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Myths, Myopia, Mongering & More.

Democracy is when everyone expresses their opinions; it fails miserably when says I am right and you are wrong.

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Its 1 am on a Monday Morning & I am sitting on my bed typing a blog on how India should deal with anti-corruption. Will this post re-write Indian history, certainly not; Will 25 people read this blog, highly probable if I go by my traffic trend. Two things are sure. I’ll be  extremely unpopular for my strong views  & yes… I’ll be late for work tomorrow! Anyway, let me get through my insomniac emotions with the same element optimism that the guy who jumped from the 50 floor had while crossing the balcony in the 1st floor; “So far so good”.

Jack Dorsey & Mark Zuckerberg announced their affiliate marketing awards for those who brought in highest volumes of traffic into their sites. And the award goes to …. this gentleman called Anna Hazare. For those who still don’t know who Hazare is, see his video resume presented in the form of testimonials from his old friends. Oops! Did Bedi, Baba & Swamy do their research well ?

“When the social power is used irresponsibly, or to subvert the constitutional authority, it is hardly distinguishable from terror.” – A blogger whose name I don’t remember”

A friend of mine screamed at me earlier this evening, “How could you not support Anna? Don’t you want to end corruption? Walk his talk with a lit candle in your hands, hit the road with flags & join his glucose & electrol only diet for 14 days.” (Oops, my bad,  hunger strike I mean.) I said “yes, but will it solve corruption?” And he was quick to reply “Yes. Every politician in this country is corrupt. The constitution has crashed. Jan Lokpal Bill will put every corrupt politician (every one of them!) behind bars.” I said “Wow that’s a plan! But there’s a problem, if every politician is put behind bars who will then run India”. And he instantaneously replied, “Lokpal”. And I left saying “Amen to India”.

Yes, we need to end corruption, but is the current form of Lokpal the way to go? Not really & I’ll make an attempt with an intention to make you think; take your time & choose your stand.

Myth 1: Anti-corruption starts with Politics.

Most people today feel corruption is a political problem &  distance themselves from it. Is it not as much a people problem as much as it is a legislative problem?  Did Scotty beam these politicians into parliment up from Vulcan? Or were they air dropped from Pakistan? Arent they the so called chosen representatives of the people? These politicians probably grew up in the same city as you & your parents did. Who allowed them to be corrupt? Is it because they were born with a genetic disorder?  So is the solution to do away with them or  fix the way  way we elect our leaders? Debatable.

Reality 1: Anti-corruption starts with people

Myth 2: if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. At least let’s start here.

Well that adage is good but not when someone is questioning the foundation of this nation. Its democracy that put India past all the hurdles she has faced in the last 65 odd years. It’s the democracy that has made her the fastest growing economy. Yes, it’s the same democracy which allowed the Raja’s & Suresh Kalmadi’s of the world. It’s the same democracy that allowed the killing of innocent Hindu’s & Muslims by political forces. But it still worked. We’ve progressed. Give democracy some credit. corruption doesn’t mean we given into a form of dictatorship where India’s Klu Klux Clan will decide what’s the best way to run the government.

Reality 2: Dictatorship is not the answer to a democracy’s problems.

Myth 3: Anti Corruption Starts from the top.

Roughly 70% of India has no clue about 2G. What matters to them are not policy issues, but that last mile corruption that takes away their share of what NREGA promises.  So is the solution to kill NREGA or to start from the foundation. You decide.  Corruption to a lower stratum of the society is not politics but the hardships they face on a daily basis; its poverty that at times forces people to commit crimes. It’s the sheer lack of empathy among the public offices & private super powers who steal from the pockets of the poorest of the poor. A law which has waited for 40 years, better be holistic and not piece meal.

Reality 3: India needs grass root level reform. Better education, reforms need to reach the people.

Myth 4: Lokpal is the starting point of reforms.

