Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Modi is a criminal: Sanjiv Bhatt

Sanjiv Bhatt is out of Modi's jail.He is back to haunt Modi more strongly than ever before.

Without a single minute of rest he is back on TV channels giving interview after interview,making BJP spokespersons and pro-Modi TV anchors speech less.

He said that Modi is a criminal and should be brought to justice.

See video of another of his interview

A month ago when Modi with the help of some friendly media people tried to propagate that Supreme Court has given a clean chit to him,Sanjiv Bhatt promptly wrote an open letter to him clarifying the fact. Let me end this post with the full text of that open letter.

Dear Shri. Modi,

I am glad you chose to write an open letter to the 'Six crore Gujaratis'. This has not only afforded me a window to your mind but has also given me an opportunity to write to you through the same medium.

My dear brother, it seems you have completely misconstrued the judgement and order passed by the Honourable Supreme Court of India in Criminal Appeal No. 1765 of 2011 arising out of S.L.P. (CRL.) No. 1088 of 2008 viz. Jakia Nasim Ahesan & Anr. Versus State of Gujarat & Ors.

It is very likely that your chosen advisors have once again misled you and have in turn, made you mislead the 'Six crore Gujaratis' who look up to you as their elected leader.

Let me as a younger brother-Gujarati, help you decipher the Judgement and Order that has led to unequivocal gloating and jubilatory celebrations among some sections of the political spectrum. It has been stated in your letter that "One thing is apparent from the Supreme Court's judgment. The unhealthy environment created by the unfounded and false allegations made against me and Government of Gujarat, after 2002 riots, has come to an end". Let me clarify that even by a long shot, the order of the Honourable Supreme Court has nowhere, even remotely, suggested that the allegations contained in the complaint filed by Mrs. Jakia Jafri were unfounded or false. The truth is that the order of the Honourable Supreme Court is in fact, a very major leap in the direction of delivering justice to the hapless victims of the Gujarat pogrom. As you are well aware, Mrs. Jafri had approached the Honorable Gujarat High Court with a prayer for registering her complaint as an FIR. The said petition was disallowed by the Honourable High Court of Gujarat. Mrs. Jafri, therefore, approached the Honourable Supreme Court of India by way of a Special Leave Petition against the order of the High Court. The Honourable Supreme Court directed the SIT to look into her complaint and subsequently also directed the learned Amicus to examine the evidence collected by the SIT. At the end of this long and arduous exercise the Honourable Supreme Court has not only allowed the Appeal of Mrs. Jafri and directed the SIT to virtually treat the complaint of Mrs. Jafrri as an FIR, but has also directed the SIT to file a report under section 173(2) of the Cr.P.C. Let me clarify for your benefit and for the benefit of your Six crore brothers and sisters of Gujarat, that this report under section 173(2) of the Cr.P.C. is colloquially known as Charge-Sheet or Final Report. The honourable Supreme Court of India has also directed the SIT to place all the evidence collected by it, including the reports of the learned Amicus before the magistrate empowered to take cognizance. I am sure you will appreciate that in order to let the law of the land take its due course, this was the best option available to the Honourable Supreme Court as per the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

What the Honourable Supreme Court of India has given to Mrs. Jafri is much more than what she had originally prayed for. The order over which some of us are gloating in feigned glee, is in fact, a very cleverly worded order that takes the perpetrators and facilitators of the 2002 carnage a few leaps closer to their day of reckoning. The false bravado comes across as a very smart attempt to mislead the gullible people of Gujarat and instil a false sense of confidence in the political rank and file. Please be assured that we will see a very different picture as the actual import of the order starts settling in and takes judicial effect.

As one of the 'Six Crore Gujaratis', I feel deeply pained and cheated when the likes of you, consciously or inadvertently, mislead the people of Gujarat for ulterior motives. The theory propounded and practised to perfection by Paul Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler's closest associate and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, can definitely work with the majority of the populace for some time.

But all of us know from historical experience that Goebbelsian Propaganda cannot fool all the people for all the time.

I fully endorse your realization that "Hate is never conquered by hate." Who would know this betterthan you, who has served this State for the last one decade; and I, who has served in the Indian Police Service for the last 23 years. I had the misfortune of serving with you during those days of 2002 when the dance of hatred was choreographed and perpetrated at different venues in Gujarat. Albeit this is not the appropriate forum for me to discuss and reveal the details of our respective roles, I am sure that both of us will be getting ample opportunities before appropriately empowered fora to disclose our knowledge about the dynamics of hatred in the realpolitik of Gujarat. I hope you and your cronies, within and without the Government, will not hate me more for this.

But let me warn you that genuine heartfelt goodwill is something we cannot demand, buy or extort...we can only strive to deserve it. And it is not going to be an easy task. The land of the Mahatma is slowly but surely coming out of its hypnotic state.

As the most powerful person in Gujarat you may think that you do not need to feel accountable to the perceptions of all sections of the community. But believe me, history has proved time and again, that power without genuine goodwill is a path fraught with dangers...it is also a path of no return.

Samabhava is a condition precedent for Sadbhava. Governance by equity and goodwill should not only be the first article of your faith but should also be the last article of your creed.

The truth is more frequently than not, a little bitter and not very easy to swallow. I hope that you will take this letter in the true spirit in which it is written and you or your agents will not indulge in direct or indirect acts of retribution as is your wont.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. - Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The spirit of the hapless victims who have been struggling for justice in Gujarat may occasionally flag but it will not be supressed by any amount of false Goebbelsian propaganda. The struggle for justice is never easy anywhere in the world...it calls for everlasting patience and unfailing perseverance at all times.
The spirit of the crusaders for truth and justice in Gujarat is epitomised in this poem by
Bhuchung Sonam, an alumnus of M.S. University, Baroda.

I have principle and no power
You have power and no principle

You being you
And I being I

Compromise is out of the question
So let the battle begin...
I have truth and no force
You have force and no truth

You being you
And I being I

Compromise is out of the question
So let the battle begin...

You may club my skull
I will fight

You may crush my bones
I will fight

You may bury me alive
I will fight

With truth running through me
I will fight

With every ounce of my strength
I will fight

With my last dying breath
I will fight...

I will fight till the
Castle that you built with your lies

Comes tumbling down
Till the devil you worshipped with your lies Kneels down before my angel of truth.

May the kind God give you the requisite strength to be equitable and benevolent towards one and all!

Satyamev Jayate!

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Sanjiv Bhatt

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why ordinary Americans are angry with Wall Street?

Today as I write this words New York City is witnessing the largest ever popular protest against Big Business and Finance Capital. The Occupy Wall street movement is gaining momentum and spreading to other Cities of USA. What are they protesting against?
“I did everything I was supposed to and I have nothing to show for it.”
The above statement reflects the general sentiment of the thousands of protesters blocking roads in New York today. The failed American dream is pushing more and more people into debt which no Government is ready to write off or help to re-pay, while the US treasury funds were liberally used to help big business to tide over its crisis several times in recent years. Those Companies which were bailed out by public money is showing big profits now but the US economy is in a bad recession.

