were investing emotionally into this. Who has a better chance of surviving and reviving if this falls through the roof? People who were prepared and understood the undertaking or ones who were swept away by gleaming self- congratulatory epitomes to political enlightenment?

    Although I have to say that since everyone was united against the Bhrasht Sarkar, I am a little surprised when it is suggested that the janata has suddenly been fooled into seeing the government as magnanimous and upright. (of course yesterday night Narayan Murthy did tell Barkha how generous and sensitive the government’s actions were) It will require many more prime time panels and insidious editorials to do that. One is aware of the low opinion that is held of the insulated middle class (of which I am a part as well) and its inability to clinically approach a difficult and complex subject, but we did witness tonnes of derisive laughter as Kapil Sibal and others came forth to ease into the side of the ‘winners’. People are hardly out there celebrating the largesse of the government are they? Or the great job of the electronic media – it’s hardly being called free, fair and impartial suddenly. The media the way it functions today will want to ride the tide for sure, what’s so unexpected about that? Of course here you did require a media that could sit down to do a clinical diagnosis of what the bill could mean instead of breaking into a song and dance routine proclaiming India’s victory. But that’s another piece altogether.

    The media to me actually looked a little shocked and unprepared for the frenzy of support around Anna Hazaare. You can see them grappling with this ‘phenomenon’ already. But what do you expect Arnab G. or any of the other hysterical tv anchors to do? For me there is no need to bring Arnab Goswami into what should be a discussion aimed at deconstructing what a bill may or may not mean in the functional sense because Arnab Goswamis of the world will always be the Arnab Goswamis of the world and will do only what they can do. Not everybody is a huge fan of his you know, nor does everybody follow his every idiotic utterance with the fascination that some of us have come to. Let’s not give him more power than he already has.

    In all of this Irom Sharmila came to mind many many times and I felt ugly, guilty and frustrated in the huge mass of apathy around me chanting passionately as well as mechanically- set on a course of our own, but then I know that the fact that she sustains has something to do with hope. A terrible word in her times and ours, but it must play its part somehow.

  168. Praveen permalink
    April 10, 2011 4:34 PM

    1. Inclduing the Noble Laureattes and Magsaysay Award winners will ensure that the selction committee could not be appointed simply with ‘political influence’.

    2. Selection committee is prescribed a ‘transparent process’ to follow, and with a million people watching the process, malpractice is remote.

    3. The Union Public Service Commission doesn’t have any elected members of parliament either. Ha sit become an untamed monster.

    4. Blackmail? – It will be very naive to consider that Govt will care for 73 year old ex-service man’s life. They cared for it because they knew that Anna’s follower will make sure the government will not be re-elected if Anna dies fasting. What can be more democratic than saying “I am not going to vote for you next time, unless you pass this bill”.

    5. In a just democracy its not the people’s will that is supreme its the Law of the land that is supreme. The Lokpal is there to protect the law of the land. If Law is not protected people’s will may be of no use at all.

    6. “And coercion can never nourish democracy.” Thats a class one bullshit. All society is based on coercion. If JanLokpal can bring food for the starving millions, whats the harm in using a little psychological coercion. Why do you want the good people to be so absolutely fucking righteous that they can’t even move a finger.

    7. You are free to have an opinion, but you are not free to demonstrate arriving at that opinion by hiding information.

  169. dr sunil jaiman permalink
    April 10, 2011 4:40 PM

    The very fact that India and its youth, for the first time since 1947 independence has arisen from its apathy and lackadaisicalness towards corruption is a cause of much rejoice and celebration. This awakening is the second most important event in independent Indian history after, possibly, the tenebrous emergency.

    Gandhiji and his generation fought for Indian independence such that everybody from the illiterate, unsophisticated and uncouth of uncouth to the so called elite and literate of this country could freely express their thoughts. Unfortunately, the former seldom speak and the latter seldom allow them to speak. It is therefore blasphemy time, time to boycott the jantar mantars for the Lutyenians, when the not so upmarket, semantically unattractive and unpretentious Anna Hazares mobilize millions, for a just cause; a cause to eradicate corruption.

    It is distressing that most of the today’s pseudo anglicised “phoren” educated and/or return narcissist’s outpourings resemble Sir Winston Churchill’s, who had said “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle-Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace… to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor”

    The country has witnessed unprecedented corruption and it requires unprecedented and prolonged effort to eradicate it. The effort of the Annas, the Kiran Bedis and million others needs to be lauded and not, as what Sir Winston had declared in 1930 “Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed”.

    The current euphoria is NOT a massive move towards legitimizing a strategy of simple emotional blackmail. The euphoria is over people’s victory. A frail mortal’s triumph over the omnipotent arrogant aggrandized oppressor, who year after year has indulged in blatant plundering of debilitated and speechless Indian (obviously, not belonging to the “affluent class”).

    First it was the powerful and mighty British and post-independence it is corruption ridden Indian politician. While the representative of the former looted India and said, ‘I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’ the latter’s representative loves the “perpetual indulgence of the beastly people with their beastly religion” such that the looting goes unnoticed.

    When Gandhigiri awoke millions, Sir Churchill said, “If the British left, India will fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages”. Did that happen? Have the beastly people relegated to barbarism?

    Rejoice, India. Celebrate. Today Annagiri has (partially) dislodged the Indian apathy; the Brits have long gone, allow not the Indian cynic to keep us all on tenterhooks.

  170. Lupus singularis permalink
    April 10, 2011 5:14 PM

    Democracy is the tyranny of the majority. Nani Palkhiwala always said it was the second best form of government. The best, Nani said, was the rule of the Antonines in Rome that reached its zenith with Marcus Aurelius. The rulers were benign dictators selected by a council of the wisest men in Rome and adopted by the previous Emperor of Rome to succeed him. So it is wonderful that there is only one democratically elected person who is on the panel to choose the Lokpal – the rest being a council of wise men.
    The Lokpal is not a cloak for the corrupt in power and the present movement can in no way be compared to the Cultural Revolution. As Anna Hazare said, “It is only the BEGINNING of the battle against corruption”. It is a successful harnessing of the power of the people’s outrage, effectively leveraged by the use of media. The UPA has not gracefully given in to the demands of the people – the UPA has buckled under the force of the people and the media

    • T N Menon permalink
      April 10, 2011 6:55 PM

      Not all of the Roman rulers you allude to were adopted – though Machiavelli argued that the adoption, rather than dynastic succession led to benolence and popularity of these rulers. Also, all those who assumed power through adoption were not necessarily great rulers – Nero was adopted. It just boils down to the incumbent’s character rather than the assumption route.

  171. April 10, 2011 5:45 PM

    Our elected representatives are dirty rotten scoundrels. Do you want them to nominate or elect the Lokpal. Eminent scholars, Nobel prize winners are never going to contest elections and hence become involved as our representatives. Their integrity is solid and anyday we would be better off with a person nominated by them than the scoundrel ministers.

  172. April 10, 2011 5:48 PM

    Your views echo the concerns of those wary of the nature of the ongoing furore against corruption and the directions it is taking. Well said!

  173. Zul Zulu permalink
    April 10, 2011 6:01 PM

    Dear Shuddhabrata Sengupta,
    It’s a shame that you are jealous of the sheer willpower, perseverence and success of a 74-year-old, pretty OLD man. Why sit and key in 2,000 odd words and do a ‘bheja fry’ of the readers. Friend, brevity is the wit of soul n soul of wit. (nobody told u this kya?)
    I need you to do a couple of things, if u are accomodative enuf.
    1. Get ur Constitution checked.
    2. learn the corruption history of India and find out how many of the corrupt have been convicted so far.
    And
    3. Hold your breath and count the number of zeroes (u get only a minute) in Rs seventy lakh crore, which people of India lost in the biggest scam so far.

    At the end of the day, comrade, revolution is made by masses and not singletons like u n me. YOu n I can just fantasise a revolution. dats it. so rein in the jealousy factor, so that your brains would click for a longer time.

    • Anis Mohiuddin permalink
      April 10, 2011 7:00 PM

      Mr Zul Zulu,
      I for one definitely will like to raise an objection on your ridiculing Mr Sengupta for whatever he has to say. Let that freedom be available. A healthy debate is worth everything he writes but ridiculing him will be denying the rest of us of a point of view. All of us are victims of corruption and we need to do something to counter this menace effectively. I think PM Manmohan Singh is quite a lot to blame for his superfluous views about his own colleagues. I will even go as far as to say that he is a party to it but that is my view open for discussion but ridiculing me would be enough to make me shut up. It will not serve the purpose it is supposed to fulfill. Who says this PM is the most honest PM we had in some years. That is non sense. Only Sonia says so. The man who says about a scam of 75,000 crore taking place in his backyard and he did not know. Who believes him? Only Sonia. This UPA is an epicentre of corruption. I do not believe that he went to George Bush and signed some papers without a tip. And gave away Iran on a platter. I think more than the corruption, it is the intent of these politicians that seems more harmful. Their powers should be curtailed.

  174. April 10, 2011 6:57 PM

    The real achievement of the Jantar Mantar protest is not what Anna asked for and what the government gave. The real achievement is that at least some citizens of India took the trouble and made the effort to physically join this public display of anger against the disease of everyday corruption.

    The forces which wish to rule us have now got an indication that the ordinary citizen cannot be taken for granted any longer. This, too my mind, is the real achievement of the protest – besides, of course, the message that public anger can be effectively registered in a non-violent manner even in this day and age.

    Kudos to the many thousands who showed solidarity at Jantar Mantar and all over the country.

  175. Padma permalink
    April 10, 2011 7:27 PM

    The concerns are genuine, but I just feel we have seen enough of democratically elected and so-called accountable people do the job for all these years, and all they have done is drive us up the wall! So anything new is welcome. In fact, I have genuinely wished sometimes that the Army would have taken over the country for a few years, but never mind that.
    Appointing Nobel laureates etc etc does seem utopic, but I can say with conviction that they cannot be worse than our politicians. Such people are usually conscious of their reputation socially, and I doubt they would be driven by the thought of money or power.
    Again, it makes sense that the next step should be to bring about electoral reforms so that crooks won’t be voted to power in the first place. I believe that is already on the agenda.
    Lastly, Anna Hazare has successfully taken up causes in the past. Hopefully, he knows what he’s talking about!!

  176. Mahesh Sabharwal permalink
    April 10, 2011 8:59 PM

    Well, you are wrong in implying that the Lokpal will be an omnipotent body over which nobody will have any control. Check this out for facts – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Only-appropriate-person-will-become-Lokpal-Shanti-Bhushan/articleshow/7933104.cms

  177. April 10, 2011 9:04 PM

    i share the same apprehension expressed by the author in this well analytical story on Anna’s phenomenon. after viewing Anna’s press conference i might be not wrong in thinking him as possible benevolent dictator

  178. Priyesh Jain permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:29 PM

    I also believe that the movement is more a staged show rather then anything else. What is the need of hour is awareness among the people rather then anything else. India has great laws like the right to information act but unless we know how to use the laws in proper way the jan lokpal bill will also not do any good. We have a strong judiciary system in India, a PIL had force minister like raja to resign and be behind bars.

    Obviously there seems a lot of vested interest,why is the five people who started the movement only in the committee, if this is a public movement then why not a democratic way to choose the public representative in the committee. Who gave this five people the right to represent the people without a democratic selection. People who have supported the movement are now feeling left out. Why close door meetings to decide on government proposal and not open public decision on the same.

    Baba ramdev has already levied charges of neptosim in the draft committee, in a way it is right, but mr shanti bhoshan says they need legal expert in the committee and not yog gurus. But he needs to answer one thing that in a vast country like india do we have only 2 legal experts. Can’t the andolan committee find another law expert in the entire nation.

    To sum up the movement, let’s just not follow someone just to satisfy our guilt, or just to feel that we are doing our bit for the country. Be an aware citizen.

  179. Karan Modi permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:51 PM

    Well, mob mentality gets the better of the best of us. Lack of information or rather a lack initiative to factually back up our opinions is why most of us have a very skewed perception of the happenings. Without dissent in opinions a democracy cannot function in a healthy manner and it is indeed disturbing that we can no longer agree to disagree.

  180. Rohit Shinkre permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:01 PM

    Fine you did not celebrate yesterday. This is a free country. I understand you are cautious about the Jan Lok Pal bill- but I see no proposal. Reactive comments and analysis is easy- to act requires courage. Anna Hazare has managed to get a few us out of abject lethargy that is now our characteristic, our inability to respond to anything that does not pertain to cricket and bollywood. The debate on the nature of the Jan Lok Pal bill has just begun not concluded. What you have read is a draft.

  181. Adi permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:05 PM

    You nailed it on every sense! Exactly my thoughts… but may be I wouldnt have expressed them so well… Even I hope that sense prevails, someday :)

  182. Dhanesh Sharma permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:29 PM

    Aditya Nigam’s response came as a relief after Shuddhabrata’s post.

    Mr.sengupta’s very well cushioned his spineless logics and preconceived notions with his eloquent writing skills and large army of words. He himself Doesn’t give the basis of relating Annaji to the “sarkari sant’ while challenging the basis of other’s relating him to JP.

    His sole grievance seems to be that the lokpal will not be a democratically elected representative and in his opinion the answer to all problems seem to come through public representative’s while completely missing the point that the lokpal bill is the consequence of the anger people have towards “DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PEOPLE REPRESENTATIVES”. Is he completely ignoring the role The Supreme court plays in safeguarding the democratic interest of the nation ??As far as I know Chief Justices and judges don’t fight elections.

    The self sympathetic tone of the post was also rather disturbing. Terms like “at the risk of heresy” or “I may be called a ‘cynic’ ” gave an impression that the people protesting at Jantar Mantar and their supporters all over the country instead of being contributors to a peaceful protest are a part of some lynch mob or a group of vandalizers!!

    You are free to choose YOUR revolution Mr.sengupta but not at the cost of discrediting those who fight for US !!

  183. Vijay permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:36 PM

    Learn that putting essential and integral components under one body alone makes it functional. They do not form conflict of interest as some are misinforming. You can not put kidneys and heart outside body and ask it to function well. Components of Janlokpal are its instruments of wellfunctionality. Some rogues have analysed aspects of JanLokpal as conflict of interests which is absolute crap.

  184. Ravi permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:41 PM

    Read the article carefully and more importantly read the comments too. The article concerned does raise some questions but instead of maligning the effort I would have rather preferred to get some solutions from him on his concerns.

    The Draft bill is not even ready and they are talking about holding the official discussions on camera in order to be transparent. As far as debates on the media are concerned barring some conducted by reliable hosts most of them are meaningless TRP centric discussions.

    Somebody talked about a manthan…and when that happens there is going to be some anarchy all right. But I am sure the learned members of the committee will tread the right way. We can sure debate them once they put down something on paper, otherwise these rants are too immature and self congratulatory.

    It is surely pleasurable to read dissent because that too stands out and the author knows that.

    He is an exception, thankfully so, but we heard him and surely would want to consider his suggestions. But I am afraid except cynicism, there was nothing to carry forward!! And I am sure he had a good nights sleep, while we did not. We celebrated!! Celebrated the first step!!

  185. Burzin Contractor permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:05 AM

    Mr.Shuddhabrata Sengupta’s article stinks. It stinks not only because it a meandering linguistically nightmare but this main argument is that the JanLokPal bill has too much powers and will probably hurt too many politicians…lol
    (1) Does any comman man need to fear a very stong JanLokPal bill?
    (2) Do any honest Politician need to fear a very strong JanLokPal bill?

    He offers no idea or strategy how to counter this dirty, filthy loot of my country at every level of government. No corrupt in government fear anything. He know he is protected by his superiors, protected by draconian laws – where no Politician or Civil servant can be procecuted without government approval. This is like asking a Murderers mother to give approval for her sons crime. BLOODY ABSURD!

    How long can we tolerate this? You should be grateful that Anna Hazares movement is non-violent or there is so much anger seething in the common people against this blatent, shameless corruption that it could have erupted in a volcano!

    Such articles are expected. You are not going to expect the corrupt to sit around idle when you are attempting to cutoff their blood lifeline of corruption.

    Im sure the anti JanLokPal people have many more dirty tricks up their sleeve.

    • Anis Mohiuddin permalink
      April 11, 2011 7:48 PM

      Well said, Burzin. There is an effort here to silence the movement that is heading somewhere positive.

      Today, I am sure the IT officer will think twice to ask for that money for releasing my refund cheque. I am also sure I will create a ruckus in his office to suit his position should he decide to insist for his tip. That rascal will have lots of headache to treat. Just last week I could not have imagined to do this.

