IIT-K alumni honour Rahul Sharma,while Modi Govt Chargesheets him #WTFnews

Ajay Umat | TNN 

Ahmedabad: The IIT-Kanpur Alumni Association has decided to confer on Gujarat IPS officer Rahul Sharma the prestigious Satyendra Dubey Memorial Award. The award is to be presented on March 3 at Kanpur but Sharma has not made up his mind yet on whether to attend the function.

Best-known whistleblower Satyendra Dubey (1973-2003) was a project director at the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). He was murdered in Gaya, Bihar after fighting corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project. Like Dubey, Sharma is an

alumnus of IIT-Kanpur. The award is meant for IITians and had gone to Arvind Kejriwal, a graduate from IIT-Kharagpur, in the past.

But, there is a big catch here. Clause 12 of All India Service Rules states that if an officer gets an award, he/she has to seek permission of the government before accepting it. The chances of the government granting permission to Sharma to attend the event in Kanpur are nil.

Sharma has been charged-sheeted by the Narendra Modi government for not taking permission before submitting call data records of certain persons to judicial inquiry commissions to prove their complicity in the 2002 post-Godhra riots. The records had helped nail the truth in the Naroda Patia case where former minister Maya Kodnani was among those who were convicted.

Sharma’s records include the phones of Modi’s office, politicians and police officers and, besides revealing who was talking to whom, it shows their movements during the peak hours of rioting on February 28, 2002.

A 1992-batch IPS officer, Sharma is also being recognised as a saviour of 200 children in a madrassa in Bhavnagar which was surround- ed by a mob on

the same day. Sharma was moved out of his position as SP, western railway, on February 26 — a day before the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt in Godhra.

He was transferred as SP Bhavnagar and he tackled the Godhra aftermath effectively. Even the Union home minister L K Advani had praised his actions in parliament. But after he submitted the CD in 2004, he has been given sideline postings and harassed by bosses with dozens of memos on the smallest of issues. Presently, he is posted as DIG, Special Reserve Police, Vadodara.

#India- Sibal’s Law: ‘Grossly offensive’ and of ‘menacing character’ #censorship #foe #fos

courtsey jasrajbhatti at jasrajbhatti.com
November 01, 2012 10:41 IST, Rediff.com
Kapil Sibal has passed a law that anyone posting anything “offensive” on Twitter can be jailed for three years. That’s section 66A of the IT Act amended by United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] II in 2008.’

‘It’s a cognisable offence so you have to be arrested and apply for bail. As though you had committed murder!’ notes Shivam Vij.

So an aam aadmi tweeted that the Union finance minister’s son Karti P Chidambaram [ Images ] has amassed more wealth than Robert Vadra, and voila, he gets arrested! Chidu Jr tweets: ‘Free speech is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have a right to seek constitutional/legal remedies over defamatory/scurrilous tweets.’

Except that, as far as is known, the businessman whose Web site describes him as ‘The Young Politician’, has not charged the writer of the ‘defamatory’ tweet with defamation. Why not?

Because he’d have to prove defamation in court. Because the person won’t be arrested right away. Because Chidu Sr’s esteemed colleague Shri Kapil Sibal [ Images ] has passed a law that anyone posting anything ‘offensive’ on Twitter can be jailed for three years. That’s section 66A of the IT Act amended by United Progressive Alliance II in 2008.

It’s a cognisable offence so you have to be arrested and apply for bail. As though you had committed murder!

If the same allegation was made on wall graffiti or by Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference, nobody would go to jail. But say it on Twitter and the long arm of the law gets a little longer.

Why is it that Subramanian Swamy can make strong corruption allegations against Karti P Chidambaram, as he did back in April, but Chidu Jr won’t put Subramanian Swamy in jail?

An aam aadmi, however, is not dangerous to politicians. The Tamil Nadu police even wanted to keep the man in jail ‘on remand’ for 15 days, but a magistrate granted him bail.

This proves what a lot of us have been arguing: That the real and only intent of Kapil Sibal’s draconian Internet laws is to crush dissent, is to tell people that talking about the Congress party‘s corruption is not allowed.

Welcome to 1975, or was it 1984?

While various aspects of growing Internet censorship in India [ Images ] have been commented on, it appears that the most dangerous one of them has not received sufficient attention. That’s because it’s a draconian aspect of the Information Technology Act which many thought wouldn’t be misused. After all we aren’t China.

But alas, our blanket faith in the inherent goodness of the Indian democratic system allows our rulers to trample upon our rights. That is how Communications Minister Kapil Sibal can grin and claim, every now and then, that he is not for censorship and control over the Internet. He can lie through his teeth and we allow him to get away with it.

Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, came into force in 2010. The section makes punishable with three years in jail posting online ‘any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character.’

There’s more to it. A non-bailable arrest warrant for you if you upload information that you knew was false, but you posted it only to cause ‘annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will.’

Yes, annoyance and inconvenience.

There have already been at least three cases of misuse of this section, before even Kapil Sibal’s colleague’s son put it to use.

In April 2011, the West Bengal [ Images ] police arrested Jadavpur University Professor Ambikesh Mohapatra for merely forwarding on e-mail a cartoon making fun of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee [ Images ], using a reference to a Satyajit Ray [ Images ] detective story. It reached Mamta Banerjee and she was offended.

Sibal’s Law was used and the cartoonist was in jail.

Other charges — such as defamation and insulting women under the Indian Penal Code — were not cognisable, so it was only Sibal’s Law that treated him like, well, a gross offender.

Similarly, Congress and Dalit activists in Maharashtra [ Images ] targeted cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for his anti-corruption cartoons that he displayed at the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai [ Images ] in December 2011. Their real intent, it seems, was to show the Anna Hazare movement as being anti-national. They charged him with the cognisable offence of sedition, but also with Sibal’s Law — because the cartoons were also available online.

His Web site cartoonsagainstcorruption was shut down in less than 24 hours, using another bit of Sibal’s Law, the intermediary liability rules. Aseem found himself in jail for a few days in September.

More recently, a Chandigarh resident Heena Bakshi was angry with the local police for not doing much to recover her stolen car. She posted an angry message on the Facebook page of the Chandigarh police. It said:

You people kill us with your ‘nakaas’ n check points. Harassing us if we are just driving around at night. But you have no f*****g clue when somebody steals that car from under your eyes. The police started questioning me. If I was making this whole **** up or if someone actually stole it.

Does she deserve jail for this? Well, Sibal’s Law came to the aid of the Chandigarh police. I don’t know if Ms Bakshi has found her car yet.

In all these cases it is clear that the powers-that-be — politicians and government – are using Sibal’s Law to muzzle our voices, to silence dissent, to discourage we the people from expressing out anger against the government.

If this is not the Emergency mindset, what is it?

