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A Historic Fast Ends

On persistent requests from civil society, concerned citizens and prominent persons, the Anna Hazare led indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for a Jan Lok Pal Bill comes to an end today evening. A group of well known public figures in the service of the people in all different agencies of the government also wrote a letter to Anna Hazare. That forms a representative survey of agitated and concerned citizens, who have served the people commendably and wish for transparency in  governance for the good of the aam-aadmi or the people in general. Corruption has reduced the number of honest public servants, who have been marginalized by successive corrupt governments at the states level as well as the central government level. But the honest risked their career and personal interests, and delivered honest service to their best ability. There are real gems, who have been maintaining a dignified low profile, after completing their service tenures and watching the developments on the anti corruption movement front. They know the reality of the situation prevalent in India. The letter flows from such valuable people and also carries the silent support of thousands like them. The corrupt had feared them while they were in active service and lose their composure at their sight or mention even today. They and several others getting inspired by them shall continue the struggle in their own way. There is nothing for the corrupt to make gleeful faces on TV channels: they have scored no victory, nor has the Anna movement been defeated.

It is good that the fasting crusaders have shown the wisdom of calling off the fast. One weapon is not effective all the time. Unless we equip ourselves to face the challenges after taking into consideration the place-time-person triangle, we are unlikely to succeed in bringing about the desired change. Fast was okay during the time of the freedom struggle. Now Power stands transferred to those who shall never part with it. The people stand confused, divided and deprived and hence disinterested in such big ideas like corruption or probity. Whole generations feel wasted by first trusting a “progressive” rhetoric, then the promises of change by so called Naxalites, thereafter by Indira Gandhi and her “Young Turks”, then by Jay Prakash Narayan and his promise of “Total Revolution”, then experiments with alternatives, then “Reforms”, then “development & Growth”, then anti-corruption movement and again back to square one! Actually our Historians have failed us by not laying bare these developments and evolution of a violent electoral politics in the country. Anna & his followers might toy with the ideas of electoral politics, but that would be decision without understanding the power of violence of man & money in electoral politics in the country. Social pathological reasearch needs to be done for such a disturbing scenario in less than 65 years of Independence. Just consider the professions of the signatories to this letter: Judiciary, Army, Navy, Civil Service, Creative Arts, journalism, Academics, Social Activists, Public Spirited people, Scientists Anti-corruption Activists etc. Isn’t it  an adequate sample survey of the rot having infected all agencies of the government, or rather Governance. It does not matter whether it is the Congress or the BJP or the Leftists, Socialits or several other glamorous named political outfits- none stands for a Lokpal. If they refuse to provide transparent government, how can they stand by the anti-corruption movement? If the Historians had done justice, they would have recorded the sacrifices of hundreds of public spirited citizens, who came forward to provide clean candidates in the electoral battles in the past several elections. What happened? They lost their security deposits. Corruption prevails. Violence rules. People elect a government, but they do not know the power centre whose “hukumat” runs the government. So new instruments of facing the challenges will need to be invented. Till then it will be nothing more than what many celebrities have been mocking as “idhar-udhar ke bhashan” at Jantar Mantar. Let civil society read the clock i.e. the Jantar-Mantar and decide on an effective course of action.

One such public response should be to decisively defeat the known for corruption ministers, Members of Parliament and Members of State Assemblies in the next election. That will drive some sanity in the swollen heads of the corrupt. The society must avoid any social relationship with such elements. The young generation must decry corruption everywhere- home, school, college or university.  More than anything else, the new generation must seriously ponder on the issue of transparent governance and corrupt order and choose one of them. It is they who shall live the next 75 years. Anna or the civil society fighting for them today is not going to be there for ever. Therefore, it will be their life. They must decide how they want to live this life. It is no easy decision. It is very testing. Those deciding to choose the path of honesty must be prepared to suffer the consequences as corruption is all powerful today. It has the power to harm or oblige; do favours or disfavours. But the situation can be easily changed. As public servants or private employees, if they choose to remain honest and function honestly, nobody can intimidate them into doing their corrupt bids. When one person does it, it can be termed “indiscipline”, but when a whole generation decides to do so, it becomes a “revolution”, a crusade, an Arab Spring or a Jasmine revolution. Above all it is the Transparency Revolution. It is what you are asking of others to do. Why don’t you try it? Do it yourself and ensure a happy and healthy life for yourself and all others!

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