Citizens' Issues
As Anna Hazare continues his fast against corruption, the Internet is waking the citizens up against graft—and fuelling protests all around India

Where does the private sector in India stand on corruption, is the question being asked at Jantar Mantar—so will it please answer it? The politicians are silent, but why is India Inc not logging in?

Rallies and demonstrations are not new for those of us who live and work in Delhi, and by those standards, Anna Hazare's "India against Corruption" March from Rajghat to India Gate and thence to Jantar Mantar earlier today was a minnow in the field of much bigger events of the political procession sort. But if as an astute observer of the street scene in and around Delhi this correspondent can say one thing at the beginning of this report-this movement is likely going to snowball like nothing ever did before in the recent past, with the possible exception of the Mandal agitation. If you are in or around Delhi, then hop on to a Delhi Metro train, ride to the appropriately named "Patel Chowk" station, and go meet the man people are calling the "Second Gandhi".
 
Corruption is nothing new to most Indians, especially readers of finance magazines. Nor are the after effects of bribery. Truth be told, there is a well-known and practised school of thought within private commerce in India at all levels which encourages corruption and bribery as a means to keep competition away, and that is about as straightforward as it gets, on why any attempt to curtail corruption is usually sabotaged from within-the idealists amongst us don't have a chance. Especially if we haven't tried our hands at any dhanda in our lifetimes. Especially in newly liberalised India.
 
It was not always so.
 
Before Independence, at least, the domestic private sector in India joined hands with those seeking freedom by political means. Corruption wasn't the issue. Dominance was. And they got it after 1947. Some would say this was by way of a quid pro quo-as decades of licence raj and restricted competition came their way. Sweet rewards after John Company handed over the keys to the select few approved of by the new rulers. There wasn't really any need to be corrupt or give bribes-our private sector, such as it was, owned the game, the playing field, the umpires, everybody. They made their own rules too, and then called it "Bombay Club", remember?
 
Then along came "liberalisation". Enough said. Suddenly the stakes were higher, and a whole lot of new players landed up, while the older lot flew in to Delhi to fight court cases on "privacy". After having blown steam through the spout on everything including everybody else's privacy for decades, the pot was now calling the kettle black.
 
And so, when by right, domestic private enterprise as a victim should have been seen out there on the streets condemning corruption, we have the amazing sight of observing and noting that they are doing nothing of the sort-even as they are visiting, not too far away, a Joint Committee of Parliament or something like that, on the very same subject. A Tata or an Ambani, even a Birla or a Bajaj, could have easily dropped in to lend support to a movement against corruption in the neighbourhood, right? Maybe a Bharti, a Singh, anybody?
 
Wrong. However, those who did try to join, and were then seen sulking on the sidelines as they had not been invited on to the dais, were a whole lot of people who could easily be identified as political hangers-on. Whether fat and in white karat-pyjamas or fit and svelte in jeans and t-shirt, there were more than a few political types who looked as though they were waiting to be invited. And were roundly booed off. However, despite it, some tried.
 
Of these, Sharad Yadav went on stage to loud protests, and an unidentified person trying to refer to a leader from the NCP was given the Kalmadi treatment when he took his boss, Sharad Pawar's, name. Bad day, overall, for Sharads at Jantar Mantar. Next, some random BJP functionaries arrived, and then stood quietly in the background, while their leader then gave quotes on television from some other location. What the BJP did about corruption when they were in power at the Centre is well known-the Lokpal Bill didn't make much progress then, either. Ram Vilas Paswan's group was seen at the periphery too. No dice.
 
Sarcastic comments about Manmohan Singh, oblique references to High Commands, and then of course-the favourite flogging horses. Arvind Kejriwal knows how to work a crowd now, and his main agenda was to take on Sharad Pawar and Kapil Sibal, while asking people to pray for Anna Hazare's health. Kiran Bedi, on the other hand, tried to work the numbers-if we were not so corrupt, we would all be rich, said she, while she led us into prayer. And then there was some pandemonium, as assorted political sorts tried to come on stage, and were denied by a Swami Agnivesh playing monitor. On the sideline were stern posters from M/s Baba Ramdev of Patanjali and M/s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living. Actually, in a way, they were the corporates present!!
 
It then became even hotter, and the mass of people supposed to be on hunger strike started looking at the food stalls doing brisk business not too far away-after all, with dozens of television crew vans and hundreds of media and plenty of uniformed and plains-clothes types, all keeping an eye on each other, something had to be done as the speeches got repetitive. (There is a catchy tune, though, which reminds one of the same tune used for the lap of victory done by the cricketers a few days ago).
 
And then, suddenly, the swish set arrived. This follows a typical pattern-the mouthpieces from the out of power and "opposition" parties join the party, the same old same old chiffon and georgette low-navel display types land up to be quoted and also to see and be seen, a few off-duty television anchors who have nothing to do with anything land up and preen around, the television media hankers for bites before sunset, and after some time the crowd goes home for dinner to get swayed by the television anchor fresh from her toe and nail pedicure making it, once again, a bi-polar debate between the "secularist centres" and the "religious right" with the "left leaning" and the anti-corruption rest brought in for humour.
 
But not this time. For the first time, probably, this has been an Internet-driven assembly. On a national basis. The crowd was just about a few thousand strong at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi. But there were thousands and lakhs more all over the country, logging in and posting from small outposts you haven't even heard of. And lakhs online.
 
The first Internet-based movement, against corruption, has arrived in India. And, from our point of view, the private sector had better take a stand soon-one way or the other. Stand up and be counted.
 
If you are in or around Delhi, do your bit for the anti-corruption movement. A short walk away from a Metro station, go there, do something for the supporters, carry a few bottles of water or some home-cooked food for those not fasting, as they stand guard over a frail 73-year-old man trying to make it a better country for all of us. And if you who are reading this and are from the private sector, then a banner in support will mean a lot-try it?
 
And if you are on the Internet-then just log in.

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COMMENTS

SUBHASH MEHTA

6 years ago

All those who are with the movement must remained united. They should not be altered by the politicians and others who tried to harm the movement.

If u believe the methodology of Hon'ble Anna Hazare Ji, then try to use ur wisdom to counter the move of politicians and others, who r either corrupt or have some vested interests.

REPLY

yeshwant sane

In Reply to SUBHASH MEHTA 6 years ago

This movement about corruption is essentially a moral and Spiritual movement.Enemies try to trap it in corrupted administrative,Legal,economic,financial,and other Parliamentary procedures by adopting tricks of the trade obtained through using brains like sibal etc .There should be awareness and outcry against such materialist thinkers,who put it on the wrong track by confusing even the sincere intellectuals.Till 15-8-2011 we have to be watchful and vigilant about both the sides of the game.

SUBHASH MEHTA

In Reply to yeshwant sane 6 years ago

Thanx 4 ur comments. Persuade all friends to visit site of indiaagainstcorruption.com and enroll themselves as a voter, supporter and/or volunteer. Those who have accounts in social networking sites, may use the same and join the community i.e. India Against Corruption. All friends who read this comments are hereby appealed to do the same.

K B Patil

6 years ago

The people have won a battle. The war is not yet over. After the bill is ready and is presented in parliament, will the corrupt majority vote for a bill which is as good as their arrest warrant. The people must be on their toes and show the politicians that we can see through their games. Each and every MP must be made aware that the people will not rest till a strong bill is in place.

Our politicans seem to be very headstrong or downright stupid as a few incidents that happened during the last few days show. For instance, it is said that a minister from Goa was caught going abroad with about 50 crores in cash, but the airport officials say that it was only 5 crores. Rumors are that he was let off after a call from the FM's office. The same ministry which has done nothing about Hasan Ali for over 3 years. The second instance is that two of UP's ministers were sacked by Mayawati on suspicion of the murder of a CMO. The CMO was said to have some knowledge of huge corruption in his department. So, for politicians involved in murder, the punishment is just removal from their posts, not arrest. The third example is that of an Andhra minister slapping his PA in full view of the public for not answering his mobile. When an unprecedented agitation is sweeping across India, our politicans carry on with a swagger. When will they try to behave like democrats and not like dictators of a banana republic.

yeshwant sane

6 years ago

History is likely to repeat. The ruling Congress party, today, is not an agent of any radical social change or evolution. It is without any ideology or futuristic culture. The constitution and the Parliamentary System may be a victory of the Indian citizens. But, both these institutions are outdated concepts. These are materialistic European concepts in essence. Our task should be to evolve a form of protecting the birth rights of the independent citizens about its spiritual concept of "Swaraj "{Soul Freedom} as envisaged by Lokamanya Tilak. Our System of governance should facilitate evolution of human consciousness to divinity as propounded by Aurobindo. By praising Sonia Gandhi, who does not inherit this culture, it seems that Congress will again hijack the main content of the struggle, which potentially is struggling for this kind of solution. Corruption, the present issue, is merely a result of the outdated System. The absence of any ideological direction of all the political and social leaders on the scene is visible. Be warned, my dear citizens, about the impending hijacking of the new rising movement by the corrupt Congress party.


(Yeshwant Sane)

REPLY

malq

In Reply to yeshwant sane 6 years ago

Very valid points, and thank you for writing in, grateful.

jak

6 years ago

Anna Hazare Jai ho!
People of India are now almost certain that Anna Hazare will now Book all Corrupt and Criminals and recover the Vast Treasures of Wealth to Mother India!

REPLY

malq

In Reply to jak 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in! As a matter of fact, now the role of the average citizen becomes even more important - not only has he got the right to query,but she also has the right to follow up.

mak

6 years ago

Anna Hazare hum tumare saath hain!We all Indians hope that this is beginning to end Corruptions and end to allow enchroachments on public Lands, roads and foot paths by criminals and supported by vested interest like politicians and goverments. Why these people announce FREE millions booty, awards, rewards and Lands to already rich and famous persons out of our of public funds! Naturally these encourages Black money, crimes and inflation in our country. Corruption in all forms and shapes should end.
Awards, rewards and Lands should be announced and given by already Cash Rich Organisations for whose benefit they work and not by politicians and governments. As public funds are exclusively for welfare of general needy public.

amarish shah

6 years ago

each and every indian should come
forward agisnt the corruption.
this movement should not be stopped.
here is shri ramdev baba who is next gandhiji and who is also fighting for
swiss bank money.
this movement also should be done fast

Nisarg Patel

6 years ago

The soldier-turned-social reformer has grabbed the national headlines in the past 3 days with his campaign for an effective anti-corruption law. But very few are aware of the die-hard Gandhian’s nearly four-decade long struggle to improve the lot of common people from his village in Maharashtra and his continuing agitation for good governance that has succeeded in bringing about citizen-friendly laws in the state

Udit C

6 years ago

True: Industrialists are the ones who gain the most from a corruption-free environment - if they want to gain -and pass on this gain to their markets. And they are just mute spectators, along with the most otherwise-vociferous Neytaas and Baboos.

But why target Netas alone? Is there corruption without bribery, embezzlement and graft without at least mute connivance and so on?

And what about the corruption in other sectors? Who fuels it with a bribe or freebie for favours?

Let us first vow not to fear, favour or bribe and brave ourselves against negative consequences of such.

NANU NATVERLAL MEHTA

6 years ago

Nehru Dynasty and Mukhota like Atal Bihari have made the entire country a storehouse of corrupt practises.It has become a NATIONAL CHARECTOR.It has reached at such monumental proportions that Many Annas will be required to wash this sins of corruption.Congress party without doubt is the biggest Corrupt party of India.

XYZ

6 years ago

Leader ki Maa ki.... Jai...
Jo aise kamine paide kiye...

SUBHASH MEHTA

6 years ago

It is good step from ur side to write on this topic. All the net users must registered themselves in vote bank and support the cause by visiting their site i.e. indiaagainstcorruption.com

REPLY

malq

In Reply to SUBHASH MEHTA 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in. Please do more by joining the movement on the ground also, by taking part on site, in any way you find workable. But go to any of the groups and gatherings in your city today. Come to Jantar Mantar in Delhi if you can.

Humbly submitted.

SUBHASH MEHTA

In Reply to malq 6 years ago

Thanks for ur motivation.
Though first success is likely to be achieved yet this may be consider as start and not end.

It seems that the coordiator appointed by the organisers, in my city, is not so active as she should be. I requested her though email to inform me about events in this connection in my city, but I never receive any input from her. I came to know about the event afterwards through newpapers. It seems that coordinator of my city had note organized any event at her own initiatives. Press Club and Students of a College organised demonstrations at their own, about which I read afterwards. However I'll try to contact her on mobile and shall participate in the events of this movement in my city.

Utsal Karani

6 years ago

The leading Media House in India is at the forefront in this campaign against corruption and joined the Anna Hazare Bandwagon. It is biggest culprit in "paid news" malpractices and raked in hundreds of crores of rupees.

REPLY

SUBHASH MEHTA

In Reply to Utsal Karani 6 years ago

I'm unaware of the media house u r pointing. But it is good that the said house is now at the forefront of this compaign against corruption and joined the Anna Hazare Bandwagon, as stated by you. I don,t think that the organisers of movement is paying or paid to media for his compaign. Instead media is incurring a lot of expenditure for this compaign because the audiance want to watch about the movement, so every media house try to give more and more material & information about this compaign and thus try to increase their audiance and readership, as the case may be.

Utsal Karani

In Reply to SUBHASH MEHTA 6 years ago

As long as such media houses exist, corruption will thrive in this country. For them this issue is nothing but a branding exercise. The hypocrisy of the media has to be exposed which is similar to that of the Corporate sector.

I never said the organisers of the movement is paying or paid to media for this campaign.
I fully support Anna Hazare for enactment of effective Lokpal Act.

malq

In Reply to Utsal Karani 6 years ago

Thank you for writing in. Please do more by joining the movement on the ground also, by taking part on site, in any way you find workable. But go to any of the groups and gatherings in your city today. Come to Jantar Mantar in Delhi if you can.

And never mind the hurdles, remember the aim - remove corruption.

Humbly submitted.

Adi Daruwalla

6 years ago

Anna Hazare has got support from many corners of India. The agitation has collegians taking up his cause all over Mumbai. medium sized groups of collegians have been demanding the passing of a stingent anti corruption law by the govt in support of Anna Hazare. Even Nana Chudasama in his trademark fashion has paid tribute to the cause of the Jan Lok Pal bill espoused by the Gandhian, Anna Hazare and warned the politicians to be careful of a revolution, at the Not just Jazz by the Bay corner where he puts his banners. Jai Ho and in full support of Annaji. Corporate India and its counter parts in the US Europe etc I cant say the same for Germany but even the Swiss corporates are corrupt are all acting as sheep in wolves clothing

REPLY

mak

In Reply to Adi Daruwalla 6 years ago

As you rightly pointed out Powerful Lobbies are still Ruling India and other nations by Corrupt means. Thereby increasing the crimes, poverty, unrests and disturbances etc !

nagesh kini

6 years ago

Shankar's punishment for the corrupt is not bad enough.
Immediately after defeat in WW II , the Italians in an open square at Rome hung dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress up side and showered bullets.
India has enough space at India Gate at Delhi and the Gateway at Mumbai are ideal locations to display our corrupt.
No Tihar or Arthur Road.
As it is the crores on a single terrorist is unwarranted.

shankar

6 years ago

India is full of Corruption A law should be made such as any one found guilty of corruption will be tied in public place and stones must be thrown to that person.(like the Talibans way of justice).But the question is who will make this law?because all are corrupt

Jahangir's portrait sold for record Rs10 crore at London auction

Portrait, believed to have been painted by artist Abul Hasan when the emperor was in Mandu in 1617AD, is bought by a museum in the Middle East

New Delhi: A life-size portrait of Mughal emperor Jahangir, one of the largest known Mughal paintings, fetched an auction record Rs10 crore (about 1.4 million pounds) in London on Tuesday. The artwork has been bought by a museum in the Midde East.

The 17th century portrait, painted in gold and watercolour on white canvas, portrays Jahangir seated on a gold decorated throne holding a globe, wearing elaborate robes and jewellery. It went under the hammer at the Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale, PTI reports.

"This is one of the rarest and most desirable 17th century paintings ever to come to auction. There is no other work of its kind known and its importance cannot be underestimated," said Alice Bailey, head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams. "The extraordinary detail and complexity of the painting both fascinate and bewitch the viewer. We are honoured to have sold it."
It is believed that the portrait was painted by the artist Abul Hasan and executed while Jehangir was in Mandu in 1617AD. It was previously shown in the National Portrait Gallery in London in an exhibition on the Indian Portrait in 2010.
The picture is a political tour de force in which the emperor lays claim to a world-wide ambition. This is achieved through its full life-size magnificence, use of precious items in it s creation, and the words that accompany it, all make his all conquering ambition plain. There is a circular pendant around the Emperor's neck set with mica, with jade and glass vessels at his side and carpet under his feet.

Another important item in the sale was an inscribed Mughal emerald personal seal set in a diamond encrusted gold bangle and bearing the name of Major Alexander Hannay, an East India Company officer. It sold for 90,000 pounds, well above its pre-sale estimate of 40,000 to 60,000 pounds.

The rectangular 18th century emerald is table-cut and was mounted in an enamelled gold bangle with a Persian inscription in the early 19th century. Major Alexander Hannay was in the service of the East India Company under William Hastings at the time when the company had transferred its trading role into a more military administrative one.

In 1778, Hannay left Hastings' service and entered that of the Nawab of Oudh. He managed the district of Gorakhpur, when during this period there were a number of disturbances as a result of his suspected oppression and misconduct. The bangle has passed down through the family to the present owner.

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Car insurance: Driving up?

Third-party car insurance pool is too small

Motor insurance cover has two components: own damage and third-party insurance. While premium rates for own-damage cover were de-tariffed by the insurance regulator in 2007, IRDA still regulates third-party premium rates. In case of third-party insurance, the premium earned by all companies is pooled and the losses are split proportionately. IRDA’s audit of the third-party motor insurance pool (which compensates accident victims and is mandatory for all vehicle owners) revealed that the pool reserves have to be significantly augmented to meet the higher compensation amount that needs to be paid to victims of road accidents.

IRDA has stipulated that all general insurance companies increase these reserves in a phased manner over a period of three years. They should also restrict their expenditure in terms of bonuses and incentives and bear this requirement in mind when raising additional capital. IRDA has noticed that certain unhealthy competitive practices have emerged in the de-tariffed market and has instituted steps accordingly.

The regulator had recently revised third-party motor insurance premium and this new finding may need additional hike in premiums.

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