I find Kapil Sibal’s eyebrows offensive. I can’t put him in jail for that but he can put me in jail for saying as much online. If his law did not apply only to the Internet, but to everything, then that would be fair. In such a fair world I would be able to apply Section 66A against the gross offence his eyebrows cause me.

Sibal announces every other week censorship is not his intent. He says it as if we are supposed to be grateful to him for that. As if we should burst into screams of joy, ‘All hail Indian democracy!’ But the above examples show that Internet censorship is very much his intent.

In other words, he spreads a lie every time he claims censorship is not his government’s intent. If he was to say this on the Internet I would be able to apply his own law on him and have him arrested!

As I said, section 66A includes this as punishable, cognisable offence: ‘Any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill-will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device.’

The government has appropriated to itself the task of deciding what is reasonable speech and what is unreasonable speech. That task should belong to the courts and the Indian Penal Code is enough for that.

If the tweet is defamatory, Chidu Jr should file a defamation case. There is no need for any special law for the Internet. The need for special Internet laws is felt by the powerful who realise that criticism and dissent are no longer the monopoly of a pliable, corporate media.

Those troubled by the aam aadmi‘s uncontrollable criticism include the corporate media. Senior television journalists like Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose constantly complain about online trolling and ‘hate speech’. They have thus helped build an environment in favour of Sibal’s Law — ‘causing annoyance’, ‘menacing character’, ‘grossly offensive’ are all good descriptors of how the powerful see online dissent.

These journalists have thus favoured draconian laws while paying lip service to free speech by arguing that while corporate media is covered by legal restrictions online media seems to be a free-for-all.

But I am also only demanding equality. Mamta Banerjee walked out of a Sagarika Ghose show in Kolkata [ Images ]. She was offended by the questions posed to her. She was also offended by the cartoon a professor forwarded on e-mail.

While the professor had to go to jail and seek bail and will be doing the rounds of the courts to defend himself, Sagarika Ghose has not been charged with the cognisable offence of ‘causing annoyance’ or being ‘grossly offensive’ to Mamata Banerjee.

If Sibal’s Law applies to a professor, why should it not apply to an editor? Is CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose more equal before the eyes of the law than a professor who imparts education?

I have a point Sagarika, don’t you think so? If my question annoys you, please don’t use Sibal’s Law against me.

Shivam Vij


The agenda behind the #anti-corruption agenda #kejriwal #anna #IAC

Date: 20 October 2012
DNA – G sampath

Earlier this week at a public meeting in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal urged his supporters to celebrate Dussehra by burning the effigies not of the mythical demons, but of today’s demons – corrupt politicians. “I leave it to you to select which corrupt politician will be your Ravana, and which ones your Kumbhakarna and your Meghnad,” he told a cheering audience.

This facile personification of an abstraction (corruption) and its emotive linkage to a religious symbol (burning the effigies of the righteousRama’s enemies) encapsulates the essential character of the anti-corruption movement that now aspires to be a “political alternative.”

Arvind Kejriwal and his band of activists are going to launch a political party. But is anti-corruption enough of a platform to launch a whole new political party? What constituency do they really represent? How does one understand Team Kejriwal’s leap into parliamentary politics? While I do not question their individual good intentions, their singular obsession with corruption and their reluctance to engage with the structural issues that make corruption widespread, if not necessary, are worth pondering.

Who does Team Kejriwal represent?
The past 20 years of liberalisation have put more money into the hands of India’s middle classes. Their economic empowerment has given them a new sense of political entitlement, but not political empowerment.

Unlike the economy, Indian politics has continued on its pre-liberalisation track. A small dynastic coterie calls the shots in all the mainstream parties. The pre-modern institutions of caste, religion and family still count for more than capability or integrity or leadership. As a result, the onward (and upward) economic march of the middle classes has been held to ransom by the regressive feudal politics of a tiny elite that has basically gamed the system.

From a Marxist perspective, the rise of the anti-corruption brigade can be read as a manifestation of the power struggle between two different factions of the ruling class – the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. The former are in command now, their financial power having secured them political control over the state machinery and party functionaries, from the PMO downward. Vedanta’s grip over the state administration in Orissa is a telling example.

The petty bourgeoisie, or the educated urban middle classes, possess social and cultural capital but not enough of financial capital for deployment to produce surplus value – not in the prevailing political system. The present system is ‘corrupt’ and needs an overhaul precisely because it does not accord enough value to their social and cultural capital – encapsulated in the word ‘merit’.

Slaying the Corruption Dragon
Enter Team Anna/Kejriwal. Never before in independent India has the urban, literate middle class — cutting across the traditional divides of caste, religion or ethnicity — coalesced into an electorate by itself. But twenty years of consumerist prosperity has made this imminent.

This grouping of urbanised middle class Indians has tasted the fruits of western modernity. They are disgusted by the feudalism of the political class. They are even more disgusted by the impunity with which a tiny cabal of businessmen and politicians are sucking the country dry. But they are most disgusted at being left out of the banquet.

Clearly, the ‘system’ isn’t working. Not for them. Their sense of political entitlement is violently at odds with their political impotence. The BJP, which was supposed to look out for the entrepreneurial, meritorious, middle class Hindus, has long since betrayed its core constituency. It is less an opposition in Parliament than an envious but sporting rival. It is the political vacuum created by the BJP’sabnegation of its oppositional role that the anti-corruption brigade led by Team Anna/Kejriwal has exploited, and hopes to fill.

Hence the constant confusion about their relationship with the BJP: Are these guys with the BJP or not? They seem to be, with their borderline Hindutva symbolisms and rhetoric, but they are also anxious to distance themselves from the BJP, tainted as it is by the rot in the prevailing system. They want the BJP’s constituency but not its burdensome political legacy. So they walk the tightrope, leaning now on the side of jingoism and Hindutva, now tilting the other way to fire a few quick salvos against the ‘corrupt’ BJP.

For all its dangerous ideology, the BJP still has a political vision – of a Hindu rashtra. But the newly empowered middle classes, despite their recent political awakening, have no political vision as such. They may take pride in their Hindu identity, but they don’t care one way or the other about a Hindu rashtra, which explains the BJP’s ongoing existential crisis. Nor are they animated by a sense of social responsibility towards those less fortunate than themselves. Rather than calling them the middle class, it would be more accurate to refer to them as the ‘consumer class’.

Their very idea of citizenship is mixed up with that of the consumer. Their overarching political anxiety is: How do I secure the goods and services for which I’m paying by way of taxes? They cannot entertain the idea that the state may have responsibilities even to those who cannot pay taxes because they don’t earn or consume enough to do so. Their idea of a functioning political system is one that can quietly lay out a smooth expressway to consumerist paradise: Good infrastructure, parking, no slums, and law and order so they can walk around in branded clothes without getting mugged. And, oh yes, affordable education, hospitals, etc.