We are the 99 Percent

One of the main fuel for this protests is the personal stories of hundreds of Americans depicted in the website 'We are the 99 Percent'.

Here are some examples.

Lost my job in 2006. Sold my home and moved in with my 87-year-old mother.
Worked temporary jobs on and off for over 5 years with little or no benefits.
Cancer survivor. Need medical care. Can’t afford health insurance.
Watching my retirement funds and savings shrink.

Moved to Mexico to get medical care. Rent a room and live on $250 a month. No car. No phone.
Mom is in the hospital and I wonder if I can afford to come home.
I AM the 99%.

I am 30 years old. I have a BFA and an MA. I taught Art History for 2+ years and made regular payments on my loans. As a newer, less established member of the faculty I was out of work when my college cut classes. Over a year later and I still can’t find work. I pick up dog poop for $6 a walk. Because of deferments my $41,000 loan has become $62,000. I am the 99%.

III am 29 years old. I have a Master’s degree. I am $120,000+ in student loan/medical debt. In the past 18 months I: was diagnosed with cancer, lost 2 jobs, worked 70 hours/wk and unable to keep up. I get more calls from creditors than I do friends. My electricity was shut off in May. I was too embarrassed to tell people in August that it was still off. I had to move back in with my parents. I have $4 in my bank account and no job.
I am the 99%.

These are the REAL stories of people who played by the rules,did as they were told,but has only huge debts to show for it.

The interesting thing is that the protesters have no concrete list of demands. Or you can say different protesters have different demands and these are being put to vote on net and may become finalized only after few weeks or even months.
 Most of the demands are aimed at better control and more taxing of big business and finance capital. There are also demands for more affordable universal health care and affordable education.
Here is a list of demands that are being voted on.

Greece,Spain,Italy.........USA....... the tale of woes of Western Capitalist economies is continuing. Mass struggles are taking place in all these places against Corporate greed and the elected Government's abject surrender to big business and finance Capital.

Will these protests of honest and sincere men and women who played by the rules,but lost everything, help to bring  a revolutionary change in the system?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Do we, Indians live in a free Country?

Is India a free Country?
Many in India believe it is. Even many living outside believe so.
But is it really so? Is India a really free Country to all its citizens? Is there freedom in India to criticise the Government? Is there freedom in India to question the atrocities of the State? Is there freedom in India for a poor Indian woman to register a complaint of rape?

The following 3 news items made me ask these questions.

India deports radio broadcaster David Barsamian upon arrival at Delhi airport

David Barsamian, founder director of Alternative Radio, and independent radio legend, was deported on arrival from New Delhi airport in the early hours of Sept 23.
In a statement, Mr. Barsamian said that he was detained almost immediately upon presentation of his passport to the immigration authorities who told him that he was banned from entering India. “To date I have received no official explanation,''. He had planned to interview Binayak Sen on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2 and also planned a visit to Kashmir and other places
Noted authors, journalists, academicians, lawyers and filmmakers have strongly protested against the denial of entry into India to David Barsamian.
“The deportation of David Barsamian unfortunately mirrors the manner in which Professor Richard Shapiro was arbitrarily stopped from entering India in November 2010. We are dismayed that this power to send people back from the airport is slowly becoming a weapon, used to discipline and silence people who draw any kind of attention to uncomfortable truths about India,” eminent intellectuals said in their protest letter on Thursday
SHO In UP Rapes Gang rape Victim, Girl Disappears

Lucknow, Sep 26: A farmer's teen aged daughter gang raped in Mahoba, UP, has disappeared after she was raped by the Station House Officer in the police station, Times of India reported.
It all began on June 19, when the teen aged daughter of a farmer from Atghar village under Khanna police station disappeared.On August 9, she returned home to narrate how she was kidnapped by two youths, Rahul and Maniram, and raped over a dozen times during her confinement.On August 10, the victim and her father reached the Khanna police station in Mahoba to lodge a complaint.

Senior sub-inspector Deepak Pandey, also the station house officer, arrived after a long wait.After quizzing the victim for almost an hour, he allegedly asked the girl's father to leave telling him that the girl would have to stay back as her statements were to be recorded.

The next afternoon, the girl reached home and told her father that she was raped again by Pandey.The shocked family then approached senior police officers of the district, but nothing happened.The family then approached a lawyer and sent complaints to the Chief Minister, Director General of Police and the National Commission for Women.

Modi government arrests Sanjiv Bhatt

 He dared to take on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi head on and now finds himself behind bars. Bhatt, who had implicated Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, has been arrested by the Gandhinagar police.

Mr. Bhatt's arrest comes within 48 hours of his having filed another affidavit, this time in the Gujarat High Court, alleging the indirect involvement of the Chief Minister and his former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, in the murder of another former Minister Haren Pandya. Mr. Bhatt had claimed that Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah had repeatedly asked him to destroy some “very important documentary evidence” regarding Mr. Pandya's murder, but he refused to oblige them, following which he was transferred from the post of Superintendent of the Sabarmati Central Jail and kept without any posting for over two and half months in November 2003.

Soon after his arrest, Mr. Bhatt was taken to an undisclosed destination for interrogation.

His arrest was condemned by human rights activists who said it was “yet another instance of fascism thriving in the State.

My answer to the above questions is an unequivocal NO.

India may be a free country for those who play by the rules of the powerful.
 But for someone who wants to paint a true picture of India,
 or who wants to question the atrocities of the ruling Mafia,
 or even who wants to file a genuine complaint about rape,
India is not a free country. You will be either deported,put in jail or raped again.





Saturday, September 10, 2011

Evolutionary theory of Patriarchy

Patriarchy has always surprised me. Why should one gender class, the females surrender almost everything at the feet of males? Was it always like this? Is it changing? Let me try to find some answers.

There is no definite evidence to show when Patriarchy originated, or whether it was present even before Homo sapiens were evolved. Many other animals including many of the non-human primates exhibit patriarchy. But many other species of both primates and non-primates do not exhibit patriarchy. This shows that as different species evolved differently they adhered to different systems regarding Gender relations.
 As per evolutionary anthropology there is a natural selection of behaviour which gives the species maximum survival benefit.
In case of early Homo sapiens specialisation into a section  who hunt and a section which do not hunt but only gather food is an important change from rest of primates which helped in its survival. The human baby needed adult care and support for a long time compared to other species. This meant many of the women were not available for going out to hunt. Also the increased physical strength exhibited by males might have been more suitable for hunting. Thus hunting more or less became the domain of males while child rearing and gathering the domain of females.
 Many believe that compared to most other species humans exhibit the strongest male to male bonding. This might have been the result of group hunting of large animals several times the size of humans. At the same time humans show the least female to female bonding. May be the way of life of a gatherer might have been to see a competition in every one else.
As the hunter-gatherer society evolved, incest taboo that prevents sexual act between close relatives resulted in females going out to join other groups. Many of the non human primates shows same behaviour,though in some others it is the males who go out of the parental group.

