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Anna Hazare's Movement Against Corruption
A new landmark in the history of independent India, a new path paved by the veteran anti- corruption campaigner Anna Hazare. His struggle against corruption was a gentle reminder of Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha. His fast-unto death, the five day fast has shown the world what Gandhism means in today's world. The power of Gandhiji's non violence will never cease to exist in the ages to come. While in Libya and Yemen there is bloodshed for freedom, where people are waging war against one another during the crisis, here in India, a respected social activist Anna Hazare is waging a peaceful, non violent war against corruption. His urge to free India of the greatest evil, corruption, commends appreciation. This fight against corruption staged at Jantar Mantar was not a one- man show. People from different parts of the country gave their support to Anna Hazare. The greatest merit of this non violent struggle was that no political party was involved in it. Anna Hazare and his supporters were not influenced by any political party. There was only one flag waving high in the sky and in our minds, the Indian National Flag.
The fast ended on a very positive note when the idea of Jan Lokpal Bill was accepted by the Government of India. According to the Jan Lokpal Bill, there will be a separate body to investigate and curb the ugly face of India….CORRUPTION; where people have the right to raise their voice against corrupt politicians. Moreover the CBI will be seen as an independent body, free of any other external influence. Now that the bill is going to be sanctioned, a very important question arises…. Can all the Indians touch their heart and say with confidence that the Jan Lokpal Bill will eradicate corruption???? Maybe to an extent but I don't think it will erase corruption completely in a vast country like India.
The Jan Lokpal Bill may have loopholes like the Right to Information Act, an Act passed due to the thrust laid by Anna Hazare. According to the right to information act, the citizens of India have the right to get information on any matter concerning the country, but recently an incident occurred which clearly reflects the loopholes in it. A citizen of India lodged a complaint about the illegal wealth possessed by the former chief justice of India, K.G Balakrishnan. Even today complete information about the wealth of this most corrupted chief justice of India is not known to the public. Why? Is it beyond the Right to Information Act? Similar loopholes are likely to be there in the Lokpal bill also. It is sure that as time passes some illegal and illogical rule will come whereby the citizens cannot use this bill against the Prime Minister, Chief justice and so on thus restricting its use. The new committee formed to frame the bill must take in the interest of all sections of the population. It should be taken care that the bill will be unbiased and does not favour any person; be it the president or prime minister. Further it should be accompanied by other reformation, yes, reformation from the grass root level. Recently when assembly elections were held in Kerala, crores of rupees were spent by each candidate of the 140 constituencies for campaigning. Where did this money come from? If it is the contribution made by big industrialists and so on, then those candidates when elected should serve their interests. In Tamil Nadu, people are given free T.Vs and laptops. Where did this money come from? All these are different manifestations of corruption. A very effective way to end corruption is to reduce the money power in elections. Crores of rupees are deposited as black money by many influential people abroad.This unaccounted money should be brought back and if it is done, this black money alone can provide the necessary funds required for the construction of metros in all the states of India. These reformations if enforced can provide that extra impetus needed to curb corruption along with the Lokpal bill. The Lokpal bill is cent percent legitimate and it upholds the spirit of the constitution because its main aim is to create a corruption- free India. If by any chance it is against any article of the constitution, it is better to amend the constitution rather than the bill because of its most noble cause.
The 2G spectrum case, Adharsh Bhavan Colony, commonwealth games are the different issues which we have been hearing in the last few months which has made India a laughing stock in the comity of nations. Let us use the Jan Lokpal bill wisely, sealing its loopholes and see the ultimate result. Let us hope for the best.
In India, the civil society movement that forced parliament to back activist Anna Hazare’s demand for tougher anti-corruption legislation is being seen as a new force in Indian politics.
As the 74-year-old self-styled Gandhian reformer ended a 13-day hunger strike in New Delhi on Sunday, he acknowledged that it was the support of tens of thousands of people across the country that ensured success for his campaign for a powerful anti corruption law.
Hazare told jubilant crowds that people’s parliament is bigger than Delhi’s parliament, and that is why the government had to decide in favor of their demands.
The domestic media too has widely hailed it as a “people’s victory.”
The peaceful movement led by Hazare was joined by people of all ages. And for the first time in decades it saw the urban middle class emerge spontaneously on the streets in huge numbers for a political cause.
Photo gallery of Anna Hazare's movement
Social activists hope this will ensure a tougher law in place of a weaker version presented by the government.
Independent political analyst Prem Shankar Jha in New Delhi says the success of the anti-corruption movement marks a turning point in Indian democracy.
“We had a paternalistic government handed down to us from the imperial days …we draft a bill and we pass the bill, we never consult with you, we never bring any outsiders in," says Jha. "We want to do everything ourselves… which means we want to keep power in our hands. This total monopoly of power masquerading as paternalism has been smashed. In this particular occasion, the government was forced in parliament to approve the key elements of the people’s draft. Now that is the end of paternalistic government in India and the beginning of real empowered democracy.”
The political class, which analysts say was taken aback by the strength of the movement, appears to be heeding that message. Leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Arun Jaitley, told parliament that people’s voices will have to be heard while framing legislation.
“In any developing society and any mature society, there will be a role for civil society," he said. "They are a hard reality, they will exist. Some of them may take positions which seem a little excessive, they may not be implementable, but we must realize that their role is one of a campaigner, a flag bearer, a crusader on several issues.”
Hazare’s movement and use of a hunger strike to achieve his aim has its critics. Some say it has set a dangerous precedent. Others say he used undemocratic methods to force his views on parliament.
Hazare has announced his focus on reforming the political system will continue.
In a country where scores of lawmakers face criminal charges, he wants to ensure that people with a clean record are elected to parliament and state legislatures. He says people should be given the right to recall lawmakers who do not perform.
But political analyst Jha says he does not expect Hazare and his supporters to use the same tactics in the future.
“I do not think they will use the confrontation route. This is a stick that can break very easily in your hands. It should be kept for an absolute emergency as it was now,” he says.
Political analysts say the recent protest highlighted that the political class was largely out of touch with the public’s concern over deep-seated corruption. They say the protest’s success will force officials to pay closer attention to public opinion.