      Anyone here to stand by me when I meet the IT officer who is no less than a kin of Pranab Mukherjee or Manmohan Singh?

  186. Nandana permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:13 AM

    Thank you so much for such a well articulated and logical analysis of the issue. I want to understand what this creature called civil society is? Are these not the same people who are supposed to elect the government? Have we forgotten that a democracy is only as good as the people in it?

    Of course there is need for change, but the need is to create better incentive structures within the existing system, not expanding the system by creating yet another institution whose “corruptibility” is imminent.

    We need more efficient monitoring at the ground level, not a central body filled with random people, who clearly didn’t have the guts to stand for election (or maybe stood and lost- making their legitamacy even more questionable).

    • Vijay permalink
      April 11, 2011 2:23 AM

      You must be outside of civilian society. Time to know wistleblowers of the society.

  187. Amitabh permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:19 AM

    Although I admire the intellectual honesty and consistency in most of the points made in this article. I have a point to make about Bengal.

    Most such objective assessments have come from Bengalis. While it is clear that they have this talent/skill, I want to make an observation.
    Why is Bengal in such a shape today in-spite of all the intellectuals ?

    Is it because they asses things, give wonderfully worded and articulated opinions, but do not DO anything about the issues at hand? Arm chair advisors?

    I do not claim that not having a better solution makes one unqualified to critique on a proposed one.

    My point is, do they do just that? Sit and judge? Like film critics, the movies aren’t improving but their opinions keep flowing.

    • August 19, 2011 8:59 AM

      there you go Mr Castiest, regionalist, chauvenist. If words fail you solution is silence and not to put your foot in mouth!

  188. Manoj Kewalramani permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:21 AM

    Excellent post… could not have said it better myself.

  189. anuraadha tewari permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:30 AM

    While I am in COMPLETE agreement with your core points on every ground mentioned, here’s what I feel . . . at a rather simple, larger picture level . . . the News Channels did not deify Anna Hazare in the beginning . . . it was only when a sense of mass hysteria began building up across social networking sites and with crowds landing up in Jantar Mantar that the Channels saw their own little Tahrir Square and clamored to be the first ones to ‘own’ it . . . the point is that its the PEOPLE who came first . . . it’s the same PEOPLE who cheered and clapped and showed up in numbers in so many cities across the country and then said ‘oh well he has won . . . ahhh we are victorious now . . . IPL here we come!” The truth is that no one amongst the PEOPLE has either questioned the provisions of the Bill or even thought about what it does or doesn’t stand for . . . or the fact that it will lay the powers in concentrated hands . . . the truth is we the PEOPLE are more than ecstatic to have found that ONE GUY or set of guys who will do the job for us . . . while we will move on to the next Tamaasha . . . because hey, we did it for a few days and now he has won the ‘match’ and heck where’s the next source of entertainment. So the truth is we the PEOPLE who encourage this shrill tone of the Media . . . its we the PEOPLE who don’t want to know more once the tamaasha is over . . . now which Anna Hazare can change that??? I don’t know . . .

    • August 19, 2011 9:02 AM

      I am sure there were lot of sensible people there out of conviction. But if I were to believe what the TV channels shows when they asked people why are they there(at Tihar) no one had any clue, One person said he is there because Bhagat Singh was from his village. So I have to agree with you!

  190. Jai permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:12 AM

    A thoughtful article! The whole movement was driven by “I hate my politician” emotion than any application of mind. We have become so used to Democracy that we don’t realize its significance. We are prepared to hit at its very roots if it hurts politicians in the process.

    Who are these people who will represent the ‘civil society’ for us in the commission? Nobody involved me and crores like me, my mandate was not sought. A bunch of people socialized among themselves held the elected govt to ransom and chose 5 people as my representatives. Who gave then the right? I want Narayana Murthy instead of Kejriwal. Narayana murthy wasn’t given an oportunity to file his nomination and I wasn’t given a right to elect. Whats going on?

    Anna Hazare calls himself a Gandhian. Can any Gandhian put discrimination below corruption. The way Anna called Modi an ‘Adarsh’ , he can’t be a Gandhian. For Gandhi discrimination was a big cause and Gandhi would never support DEVELOPMENT AT ANY COST. For Hazare, it doesn’t matter if Modi did to the minorities what he did until he spells development for majority. The civil society part of the commision is neither democratic not secular!

  191. Rohan Shambharkar permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:48 AM

    Thanks for writing.. I was actually turning mad at the events that were going…thought media and writers is a dead community… people like you keep my belief and hope alive… Good job!!!

  192. syam permalink
    April 11, 2011 7:20 AM

    In Facebook, $15, $ 35 etc was being requested to send for supporting Anna. This collection could amount to crores! Any information for anyone regarding this? Donation could be done using Master or Visa cards online and where the funds went? God knows? People would be interested in sending more money if its genuine. But no one is sure?!

  193. Sharmila permalink
    April 11, 2011 9:27 AM

    Your piece was long overdue. Keep the faith.

  194. April 11, 2011 9:47 AM

    So true! And I can see from the first few comments you have got that the readers of your blog do not support your view. That should be expected. The readers of your blog are the ones who supported Anna Hazare….the ones I call “armchair critics”…..the ones who never participate through the institution of voting…..and the ones who are so corrupt themselves (I am talking tax evasion here; not plain simple bribing). Do read my blog either at my website or at http://www.prashant-therealtruth.blogspot.com and you will find similar thoughts expressed there

  195. April 11, 2011 10:00 AM

    I’m not sure that likening the protest against corruption to fascism is the best way to get the point across, but the fact that its looking at a very narrow spectrum of the problem is quite evident from the numerous comments on this page. Our country has disparity of unparalleled proportions. There is no basic security at all. Its a fend for your self kind of place, and that definitely has its virtues. But in such a set up . . steam rolling towards an authoritarian panel which seems to be set to be a law giver, and enforcer, sounds like an empty dream . .
    . . here where the minimum wage is 50-100 times less than what a well to do person might make, here where corruption is entrenched so deep that its impossible to comprehend, i tend to agree with Mr Sengupta’s argument. But more than that its the widely contradictory and obviously very involved views in this forum that are truly heartening . . it may be a democracy of the upper middle class, but that’s what we’ve got, and its up to us to up turn the ruling elite and through compassion, common sense and a strong aversion of greed that we can prevail and head slightly left, wean off capitalism and consumerism and return to the land that gandhi had envisioned.
    tj

  196. Ashwin P permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:32 AM

    I have read similar articles in the media highlighting flaws in the proposed bill and “fissures” in Anna’s movement. Though its important to remain objective on the issue, one must consider that this is a great start.

    It seems more like these “writers” are self promoting hacks trying out the “pseudo-liberal” going-against-the-trend rhetoric, most of them paid off by the Congress government consisting of elite thugz (take Indian Express’ constant rubbishing of the movement for the last week).

    This article refers to the Anna Hazare Bill as a masterminded invention of the Congress, and that its ruling structure is not perfect and middle-class dominated. But as a first concrete step the country has EVER taken, was there a better alternative? We have too much apathy and lack of alternatives for an Egypt-like coup. Lets quit sitting on our fat asses and listing how it SHOULD be and instead support a good start.

  197. Sandeep Kler permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:38 AM

    I do not understand th concept of people QUALIFIED to run the country whether elected by popular vote or not. I would like to pose a simple question bfore S.Sengupta the author. Do you think Mayawati, Lalu Prasad, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha, Rahul Gandhi and above all Sonia Gandhi(A foreigner) are competent to run our country and Plan for our future. Are the even worthy to sit and enjoy the freedom they have? Should they all not be in Jails? I think we have had enough of politics and politicians. I think Lata Mangeshkaris atleast better equipped to do any job than say Mamata Banerjee or a Mayawati.

  198. Zubin Kabraji permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:48 AM

    While I am happy that Civil Society is getting a larger role to play in India,like the author, I would prefer to pick, choose and support my own revolution ………………….

  199. true indian permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:53 AM

    this is d prob. Of our country. Everyone cry dat sum1 shuld take a stand against corruption and whn sum1 like anna hazare did that people like u critisize them.what u want that politcian shud select d one who act against their own crime. Atleast people like lata mangeshkar, v s naypal r not biased like u. U r acting like an agent of congress. How much they paid u.people like u want to talk to maoist when they r killing ordinary people.think about this country man wake up.you want people like sharad pawar,shashi tharoor,lalu to select lokpal who act against them?if u can not provide a solution just shut up.v r ordinary people but not fool.so shut up.

  200. Parikshat permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:29 PM

    An excellent counter-argument that places the right points on the table, however, goes just half-way to resolve the problem.

    The article is well-written with points to ponder upon, like, are we making a bigger’ monster’ in the form of a Lokpal who will not be accountable to the public? Are we creating a position who may still do the “Ji-Hazoori” to the rich ‘coz he/she may still be bribable (don’t know if that is the right word).

    However, what you fail to point out is … If not this, then what? Atleast the JLP creates a body/ person who the political elite could be wary of. TN Sheshan is a classic example where the CEC was feared by the political class across party lines and he brought in the required changes quite to the benefit of the populace. The CEC was also a body that was criticized by the same political class.

    Anna Hazare has suggested one way to reach the common target (of eliminating corruption). Its up to us or another Anna Hazare to suggest a different and better method. Gandhi also resorted to this method which the british also labeled as emotional blackmail. But, it worked ‘coz the method was widely accepted and followed after the so-called blackmail.

  201. CN Seshadri permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:40 PM

    Shri sengupta has done a lot of thinking and has tried to put things logically.however his fears have been answered by the main supporters already.as i understand the lokpal will only investigate and charge sheet ,if found correct. it will not be the judge but only prosecute.Secondly the final form of the bill is still open and suggestions could be given the public.Lastly the other issues suggested by Sengupta are going to be addressed progressively as already announced by Sri Annaji.
    Some have resorted to sarcasm in their comments.i feel this only tend to antagonise each other.We are all deeply committed to society’s welfare and hence are brothers and sisters on the same side.we should not appear to be haughty as Dr Abhisek Sighvi did and withdrew from the interview the other day and antagonized all.
    regards to all posting their comments.

  202. April 11, 2011 12:43 PM

    When the going gets as bad as what it is, the first thing is to hit it with whatever you get, than decide on how to make it into a better weapon.

    Reading too much into all this is useless and the author should proactively first get some action done instead of just talking like the rest of us over the last so many decades.

    Just shut up and first act. Anna Hazare movement is a celebration in the eyes of the majority of the people who actually suffer and a few might choose not to celebrate but than everyone does not enjoy cricket too.

    Just shut up and work and do something real instead of writing, talking and bulshit.

    all the best…..one day we all will die…..

  203. Dinesh permalink
    April 11, 2011 12:59 PM

    Dear Mr. Sengupta,

    So many comments to your article. Wonder if you get time to read all in detail. So very briefly:

    Democracy is beautiful but doesn’t work everywhere. Top example is bihar state. Strong are able to mislead masses and tweak the system. So untill whole of india is able to make a good choice for itself, it good to have some so called ‘elite’ but educated people to choose leaders. Uneducated voter don’t have the capacity to make good choice for themselves. Further the group of people detailed (noble winners, megasaysay winners) etc may not be elite per say. Once every indian is able & educated enough to be able to think his right from wrong clearly, the bill can be modified.
    But as of now, I am glad that its not fully democratic. I have seen it how it works and I am tired of it.

  204. April 11, 2011 1:05 PM

    Its indeed a long discussion above .. i must agree with you all people.

  205. Vikram permalink
    April 11, 2011 1:07 PM

    I’ve been telling anyone who’s willing to listen: the current Jan Lokpal draft is just a bargaining chip used by the activists to gain upper hand in their negotiations with an unwilling government. The clauses are extra-constitutional with a purpose: to get government’s and people’s attention on the core issue of corruption. The drafters of Jan Lokpal are not fools to think this will be law: Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde etc. have drafted this bill.

    In fact, Hegde admitted recently (I can’t find the link) that he does not agree with some of the draconian clauses in Jan Lokpal, but he supports the movement. Anna Hazare silenced Baba Ramdev’s nepotism charge by saying that we need constitutional experts (like the Bushans) in the panel.

    I feel that this author does not sufficiently understand the motivation of the movement, and is unfairly taking Jan Lokpal draft at its face value. Please correct me if I’m missing something here.

  206. Another concerned citizen permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:40 PM

    What a well written article, have the same concerns, (and so do many people i know)but you have articulated it all so well..i agree with everything that you have written

  207. Sanjeev Sharma permalink
    April 11, 2011 3:10 PM

    I have not seen such a cynical and absurd thought process. Totally pessimistic and unworthy reading , not at all worth second look.. The author( Mr Sengupta ) seems to be under depression and sees no light beyond his four dark walls…Even an effort by someone to show him the way will be misconstrued as an attempt to murder him. Only God can show him the way if at all he wishes to be enlightened. Its good that he is not celebrating with Anna Hazare….We don’t need such scholars..

  208. Parthajeet Sarmah permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:06 PM

    All right, sir. Point well taken. What you have highlighted, minus all the linguistic frills, is perhaps a move back towards aristrocracy from the so-called ‘democracy’ that exists in the country today – in which Ministers and top-shots behave the way they want with who they want, while the law & order establishment is more or less made to dance on puppet strings (or rather, purse strings). But at some point in your article, you seem to have completely overlooked a few points:

    1. So what if the government gets “sanctified by the cosmetic cloak of the provisions of the draft Jan Lokpal Bill”? Forget the cloak, I think we should be asking “Would they be answerable to the public for corruption cases? Can we have a provision that states that the Government would HAVE TO give a response to the public on any issue of corruption, whether at central or state level? If they do not, what can we do about it?”

    2. Tomorrow, Baba Ramdev may go an a spree to ask for something draconian: I agree completely with the concern. But the right to free speech, and the right to assemble are granted to us by our constitution in any case. Short of putting a .45 mm hollow-point in every dissenter’s head (which would make you anti-democratic anyway), you certainly cannot stop anyone from saying anything without endangering the basics of democracy – the same democracy that your article is aimed at defending.

    3. You seem to object very strongly to the selection of non-elected representatives to head up the Lokpal. Considering the track record we have had with elected representatives so far (99% of whom are corrupt in some way or another in any case), I as a citizen feel somewhat better assured that a non-elected rep with a mind of his or her own AND a public reputation to defend, lest he or she be embroiled in some cash-for-leniency deal (which our newsies are all too keen to jump onto in any case), would be a better choice in any case. You seem to have overlooked the point that these non-elected representatives have made it big in life through their own efforts and not through votes given by the general population. You want an anathema to “absolute power corrupts absolutely”? I’d say “give power and responsibility to one who has not gone to seek it; it is highly likely that he will do a far better job of it”

    4. One whole article about how bad things can be. Sir, I would urge you to have a look at – and subsequently highlight – the positives that have come out of the Karnataka Lokayukta, which has had a high success rate at most times, despite a few offtracks.

    And the final point I would like to highlight is that you are pushing for greater RTI regulations in areas where it does not exist yet. If you would like to lead to way to another ‘revolution’ to make this happen, I am willing to follow you.

    I for one would certainly not call you cynical, but being just a misinformed Indian, I would love it if you could highlight on the issue further.

  209. A Prabhakar permalink
    April 11, 2011 6:13 PM

    Sir,

    We Indians incl the author suffer fron ‘CRAB MENTALITY”.Anybody trying to do good is pulled down by cynics.That is why for 64 yrs we have been taken for a ride by politicians & govts.

    We Indians want to enjoy fruits of labour as long as we are not invoved.

    I want to ask whether we all crib and fret when authorities don’t do official jobs without palm greasing and fret out mouthfuls .

    All of us crib at the amount of assets with all politicians who claim to be sons of the soil.

    Laws are passed for benefit of politicians at the drop of a hat, eg to save Sonia Gandhi, office of profit bill was passed, the salary bill for MPs.

    All institutions of the govt play the safe game. During election time politicians have been shown doling money to the electorate, free TVs are distributed despite moral code of conduct, and posters and graffiti dirty all towns & cities; what action has the EC taken . This is also corruption in a differant form.

    Political party funds are the biggest blackhole of corruption.
    Has anyone bothered to ask the quantum of party funds held by resp parties and their source. Anyone contributing to a party is given tax exemption .Why? Corporates donate for a quid -pro-quo.Was told a lot goes into real estate & share market.Not giving details of FIIs is a clear cut case. ALL THIS IS CORRUPTION WHICH THE LOKPAL BILL IS ALL ABOUT.
    Why can’t all party funds be in one bank for easy monitoring .