Why women went out and not men? Is this again because of the strong male to male bonding in humans?
 In most of the primates where females go out of their parental group (chimpanzees,hamadrayas baboons), patriarchy is very strong. One reason for this is it is difficult for the new-comer female to make any sort of bonding with females of her adopted group.

In contrast in some species, females remain in their birth communities their whole lives. Here females  form alliances against aggressive males. Vervet monkeys  macaques, olive baboons, patas and rhesus monkeys are examples for this 'female bonding' . Thus in these species the males behave with much more respect towards females.

As human society developed from hunter-gatherer system to cultivation and feudalism patriarchy became stronger. Surplus wealth created had to be transferred to off springs. But if it had to be given to girls who go out of the house in marriage also,it meant  diluting of the family wealth. So a male only inheritance was developed for the survival advantage of the family as a unit but at a distinct disadvantage to females.

 Why females agreed to this?  By then men had almost complete control over tools for production of wealth like land,agricultural implements, weapons,domestic animals etc. It was also men who went out to wage war to capture more land and slave labourers.Women  might have perceived that their interests is best served through alliances with men, not with other women.

 Feudalism was slowly replaced by Capitalism due to the scientific revolution and advent of mass production of goods. Joint families got disbanded as they could not survive the new economic system.  Women who were small scale producers of goods with in the joint family system became either confined to household work or had to go out to work in factories. As production became more and more mechanised the importance of physical strength in production diminished. But still women who did the same work as men were under paid by the Capitalists.  Thus even though Capitalism helped in reducing gender discrimination by allowing women to sell their labour in the market, it was at a lower wage and  the unpaid house work and child rearing still remained the sole responsibility of women. When ever family needed more of her unpaid work, she had to sacrifice her paid work.

 Change in economic system to Capitalism also resulted in change in political system. More and more Nation states were formed and monarchies were replaced by democratic system of  governance. Initially only the rich men were able to contest or even  vote. Great struggles by working classes and women forced the ruling capitalists to allow universal franchise.  Legislators passed many gender sensitive laws.
 Thus now in most of the countries legally there is not much gender discrimination. Even there are positive discrimination for women in many ways. But still women are discriminated widely in the society though much less than before.
 Study of animals shows us that female to female alliances and alliance with like minded oppressed males are important in creating more egalitarian societies.
  Let us hope that such an alliance of oppressed classes can create not only a gender-equitable but also a social-equitable society in near future.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Untold stories of Antharjanams

"Antharjanam- Memoirs of a Namboodiri Woman" is an unique book by several counts.

 It is a translation from Malayalam,of a collection of memoirs of a woman's life in a Namboodiri family,the upper cast,brahmin landlords of Kerala, during 1920s and 30s It is written by Devaki Nilayamgode who started writing at 75th year of her life. She never had any formal education. But still she was able to recreate history of her childhood in simple words.

    Story of Namboodiris is in many ways the story of power and decay of Patriarchy. Only the eldest son was allowed marriage with women of same cast. He can marry many women too.The rest of the males had a loose marital relationship called 'sambandham'with women of lower caste,the Kshatriyas or Nairs. The pupose of this rule is to ensure that the wealth of the family is consolidated,not divided. Thus many Namboodiri girls were forced to marry elderly men,while many others could not find a spouse. The children born of sambandham were not allowed inside the homes of their fathers or even to eat with them.

Devaki Nilayamgode begins the book like this:

"I am a 75 year old antharjanam [Namboodiri woman] from Nilayamgode Illam..........Achan was 68 when I was born, I was his 12th child. During Amma's next confinement,Achan passed away.....I do not remember seeing Achan."

 This matter of fact style using simple words is seen throughout the book.

About her birth she writes:

" In those days birth of a girl in illams was not considered auspicious. As soon as a woman became pregnant there were special poojas for a baby boy.If the child was a boy,the servants ullulated and announced the happy event. If a girl the irrikkanammas conveyed the news with soft knocks on the door and muted whispers.. I was born on .......... . There were no joyous shouts that day,only soft knocks on doors."

Even though Namboodiris were rich landlords, children, especially girls were a neglected lot. How feudal Patriarchy treats them is clearly illustrated by Devaki Nilayamgode here.

 "When breast milk was not available, children were not given cow's milk.This was not becasue of shortage at the illam,in fact there was plenty of it......Milk thus collected was never meant for children.It was used to make ghee in which lamps were lit at the temple and to make buttermilk to prepare Kalan, a curry served at feasts in the illam. A small amount of ghee is stored away to serve Namboodiris[men] at lunch...... at night when little children cried of hunger they were given a gulp of butter milk.That was the nature of child care in those days.Everyone believed that the light of the ghee lamps glowing in the temple was enough to ensure the children's health and prosperity."

 The author describes the cruel neglect of her ailing younger sister that lead to her death like this:

 "Amma [by that time a widow],forced her eldest son to inform the men of the family about her daughter's condition. Ettan reluctantly approached the Namboodiris who had assembled in the hall for their banter with her request for medical assistance.In reply they laughed at him and passed caustic remarks. He returned unsuccessful to her."

The fact that girls born of sambandam, though of lower caste lke Kshatriyas and Nairs, enjoyed more comforts than Namboodiri girls living in shackles of patriarchy is well illustrated by this passage:

" After lunch, Subhadra and Bharathi [cousins of the author though borne off a Nair woman] came to the illam..... For us their very presence was a source of perpetual wonderment.They had knee length hair,wore colorful blouses,and zari bordered mundu with an upper cloth,plenty of gold ornaments and perfume as well.
It was on seeing them that we girls suddenly became aware of our own uncouth appearance.My elder sister was almost as old as Bharathi,but how different she looked.Her hair was not properly brushed.She did not wear a blouse,had neither a zari bordered mundu nor any jewellery.....
 But what overwhelmed me was something else. They lifted my younger sister and me onto their laps and embraced and caressed us.Until then no one had touched or caressed me like that.Amma never did such a thing.The situation was same in all illams--children were never fondled.Fathers very rarely saw their daughters...... In fact in those days it was considered wrong to give special attention to one's children."

The in human way widows were treated is dealt by the author like this:

"Nothing was considered a greater sign of misfortune than the sight of a widow. It was believed that the husband's death was caused by the ill-fated allignment of stars in the wife's horoscope.So widow was guilty of a criminal act from the moment of his death......Perhaps it was the horrifying  state in that widows lived that prompted all the women's prayers,poojas and fasts for the longevity of their husband."

