Corrupt, fraud Kiran Bedi: let Ms Bedi go to jail

25/11/2011
 

Ms Bedi, how dare you?

By Kancha Ilaiah

Team Anna has been arrogant and self-righteous ever since it launched the Jan Lokpal movement. Its Jantar Mantar hungerstrike yielded quick results, as the Congress government itself gave the team a boost by constituting a committee to draft a bill and by including five members from the team in it. Among them was former cop Kiran Bedi, who behaved as if she were an angel and all others in the country either corrupt or of no consequence. But now this angel has been caught for fraud and cheating organisers that invited her to speak at their functions.

Ms Bedi has claimed that she did it all for public good, as the money earned by submitting wrong invoices was used for her NGO. Ms Bedi wants us to believe that all the money she made by lying was spent on the wellbeing of poor children. This is ridiculous, to say the least. Look at the kind of money she earned through cheating. According to a newspaper’s estimate, Ms Bedi, in 12 air trips, claimed Rs 3,89,062 whereas the amount she spent on these trips was Rs 1,18,277, thus pocketing Rs 2,70,785. Ms Bedi, as a recipient of the President’s Gallantry Award, gets a 75 per cent discount on air tickets, which she happily availed but didn’t disclose.

This is a major crime. The purpose for which that fraudulently earned money is used is not the issue. The issue here involves cheating a trusted organisation which is paying you without even asking for your boarding pass. I also travel and give lectures, as Ms Bedi does. Most organisations treat us “speakers” so well that there would be an immense sense of shame to cheat them.

If Ms Bedi were honest and morally upright, she would have asked for a donation from the organisation for the poor children she is so keen on helping. If Ms Bedi were honest and morally upright, she would not have cheated the organisation by serving an invoice for money she never spent. A chain of lies becomes part of such travel racketeering. The bigger the profile of such persons, the easier it is for them to earn huge amounts of money this way.

This “earning” is not accounted for; one does not have to pay taxes on this. Should such a practice be treated as corruption? I think it is corruption of the worst kind because this fraud is pulled off on the basis of one’s reputation and the trust of an organisation that considers you valuable enough to invite you to talk to them.

First is the moral corruption. Ms Bedi, and others like her, travel like royalty, without having to carry their own baggage or boarding pass. Nor do they take the ticket receipts that the airline generates. All the more easy to generate a fraudulent invoice of a fraudulent travel agency. This act involves a series of lies that need to be transacted between individuals and institutions.

Second, this method of making huge amounts of money deceives institutions that also have a public purpose. So while Ms Bedi may be on the dias of, say, an educational institution, talking passionately about public figures and their corrupt ways, hectoring students and teachers to act against corruption, she herself has no qualms about cheating them.

This angel of morality was just yesterday waving the Indian flag as a leader of the anti-corruption bureau that Anna Hazare established while sitting in a Yadav Baba temple in Ralegaon Siddhi, which works only according to the principles of varnadharma. We all know that in several TV debates this angel of morality and merit used to abuse the reservation system as a legal mechanism that produces a “merit-less” class of people who join government institutions only to make money through corruption. Arvind Kejriwal tells the nation — after Swami Agnivesh exposed him — that he put about `2.9 crore which was given in the form of donations to Mr Hazare’s movement in the account of India Against Corruption, his own NGO.

Ms Bedi runs an NGO with money that is fraudulently collected from public and private institutions and Mr Kejriwal runs an NGO that pockets money given to Mr Hazare. Let them remove Mr Hazare from their team and ask for donations. Then we’ll see how much money they will collect. How come the shining stars of public and personal probity did not open an account in the name of Team Anna itself? Why did they not form an organisation with Mr Hazare as its chairman, without whose signature money could not be withdrawn? Who is operating that money now?

We now understand why they were struggling to keep NGOs out of Lokpal. They wanted a Lokpal that would monitor peons, clerks and small section officers in the government sector, perhaps with a view that more than 50 per cent of small job holders come from reservation background. Would they now introduce a clause in Jan Lokpal Bill where a corrupt peon should be respected for taking bribe as long as it is for a worthy cause?

By Team Anna’s own demands and insistence on stringent action against corruption, should not an example be set by sending Ms Bedi to jail for cheating organisations in this manner? Why is Mr Hazare allowing her to continue after several organisations issued public statements that she cheated them? If Ms Bedi can wash off her guilt and sins by returning the money ( Rs 16,346 only), why don’t we extend that same courtesy to A. Raja, K. Kanimozhi and Suresh Kalmadi? If we accept this principle, why not give them a chance to return all the money they earned through kickbacks and return to being powerful and respectable again?

Team Anna can’t invert the moral discourse when it pleases them. Ms Bedi’s plea of innocence fools no one. If they want to regain credibility, let Ms Bedi go to jail now.

 

 

The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

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http://www.afternoonvoice.com/editorial_Kiran-got-caught-in-fraud_21_oct_11.html

http://www.merinews.com/article/is-kiran-bedi-not-a-corrupt-and-fraud-activist/15860071.shtml


Will Lokpal probe divine money?

05/07/2011

Kancha Ilaiah

Baba Ramdev is not willing to end his war against black money. He has now asked the government to unearth all black money — cash stashed away within the country as well as all the money parked in secret accounts in banks abroad.

Following Baba Ramdev’s exhortations, his disciples participated in hungerstrikes and agitations against black money. Likewise, Anna Hazare (who, incidentally, is a devotee of a Yadav baba whose temple is located in his own model village, Ralegaon Siddi) and his team are also opposed to black money and corruption and the Gandhian has threatened to go on hungerstrike again. Team Anna wants the Lokpal Bill dictated by them accepted as is and be made the law of the land. None of them, however, has so far said a word on the recent revelations of huge amounts of money and jewellery hidden in the vaults of temples and bedrooms of babas.

The treasure discovered at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple is worth Rs 1 lakh crore. And on June 17, Rs 11.5 crore in cash, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver were found by Trust members when they opened Satya Sai Baba’s chambers at the Puttaparthi ashram after his death. It may be recalled that Baba Ramdev rushed to Puttaparthi to see the body of Satya Sai after he passed away. When Satya Sai was in the hospital, several “sacred” men and ministers from the Centre and states bemoaned that if he dies, ethics in India will also die.

One woman minister of Andhra Pradesh, in fact, camped beside his hospital bed for months. Several civil servants, judges and academics rushed to Puttaparthi. Now we have some idea why all this happened. It will be interesting to see what Baba Ramdev and Team Anna have to say about the officially declared wealth of the ashram, apart from the bundles shipped out of Satya Sai’s Yajur Mandir. Is this wealth black or white?

Will Baba Ramdev make a statement about the currency that was lying in Satya Sai’s bedroom, which was locked up when he was shifted to hospital? How do they define black money? Was the cash, gold and silver found in Yajur Mandir all white? If Mr Hazare, Baba Ramdev and their team members treat such money as black money, why are they silent on the course of action against it? Will the Lokpal Bill, which they are fighting for, also cover spiritual shrines of babas, temples, masjids, churches and gurdwaras? Does Mr Hazare’s draft have a clause that covers the kind of black money that was unearthed in Yajur Mandir?

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders A. Raja and K. Kanimozhi and Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi are in jail because they were said to be corrupt. If Satya Sai was alive, and if all the cash, gold and silver were dug up during that time, would he have had to be accountable? What would Kiran Bedi, who claims to be an honest and efficient police officer, have done in this case? Would she have arrested Satya Sai if he was in her jurisdiction?

By his own admission, Baba Ramdev has acquired assets worth `1,100 crore in a span of just 10 years. We do not know the worth of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Mata Anandamayi, whose spiritual kingdoms are thriving and expanding like wildfire. Shouldn’t Mr Hazare’s Lokpal Bill have a provision for investigating these financial empires?

I am sure no Prime Minister’s or Chief Justice of India’s bedroom (from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr Manmohan Singh) could possess as much wealth as Satya Sai’s bedroom held.

At least the Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament and the people, and the Chief Justice has to sit on benches and there is an open office system with a registrar around him.
Who are the babas accountable to? In the name of god, spiritual exercises and cultural campaigns, far too much immorality, corruption and accumulation of black money has been taking place in the country. We know how godmen, politicians, bureaucrats, judges and academics make even gods corrupt in India. Early and exclusive darshan of the deity at big temples is available for a price. Part of this money goes into temple hoondis, the rest into the bedrooms of babas.

What does our highly moral civil society have to say about the corrupt culture of spiritual institutions, the latest evidence being the Yajur Mandir? We have seen what happened in Osho’s ashram. American civil society could not tolerate that ashram even for a few months.

Sexual immorality and accumulation of black money has been part of so-called spiritual/religious institutions. If we are against moral and financial corruption, we must focus on the haloed halls too.

* The author is director for the study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/editorial/dc-comment/anna-will-lokpal-probe-divine-money-952


Whither Parliamentary Democracy In India?

03/07/2011

P R Dubhashi

Fasts of Anna Hazare regarding the passing of the Lokpal Bill and Baba Ramdev against corruption and events that followed have raised fundamental questions regarding the functioning of parliamentary democracy in India. The 97-hour fast by Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar which evoked huge response of people in Delhi and all over the country, compelled the government to concede his demand to constitute a joint committee of ‘Ministers and members of Civil Society’ to formulate a draft by the end of June 30 on the basis of the draft formulated by the government and the one by the civil society. After some initial smooth sailing, serious differences have arisen, as could only be expected, regarding different issues such as the inclusion of the Prime Minister and judiciary within the ambit of the Lokpal. While this was going on, Baba Ramdev began his fast at Ramlila Ground (after permission was denied to hold it at Jantar Mantar) regarding the wider issue of elimination of corruption and black money. To dissuade the Baba from embarking on the fast, four Ministers of the Union Government, headed by no less than Pranab Mukherji, went to the airport to meet him but the Baba was adamant on his fast. Thousands of his followers, young and old, women and children, assembled in the huge pandal specially erected for the purpose at Ramlila Ground to fast in sympathy. The exchanges between the two parties nevertheless continued. When Kapil Sibal, the Minister negotiating with the Baba, publicly announced that the Baba had agreed to give up ‘tapa’ after three days, the Baba felt he was compromised and exposed, while his followers were still coming from all over the country to join the fast. The Baba immediately hardened his stand and announced that he would continue his fast till the government issued an ordinance to declare as ‘public asset’ the black money stashed abroad in the overseas banks. The government accused the Baba of betrayal. Past midnight on June 4, 2011, the police of the Rapid Action Force of the State Government, armed with teargas and lathi, swooped on the sleeping congregation while trying to arrest the Baba. A drama followed, the Baba escaped from the Pandal but to the relief of the government was apprehend by the Delhi Police while running away surrounded by his female followers himself disguised in female dress. More important, sleeping men were rudely woken up by police who burst teargas shells and resorted to lathi charge even on women and children. As many as 70 injured persons were admitted to hospitals and some to intensive care units. A particularly bad case was Rajbala who was paralysed. The nocturnal crackdown was condemned not only by the Baba’s followers but people all over the country. L.K. Advani, the leader of the BJP, said that the crackdown reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by General Dyer during the coloneal days. Anna Hazare and ‘Civil Society’ activists condemned the crack-down as ‘kalank’, a blot on humanity and democracy. Shanti Bhushan, the senior lawyer, demanded that the Union Government should resign. Government representatives tried to defend the action. First Sibal claimed that none was injured. But when seventy injured persons were admitted in hospitals his claim was found to be not correct. After waiting for a day following the crackdown, the Prime Minister said that the incident was ‘unfortunate’ but in the situation that developed, it was ‘unavoidable’. The Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, took a press conference even to declare that the crackdown was necessary for the maintenance of ‘Law and Order’. None was convinced. When the crackdown was described as a panicky action of a weak vacillating government, it was asserted that the plan for removing the Baba, if necessary by force, was already decided upon. This was proof enough that the crackdown was not a reaction to a situation but a premeditated coldblooded assault on defence-less people. Then there was an attempt to malign the Baba’s fast as instigated by the RSS which Rahul Gandhi, in a contro-versial statement, had equated with SIMI! Chidambaram cited an intelligence report to support the allegation. The presence of the ‘notorious’ Sadhvi Rithambhara on the dais with Ramdev Baba was a further proof of the ‘communal’ nature of the Baba’s fast. The govern-ment was not prepared to accept that the fight against corruption and blackmarket cannot be curbed by such allegations. Actually only a few days earlier the Ministers had gone to the airport to receive the Baba despite the knowledge of the intelligence report. The Congress party spokesman first tried to distance itself from the government and objected to the senior Ministers going to the airport to receive the Baba giving the impression that the party and government were working at cross-purposes. Why were the government Ministers trying to placate Baba? They had found Anna a hard nut to crack. They felt that the egotist Baba would be more manageable and vulnerable. When this did not happen within the time limit contemplated by the government they suddenly reversed the gear and took aggressive action in the form of the nocturnal crackdown. Ramdev Baba continued his fast even after he was shifted by the government from Ramlila Ground to Patanjali Ashram in Haridwar. After days of fasting his health seriously deteriorated and he had to be shifted by the BJP State Government to Dehradun Hospital (the Union Government had washed off its hands once he was shifted to Patanjali Ashram). Even in hospital, Baba continued his fast. It was left to Shri Shri Ravi Shankar to persuade him to give up his fast after nine days. It was stated on behalf of the Baba that his fight against black money would continue. In the meanwhile Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary of the Congress party, publicly accused the Baba of money-laundering and demanded that the vast accumulation of wealth exceeding Rs 1000 crores should be investigated. Even while he was fasting, the Baba publicly announced details of his wealth. Anna was also subjected to maligning by Digvijay who alleged of his association with the RSS in view of the fact that the picture of Hindmata displayed in course of his fast was similar to that of the RSS. Touched to the quick, Anna angrily stated that Digvijay should be sent to a lunatic asylum. He wrote to Sonia Gandhi complaining about the smear campaign against him and demanded evidence to prove his association with the RSS. The public discourse is obviously getting shriller and shriller. After surrendering to Anna’s demand of a joint committee and placating the Baba by four Ministers going to the airport, the Congress leaders and UPA Government have taken a hard line. In an interview at Kolkata, Pranab Mukherjee stated that the civil society movement is undermining democracy and the elected government at the Centre. Parliament is supreme to pass the law and a handful ‘civil society’ activists cannot dictate terms to a government which has the confidence of Parliament. (The Times of India, June 13, 2011) The emerging political scenario is worrisome. When the country is facing major challenges like terrorism, violent Maoist movement, resistance to land acquisition by people, deteriorating law and order situation, hostile Chinese action on the northern Himalayan border and major corruption scandals, leading to loss of confidence of foreign investors, instead of taking a united national stand in firmly dealing with these problems, the nation is engulfed in intensive conflicts. The future of the joint committee on Lokpal seems to be dismal. No consensus is likely to emerge. The government may even decide to wind up the work of the committee. And even if a ‘final’ draft would be ready by June and introduced in Parliament, the passing of the Bill is likely to be no smooth sailing and may not be passed by August 15, the date by which Anna insists it should be passed or else he would again go on fast. The government would not allow the kind of response Anna’s fast had at Jantar Mantar. The government’s attempt to communalise the Baba’s movement against corruption was an attempt to drive a wedge between the communal Baba and the ‘Gandhian’ Anna. The civil society activists were earlier not enthusiastic about the Baba but once the nocturnal crackdown on the defenceless men, women and children took place, the two sides forgot the differences and came closer to each other. The civil society activists used strongest words to condemn the crackdown. The BJP declared that the government was bringing back the Emergency days and the party would organise nationwide protests against corruption, blackmarketing and suppression of fundamental rights of the citizens to express opinion through peaceful demonstrations. The Congress party in reply decided to organise a national movement against fundamentalism and communalism embodied in the BJP, RSS and allied organisations. But for the government more serious than the challenges of the BJP, Leftist parties and regional parties like the SP which spoke against the noctural crackdown on a peaceful assembly of people, was the 15 days notice issued by the Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court to the Union Home Secretary, Delhi State Government and the Delhi Commissioner of Police to explain the crackdown. Chidambaram has blithely stated that the Delhi Police will file the affidavit forgetting that the Supreme Court is not likely to be satisfied with the explanation of the State Government and will also hold the Union Home Ministry, if not the Union Home Minister and the Prime Minister themselves, accountable. Law and Order POLITICIANS in power are often inclined to pass on the buck on ‘law and order’ matters to the police forgetting that the issues behind any serious law and order situation have to be handled well on time by the politicians in power and the civil servants who work under them. In the present case the issues of corruption and black economy and the passing of the Lokpal Bill have been long neglected and not tackled with any sense of urgency and sincerity. The most glaring instance of this was the fact that the Lokpal Bill has been pending since 1968, that is, over the last fortytwo years. The mega scams relating to the 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Society apartment in Mumbai, were attributed to politicians in power like Union Ministers and Chief Ministers. Even after the spectrum scam was exposed by the CAG, Kapil Sibal, in additional charge of the Telecommuni-cation Ministry, brazenly stated that there was no loss to the public exchequer and attacked the CAG for giving a wrong report alleging a presumptive loss of Rs 1,76,000 crores to the public exchequer. The Prime Minister defended Minister Raja responsible for the 2G scam for a period of over two years. Suresh Kalmadi was allowed to run the show of the Commonwealth Games despite the fact that he was accused in corrupt deals six months before the Games. The media gave wide publicity to these scams and the nation was outraged at the studied inability to prevent and control corruption. The Finance Minister doggedly refused to disclose the names of those whose funds were stashed abroad citing the secrecy clause of the taxation evasion agreements with foreign govern-ments. People started losing confidence in the government, and their pent-up anger was articulated by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev through their fasts which evoked nationwide response. Even after the fast started and people gathered, politicians of the ruling party did not care to meet the people and convince them about the sincerity of the government. The government must actively communicate with the people to prevent a popular agitation going out of hand instead of letting loose the police. If serious consequences follow in the shape of injury and loss of lives, the police are exposed to judicial enquiries. The politicians and administrators mostly remain aloof, when they should squarely be blamed for allowing the law and order situation to drift and assume serious proportions. When we became independent we declared that the ‘police state’ of the British Raj will be replaced by the ‘welfare state’ of the people’s government. But in free India police raj seems to have come back with a vengeance. Legitimacy of Elected Government AFTER some initial hesitation, the Congress has decided to go on the offensive. They are asserting that the Congress and its allies have been voted to power by the people and the Opposition parties and ‘civil society’ activists have no business to destabilise them through their agitations and by people like Hazare and Ramdev Baba going on fast to coerce thew government. How far is the argument valid? It is true that the government has every right to decide on legislation, policies and programmes. All the same it is also the duty of the Opposition to oppose actions by the government through constitutional means. The government should recognise the legitimacy of the Opposition to oppose as much as the Opposition should concede the right of the government to govern. But if the government treats the Opposition with contempt and gives short shrift to the reasonable demands of the Opposition, the Opposition gets frustrated and resorts to action which immobilises the functioning of Parliament. This was what happened to Parliament in the last winter session. The whole session was washed out. Eventually the demand of the Opposition was conceded before the Budget session could go on smoothly. If this had been done at the beginning of the winter session, the nation would not have had to suffer a non-functioning Parliament. For this the government and the Opposition are equally responsible. What about the people? Should they helplessly suffer an inept or corrupt gtovernment? Have they not the right to call the government to question in between the elections? Do the duties of the citizens end once they have voted? Surely that is not so. Even in between elections, the government is accountable to the people and the people should be able to express their dissatisfaction through all means allowed by the Constitution. The active groups of citizens can take the lead in mobilising public opinion through all means allowed by the Constitution. This does not amount to ‘backmailing’ of an elected government as is alleged by some Congress spokesmen like Digvijay Singh. Hazare’s reply was that if fast and dharna amount to blackmail then he will ‘blackmail’ the government. In this context it is necessary to recall what Dr Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Constitution, said in his address to the Constituent Assembly—“We must hold fast to the constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic goals. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It also means we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for unconstitutional methods. Sooner these methods are abandoned, the better for us.” Dr Ambedkar’s warning was prophetic. He feared that the Gandhian legacy will be continued even after the government starts functioning as per the Constitution of the Indian Republic. But the government also holds the responsibility of running the government in a transparent, open manner without making an ugly display of arrogance of power. As Hazare reminded, the government. Ministers and legislators are servants of the people; the people are not their servants. Unfortunately our politicians have became so arrogant and self-serving that they have forgotten the basic premise of democracy that it is the bounden duty of politicians in power to serve the people with sincerity, honesty and dedication. If the current agitation teaches this lesson to the government and politicians, its purpose would be served. But if the government resorts to repression and intolerance of any Opposition, makes all kinds of defamatory statements against those who oppose them, if public opinion is stifled and evils like rampant corruption are allowed free play, the future of the Indian parliamentary democracy may be very dismal Formerly Secretary to the Government of India and Vice-Chancellor of Goa University, Dr Dubhashi is currently the Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Pune Kendra. His e-mail is: dubhashi@giaspn01. vsnl.net.in

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2868.html


Fight against Corruption: Are we Serious?

03/07/2011

<abbr title=" by Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Those were the years when the people in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar thought that now the change was about to come. The crowd at his gathering was increasing regularly. The speeches were laced with new adjectives of ‘future of India’. Rajiv’s clean image had taken a beating. The exposé had jolted his government. As the Finance Minister, he ordered that the corruption charges against prominent industrialists be probed. Many of them had to go to jail. He selected his officers on the basis of their probity and personal strength. They gave him results. Soon, the ‘best Finance Minister’ was shunted out of the Ministry to ‘defend’ the country. The industrialists wanted him out. He ordered an inquiry against corrupt politicians too and they also wanted his exit. No industrial house in India can survive without corruption. Tax evasions were rampant and he was trying to find out the big fishes without understanding that these sharks would connive together and throw him out.

He was sent to the Defence Ministry ignoring the big public opinion against his ouster. The govern-ment of that the day was habitual of such things. Rajiv was surrounded by the coterie and completely ignored saner advices. As he moved to the Defence Ministry, he found that there was a commission paid in the HDW Howitzer deal ordered from Germany. The Bofors report also came out and it became difficult for the Congress to hide its face. This ‘he’ that time was V.P. Singh whom we all love to hate despite his personal integrity and honesty in political life.

Yes, V.P. Singh was dismissed from the primary membership of the Congress Party for his fight against corruption. Yet, the successful thing was that he became the symbol of the fight against corruption in India in the late eighties. The students, middle classes jumped up and joined hands. His personal image remained clean all the time. The government of the day started a personal vendetta and fictitious reports were planted. Editors were hired to write in papers. Some of the biggest names of the Indian media jumped into the fray and allowed themselves to be used in a vicious propaganda against Singh. A fake account was opened under his son Ajeya Singh’s name in St. Kitts Island which later turned out to be fictitious. His ancestral property issue also cropped up. Yet, V.P. Singh could survive because he was simply a man of integrity and his life was open for probe.

The upper-caste middle classes were first to jump on his bandwagon when they realise that he was now ready to overthrow the government. The Brahmins of Varanasi anointed him with title ‘Rajarshi’ and he developed tremendous goodwill of the people, that is, the upper castes.

V.P. Singh came to power in 1989. He ensured that people with integrity take charge of the Ministry. The government was functioning well. It started allowing freedom to Doordarshan and All India Radio. It was refreshing to see news that time. It was working on labour and election reforms. A lot of other issues, including the Lokpal, was under consideration then. That apart, the Janata Dal as a political party had promised to fulfil 27 per cent quota for the OBCs.

On August 7, 1990, V.P. Singh announced the acceptance of the Mandal Commission recommen-dations in Parliament. For one month nothing happened and slowly the upper castes realised that their control over power is slipping and unless a slanderous campaign is started, they will be completely out of power. So, not only slander but everything that was available in the dictionary was used to defame the Dalits and OBCs. The middle class Hindus were in the streets against the OBC quota. V.P. Singh became one of the most hated politicians of our time. So much that none of the Hindu journalists ever want to say good things about him. Today, when we are fighting against corruption, none of these leaders bother to even mention his name. Why?

The answer lies in the upper-caste hatred against anything that provides connection of power to the Dalits and marginalised. V.P. Singh was the greatest person as long as he was talking about corruption and but he became the worst man once he started talking about the Dalits and OBCs. His government not only ensured the OBC quota but it also provided reservation for neo-Buddhists at the centenary celebrations of Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and honoured him with Bharat Ratna. Similarly, Mayawati is not corrupt as long as she placates the upper castes but as soon as she erected those monuments of the Dalit Bahujan icons in the city of Lucknow, we are angry because we feel that the natural inheritor of our roundabouts in the city centre are the Gandhis, Nehrus, and our so many gods and goddesses. The upper caste-middle class feeling is that the Dalit Bahujan icons should remain in the bastis and dalitwadas.

WHEN we talk about corruption, how can we ignore the illicit land deals in our country? How can Anna and his team just feel that corruption is only in terms of money? The biggest corruption in today’s India is the sale of our natural resources, our land, forest and water. What is their stand on it? What will they do that powerful and well-connected people do not buy land just because they have money? Will we put a ceiling on land in India despite the people’s purchasing power? When the civil society wants to judge everyone, who will judge the civil society? What is this civil society? Did Anna and his team follow any principle of democracy in forming his team? How does democracy survive with such black-mailing tactics of Gandhi who used it to foil the separate electorate of Dalits?’

The issue of corruption is not a minor one but then those who want to fight against it should also remain clean. Yes, for people like us, they should not only be clean but also have faith in our secular pluralistic values and cannot be hate-preachers. How are these multi-billionaires, who have acquired their property in each State and even outside India, interested in the fight against corruption? Doesn’t Anna and his team know about the Baba and his games, his property and money? Is it a fight among those who say you have grabbed over one hundred million rupees and it is now our term to do so? How are we going to talk about individuals? Democracy will have to come out of such individualism and work. Yes, corruption affects us all. So why not we start to work developing a movement from the ground involving those whose lands have been grabbed by the local elites who may be donating huge sums to these anti-corruption crusaders? Should we not see who these forces we want to project as alternative are?

Just because there is a crowd does not mean that it has the right to do anything. Crowd does not provide legitimacy. Many of our friends actually feel that anyone who brings out the crowd is great. Yes, the Baba’s crowd was not a crowd for social justice. Anna’s crowd is similar. The stupidity of the Sangh’s propaganda is that the Ramlila Ground incident is being portrayed as Jalianwalla Bagh massacre. And see their gleeful faces at Rajghat. Sushma was dancing while Advani was comparing this incident to Jalianwalla Bagh. None ever questioned about the fictitious land deals of Ram Dev and other Babas. If we ignore the vital corruption in terms of land in the name of mutts, temples, gurudwaras and mosques, we cannot fight against corruption. In fact, we provide legitimacy. We cannot start a movement in which a majority of the population feels isolated, and fearful. The concern of 20 per cent Indian Muslims and other minorities are important and cannot be ignored. It is not just corruption but also their place in India and partnership in decision-making. How do we allow Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and others partnership in our movement if we allow the entire reactionary forces in our decision-making? Just because you want to eliminate the Congress Party does not mean you can ally with anyone.

Yes, if the government and those who claim to work for us, are serious, then they must talk about corruption of all kinds, in all forms, anywhere. And not talk what is suitable to the middle classes who started corruption and want to lead the movement against it too. We want the government to release all the land papers of temples, mutts, gurudwaras, churches and mosques. Let the people know how much money is lying there and who is using that for what purpose. Anna Hazare and his team would do great harm if they do not consider this as corruption. Will they speak on it? Will they take on the religious thugs sitting on our land and water and preaching of austerity to us?

The Hindutva forces are working overnight on their agenda. They will use all the platforms which bring back power to the bramanical social order. After Ramdev, they want to bring back Uma Bharati to fight against Mayawati. While the Congress is shamelessly sticking to the Brahmin elite in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindutva forces are busy experimenting and who else can they use better than the Shudras? It is time we understand the dangers of such a fight against corruption and expose them tooth and nail. None can be a bigger threat to India than the ascendancy of the Hindutva forces to power. Let us fight against corruption and expose the very source of it.

Original Article: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2867.html