Friday, April 15, 2011

Anna’s fast diluted Ultimate Revolution: Bonanza to ruling alliance - Bhim Singh -


Anna’s fast diluted Ultimate Revolution: Bonanza to ruling alliance

By  Bhim Singh


Anna Hazare’s electronic media-backed fast-till-darkness has slowed down the fire burning in the hearts of millions of people who wanted a quick change in the system of corruption and criminalization in India. We are the largest democracy governed by a living constitution where Parliament is sovereign. How far can a fasting gentleman - even if the fast were genuine - dictate terms to a sovereign Parliament elected by the mandate of over one billion people?


We need a cultural revolution of mind and thought. Change in laws, however deterrent they may be, cannot change politicians and criminals. Someday we have to improve rather than change the electoral laws by demolishing the influence of money and muscle power in the electoral process. Pick-pocketers are not afraid of public hanging, let alone the Lok Ayukt.


On 20 March 1815, when Napoleon returned as victor to France, thousands of Frenchmen gathered at Republic Square in Paris to welcome him as a leader of the revolution. While the exit of Louis XVIII, last king of France was being celebrated with French wines and champagne by French revolutionaries, Napoleon commanded citizens in Republic Square to go back to work, and that was all. Several thousands among the audience screamed: oú est revolución (where is the revolution)? An angry Napoleon retorted, Le Revolución, a finité (The Revolution is finished). And so a dictatorship followed.


A massive and popular uprising of the people of Spain was witnessed by Europe in the first quarter of the 19th century. A noted military man, General Franco, jumped into the fray against the king. He called Spaniards residing in different European countries to join the revolution which made thousands of youth, Spanish labourers, intellectuals and all return to Spain to join the Spanish revolution against Carlos, king of Spain. The king fled and General Franco took over the nation in 1936. His four decade dictatorship suppressed the seedlings of revolution. Before his death in 1975, he issued a decree ensuring the return of Prince Carlos (son of the deposed king) to Spain as its King again.  


China’s famed revolutionary, Mao Zedong, took over the reins of power in 1949 after Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland. Promises of freedom of expression and liberty of thought and equality were thrown to the winds. China has everything except human rights and freedom of thought and expression.


In 1969, a young Army Officer from an unknown tribe ousted the king of Libya and assured the Libyan people of equality and justice through his Green Book, and still rules… When people got education, they followed the spirit of his Green Book. Col. Gaddafi treated them with bullets. The people felt cheated; so much for Ultimate Revolution.   


The people of India demonstrated their will for change and supported the Total Revolution led by veteran socialist leader Jaiprakash Narayan in the mid-1970s. The mighty Congress led by the unmatchable Indira Gandhi was ousted in 1977. Revolution appeared total. It did not survive a full term of Parliament even. The same Congress leadership which was rejected by the people as ‘authoritarian’ and ‘corrupt’ returned to power through the power of the ballot. But the victorious Indira Gandhi was assassinated in her official residence …



This author shot a letter to Anna Hazare reminding him of the unfortunate end of the Total Revolution Shri Jaiprakash Narayan dreamt of so genuinely in the mid-1970s. His movement was against ‘authoritarian rule’ and for the return of democracy eclipsed by the Emergency. But Total Revolution disappeared with the disappearance of Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan.


Anna’s four day fast mobilized people from different walks of life, who hoped Hazare’s fast would usher in a corruption-less era, make the corrupt march off the political domain and leave democracy in the hands of its genuine custodians chosen by the electorates.


Shri Anna Hazare remained on fast at Jantar Mantar the whole day, but his companions moved him to some secure place for the night. Visitors wondered about his disappearance in the nights. Many started inquiring whether Gandhi ji used to stay away from his fasting venue in the night. Perhaps the champions of the Lokpal cause doubted Delhi Police’s ability to provide them protection.


The question arises whether enactment of a law by Parliament shall deter highly placed politicians and high-profile bureaucrats from indulging in routine corruption? There is death sentence for committing murder or conspiring against the state. Have these laws stopped murders or conspiracies? There are strong anti-corruption laws in the Penal Code. Have such laws stopped thefts or crimes? Above all, prosecutors play an important role in collecting evidence and projecting such evidence before the trial courts. The prosecutors shall remain unchanged, so also the judges.


From where justice shall flow unto the people? The great intellectuals, thinkers, the supermen in civil society and the media must answer this question. The government has every excuse now that it has fulfilled the aspirations of the people to fight corruption by formulating an Anti-Corruption Law and appointing a toothful Lok Ayukt in response to the people’s wishes.    


Can laws bring desired results and deliver justice? Consider a story of the Victorian era. Queen Victoria enacted a law to respect the British desire that ‘death’ sentence should be awarded to ‘pick-pocketers’ in public. At Trafalgar Square, London, 20,000 people came to witness the public hanging of a pick-pocketer. On their return from the scene, 80% found their pockets were picked.


This author in his letter addressed to Anna Hazare, a day before he terminated his fast, expressed the anxiety of over one billion Indians against corruption, communalism and criminalization, particularly among politicians. The people expressed total solidarity with Anna Hazare, hoping he may lead the revolution for the establishment of a corruption-free society so that India leads the world in the promotion of disarmament, peace and development of the wretched of the earth. Shall a Lok Ayukt end corruption?


At Jantar Mantar, this author met many youth from different parts of the country who seemed highly disappointed and asked the same question - ‘Where is the revolution gone?’


: Has the Counter Revolution begun?


-        EVEN before the first meeting of the joint committee on the Lokpal Bill begins on April 16, groups and organisations against Anna Hazare and the civil activists supporting him have begun to counter his crusade. One group from Maharashtra, said to have links with the NCP, reached the Capital on Monday and began doing the rounds of residences and offices of government nominees in the panel. Meeting one senior minister, they handed over documents, including what appeared to be affidavits, that purportedly allege that Anna Hazare had indulged in misappropriation of funds in some of the trusts he heads or is a member. These include the Hind Swaraj Trust which received money from the government for watershed development programmes. Anna Hazare has already refuted the allegations earlier, but in the light of the recent agitation and Hazare's criticism of key political leaders, one can expect more such twists and turns in the immediate future.


-        In a veiled attack on non-government organisations that supported Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said the Lokpal Bill should cover “corporates and NGOs”. He added that social activists in the joint committee should declare their assets: “It will be in the highest tradition of transparency.”


-        The Congress general secretary took a dig at Hazare for his controversial remarks that people vote for Rs 100 or a sari or a bottle of liquor and therefore, he will not contest an election. Are all voters dishonest?


-        Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi said that scrapping an election result in case of the ‘none-of-the-above’ option polled most votes [demanded by Hazare] would be futile. The recall option, too, might not work.


The author is Chairman, J&K National Panthers Party, & Member, National Integration Council. His website is