The solution to India’s problems especially around corruption lies in economic reforms. Why do we not find cops as smart in India as we them abroad? Is it because of a strong ombudsman? What is required are wide-spread reforms cleaning up the Police & the judiciary and a strengthening of the RTI act. The same friend who calls Lokpal a great start now, once said NREGA is all rubbish. Well my friend, policy can’t help if the last mile doesn’t exist. Blissfully Mr. Hazare & his ilk have decided to be oblivious to the other dimensions of corruption and focus only on top & the public sector for the hunger strike. So how can reforms happen? Cast your vote. Yes democracy is a painfully slow process. – but isn’t that how a democracy is meant to work. Just look at what happened in Tamil Nadu. An 85% voting ensured the corrupt government was replaced. It’s a different story that the replacements don’t have a great track record.

Reality 4: Lokpal is not reform but stops at being a second watch dog of the judiciary & the police.

Myth 5: Anna’s army is not power backed.

It’s the cause that’s gathering the mass: Heard of & Irom Chanu Sharmila? The lady has been on a fast for 10 years – forcefully being injected with proteins & nutrients. Shambhu Dutta, who’s probably more Gandhian than Anna, hit the roads asking for the rejection of election candidates with criminal background. Why didn’t we see the same people movement? Was it the lack of reality in their appeals or the lack of power backing? This movement has just used the failure of the current government & the backing of the opposition forces and not to forget the hype hungry media to manipulate people . This movement would have just died if it were to be started a year back or one year later.

Reality 5: Anna is power monger & backed up every anarchical force in this country today

Myth 6: Civil disobedience is the way forward.

What happened recently in the middle-eastern countries have given a new thought process to many Indians. India isn’t a Egypt. Let me borrow the words of Dr. B R Amedkar’s; this whole hunger strike movement manipulates people’s frustration around the recent scams & inflation. It’s a mockery of the judiciary of this country.

Reality : Civil disobedience is the enemy of democracy & myopic in nature

“…we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.” Ambedkar was speaking in the Constituent Assembly.

Myth 7: This is our second freedom struggle.

Oh please. Let’s not embarrass ourselves. Whom are seeking freedom from ? Whom are we fighting against? Some colonial power? The reality is that we need freedom are our own fellow citizens Indians who delightfully continue to be corrupt happily passing the blame to the ministers. Are you ready to corruption free? Are we really to pay our taxes? Are we ready to stop bribing? If you want the world to be a better place, take a look at yourself & make the change.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”– John 8:7 (The Holy Bible)

Reality 7: If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself & make the change.

In closing, a colleague looked at me this morning & said “Vimal you are going overboard”.  Democracy is when everyone expresses their opinions, Anna-ism is when one says I am right & you are wrong. Thankfully I believe in democracy & decided not to fast until he said I am right & he was wrong.

God Bless India!

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About Vimal Abraham (58 Articles)
I am Vimal Abraham. Thank you for visiting NinnySays. I am marketing professional who is known to rant about photography, travel, marketing (duh!) and about everything else that gets me thinking! I'm based in Chennai and I've previously lived in... opps! nowhere else! There are plenty of ways to reach me, dropping me a note at vimal.abraham@gmail.com is probably the easiest.

17 Comments on Myths, Myopia, Mongering & More.

  1. Nice thought Vimal… i have been thinking for the last few days.. who is this Anna.. and why suddenly everyone is following him.. and if at all i ask a question like “hey do u understand what this guy is doing” the only answer i get is.. “hey he is fighting for corruption.. for u and me”. I was like are we acting scapegoats here?? coz is this really possible and this is not a mudhalvan movie.. we talk so much on corrupt politician.. but when it comes to personal needs are we stopping ourselves from bribing the govt officials.. i guess thats where the real stop for corruption starts.. well i just thought of leaving my thought.. 🙂

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    • Really appreciate you sharing your thoughts Gokul. Herd Mentality might be a strong word – but that’s what we are seeing today. Not many are really sitting & thinking if this is really what we need.