What’s preventing this consumerist paradise from materialising? Corruption, of course! The Solution? Kill this dragon of corruption. The knights of the Anna round table will hunt down the Corruption Dragon and slay it. Then all Indians can live happily ever after. This is the fairy tale that the anti-corruption brigade is peddling. But that is all it is: A fairy tale.

The uses of corruption
To make sense of the Kejriwal phenomenon, and to understand why the corporate media (itself hardly a paragon of probity), which has little time for issues of deprivation and social justice, is so invested in this campaign against corruption, we need to ask some basic questions: What is corruption exactly? And what purpose is served by the high decibel discourse of corruption?

The most obvious rhetorical use of ‘corruption’ is as a diagnosis of what is ailing modern India. It presents us with an easy, identifiable, enemy: The corrupt. Where there is corruption, there are bound to be corrupt people, the Ravanas. Identify the corrupt, punish them, and cleanse the state of the corrupt, and India will be pristine once again, all set to fulfill her destiny of 10 per cent growth year after year for eternity.

Really? In fact, the syphoning of public funds into private pockets, or demanding bribes for doing a job (or not doing it) are symptoms of a malaise that runs deeper: a fundamental power inequality that comes into play soon as you erect an apparatus known as the state.

Power, as we all know, corrupts. Corruption is born at the same instant a bureaucrat is born – there is no existential gap that separates an ‘honest’ bureaucrat from a corrupt one, for the simple reason that every bureaucracy is nothing but an ejaculate of democracy getting shagged by power.

A politician holding an executive post is but another cog in the bureaucratic apparatus of the state, though a prestigious one. He is different from the bureaucrat in only one respect: he is elected by the ‘people’, while the bureaucrat is selected through an exam or nominated by an elite. But his job is essentially one with that of the state: To serve the power elite.

Indeed, there is nothing about the quality of power wielded by a Lokpal that would make this bureaucrat immune to the fundamental logic of power.

The discourse of corruption serves four key purposes. Firstly, it crowds inequality and social justice off the mainstream agenda. The two issues are linked: Social justice will not be a major concern (as it isn’t for the anti-corruption brigade; their primary concern is ‘governance’) unless there is an uncompromising respect for political equality. But nobody would argue that India’s middle classes believe in egalitarianism. Apparently, ‘merit’ somehow confers on them a distinction that exempts them from the logic of political and social equality.

Secondly, corruption, like ‘human rights’ or ‘terrorism’, is a term emptied of context and history. The exclusive focus on corruption as the prime failing of the state obfuscates the fact that a nation-state’s primary job has always been to organise the protection of ruling class interests. The history of independent India is an abiding testament to this simple political truth. But the bogey of corruption deflects attention from the repressive nature of the state’s relationship with the overwhelming majority of its subjects, and the exploitative economic structures it enforces. Ever wondered why the benevolent Indian state still needs the colonial IPC? And POTA? And MCOCA? And AFSPA? And UAPA? And the sedition law? They’re not for meant for corrupt politicians, by the way.

Thirdly, the hyper-focus on corruption serves to blunt the sharpening political consciousness of the ‘under-class’ by offering them a simplistic discourse containing good guys and bad guys. The corrupt politician is Ravana, while the honest ones, like Kejriwal or AshokKhemka, are like Rama. And if you know your Ramayana, you’d vote for Rama and the allies of Rama.

The ‘us-pure’ versus ‘them-corrupt’
Lastly, an exclusive focus on state corruption furthers the neo-liberal agenda of a leaner but meaner state. This has been pointed out by many commentators, including, most expansively, by the eminent economist Prabhat Patnaik.

This is how it works: By repeatedly associating state initiatives and programmes with corruption, you make a strong case for privatisation, for the handing over of public assets held in trust by the state (such as PSUs) into private hands. Simultaneously, because governmental corruption (and consequent inefficiency) is anyway sucking up all tax revenues, you make another strong case — for lower taxation.

But when you lower taxes, government revenues will go down, which means government expenditure has to go down too – so the government has to shrink. But since the defence budget (no matter how obscenely large for a poor country) cannot be cut, it is the social welfare schemes that have to go – so, Down with Subsidies! Down with NREGA! Down with PDS!

Since the state cannot tax its richest citizens, ie the corporations (it could spoil the investment climate), it will never have enough in its coffers to invest in public projects. So to raise the money, it has to call in foreign investors, who won’t come unless they can take out from the country far more than what they put in (that’s just capitalism, nothing personal). So you woo them with more tax sops. Thus presiding over the draining of public assets into private hands, the state cannot but abdicate its responsibility towards the vast majority. This abdication, then, is presented to the aam admi in the form of a simplistic, depoliticised narrative – the narrative of political corruption. And the cycle begins all over again .

This, in a nutshell, is the agenda behind the anti-corruption agenda. This is not to say that all IAC activists are going about their job with a cynical awareness of what they’re really up to. But many of them are fairly sophisticated intellectuals who ought to know which side of the class bread their one-dimensional crusade will butter.

If it weren’t for the comforting binary of ‘us-pure’ versus ‘them-corrupt’, the working classes and the peasantry — whose very real and legitimate anger against the political class the anti-corruption movement is tapping into — might well pose a serious threat to the prevailing order. The land of a million mutinies might even cobble together a revolution, if not splinter into a dozen fragments.

By turning into a political party, Team Kejriwal will only serve the ruling class agenda of funneling the growing anger of the mango people into the same old democratic channels that are hard-wired to betray them. Thanks to the mythical beast known as Corruption, the nation under siege has a common enemy that millions can unite against in hateful rage. So let’s go burn those effigies. HappyDussehra!

G Sampath is an independent writer based in Delhi. He is reachable at sampath4office@gmail.com.

Founder-president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS),Dr. Sunilam Gets Life-term in Case of Police Firing on Farmers’ Protest in 1997 #Fabricated


‘If you act against the system, you are either killed or cases are fabricated against you’

Dr. Sunilam, 51, Multai, Madhya Pradesh, 19th oct 2012

[Interview Courtesy: Tehelka]

‘The state is protecting industrialists at the cost of tribals’
‘We want justice. The government can’t keep quiet for long’

‘The complainant is always a police officer. So how can there be any justice?’

IN INDIA, the system operates in such a way that you are either part of the system or co-opted to become a part of the system,” says activist Sunilam. “If not, you are either killed or cases are fabricated against you.”With 133 cases registered against him and multiple attempts on his life, it’s safe to say he knows what he is talking about.

As founder-president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (KSS), Sunilam has been actively working with farmers against unjust land acquisition by the Madhya Pradesh government.