Devaki Nilayamgode do not lose sight of the prevalence of oppressive caste system. Though Antharjanams had a difficult lives amidst the rich upper class illams , the poor lower caste servants had no respite from humiliation from the Namboodiris. Here is a description of a feast were food is given to lower caste woman-servants.

'When antharjanams had eaten,it was the turn of the helpers waiting hungrily outside to be called for lunch.......What awaited them inside were the used and dirty banana leaves on which the half-eaten food of the antharjanams still lay spattered.Some would turn the leaves over so as to have their rice and curry served on the 'clean' side,only to find that the dust from the several feet traversing the floor of dry cow dung paste was stuck to the reverse........The servings were generous,of same quality as given to others. But the only stipulation was they had to eat of used banana leaves......... I always wish that these women were served on at least a torn piece of a clean leaf.........I wish now that I had had the sense to voice my protest,especially when I remember that one of those dirty leaves was indeed mine."

Marriage in those days was always a surprise shock to the girls. Nilayamgode's was no exception.

" My wedding took place when I was 15. However I learned of it only 2 days before it happened.Usually it was the maid who informed the girl. The servant invariably had no idea about either the groom or his house, and the bride herself found out only after the ceremony....

 Any doubt of infidelity is met by the punishment of excommunication of antharjanam. The Namboodiri involved is also punished similarly. Kuriyedathu Thaatri was an antharjanam who was ex communicated like this along with 65 prominent Namboodiris whom she named.

Nilayamgode mentions those events like this:

"They [antharjanams] mentioned her name in low frightened tones. Today when I look back,I wonder: didn't those poor antharjanams derive a mysterious sense of joy,satisfaction,and energy in repeating Thaatri's story endlessly? In their stories Thatri was always to blame. She was the fallen woman who had enticed and insulted great Namboodiris as well as Vedic teachers. But beneath the tone of accusations, I also detected a note of unconscious appreciation of Thaatri."

The author concludes her writing fully realising that the end of feudalism was a blessing.

"On looking back,I find little similarity between my present day life and the childhood I spend in my illam.How much and how fast things have changed! I can emphatically say that life today is better than ever before."

This book is an important work of social history. It illustrates how ill and primitive was our society just a few decades ago. The magnitude of gender/caste oppression in feudalism is clearly made out in this simple narrative. There is not much anger or self pity in the way of writing,but that makes this book more worthy of reading.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hats off to Team Anna

Anna Hazare has agreed to break his fast tomorrow morning. This came about after the Loksabha unanimously agreed to include 3 important issues raised by Team Anna in the Lokpal Bill.
Is this what Team Anna wanted?
No, they had demanded that the Janlokpal Bill should be passed by the Parliament in this session itself.
So is this really a victory for Team Anna. They have said that it is a partial victory

True, it is only a partial victory, but I am sure no one among Anna's team would have really believed that the Janlokpal bill will be passed in this session of Parliament. Their hard posturing, in my opinion was for strengthening their hand during negotiations and they did negotiate hard with a direction-less faltering Government.
I am saying 'Hats off to Team Anna' due to their following achievements.

Janlokpal movement Achievements:

1.They brought topic of corruption to center stage

 By their continuous hard work and help from the media they were able to put spotlight on Corruption for a prolonged period of time.
2.They made all political parties take a stand on lokpal

None of the political parties had a clear stand on lokpal. This movement forced them to take a clear stand.

3. Made sure that we will have a strong Lokpal against corruption and judiciary accountability Law soon.

Without this movement's constant pressure the Lokpal Bill would have been hibernating again in cold storage for another decade.

4. Proved there is space & need for political activism beyond political parties & that it can be effective.
 UPA 2 was reeling under corruption in the Center and most States. BJP was no different in states ruled by it. The Principle Opposition being a sectarian Hindutva oriented one made Congress over confident. Left Parties living inside their ideology-jail were ineffective.Thus Indian Polity became stagnant with political parties in a deep freeze.
Team Anna was able to churn the stagnant political climate in India. They proved that there is space of political activism in India and for that one need not form a Political Party.

 5. Proved there is still scope for non violent mass movements & fasts in India if the issue raised is important to all.
 Indian freedom struggle was one of the least violent of mass movements in the World. Thus we have a history of creating and sustaining such non violent struggles. But sadly in recent years most of our agitations were violent resulting in street fights and arson. Team Anna now proved that even in 21st century there is role for Gandhian style struggles and fasts. They proved that such a struggle for a popular and just cause creates so much credibility problem for the Government that they will have to mediate and address the issues involved.

Today I am not trying to enumerate the numerous faults and drawbacks of this movement. According to me they are not that significant compared to the achievements.

This is only a small step in making our country a better and more just place to live in, but a very important step.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Janlokpal movement and the Left

As the fast of Anna Hazare continues in Ramlila maidan the question of the position to be taken by Leftists towards this Janlokpal movement is being fiercely discussed in Intellectual circles. As I have stated in an earlier post in April,for me there was no confusion about whether I am for or against the movement. I had concluded in that post that
"Any movement which brings out ordinarily selfish and inert people out into the streets for a peaceful agitation for the betterment of the Society should always be hailed"

 This I feel should be the view point from the Left of the political spectrum.

Now more articles have come out both in favor and against Janlokpal movement.

Arundhati Roy has criticised the movement terming it elitist,casteist, Hindutvaised and one that is threatening to topple the State.
What she wrote is in red while my comments are in black.
For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State
Now where did I hear Team Anna saying they want to overthrow the Indian State. Why Ms Roy is beginning her article with a falsehood? Is this to frighten away middle class supporters of Anna?

In April 2011, a few days into Anna Hazare's first “fast unto death,” searching for some way of distracting attention from the massive corruption scams which had battered its credibility, the Government invited Team Anna, the brand name chosen by this “civil society” group, to be part of a joint drafting committee for a new anti-corruption law. A few months down the line it abandoned that effort and tabled its own bill in Parliament, a bill so flawed that it was impossible to take seriously.
 Ms Roy herself agree that Government abandoned talks and came out with a very flawed draft bill. Then why she is not supporting the strongest political movement against that flawed bill?

