Citizens' Issues
Understanding the heart and soul of Anna Hazare’s movement

The snobbery of intellectual writers and insensitivity of the political class comes as a shame at this defining moment in our country’s history. Let’s show some respect to this mass awakening, so essential for a vibrant democracy and a pro-active citizenry

Propagators of mass hysteria and mobocracy have one thing in common-they refuse to get out of their mindset and understand the new wave of mass participation, so essential for a vibrant democracy, that is now sweeping across the country. They have to realise that the printed word in newspapers or the debates on TV channels, are not longer bible truths for people, who have begun to examine the facts and reject untruth. This is evident from the comments on articles about the movement available through a random check on the Internet.

Clearly, the ruling political and intellectual class (at least most of it) is in disconnect with people's sentiments and the untiring efforts being made to get the government to work for the people and not for a privileged few. In fact, these privileged classes have themselves completely forgotten the fundamentals of governance in a democracy-first, information dissemination and second, participation in governance.

The movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill may be largely a campaign against corruption, but to say that most of the participants involved in this peaceful social revolution know nothing about the Bill is an insult to what is probably the biggest people's movement since Independence.

Everyone need not know every detail of the Bill like a scholar, academician or an activist would, but they have sensed that the government was trying to push down the throats of millions of people, an absolutely weak and draconian bill that would ultimately protect the corrupt. This attempt by the government to try and fool the people and numb them into submission, should have been reason enough for intellectual writers, newspaper editors and activists across the country, no matter what their differences over the alternative Jan Lokpal Bill, to unite and pull up the government over its sinister plan. Or, they ought to have tried to work out ways to strengthen the Lokpal Bill with a sense of urgency since the issue came into the public domain instead of criticisms and new drafts that have come a bit late in the day. This is no time for prolonged debates anymore-the nation is outraged; what is necessary is swift action.

The government says it requires time-an excuse that has been supported by several high-profile columnists. Don't they realize the uniqueness of the situation, when lakhs of people have come out onto the streets in the cities, towns and villages, to peacefully agitate, and many more are supporting the movement from their homes and share this spirit in their hearts. It's an extraordinary situation, when citizens in such massive numbers are demanding a quick decision. If something extraordinary came up in our day-to-day lives, say a marriage that is to be organised within 48 hours as the bridegroom has to return to his job abroad, or a lucrative project that has been awarded with a challenging deadline, what would we do? Obviously, we would work round-the-clock, if this is necessary, to complete the task. Is the government so insensitive, so callous, as to not be able to work 20 hours a day if required, to debate and reach a conclusion during the ongoing parliament session itself? It is outrageous that ministers continue to buy time when all that the protestors are peacefully and humbly saying is "please do it with immediate effect". Even Lord Meghnad Desai told a television channel that the issue could be debated and decided in 60 hours.

By criticising the movement at this defining moment in the country's history, we are encouraging the government to close its eyes and ears to the foremost demand for a strong anti-corruption law, which is unarguably the urgent need of the hour.

As a journalist who has watched Anna Hazare's crusades from close quarters, over the past two and a half decades, the government should have known that Anna never takes up an issue he does not believe in and that once he takes it up he is not known to give up easily. Also, the government should collect intelligence from among the crowds to understand that the young generation will not be victims of mobocracy or mass hysteria. They will not join a movement that they are not convinced about.

I have worked with students in Pune who have been a part of this movement and it is a pride and passion for them to be part of the process to cleanse the country of corruption, which they believe is the single biggest factor that has tarnished its image, and this is admirable. Anna might be a rustic villager and may not have studied law as Gandhiji did, but his knowledge of the laws by which our democracy functions is better than many of us who are educated. Hence, there is no dismissing him as some "instant saint" trying to play God or turn into a legend.

This is an example of a pro-active democracy and the powers that be and the celebrity columnists must see it in this new perspective, by dropping the conditioned mindset to look down on the "middle class fraternity" (one columnist had the gall of calling it the "chattering class".) It is evident that Anna Hazare's movement is cutting across many classes-whether it is the poor, the lower middle class, the upper middle class and now even the rich-are  represented in the movement. It is the yearning of every Indian that corruption should be rooted out, and now. Why then are some intellectuals playing into the hands of those who sow and breed corruption?
Having said this, one must admit that the film fraternity, barring a few exceptions, has shown sensitivity to the people's sentiments and to Anna Hazare's selfless crusade. It, too, is a privileged class in that sense, but it has heard the heartbeat of millions of Indians. It only goes to prove that if your heart is in the right place, you can read the pulse of the people. Otherwise, you are simply convenient spokespersons of scamsters who are a hindrance to the tremendous movement for change that we are witnessing now.

(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected].)




6 years ago

what has Team Anna been doing since April, if not publicly abusing the Prime Minister, the Parliament, Indian elections and even Indian democracy? And yes, I do agree that many should be abused in the government; but at the end of the day, there has to be a democratic way to it. It can’t be imposed through the dictatorial will of one group just because they are able to rake up popular frenzy. There is a Constitution; there is a court; there is an elected Parliament, and things have to happen as per its guidelines. Anna must protest. But he can’t be adamant about imposing it. Protests have their own effect and change does happen. But it can’t happen without the support of our Constitution and democratic machinery.


Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to akhilesh 6 years ago

There is some gross misunderstanding in your understanding. Anna's was a peaceful protest to bring in an anti-corruption law. How does that become undemocratic or dictatorial? In fact, for six months before the fast, Team Anna met political leaders of all political parties including sending a letter to the PM to c consider a strong lokpal bill but none heard them. That the elected Parliament has alienated itself from the people and is instead busy looting them can be gauged from one single representative example - as per CAG Report in the year 2007-08 alone Rs.54,000 crore rupees have been siphoned off - the money was for eight rural development schemes. Or that on 23rd Dec 2010 - 17 bills were passed in the Parliament in 12 minutes flat. One of the bills was Prevention of Corruption Act in which three rules were to be diluted as they demanded punishment to the corrupt officer indulging in financial misappropriation. Fortunately the amendments did not go to Rajya Sabha. When elected representatives indulge in colossal loot of public and do not listen to the people (I have had this experience as I have led several local campaigns) then what do you do? Suffer the humiliation, injustice and mindboggling corruption or finally come out on the streets and peacefully protest? By slamming Anna the way you have, you are inadvertently giving the license to the MPs to carry on with broad daylight robbery and are smiling at the misery of the common man who does not get his rightful ration through the PDS, does not get good roads, streetlights, water supply, good education etc. It is unfortunate that the print media barring a few exceptions has played the role of misinformation thus misguiding readers.


6 years ago

Hot news. Jan Lokpal Bill has become a reality. ANNAJI HAS WON. MAY GOD GIVE THIS MAHATMA INFINITE YEARS. Gandhiji got us the first freedom. Annaji got us our second freedom. Hail his vision to succeed.
Thank you Timesnow for helping Annaji to reach millions in remote India.

Vinita Deshmukh

6 years ago

From Kamal Kashyap (i posted it for him)
Not able to post the comment for lack of security code! Therefore the mail.
My computer illiteracy may please be over looked.
It is a big fraud suggesting time required for studying the Bill. They had 65yrs of of Independence & 42 yrs of the passage of the proposed bill pending in the Parliament!
We all know their game. It is an old saying that do not argue with an idiot he will first engage you & then beat you with his experience.
They ARE experienced.

Prakash Bhate

6 years ago

The only way to teach a lesson to the present Government and the ruling parties is to come out in massive numbers in all future elections and keep them out of power for the next several (10-15?) years. Ditto for other parties who do not pass a strong Lokpal bill. Please start getting your voting cards and vote.


6 years ago

Well reforms are needed to solve corruption issue. Reforms and deterrant like lokpal go hand in hand to solve the issue. these 2 type of solutions are not opposite but supplementary to each other. Our so called "intellectuals" do not have the heart beating for India. They may love India, but they do not feel the pain if India is in pain. Many of them are armchair intellectuals.


6 years ago

Nice article. Very well reflected the minds of glooming younger generation.


6 years ago

Vinita has covered up this topic very well and has stated the facts. The "intellgensia" coming on various TV channels and stating that the Anna's way is not the right way, do not know the problems of dealing with govt. First there is an old hindi saying, which is very very apt in this situation: "Latto ke bhoot - Bateon se nahi mante".
As is the experience when dealing with any govt. office, wither you pay a bribe to get your smallest work done, or you should have tremendous influential on the govt. empolee. If you do not have any of the tow: NOBODY is going to listen to you.
Even in the presentAnna's agitation, one can see the arrogance and apathy of the Govt. An assurance which could have given on the fiorst day itself has been kept dangling for the last 10 days.
It is extremely pathetic that teh PM who is suppose to be intelligent, utterly failed in handling this agitation. He has shown that he may be a good economist - But than he is a greater or Greatest puppet to hold this esteem post. Unless Rahul or Sonia speaks the Congress people cannot take basic decisions. - So much for intelligent MPs.
And the so called intelligent people bragging on tehTv channels - should be taught a few lessons on the working of the Govt. and also democracy. They come and talk about alternate ways, but unfortunately they themselves have never succeceded in of their own movements. They should not be invited by any TV Chanells.

Surendra N Agarwal

6 years ago

This is to share my experience about getting my driving license renewed . I went to RTO and was told it would take one week through official channels but if I went through agent it will take a day. This is exactly what creates corruption. It applies to rail booking or any thing also including Municipal corporation.

Narotam Lathia

6 years ago

DO NOT ALLOW SONIA (Maino, Kauls, Khan, Nehru) GANDHI TO RETURN TO INDIA, FROM HER CURRENT VISIT TO THE USA. Rahul Gandhi was once not allowed into Mumbai, due to his policies. The people India need to speak their mind. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Nitin Kirtane

6 years ago

Excellent article , hope the Jan Lokpal bill is passed , our system has to be cleaned , some politicians are trying to block this bill , but the general mood of public is strong , they cannot be stopped , Jai Hind


6 years ago

Great article. I have been always advocating to people that drafting a lokpal is not building a rocket. We certainly dont need 1million opinions and several months of time. So Anna's demand to accept JanLokpal and imposing a time frame of 2 weeks is certainly the way. So called intellectuals, please don't dilute this fight.


6 years ago

beautifully put, yes indeed it is the insensitiveness of the elite as much of the intellectual class that brought us to this and what is hurting is there are enough of them calling this undemocratic as against the undemocratic arrogance and high handedness of the government of the day in saying take this or forget it.

suresh Purohit

6 years ago

A good balanced article.


6 years ago

Sometime it is so frustrating to see the govt.'s including the oppositions and some of the senior & elite citizen's attitude towards the common Indian. We want a strong Anti-corruption bill duly discussed and debated in the parliament with an open mind, passed it and implement it as a law. We're tired of seeing corruption worth thousands of crore at all levels. Those people do not seem to care for the country at all. It breaks the heart of most of the youth. The fight against corruption is purely non-violent and within the limit of constitution for a cause that every able citizen of the country identifies with. If this movement fails to get the expected result because of the cunning attitude of some of the politicians, people particularly the youth will lose trust on the India's democratic system. I just pray, if next time they'd have to fight again for their right, they would trust non-violent method only.

Smita Chaudhari

6 years ago

Very well said. And, I agree some of the columnists playing intellectual are becoming a hindrance to this historic movement.

Poor credit history of your spouse could impact you: Experian COO

Mohan Jayaraman underlines the need to maintain a good credit history record by settling repayment matters with banks and lenders on time

"One must regularly check one's credit report, especially before taking a fresh loan. Actively manage your finances, because a bad credit history may later create problems for getting a fresh loan," said Mohan Jayaraman, COO, Experian Credit Information Co of India. He was speaking at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation, on Understanding the Importance of Your Credit History & Credit Score.

Even today, many people are unaware about credit bureaus and the way they function. These organisations collate information on an individual's finances and assign a credit score to each person, and this consumer information is provided to banks and other financial agencies. The credit information report is an individual's loan repayment track record.

"A series of such instances have shown that customers themselves are unaware of their loan repayments and defaults, which later leads to rejections of loan applications. It is necessary for people to be more vigilant about their credit history," Mr Jayaraman said.

He stressed the importance of having a healthy credit score and how this is assigned. The Experian COO explained what constitutes a credit history and how someone can improve upon the score. Drawing from his 17 years of experience in consumer banking, half of this with ICICI, Mr Jayaraman also gave other tips to borrowers.

"If you regularly check your credit history, you could spot mistakes in case there are any, and you can contact your bank, or lender, to correct them," he said. He also busted some credit myths and clarified what is not included in a credit report.

Mr Jayaraman pointed out that different credit bureaus had different ways of evaluating credit history and assigning scores, but it depended on the banks how they used the information to grade the viability and reliability of the credit seeker.

Replying to a question, he said that the customer had no say with regard to the credit bureau the borrower wished to approach or share information with. "If you become a co-guarantor to a loan, like taking a loan together with your spouse or friends, the defaults by the other person would also affect the credit history and your credit score," Mr Jayaraman said. He underlined the need to settle all matters with banks and other lenders to ensure that the credit history is more accurate.

He said it was necessary to have a credit history record , as it would make getting a loan easier and also prevent identity theft. "Ultimately, the best thing to do is to pay up as agreed with the lender. In case there is a genuine reason for delay on repayments, talk to your bank. Most of them are ready to help, because it is not in their benefit to spoil your credit score," Mr Jayaraman said.


Share prices to see staggered upmove: Tuesday Closing Report

Nifty may continue to see an upmove to the level of 5,000

The market brushed aside early hiccups and closed with good gains for a second day in a row. A recovery in the global markets assisted the gains. The Sensex and the Nifty opened higher from Monday's highs, but the indices couldn't sustain the levels and slipped into the red, but bounced back later.

The two days of gains have cancelled out the losses of 19 August 2011 and this also indicates that we are seeing a weak upmove. As we mentioned yesterday, the Nifty was near the 4,975 level (intra-day high of 4,966). However, it couldn't sustain that level and gave up some of the gains to close up 50 points.

If the upmove is sustained, it could be a slow move up till 5,000. However, if it falls from here, it may go down to 4,750.

The market opened in the green, following the positive trend in the Asian pack in morning trade. The Nifty opened with a gap-up of 26 points at 4,925 and the Sensex resumed trade at 16,447, a gain of 105 points over its previous close. However, the market soon dipped into the red in choppy trade.

Profit booking on yesterday's gains led the indices to their intra-day lows in the first hour of trade. At the lows, the Nifty fell to 4,864 and the Sensex to 16,213. The market perked up in subsequent trade on support from IT, technology, consumer durables and capital goods sectors.

The market resumed its northward journey in the post-noon session with the indices scaling intra-day highs. At the day's high, the Nifty rose 67 points to 4,966 and the Sensex advanced 207 points to 16,549. The market pared some of the gains and was range-bound in late trading, before closing 1% higher. At the close, the Nifty was 50 points up from its previous close at 4,949 and the Sensex gained 157 points to close at 16,498.

The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 1120:557.

Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index closed 0.95% up and the BSE Small-cap index rose 1.16%.

With the exception of the BSE PSU index (down 0.02%), all other sectoral gauges registered gains. The top gainers were BSE IT (up 3.94%), BSE TECk (up 3.17%), BSE Capital Goods (up 1.69%), BSE Consumer Durables (up 1.48%) and BSE Bankex (up 0.81%).

TCS (up 6.66%), Bajaj Auto (up 4.27%), Infosys (3.64%), BHEL (up 2.65%) and Bharti Airtel (up 1.99%) were the main gainers on the Sensex. The laggards were led by ONGC (down 2.65%), Cipla (down 2.59%), NTPC (down 2.03%), Tata Motors (down 1.02%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 0.91%).

The major gainers on the Nifty were TCS (up 7.08%), Bajaj Auto (up 4.30%), Infosys (up 3.34%), Axis Bank (up 2.94%) and BHEL (up 2.88%). The top losers were ONGC (down 2.78%), Cipla (down 2.76%), Power Grid Corporation (down 2.08%), NTPC (down 1.72%) and Ranbaxy (down 1.38%).

Markets in Asia, which were upbeat following marginal gains in US markets overnight, also ended positive. Easing of China's manufacturing output in August, indicated by the flash HSBC PMI data, also supported the gains.

The Shanghai Composite rose 1.52%, the Hang Seng advanced 1.99%, the Jakarta Composite climbed 1.06%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.69%, the Nikkei 225 and the Straits Times surged 1.22% each, the Seoul Composite jumped 3.86% and the Taiwan Weighted settled 3.25% higher.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs786.32 crore on Monday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs143.44 crore.

Reliance Industries has withdrawn from an offshore oil exploration block in the Sea of Oman, according to a media report. The decision follows an exploratory drilling campaign that failed to unearth any significant prospects. The stock gained 1.14% to close at Rs765.60 on the NSE.

Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys has announced that it has commissioned a 30MW dual-fuel captive power plant and has synchronized the same with the grid. The unit is running smoothly and the load will gradually be increased. As such, the company expects stable operations at optimal load within a month. The stock fell 0.89% to Rs375.05 on the NSE.

Hindalco Industries, the metals flagship of the Aditya Birla group, plans to raise about Rs8,000 crore through a debt issue. The proceeds will be used to part fund its Aditya Aluminium refinery project and a captive power plant in Orissa. The company's shares rose 0.59% to close at Rs145.25 on the NSE.


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