    Surprised this is being called draconian law.POTA, MOCOCA etc are all needed and despite the so called loopholes as claimed by cynics is an effective tool. Why even the general public sang praises of the emergency in1975 when as a result of the” danda” things were moving tiki- tiki-boo.

    If their is no corruption then why be scared of this bill. The courts are their to mediate if the law is misused.

    Let the Lokpal come and don’t denounce it at the embryonic stage which is our national passtime

  210. April 11, 2011 6:15 PM

    Me and a friend were having a conversation about this issue. And how there is a lot of pseudo activism going around everywhere. Rather than supporting something at Jantar Mantar, lets just practice what we support in our lives. We wont need to do fasts at Jantar Mantar after that….

  211. Sidhartha Ghosh permalink
    April 11, 2011 6:41 PM

    Much,much food for thought and serious reflection! Vox Populi seeems very ready to ‘succumb’ to this kind of tamasha, with the fullsome support of the electronic media, and, dare we forget, the social networks ( the new ‘brahmastra’)!!!

    Without taking away anything from Anna Hazare, I desperately hope that he is aware of his limitations, and, dare I say, naivete?! Whilst I salute his endeavour, as Rajdeep Sardesai said so succintly (in one of his tweets), “…let Annna be Anna; let us not make him another Mahatma”!

  212. Trilochan Anand permalink
    April 11, 2011 7:19 PM

    Our Democracy has been converted into Dacoitocracy… ever increasing revenue has been converted in to personal wealth which is suppose to be utilized in India growth… major part of money generated has been routed out of India and is invested abroad and helping Dubai and other countries to grow… whole system is focused on making money instead real growth.
    Those industrialist used to control govt. and system has now started realizing the demon they have created has outgrown… So everybody is alarmed now from small frys to big tycoon to and supporting anything that interruption…don’t worry any change will be better

  213. Divya Adusumilli permalink
    April 11, 2011 7:23 PM

    Questions towards the end of the post, well asked. Whilst the movement began to address gaps between what government proposes and what civil society proposes, in the chaos it is inevitable that politics tugs at the feet of change. Whilst the revolution seems cosmetic, it rightfully triggers a sentiment that most people are weighed down by-corruption. Media is just a platform to inform or misinform, and is not to be given more seriousness than it deserves. What deserves more attention is tackling the abuse of power. Whilst your concerns are brave, we are not to forget that democracy is not easy to achieve where a few like yourself or myself can voice alternative opinion. What I would have liked to further read is, how you think Anna Hazare could step down, and people can step up, and challenge the elite.

  214. Dr. SARJEEV Yadav permalink
    April 11, 2011 9:02 PM

    ” Kalam uthai hai lafz nahi milta, jisko dhudh rahe hai wo shakhs nahi milta, firte ho tum jamane ki talash me, bus hamare liye tumhe woqt nahi milta.”
    Me biting on my Applam n bread cumbs fragile n one an hard otherwise state of affairs. 
    Well in it’s present form unless an suo muto powers r given it will b an big let down. Justice Bushan also agrees to such an opinion. An varied section law makers n educated public agrees that all laws have an positive n negative stress concentration areas. What is importan is how well we r responible for arresting negativity. Damm US WE INDIANS we have RTI ACT PR ACT AND MANY MORE ACTS WHICH R AGANIST CORROUPTION. 
    LOK JANPAL  BILL is an old wine in an new bottle. Or rather caught our masses fancy as it was just an click away as u had put it. 
    Every tiger has an tooth but all r not man-eaters. 
    The taste if the pudding is in it’s eating. 
    Well who needs tooth to taste  well to put it in an nutshell .
    ” We better Log on to our good senses rather than pay Lagan in future. ”
    As. Blogged previously.

  215. mini elizabeth george permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:29 PM

    Corruption is not a new phenomena in India. In recent times especially political corruption had risen sky high. The only difference is that recently judiciary is also under fire. But one must suspect, where was Hasare till now.

    • abhishek das permalink
      April 12, 2011 2:04 AM

      Hazare was always here..get ur facts checked b4 commenting on something dat ur not sure about….it’s because of HAzare that the RTI is existent today..also, he single-handedly helped in removing 6-7 ministers of the maharashtra govt. earlier on corruption cases….m not his advocate..so u can read up more abt him and his accomplishments on the net..google is always der..:)

  216. Subash permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:38 PM

    Corruption is caused by the givers of bribes and the bribe takers have a secondary role. Because corruption happens only when something is amiss or when one tries to do something beyond the rules or is not strong enough to confront the bribe seeker. Unfortunately in India the systems are so weak and the people so poor that it leads to corruption. And despite what we may boast about our traditions and culture encourages corruption.
    Here we have the vigilance enforcers itself being corupt. Which is a classic.

  217. ashish permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:58 PM

    I agree with you on the fact that the republics work on the basis of checks and balances, but is it required to create an extra constitutional body, instead of making present system(judiciary) stronger, to exercise the exercise checks and balances. Moreover if the problem is with the representation system then we should be deliberating (or in this case protesting) on the ways to improve its efficiency and efficacy rather than putting checks on the outcome. For past 40 years instead of trying to get this bill passed, if one had tried to get the electoral system reformed the results today would have been totally different.

  218. Indraneel Mallik permalink
    April 12, 2011 12:47 AM

    Frankly, I was expecting this article out of sheer probability than for any other reason. If there are hundreds and thousands and lakhs in support of the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ won’t we have at least one (apart from the corrupt politicians themselves and their equally dubious coterie) who will have his logical reasons for justifying his minority stand.

    As a professional animator who spends most of his day enacting the idiosyncracies of cartoon characters and wastes a few precious hours under the curse of the ‘infamous long commute’ faced by many unlucky Mumbai-ites, I probably fall woefully short of the time and dedication required to study such a deserving subject as ‘Anna Hazare and his Jan Lokpal Bill’ to justify my stand as a debator against the erudite Shuddhabrata Sengupta who probably is aided by the ‘nature of his profession’ to not only get the luxury of time to do considerable research on the subject but also the maverick inclination of mind to come up with the ‘commendable bravery’ of taking a stand in the minority. However, as in all human endeavours, the will should be stronger than the skill; and I therefore muster up enough courage and without further ado, seek to address some of the ‘worms’ troubling our learned speaker Shuddhabrata Sengupta.

    Mr. Shuddhabrata’s first concern is that the Lokpal is not elected democratically. It is remarkable that Mr. Shuddhabrata who has probably got used to sleeping soundly under the renunciation that a powerless Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and an unindependent Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been miserably unsuccessful in stemming the rot of corruption in the 63 years of the history of independent India, has now risen up to the smell of bedbugs, as he realizes that the non-democratically elected Bharat Ratnas and Nobel Prize laureates will elect the members of the Lokpal which is deemed to be ‘the most powerful institution in India’. An obsessive fastidiousness to the technicals tenets of democracy is more important to Mr. Shuddhabrata than a clean corruption-free society. What this learned gentleman pitifully fails to realize is that it is better to have an authorized body elected by the non-corrupt elite of the society than to have a puppet CVC formed by corrupt (albeit democratically elected) politicians. And may I also point out that even though the so-called privileged elite (like Lata Mangeshkar and APJ Abdul Kalam to give Mr. Shuddhabrata’s own examples) may not be legislatively elected, yet they are the heartbeat of the nation and resound its collective consciousness at a subliminal level.

    Going through his article, I have also cannot help marvel at Mr. Shuddhabrata’s uncanny ability at prophesying. The heart rending history of independent India in which the evil and powerful nexus between underworld criminal organisations and corrupt politicians and police officers which have stripped many an innocent citizen of his or her humanity and allowed perpetrators of crime and corruption to walk scot free; now become pale by comparison. What becomes a serious issue is the dubious future of the Lokpal. To quote the learned gentleman again, ‘nothing fosters corruption as much as the concentration of unaccountable and unrestrained power’ – meaning that the Lokpal will become the biggest seat of corruption in times to come. Mr. Shuddhabrata has predicted the complete failure of the machinery of the Lokpal even before it has been constituted in any earnest, even before giving it a fair trial – keeping in mind that the people who are involved are at least not criminals in the guise of politicians. I can only comment that this gentleman called Mr. Shuddhabrata has got a serious ailment of not being able to put things in perspective.

    Mr. Shuddhabrata has also displayed his wholehearted love for the intellectual process of debate when he says “In these circumstances, one would have ordinarily expected the media to have played a responsible role by acting as a platform for debate and discussion about the issues”. Here again, what the myopic gentleman fails to realize is that debates and discussions are all that we have been having for the past 63 years in an attempt to root out corruption but this has never bore any fruit. I am afraid that Mr. Shuddhabrata’s ‘ostensible knowledge’ remains merely an intellectual exercise and finds no practical usage in the critical need of the hour.

    Well, the silver lining is that Mr. Shuddhabrata writes a paragraph wherein he gives his inputs as to how social reform can take place – extending the provisions of the Right to Information Act, proportional representation, provision of uniform public funding, etc. However, I am sure that Anna Hazare and many others are also aware of the same and as has been repeatedly said by the champion activist himself – “This is only the beginning and many other reforms will follow”. So, if Mr. Shuddhabrata will just be a little patient (and again – have his priorities right) we can collectively and democratically lead India on a prosperous path. For the change has just started …

    • bilal permalink
      April 12, 2011 4:56 AM

      All hail the brave Indraneel, the finest among the Bhodrolok of Sonar Bangla! Who courageously responds to that leftist traitor of his people who dares to voice a ‘minority’ opinion. I suppose that for guys like you simply anyone who voices any opinion that has not sprouted from the loins of your own (rather farcical) intellect, belongs in ‘the minority’. Obviously as your ample curriculum vitae at the top of your post bears out, living the animators life in Bombay and mixing a little extra kashondi to your Lata didi accompanied power-snack breaks, has addled your (already over-animated) cranial matter beyond repair. I mean… when accuse some one thus “An obsessive fastidiousness to the technicals tenets of democracy is more important to Mr. Shuddhabrata than a clean corruption-free society.” one really gets thinking about how rotten, dirty and self-centered Urban India has become! And when this is followed by jewels such as “What this learned gentleman pitifully fails to realize is that it is better to have an authorized body elected by the non-corrupt elite of the society than to have a puppet CVC formed by corrupt (albeit democratically elected) politicians. And may I also point out that even though the so-called privileged elite (like Lata Mangeshkar and APJ Abdul Kalam to give Mr. Shuddhabrata’s own examples) may not be legislatively elected, yet they are the heartbeat of the nation and resound its collective consciousness at a subliminal level.” ….. one really gets an idea as to what acute Hilsa deprivation can do to a Bhodro!!
      If you think that people like Anna Hazare, Lata Mangeshkar, APJ Abdul Kalam and Baba Ramdev form the core of the “non corrupt elite” of India, then I think that you (with all your wonderful little breezy witty phrases) simply do not know the meaning/s of that word.
      I can only conclude that you Mr. Mallik are a very middle class, very urban person, whose little mind (happily employed as it is at a ‘professional animators’ salary) does not grasp anything more substantial than the borrowed ideas and recycled colonial stereotypes that your post seems to brim with. In summation… you are so full of shite that your nostils (busy imagining the revolutionary scents of Anna Hazare’s septuagenarian douche) can no longer smell the rot up your own behind!

    • T N Menon permalink
      April 12, 2011 12:54 PM

      Well written! It is easy for armchair critics to pontificate and scoff at Anna Hazare’s movement. There is no denying the fact that it has touched a chord in the minds of millions of Indians, especially the youth, who are disgusted with the state of the nation. There could be flaws in the way the protests were conducted, the joint panel was formed, and also in the draft versions of both the bills. However, it is absurd to rubbish the bill even before it has been drafted by the panel. Well, none, absolutely no one, who pounce on Anna Hazare and his followers, portraying them as some kind of anti-socials, has been able to put forth any alternative, leave alone a perfect solution. The crime Anna Hazare and his followers have committed is that they have been trying to do something about corruption, while all that the cynics have been doing has been to cosily lie back doing nothing than write pedantic essays and badmouth those who are trying to do something.

  219. Pranav Ponders permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:23 AM

    Nice article, nicer response. Articulate views, Articulate Rhetoric.

    What we surely agree is that Arnab Goswami has started getting the God complex that Barkha Dutt or Karan Thapar had/has.

    Why are these anchors influencing opinion by agressive questions ? Its painful to see the likes of Arnab Goswami ( Who started well when he did) not listening to contrary views of most panelists.

    Such horrible listners these Anchors are ! Unfortunate the way they use their power to influence.

    Hope the Lokpal is Different from this lot :)

  220. Saji permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:57 AM

    Well said. I also believe that the bill proposed by Anna and Co. is nothing short of the “dreams” of naxals. Well, in a slightly toned down way. I hope the mass hysteria among the middle class Indians and the support from the media does not result in such a law. Wonder how many of those who feel that “all politicians are corrupt” have not paid a bribe so far, have stayed on the correct lane while driving etc etc.

    • Anis Mohiuddin permalink
      April 12, 2011 3:28 PM

      @Saji: The rule have been broken often just to achieve the immediate goal without which life was becoming miserable. But I do not want to break the rule at all. Income tax officer should have some shame before asking for a tip from a tax payer. I want to see that son of Pranab Mukherjee does the job he is paid for by Government and not beg. These shameless creatures should be returned back to where they came from.

      To achieve this end Anna is the only visible hope. Rest are like you.(I am sorry to say that but that is how the country has been working since congress upped this technology).

  221. April 12, 2011 3:57 AM

    Oh Boy! There you go pricking the bubble of middle class morality.

    Lokpal? Be careful what you wish for.

  222. abhishek permalink
    April 12, 2011 4:51 AM

    Is Corruption the most important issue concerning india,today?

    What about incompetence and mismanagement, the unofficial motto of nearly every enterprise?Is it not draining our resources faster than corruption?

    Is it not our social divisions which actually allow corrupt politicians to win?

    The point i am making is that corruption is one of a moral problem.People give bribes because they want to bypass the procedure or are simply have condescending attitude towards law (janta hai mera baap kaun hai attitude).

    Technocratic solutions like a lokpal bill for a moral problem never work as a rule.By passing this bill we will create a superordinate body which even in its mellowed down form would be an organisational nightmare.

    Regarding sanctity of noble laureates,Barring award in sciences, noble prizes are political prizes .The biggest warmonger of 19th century (Theoder roosavelt) was awarded a noble peace prize for what was a flimsy temporary truce between Russia and Japan.Recent examples are Barack Obama,Arafat,Simon Perez,Henry Kissinger and Jim Carter.This politicisation is also entrenched in economic and literature prizes.

    Further more Magasasay awards are ideologically coloured also.

    The more workable solution would be to
    i) Dont give/take bribes
    ii) Expose and shame corrupt people.Even corrupt people have a sense of self which they want to protect.Even if a person does not lose election ,he pays for his corrupt deeds by way of loss of esteem and attachment of stigma with his name.(Raja and Kalmadi)
    iii)To shake ourself out of hypocrisy.I live in Delhi and have seen people(note:Vehical Owners) not following traffic rules and when traffic police cracks down hard ,going to govenment complaining about police.

    The creation of LOKAYUKT could lead to following scenarios

    s1: Lokayukta is corrupt
    “EVERY ACT OF CORRUPTION SHOULD BE VETTED BY LOKAYUKTA”
    s1.1Lokayukta is corrupt and power hungry
    “EVERY ACT OF CORRUPTION SHOULD BE VETTED BY LOKAYUKTA AND EVERY OFFICIAL INCAPABLE OF BECOMING A LAP DOG IS SUMMARILY DISMISSED”

    s2:Lokayukta is not corrupt
    s2.1 Lokayukta is power hungry
    s.2.1.1 Lokayukta has a utopian vision
    s.2.1.1.1 Lokayukta is sane and just person
    “LOKAYUKTA IS UPSURPER OF CIVIL LIBERTIES”
    s.2.1.1.2 Lokayukta is insane
    “KHYMER ROUGE ANYONE???”
    s.2.1.2Lokayukta does not have utopian vision
    “BOW DOWN TO EMPRORER”
    s2.2Lokayukta is not power hungry
    “WE HAVE AN EFFICIENT CORRUPTION WATCHDOG”

    you could calculate probability of an credible lokayukt but remember “POWER CORRUPTS AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY” and corruption is just a subset of a bigger pschological block indians suffer from.

  223. Rishi Pujara permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:05 AM

    Hi,
    I hadn’t read the Jan Lokpal bill and didn’t knew what it actually contained, but I was against Anna Hazare from day 1 of his fast. The way things have been carried out just don’t seem right to me. Of-course having a supremem committee which is not answerable to anyone and above all the existing institutions appointed by the law of constitution will be suicidal especially if it’s run by people who might be from any walk of life be it Page3 celebs, writers or scientists. You don’t need bharat Ratna or Nobel prize winners to reform our system, neither does the idea of having a superman appeal to my intellect. I guess now we need a movemement against this Jan Lokpal Bill itself.

  224. gargi permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:45 AM

    FYI, the bill is in draft form only, you can write this article when the final draft after discussion with govt. (10 panel members – govt and civil society) is ready. Comment on that.

  225. Ashok Kumar Ahuja permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:56 AM

    This article somewhat resonates with the views of a certain class among Indians at the time of struggle for Independence, and they were all well educated learned and suave with their communication skills, there were quiet many of them who had been decorated with knighthood and or accommodated otherwise by the British, and the learned considered view of this class was that British were organised and providing better efficient administration, and to repeat the English of this class was fantastic, I mean well developed communication skills, good choice of specific words you cannot understand unless you refer to proper genuine Oxford published dictionary, good oratory skills in general etc. And one has to accept the life in India, for several years after independence, was more disorganised, let us agree turbulent for those for example, who had established factories for supplying shoes to the British. British at that time looks to me did not let their civil service officers polish their shoes unlike the politicians the like of our own genuine democratically elected Indian leaders the like of Mahamahim Mayawati etc.

    But all said to that effect, and with due respect to excellent communication skills, specific and well chosen English words and flawless oratory (I sincerely feel how Anna Hazare with so very simple and too easily understood words will survive, drafting legislation is so very very specialised requirement; Indian government employs so many breaucrats who put so hard work (to fill up theirs Swiss Bank accounts) and then only legislation gets drafted so that it is there and is certainly not implemented, so more legislation has to be drafted, and so on bureaucrats and leaders keep going.. ). Coming back to well made point in the article, this democratically elected government does work ‘when kicked strong in the back’. All our leaders pointed that out, Sibbal said they were pressed hard for time, Moily and others said the government was already working on corruption, only more time was required- obviously more so that many more of the like of ‘democratically genuinely elected’ Raja, Kalamadi, Pawar,… can have theirs (and of others who matter) Swiss Bank accounts stuffed up and overflowing etc, perfectly real and genuine aspirations of systematically democratically elected leaders here; and ‘bechara PM’ of our country is also hard pressed to work against corruption accommodating ‘coalition politics compulsions’ and ‘Quattrochi uncles’ of the genuinely democratically elected leaders who matter. And this also needs to be appreciated and well understood- all of these are very very loyal to Gandhi family (poor Anna Hazare said he is not worthy of sitting on the feet of Gandhi ji, different family he meant- not that of our democratically perfectly genuinely elected leaders), and also when whip was cracked by the Madamme- all of these have now got high respect and regard and Sibbal is fighting with reporters that he has been misquoted about Hazare and Sibbal said he actually was referring to education of villagers and he is looking forward to working with Hazare ji. Point is these genuinely democrratically elected leaders have strong desire and experience in remaining leaders so much so that if you are frustrated and depressed and feel strongly on certain issues- you start throwing arms and legs and fists and feets and if you are together with several others- these leaders will come in front of you and you see they are genuinely democratically elected leaders and they have to remain leaders and they will remain leaders till they can no longer change colors, I mean they change colors so very often they will become ‘badrang’ any way. There is another point here- remember judiciary had once pronounced ‘No body murdered Jessica’, and then the smirk on the face of DIG Rathore he got one week to be in jail etc., all these very genuine democratically well suavely implemented legislation good oratory also. People started throwing legs and arms fists and feet and some other genuinely democratically elected implemented bureaucrats got pulled up, judges changed and some democratically elected genuine solution was finally found. ‘Right to Information’ legislation, ‘whistle blower mechanism’ etc are other well known and effective legislations- and many are trying to use or using those to keep democratically elected genuine bureaucrats to see what is right and what is wrong, etc.

    All said and done, looks to me Hazare’s efforts can be given a try and sure we need to stay cautious and lend our efforts so that it heads and achieves, and outright decrying it is may be not required. Yes celebrations are long way off, but then also ‘Shaheedon kee chitaon per lagenge har bars meley’ (watan pe marne walon ka Swiss Bank account ho na ho, naam to hona chahiye!!)

  226. JimG permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:04 AM

    My few cents….

    Where were all those critics of JLB before they realized.. they can even bother to write on anything related to corruption.

    Please remember if you think corruption could be eradicated using democratic methods then you are wrong, because we have politicians who influence less fortunate by bribing them (what better example than of Rajas brother).

    Dont worry, there will be another revolution if this JLB also does not work.

    :-) So be appreciative of others are doing to help you and your country brothers/sisters from political misery.

  227. SMZ permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:12 AM

    The whole article is unnecessary intellectualism. The basic issue around which Jan Lokpal bill is woven is the failure of our form of electoral democracy. People get elected , form Governments and get busy in looting in the garb of governance. Where is their accountability? Come next election, they once again get them elected, at least half of them and the show goes on. Thus jailed ex -Chief Minister of Jharkhand, had no problem in becoming a MP, despite money laundering charge of thousands of crore. And Mr. Koda is no exception in our democracy. One minister-ship for a year or more empowers you for the next. In fact already the Govt nominee to the draft committee Mr. Kapil Sibbal ( one of the elected representative), has started spreading confusion. With sharp reaction from the old man, he backtracked saying -I meant Jan Lokpal Bill can only be effective against corruption but not Child education. If we care for democracy, current form is inadequate. We need reforms of many kinds, Corruption control is one of many.

  228. Suresh M Iyer permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:17 AM

    I fully endorse your views.
    do read my blog

    http://socializek.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-opposing-jan-lok-pal-bill-anti.html

  229. April 12, 2011 11:33 AM

    sengupta……. classic pseudo intellectual who think they can forsee all future .63 yrs of corruption and yet he is satisfied with the system. kudos to you . one lata mangeshkar may not be qualified but a collective panel of emminent people would be better poised to solve the countries problems than a bunch of mafia goons and corrupted politicians who come to power by distributing alcohol and free TV to poor for votes .they delibrately keep the poor illiterate and backward because they can get easy votes by fooling them . try fooling the educated middle , upper middle and rich class. they will throw the alcohol and tv at you face. pl understand the technique by which politicians have managed to manipulate indias democracy. keep the poor backward and illiterate ….at elections give them blankets ,alcohol, tv , radio whatever … herd them like sheep to the polling booth and get their votes . is this the democracy you want. WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT SYSTEM {WHICH MAY NEVER BE POSSIBLE} WE ARE LOOKING FOR BETTER AND BETTER POLITICAL/ SOCIAL SYSTEM we are updrading indian democracy . we upgrade and evolve everything hardware, software, cars , planes , art, movies everything . WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SERIOUSLY UPGRADE POLITICS AND DEMOCRACY TO EMPOWER PEOPLE MORE AND MORE AND MAKE SOCIETY MORE AN MORE FAIR PLACE TO LIVE IN . BECAUSE AS THEY SAY “””””””””” ALL MEN WERE MAKE EQUAL IE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD””””

  230. Gemmazemma permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:56 AM

    Please fix your link of the draft of Jan Lokpal Bill. I wanted to see which draft you have looked at, since many have been circulating.

    Thanks.

    • Gemmazemma permalink
      April 12, 2011 12:54 PM

      I think you make some fantastic points in the first half of your article, especially regarding the stage managed choreography of this event- where both the opposition and the establishment come out as winners.

      However, your concerns i the second half about the authoritarianism of the Lokpal bill, though legitimate, are completely unfounded. Even if the Bill is passes, there is no way that it will not be watered down, and even that watered down version will be half-halfheartedly implemented. Status quo is likely to continue. Your fears put too much faith in our government/establishment/democracy in assuming that they will do what they claim to.

      Nonetheless, the lack of debate about the outline of the Bill, and the realization about its flaws is indeed worrysome.

  231. April 12, 2011 11:57 AM

    The article indeed has point of concern, but what if this bill gets created? Why do we consider corruption as a epidemic infecting Govt. bodies. What about the corruption in private areas.

    We common civilians have to face corruption in private bodies more than Govt. bodies.
    1. The day begins with the forst Corruption. The milk vendor who charges more than the MRP. We without arguing accept it.

    2. Leaving for Office. We approach a Cab or Rickshaw driver for a ride to station or bus stop. He carelessly looks at us with an attitude that he is doing a favor on us, and either refuses the ride, tweaks his meter to render higer tarif or in case of sharing keep passengers waiting.They deny a ride and charge any amount they like to extort the needy passengers

    3. Shopkeepers who charge extra as a cooling charge for breverages and other petty extra amount on MRPs

    4. Service Providers who charge Service Tax to the Customers, which actually has to be paid by service providers inspite of already extorting the customers with misbalanced and unjustified bill amounts

    5. Admission in Schools and colleges is well known to be extorted by heavy donations. No matter even after gaining admission, later on students are extorted by management in form of petty fines, donations and fees for celebrations and publications.

    There are many such corruptions that frustrate a common civillian. Does this bill have anything to address such issues? Or is it just another bubble blown by Non Political Celebrities to come in focus glorifying the sentiments of common civilians.

    I appreciate one big contribution of Anna Hajare, i.e. the Right To Information Act. If this bill empowers this RTI act and even extend this to Private Sectors (which RTI right now doesnt cover) then this bill can be helpful.

    However some one rightly said that we build alternatives to overcome one problem such as a Flyover.

    Howver these are the points that are actually needed than a bill:
    1. A Centralized Hotline or Help Desk to file issues by common civillian without the fear being biased by powerful people. These issues can be assigned tickets and will have an Service Level Agreement of resolution date. This issue could be forwarded to the concerned authority in the Public or Pvt body and forced to resolve it as per the SLA.

    2. Remove the Election system for Corporators completely. Instead Assign localities to them and monitor their progrss in Help Desk resolution. Grab Feedback from Civilians and rate the Corporator. There should be an appraisal method so that Corporators will actually be forced to work rather than Threaten and Win.

    3. Corporatizing the system with a discipline is what I think can be a solution. This way Tax Payer’s money can be actually utilized for betterment of Tax payer.

    Now if you ask me drafting this is easy, then to create this. I am ready to take this responsibility, any one who would like to take the pain to play a role in this?

  232. Ashima C.L Sharma permalink
    April 12, 2011 12:31 PM

    Corruption is not a cause, it is the effect of the acceptable dealings within the chosen structure….In a country where votes are bought in exchange of liquor, laptops, cameras and cash, corruption is inevitable.. Politics of a nation is driven by the awareness in majority of that country…Even today feedbacks, updates and visuals from Jan Lokpal movement display feverish herd mentality of the mob where most of the supporting crowd lacks basic information about the movement itself and is rather busy rejoicing the rage…

  233. vinay sharma permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:53 PM

    Its time you come out with an alternative rather than satisfying your ego with finding limitations. Interpreting is nice, questioning is welcome but come out with an example from world history where a positive change was ever brought just by finding faults. Nothing is absolute. there is scope for drawbacks everywhere but activists bring the change, sometimes bad too. but not always bad ! the cynics keep sulking and pathetically its their eternal monologue. I hope the comment will bring some vitality to approach before it kisses the coldness of death. Be positive and think positive.

  234. avinash permalink
    April 12, 2011 3:00 PM

    Dont b just cynical. Do something. At least there is a beginning to cleanse the system.

  235. Tarun Joseph permalink
    April 12, 2011 3:44 PM

    i think debate is good, and the writer raises some very valid points that we Indians will ignore at our peril. I’m hopeful for the JL bill. However, I’m quite surprised that so many of my obviously educated countrymen would have such caustic reactions to what is, after all one of the cornerstones of any democracy – free speech, expression of opinions. Ï’m quite disturbed after reading reactions like “if you aren’t supporting the Bill, you’re supporting corruption”, or “SHUT UP! if you have nothing in favour of the bill!”
    People who think that way are quite dangerous. I’m glad they aren’t on the drafting commitee! :D

  236. My2cents permalink
    April 12, 2011 6:50 PM

    Hello, I had a look at the Janlokpal bill & here are my two cents : –

    1.) No mention of prison sentences for corrupt members of Jan Lok pal bill including the chairperson, members & the employees & confiscating any recovered wealth as a result of corruption? Why not ?

    The bill seeks prison sentences for convicted public servants, politicians, private bodies & it seems that the court can also send a false complainant to 1 year prison sentence in case of malafide intent. However nowhere in the bill & also from what I have seen on TV, the Jan Lok pal members only mention dismissal of corrupt lokpal members/ employees within 1 month. Why the double standards? Why does it not lay down equal punishment – If they seek prison sentences for others they should hold themselves to the same standard of punishment including seizure of any ill gotten wealth.

    2) No esteemed private citizens like Mr Narayan Murthy who have volunteered their services or new members of the civic society from outside have been appointed. All the people who are already connected to the Jan Lok pal bill have self appointed themselves as members of the committee in leading positions. On TV I have heard few of the Janlok pal supporters say that they are the most competent people to handle the bill. I don’t believe there are no other competent people in India besides themselves. If they had taken 2 new people from civic society it would send a signal that they are not interested in appointing only themselves!

    3) The chairperson, members & each employees of the Jan lokpal bill should also be made to declare their assets. There is no mention of this anywhere which is surprising considering that members who have drafted the JanLok pal bill, many of them are ex public servants & judges themselves.

    4) Why can’t anyone sue Jan Lokpal in a court of law? Again from my knowledge ( limited & I may be wrong ), even the CBI can be sued so why is the Jan Lokpal seeking immunity – if their own workings & members & employees are transparent & honest. If their own workings & member / employees are found to be corrupt why can’t they be sued ?

    5) What is the approximate estimated cost to Indian tax payers in setting up Jan Lokpal, paying salaries & hiring new employees for creating this huge institution & army of new public servants at centre & state level ? A clause in the Janlokpal bill even mentions that :-
    This clause in the bill states :-

    “ (5) There shall be a separate fund by the name of “Lokayukta fund” in which penalties/fines imposed by the Lokayukta shall be deposited and in which 10% of the loss of Public Money detected/prevented on account of investigations by Lokayukta shall also be deposited by the Government. Disposal of such fund shall be completely at the discretion of the Lokayukta and such fund shall be used only for enhancement/upgradation/extension of the infrastructure of Lokayukta.”

    Again will there be transparency in how they spend this money, they don’t mention anything. Political scams run into crores – so 10 % can be a huge amount. I am not aware if any existing institutions in India do this, like the Income Tax department – does it get to keep 10 % of the revenue collected by its department? is there an precedent for this. I have heard that the customs department auctions articles seized by them – but they auction it to the general public, at least that’s what I think.

    6) Can the RTI be used in case of Janlokpal? The only form of transparency the Janlokpal bill says is that we will have everything on our website – but it will be the Janlokpal who will be in charge of putting information on a website – how does that enforce transparency?

    7) Why deny for example – a traffic policeman the right to use Janlokpal if he is a victim of corruption like being asked donation to get his child admitted to a school? What authority can he go to since public servants cannot make complains to Janlokpal. Who does he approach?

    8) Lack of separation of powers :- For example if a Police officer was made a Judge in all its cases he was investigating – wouldn’t he just decide the accused is guilty in maximum number of cases without even bothering to prepare a solid prosecution case. So by keeping the police & courts separate we ensure separation of powers, however In Janlokpal there is no separation of powers so why will Janlokpal rule against itself especially since they are denying the right to even appeal. Janlokpal can investigate, can be the police without any warrants & then be the judge – I just feel the scope for abuse of power is too large by giving all these powers to a single institution, at least the courts should be separate & not under Janlokpal to ensure fair trials.

    9) Is there any platform by current Janlokpal members / supporters on IAC website to take suggestions & concerns from general public regarding the JanLok Pal bill, how does the civil society submit there suggestions?

    Personally I do not like the idea of Janlokpal bill in its present form, there needs to be lot more debate on it & some amendments too. It seeks to create new public servants & bureaucracy with too much power in hands of few self appointed leaders with zero accountability to anyone. I also do not agree with diluting autonomy of existing institutions of democracy under one single institution – that is like giving them absolute power with no one to watch them – who monitors the Janlokpal ? How can the JanLokpal be above the parliament & Judiciary, that doesn’t make any sense.