      BTW just in case you’ve not realized it… typo is my second name…. I understand how it feels to have typed & then realize .oops…there is a mistake…ah..here’s another one…:)) I just type as I think – don’t bother going correcting it while I think…:))

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  2. pardon my english.. i posted without re-reading it 😉

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  3. Navin Sadarangani // August 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm // Reply

    Nice post Vimal. I see where your thoughts are going with this. But in all honesty, i think you are getting a bit cynical brother; what’s then the difference between the Anna campaign and the ones who don’t vouch for it right 🙂 But in all, i think the points you brought out are logical. Unfortunately our heavy population could be our demerit if it’s not handled well in the next 20 yrs, remember that belief? Abt our economy, growth, BPL levels, national’s progress, etc. Well we don’t have to wait for so long. We’re already seen what could be a huge drawback of having a huge population, and apparently which can be easily enticed by impulsive emotion to strike a force against a long-standing method of an institutionalized democracy!

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    • I agree… I was a bit too cynical. I also missed giving Anna’s team the credit for having done a good job in awakening the people for the cause but its time for them to loosen up now & let things progress in a democratic manner. To copy another writers words, though used in the rebut his view, who died & became a god to say that we are the only ones to know how to solve corruption 😉

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  4. Subrahmanyam Thuraga // August 23, 2011 at 11:34 am // Reply

    I’ve had my left brain and right brain fight with each other when it came to Anna. I could see both views were right and wrong to some extent, in that sense both are right and coexist.
    Check these ..

    Myth 1: “corruption and anti-corruption both start with people”
    Bang on. I cannot agree more on this. Instead of doing a poll or how many people are sitting in camp, or how many clicked ‘like’ on his facebook page, we should count how many accurately filed tax return, how many avoided child labor, how many are okay to wait in tirupati queue for 16 hours instead of ‘managing’ to get a quick darshan, how many are thus ready to sacrifice the ‘benifits’ of corruption in their own daily life. We should take that number as the actual number of citizens who are ready for change.

    Myth 4: “thats different story”
    Reality: The whole point is the bitter sad thing that you just left uncovered. People have been voting, in respect of the great democracy, though both sides are equally corrupt. What prevents some clean guys to come to politics? Did you read that over dozen RTI activists were killed in 2010? Do you have an idea what Mother Theresa had undergone when she wanted to feed street children using the surplus produce of hotels & bread factories? Doing a head on with this whole chain of political mafia is too risky & self-sacrificing for normal man, hence not many venture into it though they have good intention. Those who did were not able to hold on to their good for long. It takes some uncorruptible, family-less, risk taking leader with good intentions. It is very unlikely we find such a one contesting in elections, though we want one. What people have got is Anna, who chose this path. They cant change the way Anna behaves. People had to decide whether they back him or not, and they did.

    Tell me your thoughts of constitutionally cleaning tamilnadu politics? Explain a blueprint of plan that can work whilst the attempts by both the gangs and stand up as a democratic victory to do good to people. I recall that all such constitutional plans were baselined on a illusionary superhero (like a spiderman).

    Myth 7: When people say it is second freedom struggle, there is nothing funny in it. It should be read with empathy. Freedom can be anything, not only from colonial powers. Did you hear the term ‘financial freedom’? It is freeing your self from your own financial clutter that resulted from your own past deeds. Can we this ongoing this in that view? May be people want to decorate it with that wording to draw parallels based on his dress code. Even that shouldn’t bother you much. What matters is the bottomline, and I believe what they are trying will be better than what we have now, and fairytale solution devised by intellectual political analysts.

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  5. Appreciate your points of view thuraga. Like I just mentioned to Navin, I should have given Anna the due credit for having moved it so far. Great job. I agree Lokpal is good – but saying you do what I want or prove that i am wrong is doing away the entire democracy. Who are they to claim this ! is my primary area of rage against the motion. But as you said I should be getting lost in the use of words, freedom may mean different things to different people

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  6. Mr. Vimal, I would ask you only one question and please reply truthfully. My question is “Do you know what is Lokpal means and there is provision in CONSTITUTION for Lokpal and Have you ever read the text of Lokpal and Jan Lokpal”

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    • Kailash, let me ask you 2 questions ;-).do you know why is india called a republic ? Do you a democracy means?

      A truthfull answer,yes I have.

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      • “Republic” menas representative of the citizens of a state or the political system whose head is representative of the public at large or chosen by the citizens of the state.
        Democracy as ususal “of the public, by the public and for the public”. I do remembere that the preamble of the constituion starts with “We the people….”. and the Constitution of India was drfated by a bunch of not more then 20 people from the society…B R Ambedkar had once toled to parliament that given a chance..i would like to burn this constitution…once Mr. M.K.Gnadhi told that his last wish is to wind up the Congress..and i am a spent bulet…. I like to add in my comment that I would believe that Anna’s way is myth, myopic in nature if the Lokpal Bill (in any form) is not passed by parliament in coming days or otherwise reject your article as your personal views/opinion. Secondly, if Anna’s is rejected based on your view/opinion then I would equate Mr. M.K. Gnadhi’ way of fast after Government of India Act, 1935 more particularly after India got freedom as Anna’s way.

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      • Firstly thanks for commenting & re-visiting my space.

        Absolutely well said Kalyan. Leaders are chosen by the people (even if they are corrupt). The beauty of a democracy is people…. We the people does start with Anna & end with the men who like the theme. A friend mentioned, people are joining these dharnas with a fear of being left behind….its cool to say India Against corruption. Do you really change the constitution because some 18 year olds took the road? (well it’s an exaggeration & cynical. I respect the youth) Do you listen to pirated music? do you have pirated DVDs? Have you paid a bribe to a cop? Have you cheated in college exams? Do you jump signals with no cops are seen? Did you skip voting? – If your answer is yes to even one of this , I am sorry my friend, you don’t get to say “Corruption Hattao”. Please take a look at yourself & make the change before you change the world. I am better off being ruled by a corrupt politician whom can be thrown out in elections than a self elected leader who can’t be.

        To quote a popular blogger, now who died, and went to heaven making anna & his team the god’s anti corruption (well he used it against Arundati Roy in favor of Anna – i am just using it against Anna). I really appreciate ‘his’ cause & ‘his’ effort but the worst part of India’s population is that even if 0.1% of the population agrees on something its a big big crowd… People are being naive to say India will change because of this. Yes India will change not because of Lokpal alone – its a long journey my friend. Rome wasn’t built in one night. Most media needs a hype to show investor returns…they run a business….and they will build on anything that will make people get glued to the TV. And why is this happening now? Media’s block buster shows on Egypt & a whole bunch of people’s drive against corrupution.

        Again, quoting a friend. Anna’s done a great point proving that cricket is not the only thing all Indians talk about. But they are screwed in the last mile.

        Personal views? HAHAH oops! did I say this is India’s voice? No just one Indian’s voice. And….I can see you differ. I am not holier than thou & neither are you…. You may agree or disagree. You may think I am a fool…(you could then imagine what I would be thinking of you..hehe) I still respect your opinion. The screw up is Anna’s team currently thinks they are omnipotent… I am sorry to say they are not.

        Pick one best selling author & ask him – would you want to re-write your best book….its Human to want to improve his creation. Does that mean I get to re-write the constitution. Yes. I would want to re-write my blog too. I should give Anna credit for getting all of us debate about this….. Please refer to what BR Ambedkar had to say about Satyagraha – quoted in my blog…

        If this country needs freedom, it needs it from 2 things. a. Mob mentality b. Freedom from yourselves (our corrupt, undisciplined lifestyles )

        In closing if India becomes corruption free because of Jan Lokpal…wow, I’ll be happy. If Lokpal fails, I’ll be sad. But I would say I knew it.

        PS: I am an evangelist against piracy & bribing (Well you can see why i am not popular)… I don’t break traffic rules (ggrr…mostly). I never miss an opportunity to cast vote. That’s why I think I have a right to comment.

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  7. what you have expressed in your blog is utter truth, Anna has woken up now, but for along time we have known that this is India,the place where power hungry people can go any means to crush everyone out of their way. Honestly speaking, I don’t think that there will ever be any solution to this evil because evil rules the nation.

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  8. “Do you really change the constitution because some 18 year olds took the road? (well it’s an exaggeration & cynical. I respect the youth) Do you listen to pirated music? do you have pirated DVDs? Have you paid a bribe to a cop? Have you cheated in college exams? Do you jump signals with no cops are seen? Did you skip voting? – If your answer is yes to even one of this , I am sorry my friend, you don’t get to say “Corruption Hattao”. Please take a look at yourself & make the change before you change the world”.

    There are 97 amendments in constituition since her brith in 26th Nov., 1949 (adopted on 26th Jan., 1950), first in 1951. About same amount of amendment bills are pending in parliament. Simply..change is a natural process of nature..a constitution is no exception and therefore, cannot be rigid. But one cannot re-write the constitution, ya..i should not buy new car if the old is too old to drive, need repair every day…

    I do all this from listen pirated music, DVDs, give bribe to cop, jump signal and cheated in exam…I should not be blamed for this..the System…the System should be blamed…(Munna bhai-Emergency mein admit karney k liye…form bharna jaruri hota hai..?)..in hostile situation (like in war, epidmic… or during emergency like 1 year old baby is critical…to rush into hospital ambulance dont care for …fire brigade vehicle dont care…) while selling the pirated cd, dvd..the law enforcement agncy do not know the address of the seller..but we know….we, the people do not frame law/policy, the authority commanding the law has responsibility to enforce the law and montitor to that the law is being enforced. If the law framer are themselves corrupt, whom to blame..?? 100 people bribes the cop.. if 1 not then 99..so one to control all 100..but if the cop do not accept the bribe then..how the 100 people will give the bribe and to whome…?? I spit on the road..as there is no rule..i throw the garbage on the road as there is no garabge bin there…so, one need to change the system and not the common people…the money is asked by superior from the subordinates in the heirarchy and so the subordinates to their subordinates…today moring there was cop, who is caughting people who violates traffic rule..but in afternoon, he was absent..coz, his target is achieved for the day in the very morning….corruption comes from top to bottom and that’s why money flow reverse…am i right ??

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    • Thank you for making my argument so easy & making me appear in such good sight.

      You don’t spit in the middle of your living room, do you? You don’t throw garbage on your bed do you?… ah.. you father must have made that rule right!…what happens after his time? I would love to visit your home someday. I’ve got news for you my friend, I don’t spit in my living room, I don’t garbage on my bed because it is my bed and I want to be clean & hygienic. In the same spirit I don’t spit or litter on the road because its my country.

      Did you know why piracy is called piracy?? Every heard of pirates??? I bet you’ll now argue for the right to steal property as well. Good luck in stealing – wonder what’s the big difference between some one who practices & preaches piracy and a minister who is corrupt. Both are robbers in the same sense isn’t it?

      I don’t look at the 99 and say let them change then I will. I don’t look at the 99 protesters and say I’ll protest too. I am the change because I change myself first, because I use a sensory power god bestowed on me – I think therefore I am.

      Please feel free to reply but I’ll shall not rebut/reply because I find it futile to argue with you because we are so different. Let the sensible, ‘educated’ & mature reader make his decision.

      It takes all kinds of people to make this world. And there is unity in this diversity. God bless & all the best.

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  9. I’m a writer from Palm Island, Australia just submitted this to a colleague who is doing some research on this. And she in fact bought me lunch just because I came across it for her… lol. So allow me to paraphrase this…. Thanks for the meal… But anyways, thanx for taking some time to discuss this issue here on your web site.

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