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Gandhi To Gaddafi

The world has seen change brought about by leaders of immense vision. One such personality to lead the change was Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi or simply Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation for the Indians. The history of the world since 1939 to 2010 seemed to advocate the power of the bullet. The engagement of the superpowers in less developed regions of the world in armed conflict bears testimony to that perception. These powers are not fighting their own wars or wars for geographical territories. These are also no ideological wars. These are wars for economic zones, either to push their products or services in markets beyond their own or control valuable mineral or forest assets of others. Conflicts run their gun factories, generating sustainable employment and superior economic standards of living at the cost of others. Neither the goals nor the means of achieving them are fair. One unfair act on the part of a superpower leads to equal or stronger unfair reaction from the unfairly treated. The birth of terrorism can be traced to such wars of unfair means & goals.

Many people born after 1948, including Indians, have neither seen Gandhi nor felt the tremendous power of his philosophy of non violence. Yet they are bewildered to read or hear that conflicts of the nature of war of Independence can be settled by non violent means, scoring victory over the fire power of the excessively armed military powers. They would not have noticed Gandhi yet had the revolutionary winds of change blowing through the Middle East not drawn their inspiration from Gandhi and announced it publicly. However, the world was still to see something of the magic of Gandhi’s power. Anna Hazare has brought that to the people to experience. His fast for a strong anti corruption law has won him support of all sections of the society in India and abroad. People of all ages have witnessed this 74 years old man in his 8th day of fast, carrying his campaign in the Gandhian manner of non violence. There has been not even one incident of violence any of these 8 days, even as protest marches in his support have been organized in hundreds of places in the country and several million people have walked up to the venue of the protest at the Ram Lila  Ground in central Delhi.  The crowds comprise old and young, men and women, school and university students, professionals and politicians, intellectuals and writers, poets and painters, government employees and workers, shopkeepers and corporate giants, doctors and scientists, technocrats and manager-all as common man.

They are all with Anna Hazare in demanding only a strong law to eradicate corruption. More than 90% time of the politicians in and outside the legislatures is devoted to criticism of corruption! Yet they are afraid of any such law. Even Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister with a better image than his several corrupt colleagues, refuses to act to pass such a law. If corruption is such an abominable act of commission, everybody should unanimously support such a strong law. But the corrupt would introduce some escape routes in the form of omissions! That is what is holding up such a law. But the people are determined not to settle for anything less than that. The greatest irony is that the most corrupt faces in Indian politics being investigated for disproportionate assets (legalese for the word corruption) are shamelessly opposing it and the government is taking their help to kill the movement. It is so because there are no Gandhis left in the ruling party. That is why they are afraid of a 74 year old  frail man in Gandhi attire on an indefinite fast since 16th August 2011. So long they have been only encashing the magic of the Mahatma, but when it comes to follow him in deeds, they withdraw into the comforting arms of corruption of the political jargon. They have forgotten the Mahatma. Is Gaddafi their new role model? Promising  equitable distribution of the national wealth and land, they have narrowed down to rob the people of all their wealth and land only to distribute amongst themselves! A clear case of a sight disabled person distributing all his money repeatedly to his family members only, for he is unable to see who all are the  beneficiaries! Voices against such inequitable distribution are met with Gaddafi like acts of violence against his own people. First the wealth is mis-employed in buying weapons not really needed at the cost of much needed development. Then they are also used against the agitating masses. International intervention causes wide spread destruction and the foreign powers aim to lock the weapons to stop the Gaddafis from using them. What a waste of national wealth? The form of the Gaddafi activities in India is the generation and stashing away of black money in banks in foreign countries called tax havens.

Developments in Libya are indicative of failure of the culture of the gun.  It destroys precious financial, human and cultural assets for the sole satisfaction of the ego of a dictator. Such dictators compel people to take to arms. The world knows how much loss of life and property Libya has suffered because the armed agitation. Indian people on the other hand have been agitating in a peaceful way, even as the patrons of corruption have been hoping for some violence to take place. They are at it stealthily. That is why an issue of total national consensus has not been converted into the desired piece of legislation. The efficacy of the Gandhian approach has been proved once again by Anna Hazare by mobilizing public support and directing the public disgruntlement against  corruption of the ruling coalition. It is the curse of democracy that it throws up governments like in India, which are formed on the strength of less than 28% votes cast and less than 50% of the membership of the house. Coalitions cobbled up after the elections have no democratic sanctity and are unethical in nature.

India forgot Mahatma Gandhi and lost more assets than Gaddafi in as many years. Violent elements are not allowing the government to take the wise decision of a strong anti corruption legislation. It hits their interests directly. They have run India as a private limited company for decades now. The Sensex is not throwing tantrums for nothing: it is the black money that is exiting, fearing tough action if the Jan Lokpal Bill is passed. The maze of companies by which black money goes round the world in 80 days is difficult to decipher even for the revenue intelligence agencies of India. FDI (foreign direct investment) and PNotes (promissory notes) are only some of the few methods of money travel. Hawala or oral transactions are no small value operations. But the FDI in retail trade will take  the cake away!

The assembly of corruption will do all it can to delay, defer or obfuscate issues to procrastinate decisions. The country is agitated at the attitude of the parliamentarians. It is not happy with the PM and his total inaction. Meanwhile Anna’s health is causing worries to the people. Unless the government takes prompt action, the situation is bound to deteriorate. There is no prestige issue involved. It is an issue on which everybody is agreed. Still the decision is eluding. Sign of absence of government as by law established!

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