India speaking in one voice against corruption raises hopes of a genuinely bright future for the people. It is more reassuring that India spoke, for it was the enigma of the silence of the followers of peace and non-violence that had encouraged corruption to replace the rule of law in the country. Corruption increased by leaps and bounds under the impression that nobody can dare speak against it, much less challenge it. Individual protests were ignored as aberrations and organized protests as opposition parties’ political programmes. The society started withdrawing into silence , after the failure of the Kamraj plan of 1964 during Nehru’s time, as that exposed the span and influence of corruption in India, a poor country at that time in terms of economic parameters. But it was in 1969, when the real Congress Party split, leading to the jettisoning of the yoke on the shoulders of the pair of the oxen, which was its party symbol.
The Congress split was not on any ideological lines. It was a split on ethical lines. The sticklers of party ideology insisted on observing the Gandhian ideology of both the means and ends being ethical. That put obstacles in the path of the ambitious, who wanted to break the restrictions imposed by ideology and rule of law. All kinds of unethical elements came together to capture Indira Gandhi, who was yet to develop into a leader by her own merit. They organized and managed everything as she wished, taking full advantage of a woman heading a government in a male dominated society and her inexperience as a prime minister. The treatment given in Pakistan to Benazir was no different from what could have been given to Indira in India, but for giving up high moral grounds for which the Congress always had laid claims.
It was in less than 24 months that a Godsend opportunity in the shape of Bangla desh war cropped up , which catapulted Indira from a speechless person to a leader of exceptional qualities. She was even compared to the Goddess. People forgot to consider the economic implication of the war and its aftermath. Pakistan inflicted economic injuries of excessive financial burden by just leaving its forces of more than 99000men to the loving care of the government of India. That introduced distortions in the planned economic development in the country, which proved far more devastating than any natural calamity causing refugee influx into another country! The economic woes of the people of India provided the best opportunity to the virus of corruption to breed fast. Barely less than 36 months forced the students to start an agitation against economic mismanagement and corruption. Jai Prakash Narayan began another agitation. The voices against corruption reached a deafening crescendo. Meanwhile Indira’s election to parliament was set aside by the Allahabad High Court. Indira was rattled. Her managers, fearing exposure of their misdeeds, exploited her weakest moments of impending loss of power and quickly moved in only to ill-advise her to impose Emergency. It meant suspension of every fundamental right of the citizens, including their right to life and liberty. Students were subjected to untold torture that would have made even the savages ashamed: road rollers were moved on their body and their nails were pulled!
The black Emergency put the first effective gag on the masses. They experienced for the first time in independent India, the brute power of the state and police and the politician. It needs to be remembered that the masses had horrible memories of torture by the Nawabs , Nizams, Maharajas,Rajas, Zamindars & the British rulers. It was not even three decades since that regime of their tormentors had ended. They were living on the promises made by Nehru of a new dawn in their lives. Indira was Nehru’s daughter. They never expected her to go astray to such an extent. They didn’t believe that she could ever inflict worse torture on them than collectively put by the Muslim rulers, indigenous rulers and the British rulers. This was the moment of terrible disillusionment! A turning point.
There was no effective alternative to the Congress, as the nation had hardly moved away from the zest of the freedom movement . The Westminster style of governance was still to sink in. There was no monolith political party that could take on the Congress. It necessitated some kind of coalition of forces. But there was no common ground for them on political ideology level. What united them was the anti-congress agenda. But that proved inadequate. Experiments were made to provide alternatives, which achieved nothing more than limited success only.
Politicians not trained in the Westminster style of government started behaving independent of rule of law and whimsical. Honestly speaking, most didn’t even know what corruption was. Since they also didn’t know how to run the government, they too unwittingly entrusted the management of their ministerial affairs to the corrupt, who convinced them of possessing the necessary skills. Since the political class had never been really rich, they fell for money illegally collected in their name by their skilled managers. In a poor country like India, dispensing favours blindly to their close associates, soon converted into a source of making quick money. All government activities, like tenders, licences etc were turned into money spinning machines. People’s rights were getting trampled. Public disgruntlement brought no change. The corrupt started using their ill gotten money to win elections. The muscle power and money power has established the rule of corruption-2G, Adarsh, CWG etc scandals are examples of the manifestation of the disease in its full bloom!