  237. Raaghav Chanana permalink
    April 12, 2011 10:32 PM

    Dear Shuddhabrata,

    Its great to read your post, and have another point of view on the matter. But it would be far more helpful if you could instead post your edited version of the Lok Pal Bill. You know, how MS Word allows you to make edits, and one can see the before and after, lines, corrections in red, all that?

    That would be infinitely better and clearer and more specific than the above post. Don’t you think?

    Often, our opinions get lost in this kind of rhetoric, your opinions, then the comments that follow. It would be so much more productive, and refreshing to see an actual actionable alternative, instead of just reading about what’s wrong with this and that and the other.

    And then, maybe you could go a step further and send it to someone at indiaagainstcorruption.org? You are a citizen of the country, and your view should be considered by them, no?

    Maybe you could start your own fast undo death? (I’m kidding about that)
    But the above, I mean in all sincerity.

    I think you must do that.

    Best
    r

  238. sundeep permalink
    April 13, 2011 5:31 AM

    Felt so nice to read this article .The important things not to forget are how to get the country progress ? Definitely corruption needs to be handled at all levels.

    The Lokpal is not powerful as long as a common citizen can effectively bring a corrupt Lokpal down.This can only happen with transparency.

    In democracy,i like the Lokpal members to be elected by people.This topic needs to be discussed.

    As long as a common-man is the king of this country,any bill is okay.Any bill should work towards it,every clause should make sure he is the boss.

  239. Siddharth permalink
    April 13, 2011 7:54 AM

    Good insight. I am not going to get into the gory details of the bill, but I’m trying to look at the situation from a higher standpoint. The people whose unison in this matter scares you so much are the same people you entrust with electing good candidates as leaders? The world’s largest democracy is not in a good position to make any wise decision unanimously. Theoretically, would you rather have a few smart people calling the shots (don’t know the term for this), autocracy with a brilliant ruler or democracy with large number of sheep. Personally, I will be happy if India has smart people at the top who can make stoic and calculated decisions for us. They will also make their share of mistakes, learn and move on. Population and Education – The key long term problems.

  240. madhu menon permalink
    April 13, 2011 10:28 AM

    Strangely i agree with most if not all of the observations of Mr. Sengupta. We are not going to solve the problem of corruption by creating new laws and institutions. If our existing institutions and systems are not working, there is s a process already in place to overthrow, change or challenge them.
    No doubt corruption is a curse that effects us all and we should do everything we can to prevent it. But not by creating another law which is so powerful that it cannot be challenged or changed.
    The law maker, the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge have to be independent if there is to be some semblance of checks and balances in our polity. It is surprising that the sudden activism of the Supreme Court in the 2G scam, the Hassan Ali case etc has not attracted attention or debate, where the honorable judges have usurped all the roles and are directing the investigations, appointing prosecutors and then sitting in judgement. In fact even before the Lok Pal Bill is law, the Court is acting like it already is law.
    I know this is not the popular view, and I am equally concerned about corruption, but I am more concerned about our fundamental rights in the long run.

  241. devankur singh permalink
    April 13, 2011 11:49 AM

    The writer of the post brought some serious concerns against the Hazare movement, I in no way can deny the logic given in the post! Rather, I have some questions for all of you to think about:

    “Well…if not Jan Lok Pal…than what? Is there any other solution? Should we accept the current level of corruption as our fate and do nothing and sat good night to everyone? And do you think that, if you can sustain the current level of corruption, everyone else in this country too…? Have you thought for suggesting some alternate solutions to current corruption mess, beside pointing out the loopholes and so called long term consequences???”

    If you can’t answer all these question, they SHUT UP!!! Because if you are not supporting Jan Lok Pal, then you are supporting corruption! And if you have any other view, don’t come up with your view, but come with some solutions instead!

  242. Karpagam permalink
    April 13, 2011 12:26 PM

    if we go by this post we should not have been
    happy about the RTI too as it has many short comings and
    lacunae….

    and by the way the celebrators at Jantar Mantar sure did miss mr. Senguptho that night!

  243. Bangalore permalink
    April 13, 2011 1:42 PM

    Just went through the blog link you sent me. To begin with let me just say I disagree with several points. In fact my take varies from not agreeing with it to utter nonsense on some other levels. I am really not writing it to you as much as venting.

    He begins by comparing this to past revolutions. Now I don’t understand the significance of this. If he says that there was the socialist movement in Russia post WW 1 and that shows ‘revolutions’ are nto all good. Don’t really get his point.

    He believes that this ‘revolution’ will only further give our ruling politicians to come out as sympathetic participants and paint them in a good light. I agree to some extent with him. That is why it is a sustained ‘revolution’ that has any kind of a social impact. Like the say history is written by the victors I am sure there are significant movements that have been on a higher moral pedestal that have been snuffed out at an earlier stage.

    But for us relatively educated and young Indians to throw up our hands in the FIRST WEEK of the first positive movement I have seen in my lifetime is PATHETIC.

    He could even have gone on to say how Constantine in 4th century AD orchestrated the disapproving sentiment of the masses towards to Roman gods to create Christianity. My only question to Mr Sengupta is what the hell is your point?? Sit on the sidelines, twiddle my thumbs and watch my country get raped by a few self righteous politicians??

    My second point of contention is with his arguments against those who form the committee who elect the LokPal. I really cant think of a better ‘structure’ or system than that has been provided. Every person can be questioned about their morality. My conclusion about the difference between morality and legality is this – Legality largely deals with not doing wrong. Morality largely deals with doing right. There is a very fine line between the two. What do you do when no one is looking?? From the vedas it is the traditional “Dharma Sankatam”!!

    His argument is that he doesn’t believe those conferred with national awards and Noble Prize winners are qualified to be a member of this committee. Once again I am a pessimist with little hope. But here my hope stems from the fact that hopefully these individuals have a moral spine and can see for the greater good. What good would it be to have someone who can barely cater to their traditional – roti, kapda or makaan to contribute to this venture?? Secondly on account of being presumptuous those who have greater needs may be corrupted easily. One can only hope that you have these so called erudites to formulate a plan that can perform at a higher moral level. The assumption here is a Nanadan Nilekani thought not qualified may have his family covered for future generations and will be able to perform at a higher moral level than others.

    I agree that there can be misconceptions about having a single authority to investigate, judge and pass judgement. My hope is that it will not have to be a recurring event. My hope is that deterrants can be put in place to reduce this corruption. Once action is seen against the corrupt that it changes that core moral fiber. I have still not been able to ascertain whether people are inherently corrupt or is it that power that corrupts. Necessary checks and balances need to be placed to ensure that the Lokayukta and the Lokpal are held to standards about 10 times higher than anyone else.

    I write today when the paper has just spoken about cases where no one has ever been held accountable –
    1991-92 – Palmolein Oil Scam – Rs 2.32 crore
    1996 – Urea Scam – Rs 133 crore
    1996 – Fodder Scam – Rs 14000 crore
    1998 – Telgi Paper Scam – Rs 20000 crore
    2010 – CWG and 2G – maybe 10 times more than all the above put together.

    My question is how many more scams do we need before ONE head roles?? My second question is what is the opportunity cost?? How many better roads could have been built, how many primary healthcare centers, how many villages with electricity, how many children educated because a couple of fat greedy people got rich???

    We need to start somewhere. I think that beginning is somewhere closer to Anna Hazare than Shuddhabrata Sengupta.

  244. puneet permalink
    April 13, 2011 4:27 PM

    this man sengupta sounds absolutely correct to me. i support him in his views about janlokpal.

  245. April 13, 2011 5:50 PM

    Rohit Negi has responded to this post by Shuddhabrata Sengupta which can be read here:

    http://bargad.org/2011/04/12/polarizing-figure-of-anna-hazare/

  246. sal t permalink
    April 13, 2011 8:16 PM

    “if ur not supporting the lokpal bill ur supporting corruption” roflmao!!!!! it doesn take telepathy to tel that the author is pointin out the blind hysteria for the ‘rang de basanti’ effect. d importance of an answerable lokpal is imperative to the effective functioning of the anti-corruption bill. however the conspiracy theory angle does seem to be a little too cynical and dramatic. with all respect.

  247. Vardhan permalink
    April 13, 2011 8:22 PM

    poor hindu middle classes. unless they completely forego their cultural roots and join the naxal movement there is no hope. thus speaks the intellectuals of kafila.

  248. methinks2007 permalink
    April 13, 2011 9:56 PM

    Thankgod for a sane voice! Great Article. Its very frightening when individuals lose their rationality and assume a moblike quality, as has happened in this case. No good can come out if it.

  249. Stephen Mathias permalink
    April 14, 2011 1:17 AM

    Great article. And I completely agree. I find the entire television news media nauseating and prefer not to watch. Its amazing that even as people supported Hazare on his basic protest against corruption, everyone blindly accepted his Jan Lokpal Bill without bothering to read or analyze it. Most lawyers and jurists will be stunned to read the bill. The legal press is not particularly positive about the bill. See http://www.barandbench.com/brief/2/1395/contrarian-view-on-jan-lokpal-bill-conversation-with-kartikeya-tanna

    For those who say that Sengupta is just being negative and not offering a solution, there IS a solution. A properly written bill. The Lokpal, CANNOT be the prosecutor and the judge. The objective of a prosecutor is to obtain convictions. the role of a judge is to deliver justice. The two often dont go together. The Lokpal cannot do anything more than prosecute. All decisions on convictions, punishments, resignations, etc must be taken by a court of law. So here are some basic principles in a good law:
    – all politicians and bureacrats and judges must be subject to the law;
    – anyone can make a complaint to the lokpal. He has to investigate and submit a report to the court on whether to prosecute or not
    – no government approval required to prosecute a public servant;
    – if the complainant is unsatisfied with the lokpal decision not to prosecute, he can approach the court and challenge his decision;
    – all decisions taken on convictions, punishments, resignations, suspensions, must be taken by a court of law;
    – Lokpal can be chosen by a group of individuals that include the executive and the judiciary with the President of India being the final decision maker. No need to include national and international awardees. An author or artist is not necessarily qualified for being part of the selection committee.

    There are a few things we should understand though. 1. Its ok to have non elected authorities who are not subject to ordinary dismissal in certain situations. Jobs like the President, the Election Commissioner are two examples – accountability to someone comes with being amenable to that someone. Accountability to no one, except for obvious fraudulent actions that can be impeached, is sometimes required. 2. All of this will work only if we have a good court system, which we dont. If 1/3rd of members of parliament have criminal cases against them and only a handful are convicted, what makes you think for cases of corruption they will be convicted? You can have special courts, but after some time, those courts will stop being special and will become just like other courts. Then what will you do? 3. Power always comes with a dilemma – how to police the policemen. To ensure the super cop isnt corrupt, make sure you appoint good people to choose him. But if they are corrupt too? Ultimately, this has to be a careful checks and balances arrangement.

    Not surprisingly, I am a lawyer.

  250. Anirudha Deshmukh permalink
    April 14, 2011 10:04 AM

    I salute the author for listening to his inner voice. I am sure he will allow Anna and some of us the similar privilege too!

    Empire almost always strikes back, and it is interesting to see the tools that the empire comes up with!

  251. Amit permalink
    April 14, 2011 10:58 AM

    I think the writer (Mr. Sengupta) has focused little on merits or demerits of the Jan Lokpal Bill. He seem to be against anything and everything around the movement. At best, I will say that the article is interesting. My interpretation of writer’s key points is below. “We” / “I” represents the writer.

    1. “‘Anna Hazare’ phenomenon allows the ruling Congress to appear gracious…” (and other such comments): I want these political parties to look “bad”. A good cause should not be supported – if it eases the pain government is going through.
    2. “We have been here before…”: Such movements have made them even more powerful & corrupt. Ruling class has used us before. They are too clever for us (Anna and team; by extension, us). Better strategy is to sit and watch.
    3. “features are deeply disturbing…”: I am not at all disturbed by a toothless bill government was hoping to enact. A very strong bill is disturbing to me, even though, Anna and team are claiming it to be imperfect draft, a starting point and they are open to suggestion.
    4. “whether this bill actually addresses the structural issues that cause corruption…”: I will rather focus on root cause of corruption (evil, lack of moral values, poverty, …) and completely ignore controlling corruption (detect, prosecute, punish). For ages, people have not been able to find solution to evil – but I will wait for a perfect world to emerge.
    5. “I am not arguing against the provision of an institution of a Lokpal, or Ombudsman…” : Let me concede a point (I need to look balanced).
    6. “Times Now”: Children singing in unison scares me. It’s is like starting point of fascism (ignore the fact that we Indians love independence a lot). For this particular point, I will ignore some past events in the history of India (freedom fight, fight against emergency etc) – as those unison did not lead to fascism.
    7. “When four Bombay page three worthies…”: I can write this article about Anna and others. However, the page 3 celebrities have no rights to objected to Meenakshi Lekhi and Hartosh Singh Bal. If someone objects to objection to Anna – its authoritarian.
    8. “a massive move towards legitimizing a strategy of simple emotional blackmail”: Just debate. No matter how grave the situation is. Just debate. All other means are “force of violence, whether it is inflicted on others, or on the self”. In 1970s, we should have only debated to end emergency.
    9. “if, as a society, we were serious about combating the political nexus…”: I do not believe in incremental steps. We should take all possible measure in one go. If we take only one step, we are not serious.
    10. “anyone who has expressed the faintest doubt has been branded as a cynic…”: I am doubting all aspects of this movement – people, process, bill, effectiveness. People expressing faintest doubt are branded cynic. Logically, I should be branded king of cynics. However, I will call others cynics (keep reading: “we can all begin to think seriously, un-cynically about what can actually be done”; and my next point). BTW, Anna and team are n
    11. “I see the fact that those who often cry hoarse about ‘democratic values’ seem to be turning a blind eye to the authoritarian strains within this draft ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ as a clear indication of how powerful the politics of cynicism actually is.” At times, I use “fact” and “seem” together in a sentence to confuse readers. BTW, you are cynic not me.
    12. “..un-cynically about what can actually be done to combat the abuse and concentration of power in our society..”: Anna and team are not serious and they are not doing things “actually”.
    13. “..un-cynically about what can actually be done to combat the abuse and concentration of power in our society..”: What Anna proposes dilutes powers of government greatly and creates one more power center. Overall, this is a movement away from concentration of power. Sorry, this argument did not cross my mind.
    14. “I am not celebrating at…Good night”: Democracy needs lots of debate. So, you debate. I have decided.

    • Atul permalink
      April 15, 2011 2:18 AM

      Amit: I strongly support your argument.

      Dear writer:

      “Allow me to pick and choose my revolutions….”…Our nation has set on the path of collapse because of the inactive individuals like you; who do nothing by themselves and create obstacles for those who wake and fight. There is nothing wrong in being cynical, but you need to understand the motive and support the cause..amendments to the movement can be made subsequently; if you wait to “pick and choose”, our beloved nation would already have gone into an “Irreversible Shock”….do you want the people of India let their great nation doomed in front of their eyes…You may want to curb your “inertia filled thoughts” that are making you indecisive…and support those who already have decided !!

    • Chaitanya Reddy T permalink
      April 15, 2011 2:26 AM

      Central power wont help in many cases……. need to distribute the power….. Democracy allows power distribution not centralization…. If that is the case, we better go for “Kings rule” wer the power will be centralized n miss-used….. Our 2-tier power distribution need expansion of one more tier to districts… MPs -> MLAs -> MDS (Member of District Sabha).

      How can we below those Jan-Lokpal members, if we are not even believing the one elected by us……

      They just giving the idea… But the bills future not proper….
      There are many cases where it can be misused….

      Who will elect the members of JanLokpal… r u conducting any elections?

      Presently it is ok.. because Kiran bedi, Anna Hazare, etc good people r there…
      Wat abt the future? How can we expect same kind of people will come as members?

      1st people need to change…

  252. Chaitanya Reddy T permalink
    April 15, 2011 2:07 AM

    Superb… I liked the way you explained… I too feel the same… But this the situation, people are acting alike… Media dominates alwayz… Wat happen to media?!!!…. But people may not have this much knowledge abt the bill.. Even many guyz dont knw How will bill helps…

    “the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office”… this point really considerable…. If this is the case, we call it as “kings rule”….

    We may not need any new law for fighting against corruption… We hv hell lot of laws… Actually, people need to change, not the governments….

    Everyone might forgot this… In democracy People rules the country not the politicians… Here we are electing the corrupted guyz…. We are corrupted first….

    But our bureaucracy system hv problem…

    • Amit permalink
      April 18, 2011 9:59 AM

      To Chaitanya Reddy T:
      Your concern is understandable. However, the logic that we are creating more concentration of power (overall) is inherently flawed. The proposed an independent prosecutor (lok pal) will dilute center’s power. The proposed independent prosecutor will be another power center apart from legislature, judiciary, election commissioner etc. This is perfectly moral, legitimate means to better democracy. One can argue that fundamentally, more power centers are better for democracy than less power center. Although, “more power centers situation” leads to inefficiency – so one has to balance. In the current case, the need to dilute center’s power is much more acute than the need for efficiency. We need to understand that the dilution of power of center is only in the aspect of investigating and prosecuting corruption at (primarily) high offices.

      Lets also see from a practical angle (to answer your points). Who appoints chief justice of India, election commissioner, president, etc.? What is the process of their removal in case they become corrupt? There are many mechanism in place (although may not be working well at this point) – e.g. three heads instead of one as in the case of EC; have impeachment mechanism in place; keep it under judicial review etc. In any case, the proposed lok pal will only investigate and prosecute – the final judgment to punish or not will rest with the court. Court can prevent misuse to a large extent.

      In any case, “possibility of misuse” cannot be used to prevent creation a new institution. Just imagine this argument being used early in independent India’s history to prevent creation of Central Bank of India, CBI etc… It does not leave us anywhere, does it? The answer is to create proper checks and balance along with power center.

    • Amit permalink
      April 18, 2011 10:02 AM

      “the merging of the roles of investigator, judge and prosecutor within one office”…is not factually correct. The correct statement is:

      “the merging of the roles of investigator, and prosecutor within one office”…which is perfectly alright. lok pal is not going to judge…

  253. Rahonam permalink
    April 15, 2011 5:32 AM

    Man, my English really sucks, so excuse my English mistakes. Let’s see what we can accomplish here.
    Disregarding the tone of the article, the content seems quite rational. And since a few comments here demand that those that shall not have a solution shall SHUT UP, I will not SHUT UP because having a solution does not validate the solution and a incorrect solution may do more harm than no solution.

    Aspect 1 – recipients of awards, judges, etc form the committee with just one elected representative
    Problem – the subject knowledge of the recipients of awards seldom coincides with the requirements to evaluate an instance of corruption. Just because a person is not corruptible does not mean the person can understand, punish or prevent corruption. For the rest in the committee, man, judges? really judges? Aren’t they among the most corrupted?

    Aspect 2 – Jan Lokpal bill will enforce laws to prevent corruption involving state and central ministers. (I am not sure if I got this right, or does it also punish a traffic constable that demands a bribe?)
    Problem – the problem is that’s not where the real problem is. Well, I have no data to prove this, but corruptions that involve huge value affect a large percent of the population. Combine to this the tax brackets, the economics of utility, the losses are meager whether you are rich or poor. Such is the case with 2G; the rich gets affected to the same extent as the poor. However in cases of petty corruptions, like those at Public Goods Distribution Center, Registry of Motor Vehicles or District Collectorate, only the poor and the lower-middle class are affected who are the actual majority in the country. Now there is an argument whether you want cleanse the system top-down or bottom-up. I think the answer should be bottom-up because that makes more economic sense, meaning, you can actually improve the conditions of the poor.

    Aspect 3 – definition of corruption. Is corruption really corruption or the result of lobbying?
    Problem – well, lobbying, to my understanding, is essentially an euphemism for corruption. The good thing with lobbying is almost always you the party involved and sometimes you get to know how much money has been, as they call it, donated to the party. May be, that’s what we should do. May be we should let the ministers take money but make it public how much they took, who paid them and for what purpose. And then let the people through the democratic process, called elections, decide whether the minister has done the right thing or not.

    Finally, the following are few things that Jan Lokpal will/will not accomplish. Actually this is true not just for Jan Lokpal but any attempt to prevent corruption at higher levels.
    1. It may reduce the level of corruptions at the state and central government level. But a difference set of crowd will turn corrupt now; media, more judges.
    2. It will not make a big difference to the lower middle class and the poor.
    3. It will not make India a super power.
    4. It will not stop electronic media’s stupidity
    5.This will set a bad example to future bills that may be enforced through emotional blackmailing and other undemocratic means.

  254. April 15, 2011 7:28 PM

    Thank you so much for speaking up.

    I hope we can move away from this method of coercion to constructive debate for matters that concern our democratic nation!

    • Subroto Chatterjee permalink
      April 15, 2011 9:33 PM

      Agreed that the nation is full of morons who supported the ‘man’ who ‘starved himself’ for the nation , thereby ‘blackmailing the government’. Please do suggest ONE concrete step , which you would take to help highlight ‘corruption’ , leave aside eradicating it. I am sure, you would be amply supported. If you cannot figure out anything, keep your cynicism at your home. If you cannot lead , learn to follow.

  255. Ashish permalink
    April 17, 2011 4:53 AM

    If you had read the story of how Hongkong fought corruption and became one of the cleanest countries, you might have written a different article.
    Here is a report you might want to read http://www.tdri.or.th/reports/unpublished/os_paper/auyeung.pdf

    Lastly, this movement against corruption is not designed by someone. It has organic roots. You can deny its presence the way a drunk man denies that he can’t think clearly. Stop being the supporter of status quo and if you want to throw in sense and sensibility, do it from the side of the people and not from the side of the corrupt forces

  256. bilal permalink
    April 17, 2011 9:55 PM

    i agree that concentration of too much power to a select few undermines democracy.

    • Amit permalink
      April 18, 2011 10:08 AM

      bilal: could not agree more with you. Currently, people at the center has too much power – they can prevent investigation and prosecution of people at the center.

      So, we have to take this power away from center and put it in a new body called lok pal – who will have power to investigate and prosecute (but not judge)…

  257. madhu permalink
    April 18, 2011 5:51 AM

    It is easy to knock down any proposal even before it is implemented. The appointment of Jan Lok Pal is a well-intentioned effort. Mr Sen Gupta has suggested no alternative to the committee that selects the Lok Pal. He has been carried away by his own rhetoric. His comment that the proposed committee has only one democrativally elected representative is laughable – why is that so important? Also mere debating the issue gets us nowhere – you have to look in your own backyard to appreciate this,

  258. April 18, 2011 6:10 PM

    While I agree that the fast was somewhat misguided and narrow focused, the fast and the agitation is no less important. The main reason being the platform it gives to channelize the anger among the people against the corruption. The overwhelming support that common people of India have given to Anna’s fast shows the anger among people. There was no mass protest against the govt’s involvement in scams even if almost every one in this country was visibly angry. While internet forums and pan gumtis were flooded with people furiously commenting against the corruption, there was no visible reaction. Opposition’s actions were seen as political opportunism. The choler of people was settling down due to lack of any real form of crusade against the corruption. Lack of a mass leader was the reason behind lack of any movement against corruption. now we have a mass leader.

    Was Anna Hazare fasting unto death demanding that his draft be accepted? No – not at all. He wanted to debate his bill too. He wanted the government to talk on how to make the bill more effective. Is that such a wrong demand to make? We have National Advisory Council which is unconstitutional to the core, and that includes members of “civil society” actually drafting bills and insisting that the government take it up. Every ministry puts up a draft bill on their website seeking public feedback – why should this be any different?

    You claim that the lokpal elected will not be democratic. I am not very sure about it. Our PM, upon learning of Anna’s fast, appointed a Group of Ministers headed by Sharad Pawar. Pawar ranks amongst the top corrupt ministers in this government. The man heads the Agriculture ministry but has very little time for matters of the ministry. Appointing him to head this GoM was a clear insult to the people against corruption. I also heard that M.K.Alagiri S/o M. Karunanidhi and minister in the central government was also part of this GoM. Do we call these leaders democratic?

    Even if a group of elite intellectual people appoinbt the lokpal, I will be happier than seeing a democratic Sharad Pawar or Karunanidhi look-alike to be the lokpal. The fundamentals of democracy lies in education. You and I know right from wrong. But without education what Winston Churchil holds good by the word- “The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter”. Please understand that I am not against democracy. I am a common man, and just want something good to happen. I want corruption to stop. And it that is driven by the most intellectual people of state (Bharat Ratnas, Nobel laureates…) I feel, something good is in the store. Democracy should be driven by free speech and not free beer. Trust me on this, a good autocracy, with a head of institution with great personal integrity and vision, is better than a poor democracy. This is precisely the reason Bihar and Gujarat are flourishing.

  259. Urvi Sukul Singh permalink
    April 19, 2011 1:42 AM

    BTW,all of you who are opining here,often with lengthy well-thought arguments,why don’t you all post DIRECTLY on the IAC(India against corruption)webpage or Facebook page.The IAC is orchestrating the Lokpal campaigh,so make yourself heard there DIRECTLY.Though some of us have posted this article there,what is the chance that anyone will take the time to read all the comments below?To tell you the truth,even I haven’t.So do enrich the discussion by posting there

  260. April 19, 2011 3:26 AM

    Another take on Anna Hazare’s movement: http://bargad.org/2011/04/18/debates-on-the-anna-question-a-contribution/

  261. Jhuma permalink
    April 21, 2011 3:02 AM

    High Court raises some important questions about the drafting committee of the Lokpal Bill

    Case :- MISC. BENCH No. – 3680 of 2011
    Petitioner :- Asok Pande & Anr. [ P.I.L. ] Civil
    Respondent :- Union Of India,Thru. Secy., Prime Minister’S Office, & Ors.
    Petitioner Counsel :- Asok Pande (In Person)
    Respondent Counsel :- A.S.G.
    Hon’ble Ferdino Inacio Rebello,Chief Justice
    Hon’ble Devendra Kumar Arora,J.
    The two petitioners, one of them is a practising Advocate of this Court, have approached this Court, questioning the validity of the resolution dated 8th April, 2011 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, constituting a Joint Drafting Committee for the purpose of drafting the Lok Pal Bill, consisting of five Ministers of the Government of India as nominees of the Government of India and five nominees of Shri Anna Hazare (including himself).
    The questions raised in this petition, though may not have been clearly expressed, raise larger issues of grave constitutional importance to the functioning of the Parliamentary democracy of this country.
    The right of any section of a society, including the NGOs, Businessmen, Workmen and others to give their inputs and suggestions to enact a law, amend the law and alike, is now accepted as a part of the law-making process.
    The first question that arises for consideration is, whether it is open to the Government of India to constitute a Committee of a section of the society for drafting a Bill?
    The second question, which arises for consideration is, whether a section of the society, which has agitated on an issue, only has the right to be represented in the Committee or all those who have been raising such issues without agitation or hunger strikes, should also have the right to represent such Committee?
    Further, if such Committees are constituted, what would be the locus of the Bill drafted by such Committees, as the sovereign Will of the people of India lies in the Parliament through the Members elected by them to represent them in the Lok Sabha as also the State nominees as the representatives in the Rajya Sabha.
    There may be other questions, which will arise in the course of the discussion including constituting Committees for other Bills.
    It may not be out of place to mention a news item that has appeared today in the newspaper ‘Indian Express’ relating to allotment of some land in NOIDA in favour of a person, who has been included as one of the Members of the Committee constituted for drafting the Lok Pal Bill However, it would not be appropriate to take notice of that news item as of now as the said person is not a party in this petition.
    As the petition raises issues of grave constitutional importance to the functioning of the Parliamentary democracy of this country, we are of the opinion that this is a fit case where we should ask the Attorney General of India to address this Court on the aforesaid issues.
    Notices on behalf of the respondents have been accepted by Dr. Ashok Nigam, Additional Solicitor General of India.
    Dr. Nigam seeks three weeks’ time to file counter affidavit.
    Time as prayed for is granted.
    Place the matter on board on 16th May, 2011.
    In the meantime, office to issue notice to the Attorney General of India.
    (D.K. Arora, J.) (F.I. Rebello, C.J.)
    Order Date :- 20.4.2011

  262. N.Balasubramanian permalink
    April 21, 2011 2:45 PM

    We require a fully autonomus institutuion free from Government control/influence to investigate cases of corruption on a fast track basis and punish those however mighty they may be. This is the crux of the Jan Lokpal bill. The way Quittrochi esacped, the efforts put by government to ensure that Bofors, telecom scandal are not pursued in right earnest is justification enough for removal of Government control over CBI and CVC. The way in which Thomas was elected to the post of CVC is another instance of governmental patronage. Instead of addressing these points and concern, your article tries to find fault with hunger strike of Anna Hazara. Without such a fast from an eminent person of the stature of Anna, Government will not yield even an iota of its power and influence to protect corrupt ruling class members.

  263. Vinay Pandya permalink
    April 21, 2011 3:35 PM

    You, too, have joined the bandwagon of detractors. Have you any alternative or any hidden agenda ?
    I regret such Finger-Pointings

  264. sushil kumar bafana permalink
    April 21, 2011 4:39 PM

    Mr. sengupta is perfectally right. in fact when media was making Anna hazare super hero. i wrote in face-book that Anna Hazare is not Mahatama Gandhi. everyone want to end corruption but Lokpal bill is not solution. Anna Hazare was fasting to be included in drafting committee and parliament is not bound to accept draft prepared by committee. they are no momvement to erase grassroot corruption but to try to prosucate big one. goos system also remove corruption. we can see in recent years people get easily rail reservation. after imposing service tax on insurance, telecom and staock market activity govt. getting very smoothly. more rules and by rules that confuse general public spread corruption.
    i do not think general people supported Anna Hazare. it was just electronic media that tried to show that this was revolution. same clipping and few hunderends people at jantar Mantar do not make revolution.

  265. Siddharth Manu permalink
    April 23, 2011 12:14 AM

    I’m totally with you. You are democratic & you have your own mind.
    People have been so severely brainwashed that they blast anyone pointing even a finger at it. It is scary to me now that how will this stop. We need to bring out this genuine, though non-appealing point out into the public and make them understand it…

  266. April 23, 2011 5:04 AM

    As the primary objection to the Lokpal is that it can abuse its power, I wanted to understand in what ways can it abuse its power? What possible harm could it do?

  267. Saurabh Sinha permalink
    April 29, 2011 12:01 PM

    Hello Mr.Sengupta

    The immense support for the bill (and criticism towards your article) stems from the fact that we, the people are frustrated with corruption. So when we find a crusader in the form of Anna Hazare, we stand up with him in solidarity. We have found an ‘icon’, a ‘torch-bearer’, our ‘hero’ who will bring us justice. We admire his courage, his perseverance and determination to go on a ‘hunger-strike’ for our cause.

    However, we are too lazy to read about the law. To think about its merits and de-merits. Anyone questioning the movement has to be crushed. Its an interesting phenomenon…how the sense of righteousness and justice quickly transforms to intolerance and extremism.

    Reading your article has been a refreshing change. I do hope the rest of your readers turn out to be a bit more tolerant, think about the issue at hand and debate the idea instead of making it into a ‘revolution’.

    Thanks

    Saurabh

    • Anis Mohiuddin permalink
      May 1, 2011 7:40 AM

      I am sure Mr Sengupta has some problems like every Indian has wrt corruption. My income tax refund check will be released only if I pay the front man of IT Officer an amount demanded by him. If I don’t then that refund check is not mine. Somebody has to tell him that his wife will be his only if he paid some money. I wish this happens to IT Officers and to Pranab Mukherjee also in particular because he is the root cause of many ailments in this country.

      Kolkata had a fire in a particular BSNL facility which caused disruption of service to us for almost a month. But they sent full bill for the month. I wrote to their complaints section but the officer did not reply. So I sent the same letter by fax to A Raja who was telecom minister thinking that he will ask his department to show some sense of responsibility. The same night it was reported by electronic media that Raja will be implicated for his corrupt role in 2G scam. I realised that evening that my money is lost to the cheating ways of a public sector set up. Mr Sengupta does not understand these problems. He is not a common man. He must be like Pranab Mukherjee, a privilleged person despite his corruption. Who next to report the matter to? PM? My impression about him is that he is equally bad, if not corrupt at least he turns the other way like he did for Kalmadi and Raja.

      We must fight for independence once again. I see Anna Hazare’s prime role in such an endeavour.

  268. partha sengupta permalink
    May 2, 2011 1:11 AM

    the overall failure of present constitutional machinery in preventing corruption coupled with complicity of section of elected members has severely eroded the faith of people (though mostly from middle or upper class) , which eventually have led to the belief that the civil society must be empowered to take on the mantle against corruption.

    • Chandra permalink
      June 9, 2011 3:49 PM

      No Government can eradication Corruption. If they can, they would have, till now. Its time to empower Democracy. Nothing is ideal … Constant, consistent amendments should lead us towards ideal state. Who other than People are more powerful in Democracy. Anna’s mission is empowered by people. Democracy is for the people and people foresee the change.

  269. Siva Ramaswami permalink
    August 10, 2011 11:51 PM

    I completely disagree with the author’s premise on the dangers of vesting powers with unelected and unaccountable body, which by itself is not correct. First of all, this whole mess of corruption is caused by the so called elected and RESPONSIBLE body of legislators. The author conveniently forgets this fact. These legislators behave in such a way that they are not accountable to the people once elected. Indian legal system has some provisions to punish these legislators but ironically and sadly these political bosses themselves are vested with the powers to punish themselves. Alas here is one of the greatest paradoxes of Indian democracy!!
    The author has not proposed any alternative ideas. It is not worth just to criticize some effort without offering an alternative idea. I would just ignore this article.
    I love the article for the language and expression!!

  270. August 16, 2011 3:41 PM

    I was going through the Lokpal draft. It clearly says the Selection committee will include 4 judges, 2 Politicians, 2 Bureaucrats(Lokpal Bill) ( Govt. proposal is of 6 politicians 1judge, 1 academician, and 1 bureaucrat) No where the inclusion of Nobel Prize winners and eminent Personalities is stated as mandatory. So the author’s remark about Lata Mangeshkar and VS Naipaul is out of context. It’s also clearly mentioned in the Govt. version that the member will be appointed only if :”he is a person of impeccable integrity,outstanding ability and standing,having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years of experience in Anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance inlcuding insurance, banking, law and management.” The IAC’s version clearly states : “Only persons with impeccable integrity and record of public service particularly in the field of fighting corruption shall be eligible for being considered for nomination.” Sounds good to me. I don’t know which version did the author read.

  271. Vikram permalink
    August 16, 2011 6:51 PM

    I love the way this writer(who is obviously firmly entrenched in the status quo) firmly states that Lata Mangeshkar and V.S Naipaul are going to lay down the law for India ! LOL. She doesn’t even pretend to hypothesize her statements. She offers no solutions whatsoever except to reinforce the existing model(which is hardly the paragon of vigorous debate),. Also, she’s mistaken in claiming that prosecutor, judge and investigator roles are not combined anywhere else in the world. It exists in both France and Spain – and works very well.. The Hazare team has REPEATEDLY asked for contributions, modifications and improvements from anyone able and willing, which has not been forthcoming from the UPA (or Sengupta for that matter). The truth is that Hazare has been a major catalyst in bringing simmering public rage up to the surface, and is resented by ‘establishment trained pseudo-intellectuals like Sengupta, who could never in their wildest dreams get the mass following Hazare has. Of course the REAL reason he has not been embraced by the pet poodles of the establishment Left is because of his alleged ‘Hindu’ links – I suspect if his last name was Khan, he would get along famously with Sengupta and her ilk . Truth is Sengupta is guilty of the exact same crime she accuses Team Jan Lok Pal of – intellectual fascism and not giving the man a chance to articulate his views on a wide range of issues. I’ll take one Kiran Bedi/Anna Hazare over a thousand Senguptas (and Arundhati Roys) anyday…And I suspect I am not the only one..

  272. Chintan permalink
    August 16, 2011 10:46 PM

    Your profound unease would have increased exponentially now.. the mass hysteria of the average man murdering the institution of democracy through emotional blackmail.. how you would be wishing that the Government had handled the situation more “politically”..

  273. Tia permalink
    August 17, 2011 10:14 AM

    Hi! Your article is wonderful. Please do not mind anything that the people have posted as comments. They will understand in time. :) God bless you!

  274. rolee permalink
    August 17, 2011 3:52 PM

    Even if we are able to install a lokpal whose integrity is beyond doubt, where do we look for personnel to work under him? They are going to be the same kind of people as we have today- running the present government machinery. How do we ensure that they will not take bribes for dealing with complaints or prevent launching of mischievious investigations against officials who may be honest-just to settle scores.
    The point is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Corruption is a product of the society. I hope Mr. Anna makes some headway in transforming that.

  275. August 17, 2011 4:55 PM

    May the Good Lord Bless You!
    Finally, a good response to the mindless theatrics from the last few days.

  276. August 17, 2011 7:20 PM

    Awesome. Simply awesome :)

  277. August 17, 2011 10:08 PM

    God save India !!

    How can corruption be arrested when peaceful protesters are hounded and bounded. Why hollow alibi’s are being fabricated to save the shamed face of UPA 1 and UPA 2?

    1. Even if Kalmadi was apponted by NDA, does it absolve UPA 1 & UPA 2 for its lack of control on Kalmadi? What about Shiela Dixit was she also appointed by NDA??

    2. Even of the first come first serve theory was mooted by NDA for 2G Spectrum, was NDA 1 and NDA 2 sleeping and incapable of reversing the decision if they felt was wrong? Were not all NDA appointed State Governers removed as soon as UPA 1 came to power?

    3. Even if Anna Hazare misused 2 lacs, atleast he returned the amount in less than three days ! Let Kalmadi, Shiela Dixit, Raja etc also deposit thousands of crores that have swindled out of our funds !!

    Let us all hang our heads in shame and rise above relogion. politics and personal gains to make India more livable !!

  278. Raju permalink
    August 17, 2011 11:20 PM

    Team Anna(Two Lawyers, Devoted Best police officer,Devoted RTI activist,One non corrupt devoted leader) . I think we have little knowledge than them.
    Instead of pulling their legs and being pessimistic, support them and suggest your Ideas.

  279. ni8 dweller permalink
    August 17, 2011 11:51 PM

    well thought out article on the gr8 indian drama that is beginning to have it’s catharsis movement ri8 now & all can c is thr is no fairy tale ending in this..

  280. Sameer permalink
    August 18, 2011 12:16 AM

    Greatly written piece… Loved it… :)

    Keep up the good work… :)

    • Pardhu permalink
      August 18, 2011 12:52 PM

      You can keep on seeking temporary painkillers, adding layers and layers of power – today Lokpal over the government, tomorrow Loklokpal over Lokpal, and the day after a Lokloklokpal over the Loklokpal. It will be same human beings who constitute those entities, who possess the same minds, with the same ignorance of the basic truth of Atma, which is the real seat, root and cause of selfishness and corruption.

  281. Ashish permalink
    August 18, 2011 1:46 PM

    It is astonishing to see that so many people have spent so much time here replying to this presumptuous post, instead of being out there supporting the movement. Against my wishes, I feel compelled to make these points, hoping to turn a few of you guys away from your keyboards and out onto the streets.

    First of all, the process to draft the bill is open, if the author and his supporters are so concerned about the ‘correctness’ of the lokpal draft, then they should step out of the comforts of their houses and offices and join the ranks of common people, and ensure the necessary changes are included. Sitting at home and writing a cynical blog to poke holes at what other are doing, although a justifiable mode of self-expression, does nothing to improve the bill.

    Secondly, when corruption is so entrenched at every level of the system – legislative, executive and judiciary, how do you expect any process within the system to tackle it? The situation demands an external intervention. Could there be side-effects of this intervention – sure, but should we not do anything at all because of that – that’s just pure cynicism. Many medicines have side-effects, some treatments such as chemotherapy have potentially fatal side-effects, yet they are used.

    I can go on and on about these, however the important thing is that whenever change happens, there is always uncertainty. When India gained independence, was there a guarantee that the new politicians will never go corrupt? So should India have not adopted democracy because there was a chance that some bad politicians might come to power?

    Was there a guarantee that the constitution being drafted was absolutely perfect? So should India have not adopted a constitution because there might be amendments required in future?

    Change is inherently always imperfect and uncertain, but that alone has never prevented change from happening. People of India are fed up of the corruption all around them and the shameless inaction of those in power to redress the situation. It is time for change. For better or worse – we can’t find out unless we summon the courage to take these next steps.

    So go out and join the voice, don’t waste time on justifying your convictions to “couch-cynics”.

  282. shishir permalink
    August 18, 2011 1:58 PM

    Where I don’t deny the point of view of the author, but having said that is the govt. version of Lokpal bill justified ? Should we be doing anything at all just because we are being critic to one man crusade and fear it shall lead to corruption in future ? Every revolt is started for right cause by a single man, be it Lakshmi Bai, Chandrashekhar, Bhagat Singh, Gandhi or Anna Hazare now …

    Is the provision of govt.’s jan lokpal are enough or they are just the mockery of the very name law? I think Anna is on fast not to push only his version of Jan lokpal bill but to strengthen the proposed version of law. Since government is not thinking of this law as deterrent for others; rather it is merely doing a filler job.

    There are so many solutions to such menace not just lokpal bill. But wider question is if the government is willing to loose its control over other lawfully authorized body to ensure un-biased/ un-politicized scrutiny of the corrupt.

    Would it ensure CBI, CVC, Police or any other agencies can act neutrally outside Govt. dominion ? If yes, we already have one solution. But would Congress allow it? Why is scams like Taj come up during election times and once votes are achieved the case are dumped under political pressure? This is very selfish, self centered administrative machinery in action for administrative gains and not a government whom we choose to lead us.

    We have solutions, it needs political will which is missing…and this protest is not just for Anna version of Jan lokpal. I am sorry its been misinterpreted (and I am not from Anna camp, I write with my perspective); It only calls to make a meaningful law. Had the government obliged and did an honest job it would have won kudos and this situation would not have arrived. If the bill can not check public servant, senior govt. officials, public representative MPs, MLAs, PMO etc. whom will it monitor … is it made a law to monitor common man? who himself is facing this menace.

    A whole govt machinery is here to discredit Anna lokpal bill citing there reasons, but what is the logic of accepting a donkey in race if you don’t have a horse to race ? Why should we accept Govt. mockery of law version of the bill?

    They are treating common man as noone, this is the very attitude of the politicians that is enraging. We have become so much morally and informatively controlled and conditioned that we can’t take first right step.. accepting each corruption act as part of life, non refine-able, impossible to root out.

    Should we not even try to remove corruption, even if we don’t live to see that time. If only our freedom fighter have thought that way, we would still have been a British colony. Few things are done cause they are right .. not cause they take ages to accomplish.

    If that thought process goes inside humanity for another decade, We would no longer be preaching our kids moral value but feeding them with corruption lessons.

    Do you want your kids to open their eyes to a world where first lessons are no longer “Be and honest man or Be a good man” ?

    I sure would not want my generation to hear those things and I am joining him.. not for his version of jan lokpal but for a meaningful law which can control, deter and attempt to root out corruption. This man has courage which none of us has ever shown for a long time. It needs pure thought to stand against part-of-life corruption; and I shall not let him stand alone and except someone else to cleanse our dirt.

    We have to do it, we all have to do it as Indians, for our future, for our nation ! And Anna Hazare is giving me strength to see that with courage things move in right direction. I shall stand against corruption from my side as I used to do once.

  283. Prashant permalink
    August 18, 2011 2:07 PM

    A high time wasted by reading something so negatively captivating. Mr. Sen “A Ray of hope” is what i’ll advice you to start looking at. What we are fighting here is for a reformation and that is a process which always shall require scruitiny till eternity since reformation is a continuous process and would be revised from time to time.

  284. Anil permalink
    August 18, 2011 6:06 PM

    Totally agree with the views of the author. The whole issue has been hijacked by the hyper active electronic media.

  285. Kushan permalink
    August 18, 2011 8:08 PM

    Thoughtful. But that’s what you could think when you have not been part of any corrupt power story.
    When you do …maybe then you can decide to be on the streets. Which is feel is the story of atleast the majority of people.
    This might not be the ultimate step…but admist a hopeless government and power..this could be a first step.

  286. Debanish permalink
    August 18, 2011 8:44 PM

    Of course Anna Hazare is popular because nobody wants corruption. To try to highlight the loopholes in Team Anna would also automatically mean that one is being lenient with corruption. But it is not against the composition and form of Team Anna that the criticism is directed; it is against the manner in which Team Anna wants a bill to come alive, which is robbing the sleep of many sensible people out there.

    The East India Company is not ruling us today. There is nothing to even remotely suggest that Hazare’s drama is similar to the one that happened before 1947. The Gandhi talk is fancy talk. Good for t-shirt sales and maybe, Indian Ocean will launch a new album. That’s all very, very good.

    Enough has been said about the lokpal being just another government department, adding another layer of complexity to the already complicated system of checks and balances. What is unsettling is the fact that young people see the Anna affair as something of a show, a time-out, instead of asking themselves the implications that would arise in future when they grow older from the lokpal hero.

    Firstly, Anna’s persona is rightwing. It is no secret what the rightwing wants of this diverse country. Secondly, say if in a case involving a critical issue having a religious tone, somebody accuses a judge of being corrupt, then the lokpal will have the power to sway the case to a direction of his/her liking by attacking the judge first. Imagine this during a time of BJP rule. Thirdly, there is no guarantee that the lokpal will only stick with checking corruption. The authority may forcefully suggest changes in things that are considered out of topic, such as passing a comment on lifestyle. This has happened in the past. Several public figures have spoken like the Taliban sometimes.

    On a hunch, I think the youngsters who are posting Facebook photos from India Gate today will weep in a corner tomorrow. If Hunter S Thomson were alive, I know what he would say: “Shut the fuck up and go home.”

  287. Akshay permalink
    August 18, 2011 8:45 PM

    since when has the ability to prosecute in court become “unrestrained power”?? Lokpal Bill, as I understand it, gives the Jan Lokpal the ability to carry out a full independent investigation and prosecute the guilty in court.

  288. s.saxena permalink
    August 18, 2011 11:39 PM

    One thing that clearly stands out in the article is your pessimism.Debate is necessary,because it helps you reach a decision.I sincerely hope you can learn to put your words into action someday.

  289. Akhilesh permalink
    August 18, 2011 11:46 PM

    Finally some one talking sense though I wonder how this sense will cut through the din of idiocy propagated 24/7 around us.

  290. August 19, 2011 8:54 AM

    a point of view, very well presented. If someone sees cynicism in it, well then its our discomfort at democratic value of opposition.
    I am surprised at why no one sees how the “all corrupt political class” is gloating at the possibility of this becoming this become a reality. Let’s not forget Congress has been in politics longer then anybody…and they have their lessons right form British days…to assume they are being foolish as a lot of Arnab’s will like us to believe is playing into their hands.

  291. Tangential permalink
    August 19, 2011 10:29 AM

    You have painted a picture about how things can go wrong. If we were to rewind our tapes to the time the constitution was adopted, the people then thought that the 3 independent arms of judiciary, legislature and executive would keep each other in check. They did not imagine that the 3 arms would collude. The same can happen with the Lok Pal. Please remember that the except for the Nobel prize, every other post is eventually appointed by the government. In that sense it is as democratic as the congress party proposing that Sonia Gandhi should be PM or as democratic as how Chief Justices get appointed or impeached. And the most likely worst case scenario going by the past is that the Lok Pal starts colluding with the rest.
    But having said that, you have has not proposed any solutions better than the Lok Pal yet. To me it appears that you are in favour of supporting the status quo. If you do believe that corruption needs to be fought, please talk about what you propose as the solution. If you dont believe that corruption can be eradicated/reduced/countered, please state that.

  292. 1 Suggestion permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:13 PM

    Let the people elect the members of the Lokpal.

  293. Sumit Kashyap permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:54 PM

    I always heard my friends talking about how India should take inspiration from China.Now i see the reason,middle class in this country just love absolute authoritarian things.I always wondered why people love Indira Gandhi but hate Nehru,Got my answer. Now they want a body which can prosecute as well as investigate and is accountable to none.Nothing new,its just china dream unfolding.

    • Lokpal Bill supporter permalink
      August 19, 2011 6:17 PM

      Dear Sumit, please get your facts right, the Lokpal can only investigate, it has no power to prosecute and yes, similar structure called the ombudsman is already present in a lot of developed nations and it has helped them solve the problem of corruption. I wonder how you folks read 1-2 articles on the internet and decide on what the issue at stake is. Please show some intelligence and do a lot of research before you shoot your mouth

  294. jyoti muley permalink
    August 19, 2011 6:01 PM

    The article is thought provoking. There are always two sides to a coin. hence let’s be wise and draft a lokpal. … Rather, I feel the middle class if can cynically support someone then why cant we determine and try and reduce corruption? I think……. WE CAN….! May be it’s extreme day dreaming. But I believe in changing the world by changing myself. SO let’s have little guts to say NO to corruption….! Good day…!