Meanwhile the props and the choreography, the aggressive nationalism and flag waving of Anna's Revolution are all borrowed, from the anti-reservation protests, the world-cup victory parade, and the celebration of the nuclear tests.
Where she got this idea that this movement is dominated by upper caste reactionaries? Read Nivedita here after she went to see what is happening in Ramlila maidan.
‘The People' does not mean the Manipuris who support Irom Sharmila's fast. Nor does it mean the thousands who are facing down armed policemen and mining mafias in Jagatsinghpur, or Kalinganagar, or Niyamgiri, or Bastar, or Jaitapur. Nor do we mean the victims of the Bhopal gas leak, or the people displaced by dams in the Narmada Valley. Nor do we mean the farmers in NOIDA, or Pune or Haryana or elsewhere in the country, resisting the takeover of the land.
Who is he really, this new saint, this Voice of the People? Oddly enough we've heard him say nothing about things of urgent concern. Nothing about the farmer's suicides in his neighbourhood, or about Operation Green Hunt further away. Nothing about Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, nothing about Posco, about farmer's agitations or the blight of SEZs. He doesn't seem to have a view about the Government's plans to deploy the Indian Army in the forests of Central India. The Team Anna's movement includes people from diverse backgrounds and political views. They have joined together for a narrow aim,the passing of a strong anti-corruption law. Bringing other issues here is needless. Team Anna is not a political party with manifesto having a view on each and every issue under the Sun. Asking Team Anna about these issues is same as Sangh Parivar asking Arundhati Roy why she is not supporting  Kashmiri Pandits when she speaks about oppression of Gujarati Muslims.

Will the 830 million people living on Rs.20 a day really benefit from the strengthening of a set of policies that is impoverishing them and driving this country to civil war?

Will a strong anti-corruption law harm the poor? Why it will not help the poor? Crores of rupees for poverty alleviation are diverted to pockets of many year after year. Will this law at least stem the tide? Why Roy is then against it?

This awful crisis has been forged out of the utter failure of India's representative democracy, in which the legislatures are made up of criminals and millionaire politicians who have ceased to represent its people. In which not a single democratic institution is accessible to ordinary people

True. So what is Ms Roy's solution for that? Armed struggle? If so say it openly or come out with a better solution. It is easy to critisize but difficult to act to bring a positive change.
For a change the Leftist web portal Kafila came out with a non-cynical article about Janlokpal movement.

Nivedita Menon wrote:
how do we on ‘the Left’ manage so unerringly to be exactly where ‘the people’ are not, time after time?Increasingly though, in the course of the current mass upsurge that has coalesced around the figure of Anna Hazare, I have been feeling more and more alienated in my community, by its strident demands for absolute purity of the radical position; its aggressive self-marginalization and self-exile to a high ground where credentials are closely scrutinized; its absolute incomprehension of and contempt for ’the people’ when actually confronted by them.
Any mass movement brings together disparate and sometimes starkly contradictory tendencies. Don’t we know that from the Indian struggle for independence? Was the Indian bourgeoisie absent from it? Or the religious right of all sorts? Or casteist and Brahminical forces? (Of course the Left – the CPI – even during the independence struggle was painfully tortured by such questions, and often did exile itself to its high ground, missing the moment completely. This time round, that historical memory seems to have stood them well.
If absolute purity and a point-to-point matching of our full political agenda is required for us to support a movement, then feminists would be permanently stuck restively in the waiting room of history, for I can assure you that every mass demonstration you see anywhere ever, is packed with patriarchal men and patriarchalized women! Nor does any movement except the women’s movement ever raise patriarchy as an issue. But what is it that we take into account when we do support a movement? One – does the movement express a goal or demand that we support? Two – Does the movement as such explicitly take positions that are anti-women or anti-anything-we-stand-for? (Clue: the answers should be yes and no respectively).

This movement is centrally about corruption, and corruption touches every single life in India. It touches the labourers whose muster rolls are faked, it touches the agricultural worker whose NREGA payment is swallowed up, it touches every poor undertrial and prisoner in jail on trumped up charges (was it surprising then, that the undertrials in Tihar fasted in solidarity with Anna?), it touches the farmer whose land is seized to be passed on to corporates, an issue mentioned by Anna Hazare in his speech at Ramlila Maidan (kisanon ki zameen zabardasti chheeni ja rahi hai). Holding government and the bureaucracy accountable for corruption will check corporate corruption, because guess whom the corporations have to bribe to circumvent every law and every rule?
This is a moment pregnant with possibilities. Just as the attainment of national independence marked the beginning of new lines of conflict and the resurfacing of old ones, the success in any form of this campaign will only inaugurate more differences. Just as the coming into being of “India” opened up possibilities and dangers, so will this. This is true of any project of transformation.

And just as “they” have set aside their casteism and communalism within the space of the movement, “we” will have to set aside our radical critiques of what ‘they’ stand for. We cant go in there in confrontational mode, but in solidarity with a minimum common agenda. For there are many thousands in there who are not communal, not casteist, not elitist, and we cant afford to lose them
The movement doesn’t really need us, let’s be clear. But do we need it?

Shouldn’t we be there?

Yes, everyone should be there.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why Anna Hazare's movement is popular?

The increasing popularity of Anna Hazare's movement and his fast against Corruption has baffled many,especially the intellectuals and  more so the Government.
Let me try to elucidate 5 important points that is making it popular.
1. Corruption is an important issue for every one in the country. It is a menace not only for the poorest of the poor but also for the richest of the rich.It is an issue in every corner of the country regardless of gender,class,religion, caste, language etc.
2. Non violent mode of protest is one of the most attractive and safe mode of protest and everyone including a woman carrying a baby or a physically challenged person in a wheelchair can participate.
3. Though the movement itself is one of the most important Nation-wide political activity in recent times in India,it is devoid of political color of any single Party. The movement can be broadly classified as on the Left of the political spectrum in the sense that it is liberal mass based protest against  anti-people State. But those participating it hold wide variety of political views.Lack of any political color makes it very popular.
4. Anna Hazare himself is a cute lovable character with a  clean image. Team Anna members are also held in  high esteem for the integrity of their character and for their track record in public life.
5. Inept handling of the protest movement by the Govt,especially the arrest of Anna and lodging him in Tihar jail and the way Anna handled it helped to increase his popularity.

 I have not included 24/7 visual media coverage among the 5 most important reasons  because I do not believe it played that important a role as many think. Media aims at improving TRP. Popular non-violent David vs Goliath movements with twists and turns every hour are their bread and butter unless their owners have a vested interest against it. The coverage has contributed to the popularity,but the coverage happened because it is popular.
 Though I am not sure how this movement will culminate, I am sure that it is a tremendously positive phenomenon in the Indian political scene.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

MF Hussein; a victim of Sangh Parivar's cultural Policing

Yesterday a great  Indian Artiste, Painter M.F Husain died in exile in London. While the news channels and newspapers sang praises of him eloquently, I could hear an eerie silence in those eloquence.There was no direct criticism of the Indian 'Taliban' who hounded Hussein in the last 2 decades of his life. Everybody was criticising the Government and some name-less culture-less goons for the attacks on Hussein. But no one was brave enough to call the spade a spade.No one could name RSS as the prime instigator of violence against MF Husain.

This post is not about MF Husain but about the attack he faced from Sangh Parivar.

Why did the Sangh Parivar target Husain and some of his paintings?
1. Because he was a Muslim and painted scenes from Indian mythology.
 Aim of the Sangh Parivar is attaining political power in India and establishing a Hindutva State.For this they need to spread the fear of 'Hinduism in danger' to get votes. Since Hindus are in big majority and are firmly in power in India,they have to create a' threat' for Hinduism from some where and it has to come from other religions.
M.F Husain was an ideal candidate to create fear and hate hysteria in naive Indian upper class Hindus.Thus they circulated countless pamphlets with propaganda against Husain and created a large number of websites and circulated hate e mails.

2.Why did Sangh Parivar found some of the Paintings objectionable?

Sangh Parivar originated in early 20th century inspired from ultra nationalist movements of Europe.It is not a secret that founding leaders of the RSS were great admirers of Hitler and Mussolini.

In 1939 in 'We, Our Nationhood Defined", Golwalkar, wrote like this in praise of Hitler:

"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic Races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by........
Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening."
 Ultra-nationalist/fascist movements wants to create history and culture as per their philosophy.Anything against their view of culture will not be accepted. Thus the RSS wanted to become the sole custodian and curator of Indian culture, cut to shape to fit the concrete box of their own creation.
Husain's paintings became a suitable target as a painting drawn by a member of Race they wanted to hate in a way  not fitting their concrete box.
Attack on Hussein was an attempt to show to the Artistic Community who is the boss in regard to Arts and culture. It was an attack on thousands of years of syncretic Indian culture.It was an attempt to Talibanise Indian Society so that Sangh Parivar can easily attain power.
While Husain strengthened Indian Culture by giving such unique forms to mythological characters, the Sangh Parivar want to reduce it to a puritan intolerant one.
The eerie silence in the civil society when Husain was hounded out of India and the fear in naming Sangh Parivar as the main villain even at the time of his death make us resemble the society of our infamous neighbour,Pakistan.
It is a shame that Husein and others like Taslima Nasreen were not allowed to live and work in peace in 'secular' democratic India.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Victories for VS and Mamta. Will the 'Left" learn the lessons?

The Assembly election results are out. As expected and predicted Mamata Banerjee virtually wiped out the Left Front from West Bengal Assembly. Unexpectedly the LDF in Kerala only lost by a whisker.If about a 1000 votes changed hands they would have been still in power. The main reason for this remarkable performance by LDF is obviously the VS factor which made many neutrals and fence sitters vote LDF.

Thus these elections in CPM ruled States resulted in the Party losing power. The real victors were Mamata Banerjee the in coming Chief Minister of Bengal and VS Achuthanadan, the out going Chief Minister of Kerala. Will the CPM learn the lessons from their victories?

VS factor

In the 70s and 80s VS was just an 'Alleppy' leader of CPM. Those were the times of towering figures of EMS and AKG. In most meetings of the CPM, when VS finally get to the microphone the cadres used to get up and go rather than listen to his long drawn out mimcry like speeches. Then came the time of E.K.Nayanar the 'simpleton comedian' leader who also was very popular. Though VS was the Party Secretary for a long time he was never considered a popular leader. He was also never very popular inside his own Party. Many a time he was accused of 'group' politics inside the Party.He was also said to be very ambitious of power.In 1996 when VS was supposed to be the CM candidate he mysteriously lost the elections probably due to the mischief of his own Party men.From then onwards he was vary of some of his comrades and tried to creat a path of his own.

The graph of VS's popularity began to rise after he became the Opposition leader for the first time in 2001.That was a wonderful performance which got applause from each and every one. Mushrooming Malayalam TV News channels hungry for video and sound bytes feasted on VS's struggle against Corruption,Sex and Land mafia. Most of the time he never waited for the green signal from Party Committee but ploughed his own course. His image as a strong crusader against injustice became bigger and bigger.Many in his own Party was not amused with his rise in popularity.That resulted in VS being denied Party ticket to contest in 2006.Lack of discipline and 'groupism' were the reasons pointed out for the denial. An uproar in the Civil Society fuelled by the anti-Left media forced the Party to reverse it decision. May be for the first time in its history the Party instead of dictating to the public,was dictated by it.

The LDF won a massive victory and VS became the Chief Minister.The fight between the Official Party lead by Pinarayi Vijayan and VS continued. VS never lost a chance to make jibes at Pinarayi and the ensuing word-fight resulted in both of them demoted from the Politburo.

Meanwhile the LDF under some able ministers were able to provide fairly good governance to the State.VS might not have been directly instrumental in that but facilitated it.

But LDF lost most of the seats in Parliamentary elections in 2009 held after some sharp in fighting between alliance partners as result of arrogance of CPM. In the Local Bodies elections of 2010, LDF could fair only marginally better.In fighting in CPM, inability to convey the message of good governance,hostile mass media etc were considered to be the causes.

Those 2 results made every one predict a cake-walk for UDF in Assembly elections of 2011.Even many in the Party openly indicated that next Government will be that of UDF.UDF leaders started discussions about ministries.

Then a few fortunate co-incidences helped to turn the tide for LDF.Balakrishna Pillay, a former UDF minister,widely regarded as corrupt was sentenced to 1 year jail by the Supreme Court. VS was personally responsible for pressing the appeal. Instead of keeping a distance from a person convicted for corruption ,UDF leaders arranged a 'martyr's' reception for Pillay. The in famous Ice-cream parlour sex-mafia case came back to haunt Muslim League's Kunjalikutty. Kunjalikutty's aide turned foe's revelations made it more clear for the public about his guilt. UPA Govt's scams never left the headline space of news papers.
An aggressive VS began to attack UDF with all the above issues.At the same time the rank and file of LDF began door to door campaign highlighting the achievements of LDF rule.UDF instead of trying to counter the points raised by VS,began to attack VS personally,which boomeranged on them. The anti-Left media tried in vain to create a villain out of VS, a leader who was till then their darling during in-fighting in CPM. All LDF candidates began begging VS for campaign stop in their constituencies. LDF posters contained only the picture of VS.

Thus the cake-walk every one expected became a photo-finish victory for UDF and the VS factor did play very important role in it.

Many of his critics believe that VS is not suitable to be a leader of a disciplined cadre party like CPM. They feel that he is a power hungry politician who will stab his colleague's back to gain some brownie points.They think that everything about VS is just a show for the media.

My answer is this.

CPM now is not a revolutionary Party but only a political party trying to get power by winning democratic elections.Along with disciplined cadres it needs leaders who can understand the wishes of the people and who can get support of neutrals.It also needs leaders who can use the media to its advantage. VS thus has only helped CPM to become more popular.

VS's LDF has lost the election but he will never stop being aggressive is evident from his Press Conference after resigning from the CM's post about the forthcoming UDF ministry:
"Under no circumstances should those with a tainted track record such as the corrupt and womanisers be thrust upon the people of Kerala," Achuthanandan told reporters who had gathered at his official residence here Saturday afternoon.

Asked to elaborate on whether he was pointing to people like Indian Union Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty, who is alleged to be involved in the Kozhikode ice cream sex case scandal, he shot back saying, "I have already said what I wanted to say."

The lessons VS taught the CPM leadership can be concluded like this.
1. Aspirations of the public is more important than the wishes of Party leadership

2. Listen to the people's grievances not to that of the Party members alone.

3 If you want the people to believe you are against Corruption/injustice you should not tolerate it in your Party

4.Not only you should be against injustice,but every one should know you are like that.

5. No point in criticising the media.One should learn to utilise it to one's advantage.

6. Timing is as important in politics as in cricket.If you wait for the Politburo decision you would have lost the opportunity

7.Be aggressive in your attack and never defend the indefensible just because it is the Party line.

Mamata Banerjee in her own also taught CPM the same lessons in Bengal

Actually CPM needs a VS in its central leadership and in Bengal to turn the tide in its favour.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

End game for Modi?

Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt IPS, a senior Gujarat police officer, who was posted in the Intelligence Department during the 2002 communal riots filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court on 14th April 2011.Here are the main points in the affidavit.

I am filing this affidavit to bring on record certain aspects concerning the enquiry/investigation being conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by this Hon’ble Court.

I am a Post-Graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. After completing my post-graduation, I joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1988 and was allotted to the Gujarat cadre.

I was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, State Intelligence Bureau, Gandhinagar, from December 1999 to September 2002. This was the post I was occupying at the time when the 2002 Gujarat Riots took place.
I respectfully state that owing to the post I was occupying in the State Intelligence Bureau, I came across huge amounts of intelligence and information pertaining to the events that had transpired prior to, as well as during the Gujarat Riots of 2002.

The information and documentary evidence, which I have already shared with the SIT, can throw light on the real nature of events that led to the incident of burning of the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on 27th February 2002 and the larger conspiracy and official orchestration behind the subsequent Gujarat Riots of 2002.

On being summoned by SIT for the first time in November 2009, I had provided the SIT with certain relevant information and documents, including original floppy discs containing the entire cell phone/cell-site records of Godhra Town for 26th and 27th February 2002; as well as the original print-outs of very important call records of certain high-ranking functionaries of the State for 27th and 28th February 2002.

I was present at the meeting called by the Chief Minister on the late night on 27.2.2002 and was personally aware about the instructions given there at and the events that transpired thereafter. I had also provided the SIT with verifiable details regarding the on-going cover up operation; including the contemporaneous efforts made by high official of the State administration to undermine the proceedings of Writ Petition (Civil) No. 221 of 2002., which was pending before this Hon’ble Court in 2002.

Upon my request, the SIT provided me with a relevant portion of the transcript of my testimony, pertaining to the instructions given by the Chief Minister, at the conclusion of meeting held on 27-02-200, where it was tried to impress upon him that the decision to bring the dead bodies to Ahmedabad and the BJP announcement of the supporting the VHP Bandh Call would definitely lead to outbreak of communal violence in Ahmedabad and across the state; and the Gujarat police did not have the manpower resources to deal with such a situation. The relevant portion of the transcript of my testimony, as recorded and provided to me by SIT, read as follow.

The Chief minister Shri. Narendra Modi said that the bandh call had already been given and the party had decided to support the same, as incidents like the burning of Kar-Sevaks at Godhra could not be tolerated. He further impressed upon the gathering that for too long the Gujarat Police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against the Hindus and Muslims while dealing with the communal riots in Gujarat. This time the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again. The Chief Minister Shri. Narendra Modi expressed the view that the emotions were running high amongst the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent out their anger.”

The effects of these directions given by the Chief Minister were widely manifested in the half-hearted approach and the evident lack of determination on the part of the Police while dealing with the widespread incidents of orchestrated violence during the State-sponsored Gujarat Bandh on 28th February 2002 and also during the weeks that followed.

I state and submit that, I had numerous meetings presided over by the Chief Minister, even before 27th February 2002 and continued to do so thereafter as well.

I have time and again tried to bring these facts to the notice of the Special Investigation Team but they seem to be disinclined to follow-up these important leads in the course of the enquiry/investigation being carried out by them.

During the course of my deposition before SIT, there were certain other occurrences which were highly indicative of real-time leakage of information from within the SIT.

On 25th March 2011, when I again tried to bring up the issue of a larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat Riots of 2002, as also the ongoing attempts at cover-up, I faced unconcealed hostility from the members of SIT. This was even more obvious when I gave names of witnesses who could corroborate the fact of my having attended the said meeting with the Chief Minister on 27.2.2002.

The SIT has chosen to intimidate certain witnesses and coerce them in to refraining from stating the true facts and thereby has created an impression that the SIT is becoming a party to the ongoing cover-up operation in Gujarat.

One of the witnesses I had named, Shri K. D. Panth (Assistant Intelligence Officer with the State Intelligence Bureau in 2002) informed me that he had been called before the Special Investigative Team on 5.4.2011 and was virtually treated like an accused and was threatened with arrest and other dire consequences.

I was approached by a very high-level functionary in the Government of Gujarat and was sought to be appropriately briefed prior to my scheduled interaction with SIT.

My fears regarding the confidentially of my deposition before SIT was eventually confirmed as the contents of my signed deposition as well as the details of my interaction with Shri. A. K. Malhotra and Shri. Paramveer Singh-Members SIT, were somehow available to the highest echelons of the Government of Gujarat. As a result and consequence of the said breach of confidentiality. I was visited and continue to be visited with unpleasant consequences.

I became highly apprehensive about my security and the safety and security of my family members. In view of the perceived security threat, I requested the Government of Gujarat to provide me and my family members with adequate and fool-proof security cover. Unfortunately, the Government of Gujarat has chosen not only to disregard my repeated requests, but has time and again, sought to jeopardize my security by withdrawing even the existing make-shift and minimal security arrangement, worked out from within the meager resources at my disposal.

I have serious and well-founded apprehensions regarding my own safety and and the safety and security of my family members.
I am constrained to take the liberty of filing this Affidavit before this Hon’ble Court to bring on record certain disquieting aspects and inadequacies in the manner and approach of the SIT, personally experience by me during my interaction with the SIT.

As Deputy Commissioner (Intelligence) with the State Intelligence Bureau, during the Gujarat Riots of 2002, I was privy to a plethora of information pertaining to the facts and circumstances that led to and facilitated the communal carnage that took place in Gujarat in 2002. I did not bring these facts to light earlier due to the fact that I was privy to this information in my capacity as an officer of the Intelligence Bureau and was not expected to divulge the details unless under a legal obligation to do so.

Many serious incidents of communal violence, including the carnage at Gulberg Society, could have been easily prevented by firm and determined action on part of the Police.

I therefore request that this Hon’able Court be pleased to ensure that the SIT follows up on all the leads provided by me in such a manner that even reluctant witnesses feel safe and confident to state the truth. It is further requested that the Government of Gujarat and the authorities under its control may kindly be restrained from pressurizing witnesses with a view to prevent the truth from coming out.

My Take

Most of us are convinced about the main role played by Narendra Modi in deliberately escalating Communal tension in Gujarat leading to the Riots of 2002. The surprising and terrifying truth that is revealed here in this affidavit by Mr Sanjiv Bhatt is the fact that SIT appointed by the Supreme Court is trying to shield Modi from prosecution.

How will Supreme Court react to this?  Will  there be a new SIT? Then it may take many more years before any verdict can be expected. Or will the Supreme Court be brave enough to ask for charge sheeting Modi with all the present evidence? Or is there a remote and dreaded chance of Supreme Court rejecting this affidavit?
Most probably, as more and more truths are revealed  Modi will become a liability for BJP and will be asked to step down. The affidavit by this brave IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt may be the beginning of end game for Narendra Modi.

Affidavit full text

Monday, April 11, 2011

India's Tahrir Square Moment- But why the 'wise' men are sulking?

Last week we saw some extra-ordinary scenes from the Indian Capital Delhi.A frail old man named Anna Hazare started a fast on to Death demanding Central Government speed up the process of drafting a LokPal Bill in Parliament as a measure to control and reduce Corruption.He wanted some non-Governmental members in the Panel to draft the LokPal Bill.

The response to the Fast was amazing. Hundreds of people from all walks of life began visiting Jantar Mantar to express support. Social media outlets and TV news channels went on an over drive to mobilise support for Anna Hazare. Most Cities and towns held demonstrations and sit-ins in support of the anti-corruption drive. Reluctant Opposition politicians were also forced to express support for the movement.Jantar Mantar became a must go destinations for Celebrities and God men.Many started calling the place India's Tahrir square.

The Government first tried to defame the movement.Seeing the mass support Anna Hazare was getting Government started negotiating.An attempt to create another Group of Ministers for drafting the Bill was not accepted.By the end of 4 days the Government had to agree to almost all demands of Hazare.

By his fast Anna Hazare ensured that a stronger anti-corruption law will come into effect in India soon,probably with in few months.He also was able to put some of the key campaigners against Corruption in India in the panel to draft the Bill.

So far so good. I thought every one would be happy to see a such a public movement against Corruption.I thought the wise men/women writing newspaper columns,blogs and tweeting will be ecstatic as there is going to be a real big effort to reduce Corruption and prosecute and punish the Corrupt,one of their long standing demand.
Strangely I found most 'wise' men sulking. Whether it was a Right wing columnist or an extreme Left wing one or for that matter even a few Centrist voices, all were in  sulky mood.
Here are some excerpts.

We must now countenance the extra-constitutional authority with which ‘civil society’ representatives like Mr Shanti Bhushan and his son, Mr Prashant Bhushan, who between themselves passionately espouse the cause of mass killers, terrorists  and Maoists  have been vested.

We must also accept that in these terrible and terrifying times those who believe in the Constitution and constitutionalism have been abandoned to the not-so-tender mercies of the practitioners of ‘Gandhian’ blackmail disguised as ‘non-violence
 Journalist close to RSS,Kanchan Gupta in Pioneer

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...... 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........

Shuddhabrata Sengupta a Left wing Columnist in Kafila

Sometimes a sense of unbridled virtue can also subvert democracy. The agitation by civil society activists over the Jan Lokpal Bill is a reminder of this uncomfortable truth........   the movement behind the Jan Lokpal Bill is crossing the lines of reasonableness. It is premised on an institutional imagination that is at best na├»ve; at worst subversive of representative democracy.

The morality of fasting unto death for a political cause in a constitutional democracy has always been a tricky issue. There is something deeply coercive about fasting unto death........ it amounts to blackmail.                                          
 Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Indian Express     

Anna Hazare and his movement has been called 'fascist',subverting democracy,black mailing the Government etc etc.
Oh........  and I thought that frail old man was just trying the least he can do to reduce Corruption.
Fascist?????   He was leading a most non-violent agitation.
Subversion of Democracy????? He was trying to push the Government to pass a Bill in the most democratic way inside the Parliament.

Black Mail?
 If the Government had credibility and people's support and if it was brave,it should have just ignored the Fast  or arrest Anna Hazare and force feed him as being done for Irom Sharmilla.
What stopped the Government from doing that?
Lack of credibility as UPA is neck deep in corruption scams.
The Govt knew that hundreds of others were ready to carry on the fast.
The fact that an insensitive Government lacking credibility was forced to obey the wishes of vast majority of people reminds us of the famous Fasts of Gandhiji during British regime.You can call it emotional black mail but many a time ordinary citizens of the country is left with only that legitimate weapon to get attention of insensitive Governments.
How can I be sure that vast majority of people supported Hazare?
From the way the movement was attracting supporters in a huge scale increasing hour to hour.
Good Politicians knows the people's mind.Vast majority of them sensing the mood of the people began supporting Hazare. With Assembly elections around the corner the Govt had to back track from earlier position and agree to Hazare's demand.

It was strange to see Commentators from across the political spectrum unite in condemning Hazare using similar words. They all were so critical of status quo,but when someone began an agitation to change it,they became insecure and confused. Most of these 'wise' men and the Government was caught by surprise by Hazare's Fast and the response it got.

Instead of respecting the people's sentiment they are trying to belittle its sincerity and importance. The people's response was  even called  "tele-evangelised pop agitation of Page 3 elite".

Both the Left and Right wing Commentators agreed on the theory that whole agitation was 'stage-managed' by the Government to prevent a real agitation taking roots.This claim of theirs is with no proof  while all the  circumstantial evidence and logical thinking easily allow us to reach the conclusion that it was a spontaneous and genuine movement,the response of which far exceeded the expectations of the organizers.

Is Lokpal Bill the panacea of all evils in the system?

No. It is just a short step of a long journey the country has to take.
As many pointed out the Jan Lokpal Bill has several controversial clauses needing modification.Even if a good law is passed it has to be implemented properly.

More than the Bill,constant Public questioning and pressure on Corrupt officials/politicians can help in cleansing the Polity.The Public sentiment in coming out in large numbers for a peaceful agitation against Corruption augurs well for Indian Society.It gives us hope about future of our Country.

Any movement which brings out ordinarily selfish and inert people out into the streets for a peaceful agitation for the betterment of the Society should always be hailed.