There is nothing that is not affected by corruption . Starting from all edible food items to medicines, nothing is pure or unadulterated. School admissions to professional colleges to employment to career progression to posting & transfers-everything comes for a price in today’s democratic India. The worst has happened in the past 7 years of the Man Mohan Singh headed and Congress led UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. Laws are there, but corruption does not allow these to be followed by the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy indulges freely in acts of corruption in collusion with the government ministers. The bureaucracy trained the ministers in the art and craft of corruption initially. The politicians have learnt all the tricks of the trade now. It goes to the credit (!) of corruption that the bureaucracy, which ruled the inexperienced members of parliament and assemblies before the Emergency, is being ruled by the politician after the emergency. How many ICS (Indian Civil Service) officers suffered the ignominy of being jailed for corruption? Compare it with the IAS (Indian Civil Service) and the result will be 0:10+. It is so because, the politician has learnt to use his/her “executive powers” to fix any bureaucrat and make him do his bidding. such is the terror of corruption in India that nobody dare open his mouth against it. The most unfortunate development has been that women politicians and officers have beaten their male counterparts in practicing corruption!
The common man had no option but to fall into silence for his safety and survival. Though disgusted, he did not trust anybody to offer resistance to ubiquitous corruption. When Anna Hazare rose to take head on the mighty empire of Indian corruption, his past performance enthused the people of India. They “trusted” him. They felt like another Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi leading them. They were enthused. They got over their fear of reprisal by the mighty corruption(remember the torture of the Emergency). They spoke. When they found corruption showing the temerity to meet the same kind of emergency type treatment to Anna Hazare, they rose in revolt. Their voice grew stronger by the second. They took over the streets. They were prepared to give a fight to end corruption. They rose to die for the future of the nation. They rattled the Establishment. They shook the political parties, who looked at corruption through their respective ideological glasses. They sent a message to all. They put the entire bureaucracy on notice to act strictly within the ambit of the law without any excesses. The bureaucracy itself is disgusted with the excesses of corruption in their own service matters. They feel humiliated and hurt and would like things to change, excepting for the few among them who are direct beneficiaries of corruption. The appointments of the reputed corrupt to positions like that of The Chief Election Commissioners or Chief Vigilance Commissioners leaves no room for doubting the rule of corruption.
Corruption survived on successfully fracturing, dividing, splitting India on all those ugly lines on which the country was suffering prior to Independence. The country was brought to a level where consensus would elude the society on issues affecting every person of every section of the society even on matters of life and death of the ordinary people. The political class was smug that they have succeeded in achieving what the British could not do: divide and rule. They were sure they will now rule for ever. The comments, language, expressions of C class ministers , televised for days now vouch for their arrogance and hubris. A great nation being treated to such indignities by C— class of politicians! They have purchased the loyalty sections of the print and electronic media, who have freely indulged in the vulgarity of debauchery of their pen! The Fourth Estate of the Indian democracy has been reduced to the Fifth Column of the corrupt! There can be no worse decline of a nation. A nation of such decadence deserves to be enslaved only. It has no right to freedom and sovereignty. Luckily the fifth columnists are not India. It is different. The real India has proved that it is a nation of better people, valiant people, ethical people and resolute people. It has proved that there can be no reversal, no going back to the old days of rulership, even though the faces appearing on the television channels are courtiers of the cheapest kind.
It is against this background that Anna Hazare’s movement caught the imagination of the people. It is this assertion of the bold identity of India that is the biggest achievement. It is this unity of India that is the biggest achievement. It is the voice of India that is the biggest achievement. India is in safe hands. Our children have grown to take on the responsibility. They will protect and preserve the constitution. They will protect and preserve India. That is Indianness! One India has one voice: establish Rule of Law in letter and spirit. Our young generation will do it-I have full faith in their resolution, capabilities and competencies. I trust the strength of their morals.