  295. Who will question and resist the State's terrorism permalink
    August 19, 2011 9:04 PM

    Has anyone looked at the government’s draft of the Lokpal :

    http://www.box.net/shared/k9bz7pfzj6q6s0us9mil

    http://www.box.net/shared/ndtmbhdxpmhgvqqemgis

  296. Who will question and resist the State's terrorism permalink
    August 19, 2011 9:18 PM

    You and I may have been following this news since this April, but this has been ongoing for some for the last 10 years or more:

    http://annajihazare.blogspot.com/

  297. manik permalink
    August 20, 2011 6:59 AM

    Article is too verbose and low on facts. I could extract following facts that author brings out :

    a) Nobel Prize winner, Magasaysay award winner will be made part of Lokpal : this is false. There is no such provision. More ever no non-indian citizen can be it’s member.

    b) A Lokpal will be deemed “police officer”. True. Lokpal is an investigative agency (as proposed ACB branch of CBI). And they are police officers for God’s sake.

    c) Lokpal will be investigator and judge. False. Lokpal wil lonly have the power to collect evidence and bring them in front of court, like normal police do.

    Undemocratic/ Democratic : You may argue either way. My Argument :-
    a)2 members of selection committee are MPs.
    b) 4 members of HC & SC. All these judges are selected by democratically elected Govt. and can be impeached by it.
    c) CEC and CAG. Weteher you like it or not, CEC (Un-Democratic official)is already responsible for holding the largest democratic exercise of the world. Would you term Indian elections as Un-democratic.

  298. Amit Kumar permalink
    August 20, 2011 1:47 PM

    This is ridiculous. Sorry to say MR. Sengupta:- It seems either you do not want to change what is happening in the country or you are happy to accept the corruption and the so called elected corrupt member of parliament. Today every now and then we hear of scams and it seems we have another sector /industry developing ..Corruption Sector..There are may be some clauses in Lokpal bill which need more discussion and today government is not ready to have a discussion.The bill has been there since 1962 but it never came in limelight till may 2011 why ? Why only Lokpal ..n number of bills are still pending.. those are still not in limelight.. why is the Government not having discussion over those in the current parliamentary session ? THEY JUST DO NOT WANT TO WORK… THEY THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO QUESTION THEM……BUT TIME HS CHANGED YOU WILL BE QUESTIONED FOR ANY OF THE FUTURE DECISION… BE IT ANYBODY …. IT’s time for change..!!!!

    • August 20, 2011 6:51 PM

      Amit : Don’t you think it would be more appropriate to ask these questions of your elected representatives instead of posing them to the author? The bill(s) have not coming up for discussion would be a the responsibility of the M.P.’s and the author is in no way accountable for them. And this rhetoric of “you’re either with us or for corruption” is sickening to the core. Are you trying to say that this is the only way to combat corruption?

      Its also funny to see this wave of comments criticizing certain points raised in the article like the inclusion of Nobel laureates in the selection committee, the scope & ambit of the Lokpal etc. during the second round of this movement. Why can’t people look at the date just below the post headline before commenting? When this was posted, the IAC version of the Lokpal bill did have all the contentious points, though they have been removed in subsequent drafts.

      • Amit Kumar permalink
        August 20, 2011 7:24 PM

        I thought this was a discussion forum.The question is for one and all. The author should update his article or should be removed from this forum.The content of this article is being used by others in some social networking sites to spread wrong message to the masses. So I appeal the author to update this article in alignment with the 14th version of Lokpal Bill or prohibit people from misusing it.

  299. Srini permalink
    August 20, 2011 5:21 PM

    I agree with Anna on the right to put pressure by fasting or peaceful protests. I also however agree that the Lokpal bill (in its current form) does not catch the throats of people (judiciary , pm etc). I also however am sceptical about the powers planned for lokpal and the claims to its compositions. I am scared of people who are the “help me help you” kinds.

    We seem to think of the Lokpal bill as some kind of panacea. But it seems to be creating another bureacracy staffed by people from among us. Who polices the Lokpal? I think these are genuine questions which seems to be getting lost in the cacophony .

  300. August 20, 2011 8:11 PM

    Amit : That’s the bane of viral spreads. People have this tendency to share things on social media just for the heck of it without giving one thought to its relevance. And in that situation, its nothing more than spam. Not unlike those irritating email forwards that snopes.com has made an enterprising business out of or the text you get on your phone at midnight with a flowery quote ending with a “Good Morning”.

    This is a blog. And while updating this article would definitely do the author a world of good, not to say the least about the thousands reading it, that still remains his prerogative and not something he’s bound to. The onus is rather on us readers to read it in its entirety (including things like the date etc. that we normally tend to ignore as irrelevant) before coming to any conclusions about it. More so when the topic in question has seen developments by the minute over the past few months.

    Cheers :)

  301. Ash permalink
    August 21, 2011 10:35 AM

    Kudos,big applaud, well said kaafila. When will the rest of the morons understand that our taxes are being paid to form another govt body. Lokpal is indirectly giving a secured job and way to more corruption by taking high powers. Hazaare is not protesting but he demanding like a kid. Misbehaving in the middle of the road for some chocolates.

  302. August 21, 2011 10:44 AM

    Great introspection, considering the spell of hysteria we are in. Anna is plying in the hands of some people having interests other than cleansing the society. It reminds me the plight of the central character of a bachhan movie — Main Ajad Hoon. Only the death can relieve him.
    Moreover, did u ever authorise Anna to act on u’r behalf ?? I didn’t.

  303. August 21, 2011 10:55 PM

    Nothing but an ill informed author and a misguiding article.

    • Reuben L permalink
      August 22, 2011 4:01 PM

      The author terms this as a middle-class movement which is derogatory. The author is mis-informed.
      I too have gone through both the bills thoroughly and found that the govt version is toothless and infact supports corruption.

      Anna and his team have travelled the length and breadth of this country and have taken the opinions of over 3000 people in formulating the bill.

      The govt only plans to take us all for a ride and the parliament may not pass the original draft becoz of their vested interests.

      we have to stand up now and abolish this corrupt parasitic system

      Vande Mataram

  304. August 23, 2011 9:50 AM

    transparent government operations sounds good as a theory, but in reality down the line, its the steps towards civil unrest and government upheaval. Majority of urban India is consumed by the Hazare movement, that even people who don’t agree to his policies are afraid to come out to show their solidarity against it. India, known for its criminal attacks and for being a terrorist target serves a perfect opportunity for all the anti-India units to take advantage of the delicate current fragile relationship between the government and the society.

  305. August 23, 2011 9:59 AM

    With the Anna Movement and associated NGO’s receiving millions of US dollars from Ford Foundation and other foreign institutions, India’s so- called- second independence fight has turned out to be an international affair. the US government has tactfully gotten involved with this political issue for reasons i cannot judge, in a very tactful manner. Where did all this money go? Fasting unto death ideally does not take much money….so where are the millions? Is Anna Hazare as saintly as he looks?

  306. Dhiraj Suvarna permalink
    August 23, 2011 10:28 AM

    Those people who have gone through corruption, even once in their life can understand how bad is it. For those who have heard the word only in newspapers and through their favorite news anchors cannot understand (no matter how hard you try to explain them) the impact of the word.

    All the initial supporters during the Anna Fast – 1, were one who in their life have gone through this evil.

    Jan Lokpal Bill offers an approach to build an institution more to which the Govt will be accountable. Now the concern of the author is to whom will the Lokpal Institution will be accountable. Well my dear friend, for 64 years Govt was accountable to people and we have seen that the corruption has increased by leaps and bounds, now let us try and make it accountable to Lokpal, we will see its result in coming years, and if we are not satisfied with it, lets create another revolution. Lets HOPE that this will reduce corruption, that is the least we can do. Let us BELIEVE that there will be less corruption, Let us make this country the one which we are PROUD of.

    • August 23, 2011 11:04 AM

      “Well my dear friend, for 64 years Govt was accountable to people and we have seen that the corruption has increased by leaps and bounds, now let us try and make it accountable to Lokpal, we will see its result in coming years, and if we are not satisfied with it, lets create another revolution.”

      This is what puts off many people with respect to this movement, including me. My dear friend, for 64 years, the government was accountable to people, but when did the people exercise their authority? Election after election, we’ve brought to power the same people & parties and now suddenly, we’re the victims? We were devoted to the Congress for the entire first half of this 64 year duration & went through all kinds of ignominies including the emergency. And in 1980, we bring the same Indira Gandhi back to power with a thumping majority. When she dies, we hand over the parliament on a platter to a greenhorn who wasn’t even interested in politics. And we get Bofors. We make millionaires out of candle sellers post 26-11 but barely a year later, return to power the same government. Mark my words, in the next elections too, its going to be either a Congress or a BJP led government that’s going to take charge in Delhi. So much for revolutions.

      We are aghast at the spate of scams that have surfaced over the past few years. But has anyone given a thought to the fact that a lot of these scams are in the public domain today because of acts like RTI & institutions like the CAG? Can we say for sure that the levels of corruption were lower in say the 80’s or earlier when our only source of information was government controlled agencies?

      My dear friend, here’s some food for thought – If we can ensure that the Lokpal itself would be beyond corruption, why can’t we work the same magic on our existing institutions like CBI, CVC, CAG etc.? And if we can’t ensure that, is this movement really worth it?

  307. Krishna permalink
    August 23, 2011 3:36 PM

    I would like to disagree with people who say that “if you are not supporting jan lokpal, it automatically means you are supporting corruption”. My suggestion to end this logjam between the government and the civil society is that the government should form a committee with a few politicians from all the parties, a few legal members and whom so ever required and start discussing the bill keeping a certain time frame in mind rather than dragging it indefinitely.

    My comments towards Team ANNA:
    they have done an excellent job by starting a platform where the people of India can express their frustration.
    They planned the entire episode very well and have brought a huge awareness among the people.

    and its time for them to take a deadline from the government and start working on the drafting of a new bill that’s best for the country.

    To the Government:
    In my opinion they should get a new team to handle the anna crisis, cause the way they handled it till now is not only working but also getting back fired.

  308. Govindarajan Iyengar permalink
    August 23, 2011 7:25 PM

    Mr. Shuddhabrata Sengupta
    I am really convinced by reading your thoughts about your reservations against this lokpal?

    But seems you are not the common man who is required to pay bribe to get his work done, you are not the common man to wander from one govt. hospital to another to get treated well… seems you are not the common man to get his rights of what he should get…. seems you are not the common man who used to think over what he will do to feed his kids (month end)…. seems you are not the common man who used to watch the tax thieves roaming free and still suffering from his poverty…. seems you are not one of those debt ridden farmer who thinks how he will pay his over interest charged debts …. seems you are not one of those poor who starve on our streets and keep on begging on the streets? why after 60 years of independence we are still having Starvation????

    Only due to reckless policies……

    Why why why we still require this lokpal bill when our MPs do their job properly…. If they really worked properly and with mind, then thousands of Acres of land won’t be still in the occupation of Pakistan & China!!!

    Don’t you feel ashamed of our MPs of electing and relecting those who take money just to ask questions in parliament (that too that are of personal interests?), don’t you feel ashamed of our MPs who don’t perform or do the required duty that he is required to do?

    why we need the civil society members felt the need of such a strict lokpal Did you ever thought? For the last 60 years of independence, what the hell these 544 guys in parliament did “nothing other than looting our own resources”

    My sincere thanks for your explanation why you are not supporting Jan Lokpal Bill & indirectly motivating the general public to avoid supporting Jan Lokpal bill

    Sorry if my questions harassed you
    sorry if my questions insulted your personal thoughts & opinions
    sorry if my questions insulted your public image

    Sorry for all to avoid Public Interest Litigation in Advance Mr. Shuddhabrata Sengupta

    thanks for reading my stupidities in public.

    Thanks

    Govindarajan

  309. Sumit permalink
    August 25, 2011 2:06 AM

    Dear Mr. Sengupta,

    wud appreciate if u can come up with options for each criticism.

  310. John permalink
    August 29, 2011 2:39 PM

    every act has a right and a wrong to it, and having both the sides argue intellegently will have a lot of people sititng on the fence..undecided!!. We have been on the other side(of submissive, benign, tolerant) part for so long, with no ultimate good! So why not for a change ..change the equation. We have been the slaves of this democratic process..and if the argument is “democractic evolution” then why not consider this too the seed of the process!!!

  311. September 2, 2011 6:22 PM

    I know the democracy of the method And the law can be questioned. I agree with that. But for me, democracy is an institution where no hard hitting solutions can be made. The situation calls for a urgent solution, and over here, we have re analyse our goals- do we need a democratic solution or a effective one?

    We had democracy for over 60 years now. I, personally, don’t really have qualms about mixing some portions of arbitrariness with democracy. What will keep the power under check is that the committee makes high claims about it’s morales. And it is going to point fingers at the politicians. The free press will exaggerate every pointed finger, and there is a mechanism to check the members IN the lokpal committee. All these factors will maintain ‘the democracy’, and quick solutions Are needed, now.

    We need to stop elevating the poor uneducated class in the political arena. It’s time that some educated people rule the country. It’s high time we focused on the middle-classes and the upper one’s.

Trackbacks

  1. Top 20 Resources on Anna Hazare's Fast || Yesterday We Said Tomorrow
  2. India’s anti-corruption protests win concessions from the government « Riding the Elephant
  3. The Hero | A touch of madness
  4. Why Anna Hazaare did you sell out? « This is my Mind
  5. Anna’s jihad against system… « Daily World Watch
  6. Why I am not Celebrating with Anna Hazare.. « Avadhi/ ಅವಧಿ
  7. ‘Anna Hazare’, Democracy and Politics: A Response to Shuddhabrata Sengupta « Kafila
  8. Concerns about the Anna Hazare movement – a case for humility | Kanishkanarayan's Blog
  9. Illuminating analysis of the Anna Hazare euphoria | Tons and Tons
  10. Party Hard « Mumbai Boss
  11. One thought on the whole Anna Hazare thing | Asian Correspondent
  12. be the change to see the change « Plain Chex
  13. The polarizing figure of Anna Hazare | Rohit Negi | ScarletGuju
  14. Do we really need Anna Hazare or the Jan Lokpal Bill to fight corruption? | Chanakya's Neeti
  15. Satyagraha—Civil Disobedience—Democracy—Constitution « Krupakar's Blog
  16. The Anna Hazare show « Asian Window
  17. सबसे बड़ा आन्दोलन या षड़यंत्र??? | SILENT JOURNO
  18. Hunger strike against corruption is over. Time for some introspection? | Jaimans' Blog
  19. The curious and unexpected affair of Anna the Hazare « The Art of Returning to India…and Staying Put…
  20. Party Hard | Mumbai Boss
  21. The pseudo-Left begins to demonise Anna Hazare | Newthink
  22. The Polarizing Figure of Anna Hazare « बरगद… Bargad…
  23. On The Jan Lok Pal Bill | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind
  24. Gandhi-Ambedkar-Hazare: Politics and the Grammar of Anarchy « Chasing Fat Tails
  25. Thoughts on the Jan Lokpal Bill « Calcutta Chronicles
  26. Why Hazare made me sceptical… « Life n More
  27. मोमबत्तियों की रौशनी का दायरा | युवा संवाद
  28. Anna Hazare’s Lokpal committee unconstitutional: lawyers’ PIL in SC | | Legal WorkLegal Work
  29. Pranayam was Never so Painful. « Kafila
  30. ಬಾಬ ರಾಮದೇವ್ ಬಂಧಿತರಾದ ರಾತ್ರಿ.. « ಅವಧಿ / Avadhi
  31. Articles on Anna Hazare’s Campaign by Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Bobby Kunhu Aditya Nigam | Today's Hot
  32. ashwinnaik.com » (Anti) Corruption Starts with Us
  33. Protesting Against Protest « Going Anon and on
  34. Four on Friday: Hazare Khwaishein Aisi « EST / IST
  35. At the Risk of Heresy: Why I am not Celebrating with Anna Hazare (via Kafila) « Sudhamalhotragbhalla’s Weblog
  36. Breaking News: Unknown Liberal thinking Youth begins Fast-unto death to Oppose Lokpal Bill « Rectilinear Redemption
  37. At the Risk of Heresy: Why I am not Celebrating with Anna Hazare « anna hazard
  38. Thank God! I’m NOT Anna: Dalits’ Fight to Save Democracy « Dr B R Ambedkar Books
  39. Hazare, Khwahishein Aisi: Desiring a new politics, after Anna Hazare and beyond corruption « Kafila
  40. Bombay Magic » I am Anna Hazare
  41. India’s anti-corruption protests win concessions from the government | John Elliott | Independent Editor's choice Blogs
  42. Starvation politics: Kejriwal’s ‘upvaas’ vs Sharmila’s attempted ‘suicide’ | Firstpost
  43. At the Risk of Heresy: Why I am not Celebrating with Anna Hazare | IMO

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54,655 other followers

%d bloggers like this: