Viewers' Voice


The Rigidity and Stubbornness of Hazare



A group of men cannot ask for a law to be made. For heaven's sakes, we have a functioning democracy. Do you guys really India to be a lawless land? We have a process in place and let them do it in democratic elected way. Who is stopping Hazare in doing so in a democratic, constitutional, and parliamentary way? Is hunger-strike the only way to strike the fish in its eye? We have a constitutionally elected government yet its authority and legitimacy is challenged by street protesters and the main opposition party is actually proud of conceding to these roadside flag bearers, the space they enjoy in our polity! Slowly but surely they are ensuring that, come what may, opposition party always opposes. While some celebrate this Ramlila Maidan frenzy, all I can say is that these people are not men of God, they are mere Godmen who wish to ride on populist sentiments to create their political capital at the expense of our secular democracy.

Lokpal is the omnipotent all-powerful entity in the bill. It is really draconian in its present form. In the absence of good leadership, people follow anyone who is willing to take charge. But, following blindly is not a movement. If Indians can follow Hazare so blindly, why can't we just decide not to pay bribe to anyone, come what may? That will be the real movement. We are as much responsible for corruption as those who perpetrate it. All Indians on an individual basis need to show a strength of character on this issue and we do not need a leader for that. We just need to be firm in our own decision.

To solve a big problem, we cannot create a bigger problem just because Hazare endorses it. With its current muscle power, Lokpal will definitely not remain clean for long. Jan Lokpal Bill is a big farce, which has incorporated the interests of people who want to take the government down. The ensuing anarchy seems fashionable, but it is not right in a democratic set up. You cannot replace a corrupt agent with another monster agent, who will for sure get corrupt later due to all the power s/he will enjoy. This is not a solution, not even a temporary one, it will only increase the problem further.

Strange and ludicrous are the ways in which Hazare's bill addresses the removal of an erring Lokpal: "All you have to do is to file a case in supreme court and cite proof and reasons for Lokpal removal. If the apex court is satisfied, it will recommend Lokpal removal to president. See, how simple is that!" Hello! that route exists even today for removal of any body from any public office. That is how Raja, Koda, Kalmadi, Kanimozhi are in jail now. Why do you need another extra-constitutional bill that seeks to run a parallel government?

The rigidity of Hazare's position in his standoff with the government led prominent Supreme Court lawyer Pinky Anand to say "we have a situation where we have an elected parliament which is mandated to prescribe, enact and enforce laws, and a person who is saying 'my way or the highway'. It's an aberration of democracy."

"I am not a great believer that if you pass a law, corruption will miraculously vanish," Nilekani said, suggesting that Hazare had raised people's expectations to unrealistic levels. Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys, said Hazare's populist campaign was simplistic and 'uni-dimensional' with its focus on forcing the government to strengthen an anti-corruption bill. "If you really want to address corruption, there is no quick fix. This requires hard work." It is important for the supporters of this bill to get over the 'magic feel' of words and realize the short lived influence these words have on their thinking and activities. The supporters should logically think of a way to drive this movement to its actual goal, which is to eradicate corruption and not to revolt against the government. Anupama Jha, who heads the Indian chapter of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, questions the basis of the growing belief among Hazare's supporters that a stronger Jan Lokpal Bill would act as a panacea to purge India's corruption woes. "The law he wants will, at best, only act as a deterrent because implementation is such a difficult issue," Jha said.

Political analyst Rajendra Dayal opines that populist support is not a licence for dictating policy. "Hazare cannot just say whatever he wants should be accepted. In a democracy there is a deliberative process which needs to be respected," Dayal said. Dismayed by the aggressive nationalism and flag waving of Hazare's Revolution, Arundhati Roy says "Contrary to Gandhiji's ideas about the decentralisation of power, the Jan Lokpal Bill is a draconian, anti-corruption law, in which a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy, with thousands of employees, with the power to police everybody from the Prime Minister, the judiciary, members of Parliament, and all of the bureaucracy, down to the lowest government official. The Lokpal will have the powers of investigation, surveillance, and prosecution."

Government called Hazare and his followers for a dialogue on this issue for several days on its own dime in business class. Hazare's team always demanded that their version of bill is accepted as it is. They issued whip to the parliament to either ratify it immediately or the agitation continues. If you are calling the government totalitarian, how come Hazare follower's demand for the bill to be forcibly passed in its present form is not being judged? A good cause gets wasted when people become rigid as is the case with Hazare and his blind followers.

Kiran Bedi exemplifies Hazare group's arrogance when she remarks "Anna is India, India is Anna". India will always remain India. It won't be recognized by any individual. It epitomizes the sycophancy of Team Anna at the time. Former Chief Justice of the Delhi high court, Justice A P Shah said that the remark was "objectionable". He added, "It reminded me of Emergency... It is too much...There is tyranny of virtue and tyranny of a dictator ... the claim that you are virtuous and now everyone should follow you is also dangerous." He said that the Hazare campaign had become a "frenzy .'' Expressing concern over the ultimatum given by the Hazare group, Shah said, "Civil society should have differing views. It is a misconception to say you represent the views of the entire population . And then to dictate to government that the bill that you have drafted must be passed is a subversion of parliamentary democracy. Why should we have consultations then? Laws can be made on the streets.'' At the best, Hazare is tough on himself and insensitive to others.

There is nothing civil about the following statements:

(1) If government falls, we don't care, says Anna (Aug 15, 2011)

"We are not interested in pulling down the government but during our fight for change, if it falls, we don't care."

(2) Give us our Lokpal Bill or quit: Anna warns government (Aug 21, 2011)

Anna Hazare has warned government of "unprecedented revolution" in the country if Lokpal Bill is not passed by August 30 and said the Government will have to "either get the Bill passed or go."

(3) Lokpal Bill: Anna Hazare says he will speak to Rahul, PMO or Chavan (Aug 22, 2011)

Hazare said that Lokpal Billnegotiations cannot happen with non-government mediators and added that he can talk with the Prime Minister's Office or Rahul. He also added that he was ready to talk with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan," according to the CNN-IBN channel. The IBN Lokmat Marathi news channel quoted him as saying that he would not negotiate with any other mediator, including home minister P Chidambaram or human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report are purely those of the author and may not in any circumstances be regarded as the official view of BiharTimes or even a tacit approval of its Editor.



Dear Sanoj Kumar,

Now it is your turn to answer back to Pradeep. If you are a such a great supporter of Anna then tell me one thing. Corruption is some thing related to the waste or misuse of money in general term. Anna is so innocent that he does not know that bewteen money and human life which is more imprtant ? Of course a lay man will say human life is more important than money then I ask you where was Anna when so many communal riots has happened in India and thousand of people were killed in that. The most recent Gujrat riot and Godhra incident. Why he has not went on hunger strike that time to "blackmail" the state government to stop the riots, like Gandhi did it when communcal riots broke out during partition.
He is just playing in the hands of BJP and RSS, and the people of India are so much fed up with corruption that they will support any one who says he is fighting corruption without knowing his actual intention. Why Anna has not uttered much on Yedurappa issue, was that not corruption ? He has been asked to aim at pulling down the UPA and bring back power hungry people in power. As Pradeep rightly said that constitution of India can not be drafted just by 3 - 5 people and be imposed by hunger strike.

A. A. Khan, Dubai



As for my introduction, I am one among 1.2 billion or so Indians. I do not have any other credential or distinction or title to offer. In a nutshell, I am nobody. (In case you need to visualize me, I am the face of the fourth person that you will see in Patna when you visit us next time.) Thanks a lot for teaching me few things about democracy. I kindly seek your clarifications of few other issues as well.

When did Mahatma Gandhi went on a hunger strike to blackmail the rulers/government to enact a bill? Mahatma Gandhi wrote that "under certain circumstances, fasting is the one weapon God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness.” He was insistent that his fasts be seen as acts of moral conscience, rather than coercive political tools. “Fasting is a potent weapon in the Satyagraha armory. It cannot be taken by everyone. Mere physical capacity to take it is not qualification for it....It should never be a mechanical effort or a mere imitation.”

In a life of 78 years, he resorted to hunger strikes some 17 times. Do you have the list of all the fasts by him and the intent behind each one of them? When communal riots started on India's northwest frontier in 1924, Gandhi undertook a 21-day purificatory fast. Another, undertaken to improve the lives of the Dalits (untouchables), resulted in policy changes after just six days of fasting [September 1932]. In an attempt to persuade the orthodox Hindus to wipe out the "blight of untouchability", Gandhi undertook fast in the summer of 1933 for three weeks. On Feb. 10, 1943, at the age of 73, Gandhi began another fast, concluded 21 days later. [He announced that it would not be a "fast unto death," but that he would subsist for twenty-one days on a diet of citrus juice mixed with water.] His most famous, a self-declared fast until death to end inter-religious violence, resulted in leaders from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities vowing to resolve their differences peacefully. On January 13, 1948, at the age of 78, he began a fast with the purpose of stopping the bloodshed. After 5 days the opposing leaders pledged to stop the fighting and Gandhi broke his fast. Now, can you please guide which of these fasts or those fasts that I am clearly missing out were intended for the government to enact a bill?

To the best of my understanding, all the fasts of Mahatma Gandhi were intended to arouse the moral/sentiments of ordinary people. To achieve that Gandhiji used to travel to villages and small towns of India. Did Anna Hazare or any of his team members visit any of the small towns or any village of India, except of course Ralegan Sidhi, to discuss the bill to ordinary people?

Since when did a bill drafted by five people (in fact, it was drafted by only three: Kejriwal and father-son duo of Bhusans) became a representative of the entire population of India? Did they hold any debate, any deliberation, any discussion, or any consultation on the bill at all. They did not even pay any heed to their contemporaries and experts on the topic: Aruna Roy and TN Sheshan. Did they seek any opinion from the common people? Did they present it to any group or gathering in any village or town of India? Gandhiji would have definitely liked to do that. Kejriwal did give talks at several places in metros, but he used the opportunity to bash the government rather than discuss the draft. There is absolutely nothing democratic or civil about the draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Fighting corruption is one thing and being taken for a ride in the name of corruption is another. I am opposed to Hazare's methods of forcing policies by show of strength and bypassing Constitution, which is dangerous for a functioning democracy likes ours. Anna and his devotees need to accept the simple truth that the mass support which they are getting is for their campaign against corruption and not for the (watchdog) bill.

Which of the following statements corroborate your observation "Now he is fasting in a field and it is upto representative to give attention or not?":

(1) If government falls, we don't care, says Anna (Aug 15, 2011)

(2) Give us our Lokpal Bill or quit: Anna warns government (Aug 21, 2011)

(3) Lokpal Bill: Anna Hazare says he will speak to Rahul, PMO or Chavan (Aug 22, 2011)

(4) Anna supporters seek Lalu Prasad's support (Aug 22, 2011)

(5) Anna's health worsens, refuses hospitalization (Aug 23, 2011)

(6) Govt responsible if anything happens to Anna Hazare: Arvind Kejriwal (Aug 24, 2011)

(7) Won't end fast unless my demands are met: Anna Hazare (Aug 25, 2011)

(8) Lokpal logjam: PM walks extra mile, Anna Hazare unmoved (Aug 26, 2011)

(9) Anna writes to PM, says will end fast after Parliament passes resolution (Aug 26, 2011)

My suggestions on the topic of corruption are illustrated in another article on BiharTimes at Please feel free to read it, review it and criticize it at your leisure.

You may very well be knowing that four out of last eight governors of your current state of residence, Illinois, have been jailed on various charges of corruption and graft: 1. Otto Kerner (Term: 1961-1968), 2. Dan Walker (Term: 1973-1977), 3. George Ryan (Term: 1999-2003), and 4. Rod Blagojevich (Term: 2003-2009). Which Jan Lokpal Bill was used to convict them and to send them behind bars?

Finally, even giving a corollary of freedom movement for this "show" is stretching it a bit too far. The "civil" society's legislation certainly impinges on the Parliament's rights and privileges. Any threat to Parliament is not becoming of a Gandhian. All should respect parliamentary procedures and the constitution.



Who are you Mr Pradeep? You appear to be a very ignorant person. Ignorance is a bliss! But as long as you don't open your mouth. You have opened it so I need to teach you something about democracy. You have written "Who is stopping Hazare in doing so in a democratic, constitutional, and parliamentary way? Is hunger-strike the only way to strike the fish in its eye?" What do you suggest it the democratic, constitutional and parliamentary way Mr.? This is one of way to protest (as propagated by Gandhi) or bring attention of the representative. And Hazare is doing it in the most democratic way by asking it's people not to indulge in violence. Now he is fasting in a field and it is upto representative to give attention or not? If they give attention, it means his point was is a valid one. We have a parliamentary representative democracy. Here what representative's constituency wants,he/she has to present that in parliament.In this form of govt we don't give power to representative to apply their brain if their constituency is clear about a bill. He/she has to simply follow the people's voice. There is a gray area. If it is not clear as to what people thinks about certain bill or it's difficult for representative to know as to what his/her constituency thinks about a certain bill then he/she can apply his/her brain, taking care of people's interest, and vote accordingly. In this case Hazare is making sure that representative should hear their people's voice and to make that he is on fast. Which is the best way to make people aware of their problem and so they can pressurize their representative not to behave like a dictator. So I think you should get some lessons about representative system first before writing anything on democracy or bla..blah..blah.

Sanoj Kumar, Chicago