For his role in the kisan andolan of 12 January 1998 at Multai, the then Congress government lodged 66 false cases against him. “Under the banner of KSS, we had organised a rally where over 75,000 farmers protested the destruction of their farmland by the state government,” says Sunilam. “As the agitation gathered steam, the state government thought it could crush and discredit the movement by killing the leaders. They believed that the farmers can be taught a lesson.”

The police opened fire on the protesting farmers, killing 24 and injuring 115 persons. Sunilam, who was also injured, was arrested from a hospital. But instead of being produced in front of a magistrate, he was tortured for three days, after which he was imprisoned for three months. “They also tried to kill me. They would say, ‘24 have died you will be the 25th’ but because I was a well-known figure and the people knew I was in police custody, they could not kill me.”

What the former MLA finds shocking is that in violation of the law, no case was filed against the police for the shooting, nor has there been any investigation. Instead, he has been running from one court hearing to the next.

The system seems to be working against the activist, despite being injured in a planned attack, where he broke his arm and received multiple stitches on his head, a police case was filed against him in Chhindwara. More recently, he was charged in a rape case where as the acting MLA, he arrived at the scene of the crime five hours after the event.

With 16 pending cases and a CBI warrant for his arrest, Sunilam has come to one conclusion, “What they have started doing is registering cases against me and not informing me. In spite of having a CBI warrant in my name, I am moving around freely. Everyone knows where I am, but the reason they haven’t arrested me is that they have registered these cases to malign me but at the same time it gives them leverage; they can use them to arrest me when I become too much of an inconvenience.”

Avalok Langer is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.

Popular farmer leader and ex-MLA from Multai, M.P. Dr. Sunilam has been sentenced to life prison today in a case as old as 14 years relating to the incident of police firing in Multai on protesting farmers way back in January 1998 in which Sunilam was charged with 66 fabricated cases.
All in all he was facing more than 100 fabricated cases and this was basically due to his relentless struggles for the rights of farmers. Last year he survived in a life threatening attack on him by hired goons of Adani-Pench Power Plant Ltd., the company that was allotted farmers land illegally 22 years after acquisition. The court’s decision today is basically a result of corrupt collusion among corporate, legislature, executive and lower judiciary. Ironically, anti-graft crusader Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare have not uttered a single word since yesterday against court’s decision to implicate Dr. Sunilam in false case and life term given today.
This is more important because Sunilam was a core member of Team Anna and till last anti-graft stir, he could be seen continuously on an off screen with the team in his brand green muffler. Neither a word of protest has come from Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party that was once solely represented in Madhya Pradesh by Sunilam who was MLA  from Multai seat.
Below is the letter sent last year by Dr. B.D. Sharma on behalf of people to erstwhile MOEF Jairam Ramesh against Power Project in Chhindwara, M.P. This memorandum of assertion is very critical at this stage to understand the technicality of the case and politics related to Sunilam’s conviction.
Shri Jairam Ramesh
Union Minister for Environment and Forest
Paryavaran Bhawan,
New Delhi.
Subject: Memorandum of Assertion against Power Project in Chhindwara. M.P.
1. The Issue   
It is my proud privilege to forward to you the Memorandum of Assertion adopted by more than a thousand people on May 31, 2011. They were representing countless denizens of scores of villages in Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh. I am an eyewitness to people’s unshakable resolve not to allow their Mother Earth to be ravaged by the gold-diggers and fortune seekers in one of the richest forest areas in our country.
            The story begins in 1986 with a Government Resolution to establish a Thermal Power Project in this remote region under the aegis of M. P. Electricity Board. The land acquisition proceedings were started under the aura of State’s authority with no dialogue before or after thereof with innocent people facing the prospect of landlessness. It is a universal experience that paltry compensation in acquisition proceedings vanishes in no time; and all other promises prove to be a mirage. The acquisition proceedings in court rooms, hallowed with the aura of the Raj, end up virtually in   meek submissions for mercy before mai-bap sarkar. While land owners get paltry amounts as doles, no one cares to note that even that draconian law has a place for ‘persons interested’ such as informal tenants, share croppers, agricultural workers. Similarly no one cared to share with the people the scenario after commissioning of a Power Project such as flying ash destroying extensive green fields and polluted water rendering land unfit for agriculture. Some palliatives were promised like rehabilitation grant and service to one member of each affected family.
  Ironically nothing moved on the ground about Power Project after land acquisition for reasons not known to the people. The farmers, therefore, continued to cultivate their lands and deal with the situation when time arrives. To their utter surprise, one fine morning MPEB itself was wound up leaving no message to the affected. Similarly all was quite on government side which is supposed to be the custodian of acquired lands not used for purpose designated.
2. The Public Hearing
Ironically after more than 20 years, one fine morning people learnt through word of mouth that concerned lands were sold out to Adanis for Power Project at a fabulous price of Rs 13.5 lakhs per acre. This firm had earned notoriety in Chandrapur and  was expelled there from. It silently moved into this area and took possession of some land without showing the courtesy of meeting the people in continued possession after land acquisition. In fact even the administration, which executed this transaction, did not consider it worthwhile even to talk to the people in possession of land, not to speak about sharing their concern after the new takeover.
I am happy about your Ministry noting the basic flaw about sale being finalised and possession being allowed before public hearing on environmental viability. You also assured a delegation of farmers led by Medha Patkar and Dr Sunilam, Ex MLA that since the Ministry has not given environmental clearance no construction can take place in the area. I am also sorry to note that even after the Collector Chhindwara assured a delegation of Jan Sansad that no work will continue in the area, the work is continuing unabated. Thus Adanis have not cared to go by the advice of the Ministry as also civil administration and are indulging in illegal activities.
I am also sorry to note that notwithstanding the best intentions of the Ministry public hearings are generally taken as a ritual to satisfy the ‘ego and fads’ of so-called environmentalists. The end result in such hearings depends on the relative strength of people concerned vis-a-vis interested party and sensitivity of administration.
I must invite your attention to the fact that the place of public hearing is crucial in achieving its real objective. The people are at their best in the known surroundings of their own village. They are generally ill at ease in administrative establishments with visible aura of State authority. Last but not the least, if public hearing is organised in the arena of interested party it is bound to degenerate into a ritual with results being known well in advance.
I am pained to observe that the public hearing of Power Project held on November 6, 2010 blatantly violated credibility test. It was not held in the known environment of people concerned. Nor did organizers think of the second choice, some sarkariestablishment, notwithstanding serious psychological limitations noted earlier. Lo and behold, the public hearing was held in Adani’s own compound, whose occupation is disputed. It was also serviced by his own people. A bevy of musclemen were in attendance in this hearing to ensure that there are no dissenting voices. The inevitable result was that simple farmers could hardly present their side with ease.
3. The Changing Perspective
I wish to place before you the fact that much water has flown under the bridge since the land was acquired some 22 years back. A new generation of youth has appeared, especially in areas with rich natural resources, who have witnessed the trauma of displacement. They are rejecting the principle of eminent domain of the State and asserting principle of eminent domain of the community in the form ofGaon Gana Rajya or Village Republic. The people who had lost their land de jure but continued to occupy the same due to the state of indecision have in the mean time become highly articulate in self defense. The movement in this area got intensified after the disputed public hearing noted above. It culminated in a long march covering all the affected villages. The articulation of their side on all aspects of the proposed project was fabulous.
4. Bid to Capture at any Cost
It is clear that such articulation from people’s side is not acceptable to those engaged like Adani in capturing resources virtually in the style of fabled ‘Gold Rush’ of western frontier in United States.  The two top leaders of the movement, Dr Sunilam and Advocate Aradhana Bhargava, were beaten up by the goons in their bid to liquidate them on May 22, 2011 when the group was returning after making preparations for the forthcoming ‘padayatra’. Each one of them had a fractured hand besides other injuries. The police came after two and half hours of the information being personally given to the S.P. Chhindwara. To cap it all, a simple inconsequential case has been registered by the police merely as a formality under Section 323 IPC although it was a clear case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of IPC.
5. The Great Omission
Lastly, I will invite your attention to some crucial aspects of environmental public hearing. The environmental projection has to be with reference to the scene that will emerge after the Project is commissioned. In the case of an industrial project the present is no indication of even the proximate future, not to speak of long term implications. In Bailadila Iron Ore Project of Bastar only six persons were formally displaced but it ravaged scores of villages and polluted the Shankini River for one hundred miles denying the people even simple drinking water.
I took up this issue in 1970s as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs in pursuance of a Minute of Smt Indira Gandhi dated 19.6.1974 addressed to the Home Minister:
The Licensing policy and project-formulation for big industrial and mining complexes hardly take into account the local simple tribal situation. New vested interests are being created in these areas. A balanced relationship between the traditional economy and the modernised sector has to be built by introducing an element of local participation wherever possible and advanced planning for all-round development in the entire region.
            It was formally decided by the Union Government that the likely zone of influence of an industrial project must be identified concurrently with the project proper and a comprehensive plan of action should be prepared for the Project and its zone of influence which should ensure life with dignity on terms of equality for all people located in the Zone. The first clearance of the Government of India in terms of the above formulation was accorded to Malanchakhand Copper Project in M.P. subject to fulfillment of above conditions. Similar exercises were also under taken for the existing projects. It is sad to note that such crucial decisions got buried in official files.  The nation is paying heavily in the form of unprecedented unrest in resource rich areas, tribal and non-tribal, of our country.
6. Concluding Action Points
In conclusion it is clear that
1.      The meeting held on 6.11.2010 about Power Project cannot be deemed to be a Public Hearing for the purposes of environmental clearance of a Power Project in Chhindwara by MoEF;
2.      You may advice State Government to remove the structure illegally constructed on the farmer’s land by Adani and restore land to the its owner-farmers;
3.      You may consider black-listing a company which has started its innings with indulging in illegal activities from day one in violation of the law of the land and ignoring the advice of the Ministry as also the District Magistrate.
4.      You may review the scope of the Public Hearing in general which must cover not only the proximate situation but the also the likely Zone of Influence as was decided by the Government of India in 1975;
5.      You may advise the Government of MP to review the Chhindwara Power Project making a realistic projection not only of Power Project but also its Zone of Influence. Moreover, the issues raised by the people not only in Chhindwara but in the neighbouring areas including Pench in Maharashtra must also be thoroughly considered in consultation with the people; and
6.      A public hearing, if any, in the real spirit of this may be held only after all the above conditions have been fulfilled.
With best regards                                                                                               Yours Sincerely
                                                                                                (Dr. B.D. Sharma)
Courtesy: JunPuth

ANNA-MORPHOSIS – The Kejriwal Conundrum


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 33, Dated 18 Aug 2012


Arvind Kejriwal had tapped into a crucial anger. As chief architect of the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, he could have leveraged real change despite political resistance. Revati Laul assesses what his sudden change of course means

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

PERHAPS IDEALISM, conscience and a keen sense of righteous rage are not enough. Perhaps intransigent ego — even a modicum of megalomania, a small zone of blindness — are necessary traits in a would be revolutionary. How else can one make the leap and believe powerful vested structures can be overthrown overnight and supplanted with one’s own?

At THiNK — TEHELKA’s event in Goa — last year, there was one man international guests like The New York Times columnist Tom Freidman and astronomer Mike Brown wanted to meet more than any other. A short, stout, earnest man in trademark loose grey pants and chequered shirt. And an even more trademarked earnest face. A man around whom zealous crowds had swelled last year, teeming seas of humanity, shouting anti-corruption slogans in ‘I’m Anna’ caps. All along though, it was clear to everyone that the real face of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement wasn’t Anna Hazare. It was Arvind Kejriwal. Anna was the mascot. Arvind was the architect.

In cruel contrast, in July this year at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Arvind the architect was no longer the most sought-after man. As he sat on an indefinite fast from 25 July, a reluctant media, tired from last year’s breathless coverage, turned up in a tepid trickle. Cameras dangled searchingly from cranes to reveal pockmarked aerial shots of much thinner crowds. Critics pronounced the Anna movement as last year’s story. Until halfway through the fast, it didn’t even make the headlines. Arvind, diabetic and weak, was losing weight and his health rapidly. Then the weekend was upon him. Anna joined the fast. Even so, a sceptical media continued to ask: if the Lokpal Bill wasn’t the agenda this time, what was the fast really about?

Arvind said it was to get the UPA government to set up a special investigation team against 15 Cabinet ministers whom Team Anna had accused of corruption. This did not quite meet the eye. Why would a government that had spent all of 2011 playing combat games with Anna and Arvind over the Lokpal Bill now give in to demands that even affiliates saw as mere posture? That too under pressure from a team whose previous fast in December 2011 had been a complete washout? As one hard day of fasting rolled into the next, even Arvind sounded like he expected nothing to happen. So, as he kept reiterating his favourite line at Jantar Mantar that he had no faith in the government, the question that kept surfacing on the same TV screens that had propped up the movement in the previous year was: what on earth was the point? On the other side of the split screens, smug politicians said to cameras — “Let them do what they want.”

And then, sure enough, something did happen that forced the TV cameras back into position. In a masterstroke that enabled him to save his face and end his nine-day fast and Anna his five-day one, Arvind announced that the IAC crusade was now going to morph into a political party. Some called it the death of India’s most watched anti-corruption movement. Others said it gave it fresh blood. Arvind and his co-strategist Prashant Bhushan termed it as total revolution. Anna ambiguously blogged his displeasure. And two days later, disbanded his team.

It was clear to everyone that the real face of the IAC wasn’t Anna Hazare. It was Arvind Kejriwal. Anna was the mascot. Arvind was the architect

So, what really had happened? Why had the crowds fallen away from Arvind in the past few months? Was this round of fasts a premeditated exercise to moult a skin that no longer fit? What changed in one day, and how, is not just a straightforward story of the Anna Hazare movement in a new bottle. It’s a complex and paradoxical account of the inner workings of one man. Arvind. And his ability to conjure a crowd from a consumer class and a party from a people’s movement.

FOR ALL his purist rhetoric, a great irony that dogs Arvind Kejriwal is that, in many ways, he exactly mirrors the qualities he criticises in the political class. He is a canny strategist: that is what helped him build one of the most high-visibility movements in recent Indian history. But for all his talk of extreme transparencies, virtuous processes and absolute truths, he can be very expedient and fluid with the truth himself. And consensus building is clearly not his strength. This is what made him blow the movement he had built.

Arvind’s sudden decision to float a political party has scattered the IAC, dismayed many of its core members, and brought simmering frictions into the open. According to Arvind, the idea of sitting on a door-die fast this time had a dual purpose. “It exposed the government’s injustice in the eyes of the public and also prepared the public for the next stage of the battle.” What was this next stage? Was the decision to turn the movement into a political party then taken much before the fast and not spurred by popular demand as he had claimed at Jantar Mantar? Was the fast merely a stage prop constructed to provide the backdrop needed to announce his party? “Not at all,” says Arvind vehemently. “It was not planned from before.”

But several IAC core committee members have a different story. Activist Akhil Gogoi, one such member, says the idea of going political was seriously discussed at a meeting on 22 April, three months before Arvind’s latest fast. “I opposed it. At least five other core committee members agreed with me. Then there was a second core committee meeting where this was decided. I wasn’t present and wasn’t asked.”

Justice Santosh Hegde, another key Team Anna member, also admits he was against starting a party and was not consulted about the decision. “I cannot tell you how much I regret the disbanding of this movement. The Lokpal Bill that is under consideration in Parliament is not everything we wanted, but it was 70 percent there. We could have accepted it and slowly built pressure to amend it bit by bit. But I think some psephologist told them that there is an Anna wave in the air, so you can win if you float a party.”

Perhaps Gogoi and Hegde were genuinely outvoted by other team members but what their statements confirm is that the proposal to form a political party did not unfurl entirely as Arvind pronounced at Jantar Mantar. It also raises another important question. If forming a party was being considered as far back as April, why was this not shared with “the people” Arvind claims he works on behalf of?

It’s a question many disgruntled core committee members are asking. Devinder Sharma, a veteran grassroots activist, in fact, goes a step further. He says Arvind paradoxically has a lot in common with Sonia Gandhi, his key adversary, in how he runs his team. Sharma says he had dived into the Arvind crusade with great enthusiasm only to find that “here too, it’s only the high command that decides”. High command: The words are intended to sting Arvind, who has often shrilly denounced the Congress’ top-down style of functioning and claimed the IAC has no such power structure and is driven purely “by the people’s will”.

The sudden decision to float a party has scattered the IAC, dismayed many of its core members, and brought simmering frictions into the open

Is Arvind the crusader and anarchist then most well suited really to be a politician? Insight comes from a fourth core committee member. Sunita Godara, sportsperson and activist, and winner of the Asian Marathon in 1992. In 2010, when Arvind was looking for a suitable sportsperson to file a PIL on corruption in the Commonwealth Games, Godara came handy. “Inclination towards a mainstream political formation was there for the past six months,” says Godara. By her reckoning, the idea was Shanti Bhushan’s, former Union law minister and Prashant’s father. “Shantiji always used to say, till when will we keep fighting like this? If they are not changing the system, we will have to get into the system to fight.” Arvind puts this down to “various discussions” the team had, part of the “churning process”. However, he insists the decision to go political was finally taken only on 1 August.

But even on that day, according to Godara, the crucial decision was taken only by a few. “It was clear that only a select lot — two or three people — will decide whether we go political or not,” she said.

Arvind rebuts these accounts, placing the onus of the decision to go political on Anna and narrating with standard polemic why things unfolded the way they did. “The government was not passing the Jan Lokpal Bill,” he says, “because there are 15 ministers in the Cabinet with serious allegations of corruption against them.” In the meantime, Anna had got some damning feedback that people were saying they still had faith in the movement’s leadership but had lost faith in the movement. People were asking, what was the point of a fast? “When hope dies, people stop coming out on the streets,” explains Arvind.

For all his purist rhetoric, a great irony that dogs Kejriwal is that, in many ways, he mirrors the very qualities he criticises in the Indian political class

Amidst this pall of despondency, came the letter signed by 23 eminent citizens, including political scientist Yogendra Yadav, former army chief Gen VK Singh, former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh and journalist Kuldip Nayar asking for the fast to be called off. This letter, suggesting that Team Anna come up with an alternative form of politics, was projected as the main catalyst.

A message went out via TV channels to Arvind’s largely TV audience. Twenty-four hours later, a Zee News poll came back with a verdict he had hoped for: 96 percent in favour of a political alternative. It didn’t seem to matter that by “a political alternative”, these eminent citizens weren’t necessarily suggesting Team Anna transform themselves into a political party.

Nayar, in fact, told TEHELKA, “This has completely shifted the goalposts away from what they were fighting for until now — a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.” Nayar added further that the team would need to go to the masses and build itself patiently bottom up instead of what it is now — top down. But Arvind wasn’t interested in the fine print. At 5 pm on 2 August, he sipped a glass of coconut water, broke his fast and announced the formation of a political party. A seemingly disastrous situation had been turned by him into the springboard for his next big step.

Focal point Arvind Kejriwal holds an early morning meeting during Anna Hazare’s fast at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in August 2011Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Devinder Sharma blogged that this decision was a “death warrant for social movements”. But Arvind says without a trace of self-reflective irony: “You see, the core committee is not important. The people of this country are.”

As the announcement broke on the networks, many of the 2,000-odd volunteers in the IAC team were deeply crestfallen. Suddenly, without warning, all their goalposts had shifted. For a year-and-a-half, Arvind had made the Jan Lokpal Bill seem the most redemptive tool in Indian public life, but having gained serious momentum, he didn’t seem to have the patience to fight it through. For a year-and-a-half too, he had mocked the government and spoken headily about a new democratic form of functioning — where supra complex decisions would be made only with feedback from the people, and websites would solicit consultations.

Now suddenly, from Bhagat Singhs and Che Guevaras, without being told, were they all to become part of something that would one day look like the establishment? The IAC movement had been built on the backs of many people. Were they to be disbanded without even a jan sunwayi? Arvind and Prashant had to gather volunteers in a quick damage-control meeting. Insiders say it has had mixed results.

If forming a party was being considered as far back as April, why was this not shared with ‘the people’ Arvind claims he works on behalf of?

But disgruntlement among some IAC volunteers had begun to kick in even before this announcement. One of them, Shivendra Singh Chauhan, wrote his list of woes to Arvind; the letter was leaked to the media. The gist of Chauhan’s grouse was that he had been happy to work back-breaking hours to create IAC’s Facebook page, but over time, it had become subject to an increasingly centralised style of functioning. Another disgruntled volunteer told TEHELKA they had wanted Arvind to set up an effective grievance redressal system within the movement itself. “We wanted to know how the core team was being chosen,” says the volunteer. “And why the donations and funds received from October 2011 onwards were not up on the website yet? But, the more questions we raised, the more difficult it became for us to function.”

Mastermind Kejriwal is a canny strategist who has succeeded in drawing support from both mass leaders and disgruntled people from across IndiaPhotos: (L To R) Shailendra Pandey, Tarun Sehrawat

The story of Arvind then seems to be the story of double gyres: the capacity for creative energy, expansion and decline all locked into the same diagram. Over all of the past year, Arvind was able to whip up a public storm like few others in recent times. He was also able to corner the government into promising and tabling the Lokpal Bill. Yet, he seemed incapable of spotting “the peaking moment”, beyond which things can only go downhill. When the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, he could have urged his co-team to claim a victory, short of the absolutes, and build on it. It would have given people hope, a second wind. But by insisting on his maximalist positions, Arvind seems to have lost the entire movement. It’s not a loss that is his alone. For many Indians who believed in him and his extravagant promises, he has just made it more difficult to believe again. A new party may be birthed. But the infant movement is dead.

TO FOCUS only on the decline of the IAC, however, would be to flatten a very complex picture. Over 14 months and four fasts, Arvind repeatedly managed to draw crowds from what many derisively call the unthinking middle class. How did he do this? What pulse did he catch?

Sunita Godara describes Arvind’s earnest anger management on stage. She says he mesmerised people with lines such as “Are we going to trust MPs who lie and steal our money?” While on a campaign across Haryana with Arvind in July this year, she said even in a small town like Bhiwani, there were more than 5,000 people waiting after 8 pm just to listen to him.

It’s this ability to channel a sort of collective catharsis for people’s frustration that made a beat constable come up to Arvind in August last year and say, “I have been taking bribes for the past 16 years. But in the past 10 days, I haven’t taken a single bribe. And I have never experienced such bliss before.” It also made a car thief return a stolen car this year with a note saying: “This car had Anna posters on it. I don’t want it. I’m sending it back.”

With his earnest, unyielding zeal, that is what Arvind most was: a figure of hope. Yogendra Yadav has called himself a friend of the movement for precisely these reasons. He said the tenacity and positive energy of the movement was a force to reckon with. Later, reacting to criticism levelled at the movement, he said in the Indian Express, “In a choice between two less than pure sides, I prefer the protesters’ infirmities to the rulers’ intransigence.”

Abhinandan Sekhri, a friend and a fellow traveller in the IAC, explains Arvind’s charm. “The clarity with which he speaks and his ability to simplify issues of governance sets him apart from the policy wonks.”

This is what makes the story of Arvind and what he’s brought to the theatre of political and social movements in the country most interesting. (And most riddled with paradox.) He tried to awaken political consciousness in a class that doesn’t care. It’s a class the Congress, with its focus on the common man, has traditionally ignored. A class that the BJP, in forcing into the Hindutva right-wing box, has also managed to alienate many sections of. Many argue the political potential of this liberal middle class is a space that was almost completely ignored till the IAC movement. Intuitively, Arvind seems to have cracked how to speak to them: not for them the slow dialogues of democracy: street action here had to be accusatory, instant, high on spectacle and emotion. And short-lived. Basically, a vent for anger. But trading on their impatience, Arvind was also trapped by it. When you sell instant and miraculous change overnight, two years can seem a galactic age.

For many Indians who believed in him, he has just made it more difficult to believe again. A new party may be birthed. But the infant movement is dead

Arvind was not always an impatient man. But growing up in Hisar, Haryana, in the 1970s and ’80s — in the era of Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man — Arvind has always understood the power of anger. An honest taxman in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), his own anger and frustration with the system kept building up. In 1999, with no alternative in sight, he started an NGO called Parivartan that began by sorting out people’s tax problems. Amongst the hundreds of cases Arvind looked at was an old woman who hadn’t got a tax refund since 1978. In 2000, finding it difficult to juggle his job with his activism, Arvind took a long sabbatical. Parivartan expanded its role from taxes to municipal problems and adopted two slum resettlement colonies — Sundernagari and Seemapuri in West Delhi.

Post-2002, Arvind began to use RTI for much of his social and political action. Though they now walk very divergent paths, Arvind acknowledges Aruna Roy as his most significant mentor. Having won the Magsaysay Award in 2006, Arvind used the money to start yet another NGO — Public Cause Research Foundation. In the same year, he formally resigned from the IRS to plunge into a full-time career as an activist.

Manish Sisodia, a key IAC member, who joined Arvind in 1999 to set up Parivartan, describes him as an obsessive worker, waking at 2 am to make notes and redraft policy. By now, a decade of wrestling with the system had made Arvind restless. He was waiting for his Rang De Basanti moment. 2010-11 brought exactly the canvas he needed. It was the year of scams. The CWG scam; the 2G scam; the Adarsh Housing Society scam; the Bellary mining scam.

Arvind, however, recognised that to launch a large-scale agitation against corruption he would need many things. Unlike other social movements built on communities linked through common causes of livelihood or gender, here there was no clear impact group. He needed symbols, glue, amplifiers. This is when he thought of approaching Anna Hazare — aware that, at least in his optics, he would resonate for middle-class Indians as a sort of modernday Gandhi. But how could he ensure people would turn up?

Arvind went to people he knew could mobilise huge masses. Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. For purists from social movements, this seemed heresy, and allying with them has often made the IAC look like moral contortionists. But Vijay Pratap, a political activist who has known Arvind for a decade, believes it’s with this out-ofthe- box thinking that Arvind really scores. His success stems from his capacity to have a brilliant strategy without an overarching ideology. What Yogendra Yadav characterised in an interview to TEHELKA, as “the politics of anti-politics”.

New rules With Anna staying away from the political party, Kejriwal will have his task cut outPhoto: AP

No one, not even Arvind, expected this to work on the scale it did. Or for people with such disparate political beliefs to be able to come together and stay together. Prashant Bhushan from the political left, Arvind who many see as liberal. Kiran Bedi who some see as liberal right.

Possibly, this is why the draft Jan Lokpal Bill the team came up with also seemed so full of contradictions. It spoke to the left liberal when it recommended that grievances should be sorted out at the local level through a decentralised system. At the same time, it also sounded decidedly centre- right in recommending that the Lokpal be an overarching institution checking corruption at every level. It’s also the reason why the IAC could not build consensus amongst civil society groups.

Arvind clarifies that the movement against corruption will continue alongside building a party. But the stakes for him just got much higher

Many veteran grassroots leaders are extremely critical of this. PV Rajgopal, a land reforms activist, joined the IAC core committee in April 2011. He says since the movement was chiefly propped up by the middle class, he’d joined in to make sure the campaign could be sustained even if middle class interest waned. But the flipside, according to Rajgopal, was also a middle- class malaise. Arvind was a man in a hurry. From day one, the IAC movement was ratcheted up in volume, promises, expectation and assault. Social movements can’t be run like that, Rajgopal explains. They take time and unfold slowly. If they are to overturn old, well-set systems, it must have patience and the moral muscle of a long-distance runner. Since Arvind had built his movement like instant noodles on short-term goals and expectations, it was almost inevitable that it would falter. When Rajgopal saw the first signs of the movement taking sides in party politics — in their anti-Congress campaign in the Hisar by-election, he bowed out of it.

Others like Madhuresh Kumar of the National Alliance for People’s Movements say the crossroads Arvind has brought his movement to could either boost grassroots movements, help them occupy more space in the political mainstream, or it could serve as a warning of where not to tread.

Many, like Medha Patkar, have also pointed out that the success of social movements cannot be measured through short-term goals like the ones IAC set for itself: “Give us the Lokpal Bill of our choice in the next 10 days or else…” The Narmada Bachao Andolan, for instance, got 11,000 displaced people settled, another 40,000 are still waiting. Meanwhile, the movement has changed the discourse on land reforms and people’s struggles on the whole.

Nikhil Dey, another rights activist, points out that, in his stridency, Arvind seems blind to the success his campaign against corruption has already had. Its constant pressure on the UPA has brought the battle for transparency and accountability forward; the Grievance Redressal Bill is now with a Standing Committee in Parliament. So is the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill. A little more sustained pressure would also probably yield a strong Lokpal Bill.

But Arvind’s failure and success are inextricably bound. Having tuned himself so loud, he is unable to back down. He cannot seem to accept that no Bill can get passed without building some degree of political consensus. That persuasion must be as much a strategy as accusation. He cannot seem to see that in August last year, and in December and now, as the Parliament sits in the monsoon session, opportunities to leverage what he has already won have been lost.

What choice did we have, Arvind counters. “It’s wrong to say we should not be result-oriented. If we had continued in the same manner as many other NGOs, we’d be running the movement for the sake of the movement.” He clarifies that the movement against corruption will continue alongside building a party. But the stakes for Arvind just got much higher than the do-or-die predicament he put himself in at Jantar Mantar in July.

As he kills his avatar of the anarchist to try and be ruler, people will now ask the same of him that he has asked of his political adversaries. To deliver on all the promises he makes. Including the Lokpal.

As architect of a people’s movement, Arvind Kejriwal has left a very messy blueprint. To criticise him, however, is in no way to condone the venality of the political class in general, or the malafide of the UPA government, in particular. Rather, it is to ask what state have we brought ourselves to that a public warrior must speak so loud and hard to rouse our attention?

Building movements is difficult business. Building a political party will probably be even tougher. But if there’s one lesson Arvind ought to take from his fight against corruption, it is to remember that when one is shaping the future, it’s good to have both a chisel and a hammer. Good also to appeal to the better self in your adversaries than declare them incapable of change.

Revati Laul is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka. 


Team Anna disbanded, blogs Anna Hazare, creating surprise and regret #Janlokpal


Edited by Abhinav Bhatt | Updated: August 06, 2012 18:11 IST

Team Anna disbanded, blogs Anna Hazare, creating surprise and regret

New DelhiIn a blog that appears to have bewildered his closest aides, activist Anna Hazare has said that Team Anna stands dissolved. Three days after aides like Arvind Kejriwaland Anna ended their latest hunger strike, 75-year-old Anna writes that “The time for fasts has ended. It is time to give people a political alternative.” Sources say the announcement indicates that Anna will play a limited role in the political party to be launched by his associates.Plans for that party were in fact made public by Mr Kejriwal and Anna on Friday, before they ended their latest fast against corruption. Anna said his aides would enter politics; he stressed he would not contest elections or be a member of the party, but would support it. Mr Kejriwal asked the public to help pick the party’s name and manifesto in preparation for the next general elections in 2014. Both voiced concerns about how to pick upright candidates, keep power from corrupting them if they were elected, and raising the substantial funds that campaigns are known to quickly devour.

So while Anna’s blog may be, to some, an elaboration of his comments on Friday, to many others, it signals that between the lines of his blogs is a discontent with his aides’ political interests. Looking distinctly unhappy, he told NDTV before heading to Pune this afternoon, “Team Anna’s job is over. We are separate now. They will form a party. I have nothing to do with it.”

All members were kept in the loop on the decision to disband Team Anna,” claimed Aswathi Muralidharan, the media coordinator for India Against Corruption (IAC), the movement that was led by Anna for the last 18 months. But Team Anna member Kiran Bedi confirmed there appears to be a disconnect. “Read Anna’s blog. Do not know what all it means? For we all had very useful preparatory meeting with Annaji wherein he gave useful guidance!” she tweeted early this evening.

Justice Santosh Hegde worked closely with Anna in championing and developing civil society’s version of the anti-graft legislation, the Lokpal Bill. The national ombudsman agency that the Bill births is what Anna has been fighting for over 18 months and several hunger fasts. “Somewhere we went wrong,” said Mr Hegde, adding, “I feel sorry (about the decision to disband the team) for the reason that the movement started by Anna for a strong Lokpal was need of the hour…It (the movement spearheaded by Team Anna) had progressed sufficiently and controversy or difference of opinion in regard to whether Team Anna should contest elections or not is unfortunate and which must have led to Anna disbanding the team.” Mr Hegde has also said that Team Anna should have steered clear of politics. (Watch)

From outside the team has come the criticism that those who have worked closest with Anna have always been hungry for power. There are also those that add that since August last year, when Anna drew epic crowds for a 16-day hunger strike in Delhi, calls to action since then have not stirred India. They certainly didn’t impact the government – for the last hunger strike, which lasted ten days in Delhi and ended on Friday, the government made no attempt to persuade Team Anna to end its fast.

Devendra Sharma , a part of team Anna not kept in loop check headlines today video HEADLINES TODAY VIDEO



Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,225 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,862,752 hits


December 2022
%d bloggers like this: