Has Anna Hazare’s Movement Totally Succeeded?

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Surprisingly, Anna Hazare abruptly ended his fast under the garb of bad health condition. He has also canceled his programme of "jail bharo". His team’s next move may be to boycott Congress in forthcoming states polls. Has Anna Movement been a success or a failure? This is left to the readers to decide.

I have made following observations about Anna Hazare’s movement on Corruption in India.

1) One of the reasons for the overwhelming support received by Anna in his first phase of movement against corruption was that he raised a very sensitive issue as majority of Indians have been victim of this disease.

Recently, the number of ever increasing corruption cases, rising inflation coupled with failure of the government to deliver goods on several fronts, have virtually increased the anger of the people against the system and the government. Therefore, masses started associating themselves with Anna’s movement. Indian media played a very pivot role in taking further this movement with a total support and hyping the issue of corruption cases.

However, in the process of this movement, there were low level accusations, and criticisms from Anna’s supporters and Congress side. In the process, those who were against Anna’s movement, his supporters started throwing dirt on them with derogatory remarks and exhibited a high degree of arrogance. Any one writes against the movement have been labeled as Congress paid agents. Many people including highly educated and sagacious intellectuals appreciated the objectives and intentions of Anna’s movement but they were having high apprehensions on the methods used to take it to forward.

The movement started dividing Indian societies on several fronts. It was also seriously felt that Anna and his team have less faith in the Parliamentary system of democracy and they want to make laws as per their agenda and wishes. Anna team undermined the role of Parliament. All politicians were labeled as totally corrupt. When the government started showing its commitment to draft Lokpal bill and bring it to the floor of the house of Parliament, Anna and his team decided to start the second phase of their agitation to build further pressure on the government contemplating that similar results would be achieved as were in the first phase of the movement. Perhaps, this was a wrong strategy chosen by team Anna and timing of their agitation in the second phase went wrong. Consequently, there was virtually no support to Anna’s fasting both in Delhi and Mumbai.

2) Many people started questioning why agitation at this time since the Lokpal bill has been already tabled in the Parliament and MPs were ready to deliberate on it. Anna team and supporters should have waited the outcome. Similar advices were also given through media.

Since Anna movement has been dragged for a long period, people also started losing interest in it because Anna team were rewinding same cassette again and again and there was no novelty in their issues. Apprehensions were raised whether Anna team is really agitating for corruption or they were agitating only for getting the Lokpal bill approved as per their agenda and their way because their way was considered as the high way.

Some may argue that the second part is an integral part of the first one. However, the second part was a political tactic to create pressure and dictate the terms to the government to pass the bill as per their agenda. I would say that the biggest mistake Anna team made was sticking their gun mainly on CBI issue otherwise by and large their demands were accommodated in the draft bill. Perhaps, Anna team wanted to make CBI as Civil Bureau or Body of India. One reader has commented on this that "CBI is doll handled by government to open other's secrets and hiding own's". This may be true to some or large extent.

However, in most of the countries, criminal investigating agencies are administratively and financially under the control of the government. With such an agency, government cannot function otherwise effectively. It is inseparable from the government. Appointment of the Head (Directory) of this agency should be on an arm’s length basis.

There were doubts whether Anna team fully understands the principles of INTERNAL CONTROL? There has to be checks and balances. All the powers and functions cannot be entrusted to one body or person (Lokpal) otherwise, the system can collapse. How can one authority handle the corruption issues of over one crore employees? What would happen if some or all the nine (proposed in the Lokpal) members become corrupt or act in a dysfunctional manner?

Let this bill become a law and when implemented, after having gained sufficient experience with it, suitable amendments are always possible. It is a model which is going to be implemented for the first time. If it is implemented abruptly and with too many changes in the governance system, risk factor for its failure increases. Lokpal bill is not a panacea to kill all corruption evils from Indian system. It is one of the moves.

3) Anna Hazare and his team's main contribution has been to create more awareness among masses on corruption and bring the corruption issue to the national agenda in order to make some type of laws for reducing corruption from India. However, there are already 29 laws or enactments for prevention and fighting corruption in this country. All have been a failure because lack of effective implementation. When the law enforcement agencies are labeled as the most corrupt in the country, many have felt that the Lokpal system may meet the same fate. So far Indian experience with most of the laws have been as "more laws more corruption" because laws are to be complied with and Indian laws are very complicated. Lokpal only aims at to punish corrupt people and not a prevention measure or to curb corruption. One may see in future that Lokpal may result into a super bureaucracy.

4) Many times, I have argued that we live in a corrupt system. The system has been made corrupt from two sources. First, the bureaucratic system, and the second by the political system. Bureaucrats are selected (through UPSC) and politicians are elected by the public. Both are labeled as corrupt. Therefore, corruption is a marriage of selection and election in this country. Electoral system for politicians and selection system of bureaucrats need to be revamped. Only then corruption will be reduced in this country.

5) The announcement by Team Anna that their next move will be to make voters aware about the elections in forthcoming five states and urge voters not to support certain parties’ candidates which did not support their Jan Lokpal bill. The choice available with Anna and his team is limited on this front. The voting pattern in India is still dominated by caste system. Anna factor may not be very effective in this regard.

However, Anna team can very well use their team power on the developmental issues which will be greatly appreciated by the Indian society. Recently, Anna announced that his team will work in rural areas and develop 100 model villages in line with his village Ralegan Siddhi. That would be a great idea and real contributions in the development of the country. His supporters and others definitely can contribute by way of "shram dhan" as well as in terms of money. If Anna and his team follow this model, I am very sure that rapid development will take place of the rural areas and the message of development of future India will go across with great acceptability.

6) If Anna and his team want really to help the common masses in India, they should now pick up areas and departments of the government where corruption is at rampant. For example, most of the time of common man is spent on the road and with dealing in municipality offices. A common man doesn't go to Prime Minister's or Chief Minister's offices to get their work done. Therefore, Anna team can mainly focus their agitation to remove corruption at local levels. Corruption at traffic and police stations must be reduced. They should give their "dharna" in municipalities because common man deals daily with such departments. Anna team can point out the corruption points in such offices and how to plug them, a preventive measure. In this way, the system will also get improved.

We should understand that a person does not go to passport office every day. People make passports once or twice in their life time. Anna team should identify first creamy departments and then see how system can be improved there. Like his village Ralegan Siddhi is quoted frequently as a model village for development of Indian villages. In a similar way, can Anna team develop at least one department or a section of the government or municipalities, a CORRUPTION FREE unit which may be quoted as a model department for other departments or ministries in India? 
 
7) It can also be argued that any movement or agitation has to be understood after taking into consideration the forces behind it and their underlying aims and objectives. Some may raise the issue whether Anna movement remained a true Gandhian movement or not. From Anna’s supporters' point of view, it may be said 'yes' to a large extent because there was no violent event that took place during the whole process. While others would not agree because they label this movement as politically influenced and support received from various parties and in particular from BJP and RSS.

What was the mixture of the crowd which supported this movement? Was this movement secular or not? Many have different analysis on this point. Whatever be the arguments put forward by many analyst, externally, one thing was clear that it was in the first instance a movement carried forward to raise voices and awareness against corruption devil that exists in India for the last 65 years.

Quote for the day:

Lalu Prasad Yadav, the noted political comedian, said in the Parliament during his speech on Lokpal bill: "He was born in 1948. Before he was born, Britishers left India due to his fear". Laughter in the Parliament.

My reaction: Lalu Prasad Yadav sahib, when you will leave Indian politics only then corruption will leave Indian system. Therefore, in public interest, please leave this politics for ever ASAP.

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