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SINDULAND PERSPECTIVE: ARCHIVES

10) (Jan 2013) MR T N SESHAN TO JUSTICE VERMA ON PROTECTON FOR WOMEN  (Click here to give feedback)

i)                The government should declare by appropriate resolution of Parliament that there would be ZERO TOLEARNCE TOWARDS OFFENSES INVOLVING ALL PERSONS OF THE FEMALE GENDER (There is no need to tie this up children whose protection is itself important and must be dealt with separately)…

ii)               The nature and kind of offences against women must be set out … this will include all cases of offence against women including but not restricted to harassment at the work place, domestic violence on the female, indecent advances, female foeticide, Offensive physical contact, attempt to outrage modesty by any means—in writing, visually or otherwise, Sexual assault, sexual assault aggravated by violence. Definitions already exist in the law but these must be pulled out and reiterated…

iii)             Anyone who practices female foeticide including but not restricted to parents, other relatives, doctors and medical staff must be jailed for life. Societies in which the female-male ratio has fallen significantly must receive special attention

iv)             Special attention should be paid to the needs of the girl child in schools and colleges, including but not restricted to privacy, toilets etc.

v)               Special attention should be paid to the safety and security of the girl student while travelling to the school/college in transport provided by school/College

vi)             Any attempt at moral policing by telling girls what to wear and not wear is likely to be objected to and must be replaced by a sustained campaign in the print media, radio, television, and the net, which aims to educate the girl of the dangers of indecent attire. A flash in the pan advertisement will not do, rather months of sustained campaigning is necessary

vii)           Among the many free things the Government is offering to students, one of the important items is the provision of free clothing to children from economically weak families in order to enable them to have decent attire...

viii)          While there is no attempt in this note to suggest censorship, an authority should be set up which will scrutinize and weed out titillating picturizaiton on TV, the net and in the movies… it is not the intention to suggest new censorship but persons who broadcast must warn that watching such program needs parental guidance and should be telecast at appropriate hors of the day.

ix)             Policing of public safety must be increased

x)               Policeman on beat duty should re-appear on all roads and streets. Public spaces, especially bus stops, metro stations etc. must receive continuous visits of the beat constable…

xi)             All places frequented by the females must be the target of special focus of beat duty. This will particularly include, public transport either run by government operators or private operators, suburban trains, metros, buses and trains…

xii)           All drivers and conductors must have photo identification cards. And anybody who operates a public transportation vehicle including taxis auto rickshaws should not be allowed to do so unless he carries a public badge.

xiii)          Person who operates public transportation vehicles without badges must not only be disqualified from further operation but must be subjected to punishment of imprisonment

xiv)          All public transportation vehicles must receive particular attention of the beat policeman after dark

xv)           Starting at a reasonably early age say 8 or 10 and without limit of upper ages, all females must be taught self-defence arts like judo, Karate etc. and this must be the responsibility of the local police station to organize this periodically; but attendance must be made free and of their own will…

xvi)          All women who feel confident of using them should be supplied with modern self-protection devices such as stun guns, appropriate chemical sprays, and a whistle to attract attention.

xvii)        Women must be trained in the use of the equipment… wherever this is possible this can be organized through colleges and schools…

xviii)      The silly plea that law and order enforcement is affected by the diversion of large amount of policemen to VIP security must cease once and for all. VIP security must be manned not by diversion of law and order policemen but by separate persons sanctioned and recruited for this purpose…

xix)          Any indecent advances or outrage of modesty at workplace must be treated with the greatest severity and the head of the office must be held personally responsible to ensure that it does not happen inside his office… failure to ensure this must result in the punishment of the officer concerned.

xx)           Whenever a case of sexual offence is reported, the police officer concerned must have the responsibility of filing an FIR within 24 hours and filing a charge sheet within 30 days… Every single case involving delay beyond this must be investigated by the Superintend of Police or equivalent in charge of the area. Failure to do so must result in the punishment of the police officer starting from the SP downwards. Every failure to obtain convictions in cases of sexual assault must be dealt with great gravity and a police officer against whom repeated cases of such failure appear must be downgraded or removed from service.

xxi)          Request must be made to the High Courts to use the inherent powers available with them to direct subordinate Courts to conduct trials on sexual offences on a no delay basis. The High Courts may be requested to set up an agency to review promptness of disposal and visit delays with the greatest severity

xxii)        A listed set of cases of assault on women must be subject to review by the High Courts concerned and directly without going through various levels of appeal. Such review must the taken by the High Court suo-motu and the law must provide that in appropriate cases the High Court may enhance the punishment given by the lower court. This may be done by the High Court suomotu or in appeal by the victim, on public appeal, or appeal by the prosecution

xxiii)      The committee will no doubt consider the question of enhancing punishment including the death penalty in cases of great gravity, but care must be taken to ensure that it does not lead to the accused killing the victim to destroy evidence

xxiv)      The committee must examine whether it is legally possible in appropriate cases of aggravated assault for the judge to order that the accused is medically rendered incompetent to practice sex. (what is meant is not castration)

xxv)        Sexual offences must be made non-bailable and the preventive detention laws must be used to keep assailants in custody….

xxvi)      The 19th of every month (the day on which Nirbhaya was attacked) must be marked as a women’s safety day for the next several months until an atmosphere of safety returns to women.

xxvii)     Those convicted for offenses against women will automatically be disqualified from offering their candidature for elections to the Panchayats, the Panchayat Samitees, Zilla Parishads, the City Corporations, the State Legislatures or the Parliament.

 

9. (4/6/2012) TEAM ANNA: SUCCESS OR FAILURE COULD HINGE ON THIS

Dear Arvind Khejeriwal,

Though there is reason in your arguments on the issue of taking on individuals, if it is done incorrectly the odds are stacked against you. The wise have something important to convey. It may sound harsh but one would not mind it if he takes into consideration the impact it could have on your team effort at national development.

For starters there is this idea that comes in from the west—supposedly an accepted bench mark for wisdom—which says “Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events and great minds discuss principles”… And there is some truth in it…  

When taking on individuals and judging them Jesus Christ cautions people against seeing the SPECK in the other’s eye while failing to see the LOG in their own… This of course does NOT have to do with the accuser (team Anna) also doing the same mistake (supposed corruption as the ministers)… rather it is about the accuser creating a mistake at a higher level; the log-in-the-eye is considered as the propensity to ‘judge’ and ‘accuse’ people with a holier-than-thou attitude. And Jesus terms this to be a bigger mistake…

The Brahma Kumaris point out that the issue of branding anyone (as anything, including criminal) goes against our basic nature of humans and it prevents us from touching our inner highest natures. And Sirshree Tejparkhiji of Tej Gyan foundation suggests that the true leader is one that is in tune with his inner nature; he says, ‘Only he must lead the world who is lead by his heart—by his Highest Nature…’

Jesus Christ also adds that if we instead resort to judgment when we deal with other people, then, our attempts to lead others with that perspective, is equivalent to the “blind leading the blind—both fall into the ditch…” A team effort of this kind would therefore surely grind to a halt sooner rather than later… 

What the ministers have DONE can be judged but the ministers themselves must not be judged… there is a subtle difference… true leadership lies in acknowledging the divine even in the ministers and only then, after we have rejected the tendency to judge, objectively find out what mistake they have committed and let them meet their destiny as the law dictates.

Truly speaking, those who have displayed dishonesty in their dealings are not the ideal people for leadership positions; it damages the prospects of the future, in this case it is the destiny of the nation… the ministers therefore, if they have erred, need to be taken to task. Even so, it is important to separate the people from their actions when we deal with them… ACTIONS can be good or bad according to law… but PEOPLE are not good or bad… as Jesus Christ points out… “Only God is good…”

One hopes and prays that the error of ‘Blind leading the blind’ does not manifest in the efforts of Team Anna; the nation looks up to you and this would do great harm to the wonderful and much needed initiative…  

4/6/2012 / Click here to go to the blog

8. (30/5/2012) CONGRESS: DON’T DUMP THE LEGACY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
If Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared elections the emergency would end and chances were that she would win the upcoming elections. Then there were chances she would lose and so some people advised her not to go ahead with it; they suggested that at the moment she had it all on her side, the Supreme Court too had succumbed except for a dissenting note from judge Khanna, the spin doctors could easily explain the critical need of a benevolent dictatorship in order to prevent the nation going into chaos…

Possibly it was her grooming in the idealism of the freedom struggle, she chose not to subvert the hard earned constitution any further. And the rest is History, she lost, went to jail and then she won again… And it goes in her favor that she put her trust in righteousness and in the wisdom of the Indian public…

It is not easy to place one’s trust in righteousness… but at the same time questions as to whether or not to side with righteousness presents itself before every leader. And today a similar situation presents itself before the Defence Minister and his senior colleagues. It does not compare to Indira Gandhi’s situation in size of outcome; but then in matters related to values the gravity is not decided by the size of the outcome.

Granted that in matters related to anticorruption laws, like the Lokpal Bill, there is need of support from the other members of the parliament. But in the open and shut case of the Army Chief’s date of birth there is no need of dependence on anyone. Somebody did hanky-panky and that person can be pulled up and parity restored. But the government seems to have resolved to go down the wrong way instead—covering up mischief, failing to set things in order and attempting to shoot the messenger instead.

Let’s look at the truth as it is. When the chief of Army staff withdrew his case from the Supreme Court after seeing the disposition of a judge, it showed his resignation to his fate—that he did not expect any justice to come from there. The Supreme Court on its part left it ambiguous by not giving a decision and putting it back in the government’s court. And the order was so worded that it has made it possible for the government to get away by saying that ‘the SC did not uphold the chief’s claim’; so much so that even a Judge of the SC repeated it subsequently.

It is a difficult question for the Defence Minister. On the one hand, he would be aware that terrible mechanizations have gone on behind the scenes in order to favor those lesser in merit. It could implicate many people at high places. These people are not being taken to task. And simultaneously simple logic shows that justice and truth are on the side of the Chief. So then, should the Minister act in the Chief’s favor or let it pass…? He has just a few hours to finally decide.

To be caught on the wrong side of the corruption Vs anticorruption battle, to be found incompetent and unable to deliver justice in such an open and shut case, to be found seeking to hide behind lies that the Supreme Court has ruled against the chief, or that the army itself is responsible, or that it is too late for them to act… none of this is deserving of a party or of individuals who are supposed to have inherited the legacy and idealism of the freedom struggle.

However low the congress stoops, it still appears to be more credible than the opposition.  But the standard of opponents is not the benchmark it must measure itself by…  It is not just this decision; increasingly many decisions continue to go down the unrighteous way…  And this is not good…

It is said that truth will prevail in the end…  

 

7. (20/5/2012)INDO-PAK: A CASE FOR BEING BIG HEARTED

“This is a fitting reply to the 26/11 Mumbai carnage”, said Gambhir in the post match presentation ceremony after the Indo-Pak semifinal match at the Cricket World Cup; it sounded very poetic and patriotic and he was applauded too. And naturally it did not go down well with the opponents. A visibly disturbed Afridi eventually commented that his counterparts in the opposite team did not have ‘large hearts’…  

This could easily be seen as him accusing his opponents of bad sportsman spirit, but there is another perspective that makes more sense. Clearly, for a person like Afridi, and for most average Pakistanis, the event at Mumbai was not a sane act. Even if Afridi/Pakistanis harbor a desire to spread the grace of Islam, this, they know, surely is not the way. There is nothing Islamic about a set of goons walking about in a city shooting hapless people who are in turn going about doing their daily work. It is just a set of groupies drunk on some freaked out un-Islamic idea, going after another perceived set of groupies—all with very confused human motives—never mind what they ‘say’ they stand for. Afridi surely had nothing to do with it, other than through the fact that he was a Pakistani. How could Afridi, when he played the world cup match, be accused for holding fort for Kasab, his dead companions and his mentors?

This is the unanswered question that hangs fire between the people of the two nations—that it is not easy for Indians to say readily that Afridi is not to be blamed, and that it is not easy for the Pakistanis to condemn the Mumbai incident without an iota of doubt. And the leaders don’t seem to be able to rise high enough to pull the nations out of it. Most experts feel that the nations are going to stay in this quagmire for a long time to come…    

In the Indian subcontinent Islam and Hinduism eventually discovered that they could co-exist. Sufism had proved, without any doubt that the ultimate aim of Islam was in total sync with the local ethos of the Hindu culture. But there are numerous temporal motives in every age, seeking to divide people on various bases; and it was the same in pre-independence India as well.  With a little help from the colonial masters a wedge wriggled itself into place between the Hindus and Muslims—at least in the political eye—and it paid huge unwanted dividends.

Differences between people are natural but divisions amongst peoples are man-accentuated; it has got nothing to do with God. It is known in all true spirituality that the only difference that matters is the divide that separates Yudhistir and Duriodhan; though they happened to be from one breed—cousins in fact—one fought for God’s design and the other fought for his own human agenda. 

Was India and Pakistan divided in such a way that on one side there was righteousness and on the other evil? Of course not, somebody drew a line on the map separating one piece of land from the other and evil was let loose. A lot of blood was ultimately spilled around that line, before, when and after people crossed it into anticipated safety.

Was the conceiving of an Islamic state, carved out of India, an act inspired by Divine Will…? Definitely not, it was a pragmatic mongering for misconceived fiefdoms. How is it possible that one can create a divide by placing ‘mistrust-between-children-of-God’ as the centerpiece and then build a new nation up by keeping ‘trust-between-the-children-of-God’ as the centerpiece? And more importantly, how could people who do not understand this, ever build an Islamic nation—endowed with Islam’s highest principles…?  It does not work that way… Islam would never have authorized the divide of the Indian nation for the simple reason that the fundamental ethos—Vasudaivakutambakam—of Hinduism does not allow for committing atrocities on the faithful of any religion. Atrocities were committed, but it was the collective failure of the people of that time (even as Hindutwa fails humanity today) and it cannot be held against the ethos of the nation.  

It is time to grow up. Somewhere down the line the Pakistanis must turn around and tell their leaders that this has not gone along the way God wanted and that they need to correct their course. Pakistan must die to the basic principle of ‘distrust’ present in the roots of its formation before it re-builds on the basis of a stronger foundation of trust which Islam espouses.    

Horrible Method: Even more unwise are the methods which the Pakistani leaders have come to use. The professed aim was to bleed India with a thousand cuts, and what came of that? One former Pakistani Prime Minister ended up bleeding; who incidentally, in her own wisdom, had advocated a 1000 year war.

According the status of ‘legitimate’, to the use of ‘murder’ on civilian populations of other groups out of the notion that they are ‘enemies’, is one of the big faults a nation can commit. In Islam you cannot “legitimize” murder of innocents even on nations that have declared war on you. It only ‘appears’ legitimate when it is targeted against other nations supposedly practicing ‘false’ faiths; but this has no divine sanction.  

Besides it does not take long for the feeling of ‘they’ (my enemies) to shift from ‘other religions’ or ‘other nations’ and get carried forward to ‘other sects’, ‘political enemies’, ‘False Muslims’ and the like—who they begin identifying in their own neighborhoods. Because that is the new rule now: ‘enemies can be dealt with murder as long as you can declare, on any whimsical basis, that the other person is an infidel’.  

Pakistan now bleeds because it officially or unofficially continues to sympathize with the use of ‘un-god like’ violence against ‘the other’. But that seems to be the approach in a significant number of the present practitioners of Islam all over the world; and in that sense the community practicing the religion of Islam has not been able to separate the chaff from the grain from amongst its professed followers.

Pakistan must learn to reject this. Rather than being influenced thus, it must instead offer leadership to the Islamic world by strengthening and exporting its Sufiana base.

One does sympathize deeply with Afridi; it is indeed small hearted of Indians to paint all Pakistanis with the same brush. But then Afridi, and all other well meaning Pakistanis, need to be large hearted too, to stand up for a Pakistani leadership that can move on.  

Unfortunately it is the Kashmiri who is paying the price. By a special status being accorded for Kashmir in the Indian Constitution, it is, technically speaking, freer than the rest of India. What more then, does Kashmir want that is not available to Tamil Nadu or to Orissa for instance? And mind you, India is one of the freest places in the world, (too free for comfort, since the poor are not well protected). So why this red herring—of denial of freedom by the Indian state…? Is it not too obvious, as to what the real issue is, from the fact that the trouble in Kashmir suddenly became pronounced round about the same time that the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan; 1989 thereabouts?

And then the Kashmiris too cannot be blamed. Their sane leaders have been targeted for elimination by the militants. And it is fashionable to talk anti-India now, it is a triple whammy; first is that militants do not murder those who speak anti-India, second ‘patronage’ is obtained from dubious sources, and third the Indian state is not mandated to eliminate anybody but rather must protect the freedom of speech. The outcome is that it is easy to be a leader who is unfaithful to the cause of Peace in Kashmir.

Hats off to the leaders and citizens who stand up for peace any way, and do their part against the interference of the negative elements. Hats off to their courage and large heartedness…  God bless them for their resolve; humanity owes them a great debt…

20/5/2012

 

6. (20/3/2012) DEAR RAHUL GANDHI, THE LEGACY OF THE INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLE CALLS YOU

In the recent elections in UP you would have realized that Akilesh’s appeal in the name of the SP moving away from the notorious past seems to have worked and that the voters have given them a chance. The question arises as to why your attempt at UP did not yield such great dividends.

To be fair to you, it is commendable that despite the fact that the SP was seen as the state alternative (and not the congress) your vote share has indeed improved. And you have done well despite the fact that the congress organization is weak in UP. But then you must also realize that the real reason for the bad show of the congress in UP, and in such other states where the congress has virtually disappeared, is the fact that there may be a Congress party but there is virtually no Congress movement!

You must be aware that, prior to independence, all the political forces in the nation, which did not take to extremism and also saw India as one unit, without differentiating between people on any basis what so ever, gathered under one umbrella called as the Congress. It represented the struggle of the nation to free itself from the foreign yoke. There were other political forces too but each of those represented various sections of society and they saw India in pieces.

Over the past 60 odd years, no ‘other’ political ideology has risen that takes the nation together as one and that has been the bane of the Indian political scene. The Congress, without having a pan India opponent that is worthy, has reduced itself, has regressed, and has been forced to entangle itself with a whole lot of ‘dividers’ and ‘divisive ideologies’.

We must give it to Gandhiji; he foresaw that this day would come and so he had recommended that we must split the congress into a formation under Pandit Nehru and another under Sardar Patel and that the two teams must contest elections against each other. Had the congress accepted his (insane?) request, both teams would have been born of the ideology of the uniting Congress and it would be a friendly fight, fought only on the basis of which team had more virtue and deliverability. In refusing to see wisdom in what Gandhiji said at that time, the political dialogue in the nation is now reduced into a rabid exchange of groupism and this bane is now being considered as the norm.

Small groups place their trust in the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family because they see hope for the nation and for themselves in the ideology of the Congress and in the legacy which Gandhiji transferred to your illustrious great grandfather, when Gandhiji anointed him as heir. Therefore it is in keeping close to this great legacy that you will find your roots, your greatest strength, your home—your answer to Akhilesh…

Do not entangle yourself with either the individuals or the divisive ideologies of ‘dividing’ and ‘class-representing’ ideology-alternatives. Raise your level to represent the great values of the freedom movement… and this is where the thunder seems to have been stolen away from you.

Despite the good that you do and seek to represent, somehow your team has not been seen in the correct light in many of the recent controversies, whether it related to the chief’s age, the moves in respect of the Lok Pal bill, the 2G scam, the Common Wealth Scam, hounding of justice-seeking voices, arrogance of power… each such instance leaves a bad taste in somebody’s mouth, and a gut feeling of lowered trust. And the citizens don’t have alternatives because there is virtually no opposition worth the name in the nation today.

The Anna movement might have suffered owing to its own weaknesses but the heart of the Indian already sees light in the fact that the true representatives of the Independence struggle are the ones that are struggling for the poor and downtrodden in the villages, who are raising their voices against corruption, against deprivation… The day these small groups of strugglers resolve their petty issues, lay down their little egos and get together under a selfless cause of national rejuvenation, they will truly have replaced the congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family as the true inheritors of the legacy of the Independence struggle and the noble ideals of its heroes…

 

5:(16 Feb 2012)THE ROW ABOUT THE CHIEF’S AGE IS A BLOT ON THE NATION’S CONSCIENCE

The truth is not coming to light in the debate concerning the chief’s age; there are too many half truths afloat and there is confusion where there need not be any. A string of questions can untangle the issue…

First: What is the correct year of birth of the chief?
It is 1951, because that is what his genuine birthday-defining certificates, namely his tenth standard marks card, says.

Second: an error was committed by a teacher of the chief when applying for the UPSC exams.
a) Is this application form an authentic/legal document for determining date of birth?
No
b) When the mistake was noticed by the candidate did he take steps to correct the factual mistake?
Yes
c) Were the steps adequate?
It was his belief at an early stage that the required corrections were made. His detractors claim that when in NDA, IMA and at commissioning his date of birth was shown as 1950, the truth is that the identity card issued at that time of joining service carried the year as 1951, the correct year.
d) Were the corrections he applied for effectively made?
No, one branch of the army corrected the records the other branch, did not. The communication between the two branches did not take place effectively; this lead to the error being propagated in one of the branch.

Third: would contentious duty performance by members of the MS branch have fixed the matter?
Yes. Instead there seems to have been an obstinate persistence with the faulty date of birth particularly when the officer was being considered for senior promotions…  

Fourth: Could a young officer have got the records set straight by writing to the MS branch directly?
Yes, but he had to do it through proper channel; which he had indeed taken up. And with his records showing the same in his identity card and in the documents relating to his earlier promotions there was no reason to believe that the system was not seized of the matter…

Fifth: By presenting the year of birth as 1951, could the young applicant have taken any advantage?  
a) During admission?
No
b) While in service (something like seniority because he is older etc…)?
No

Sixth: Being a promising young officer would it have been in his nature to doggedly pursue this issue keeping in mind the benefit that is in store in the form of a compensating a year’s loss of service at the end of his career?
No; to an extent yes, he would write a letter here or there and hope that the correction would be made, finding that one branch of the army had rectified the error he would have been certain that the system would ensure that, in the event of a conflict, his correct date would be taken as final. Being preoccupied or obsessed like certain persons are, of their rank, their perks, their salaries, their retirement plans, whatever… would have been a distasteful thing for him since, being tuned to excellence he would have been aware that such an attitude is not looked upon favorably in the best of army traditions.

Seventh: Apparently he was cornered over this issue during two stages in the promotion process
a) Did he agree that his year of birth was 1950?
No
b) Did he sign up saying that he would ‘never’ rake up the issue of his birth?
No
c) Then what did he commit?
He committed that he would consider the matter settled (the sentence is not complete here), having resigned himself to the wise counsel and sense of justice of his seniors, that they will settle the issue on the lines of what is factual and just

Eighth: was injustice done to him?
a) When his teacher filled in a wrong date of birth?
No; it was an error
b) When entries were made in the NDA and IMA and while being commissioned into the army, in accordance with records from the MS branch?
No; the authorities were just copying from one document to another; albeit committing an error in the process
c) When one branch of the armed forces did not correct its records?
Yes; either knowingly or unknowingly this injustice was done; it could have been an act of commission or of omission; an error of individuals or of the system, but injustice was done…
d) When he was asked to treat as settled the question of year of birth during his promotions?
Yes. His merit and his years in service should have been the only things that counted in his promotion. The person who asked him that question needs to be pulled up for even raking up this issue; instead the senior should have taken it upon himself to correct the faulty records which again he did not do. He was doing injustice to the junior officer and holding him to ransom at very vulnerable points in his career
e) When the matter came up before the government?
Yes; It may not have been an error of commission but definitely an error of omission; they should have sent it back saying that the records be set straight and past injustices be removed… Or then did they have their own goose to cook?
f) When the matter came up before the Supreme Court?
Yes; The Supreme Court could have taken a complete view of the facts of the case and the continuous injustice committed over the period of time and set things straight. It did not. It ultimately proved that it is that blindfolded lady who refuses to look beyond the arguments presented before it.

Ninth: if injustice is being done to him is it his duty to protest or should such action be considered insubordination?
There is no question of insubordination in this matter—this is of the class of illegal orders. As Gandhiji says, to suffer injustice without question is a sin. He was within his rights and was duty bound to set the records straight and to oppose injustice being done to him

Tenth: Who is to blame?
The blame squarely falls on the Indian Citizen. The ultimate reality is that the buck has not stopped even in the Supreme Court. An undutiful clerk somewhere did not rectify the records according to the available legal documents. Then there was injustice done during the time of his promotion when he was made to confront a question that should not have been asked to him. And neither the illustrious figures from the grand old party of India that owns the legacy of the freedom struggle nor the wise men from the last resort of justice in India found it in their ability to set the records straight. We have not, as a nation, learnt to do justice… even at the highest level…

The tragedy of it is that though being such an open and shut case, people have indulged in all kinds of intricate logic to conclude that the soldier has no right to set the records straight even at this stage of his career.  If one can read between the lines it becomes evident that there are vested interests at play and the powers that be either do not care, feign helplessness or are part of the scheme.

The sum total of it all is that if the queen of a nation is sought to be disrobed in an auditorium in which are present the tallest leaders of that land, then what can one hope for the woman on the street…?

 

 

4: (Jan 2012) WHAT TEAM ANNA MUST DO NOW

Truth always prevails in the end. Team Anna must continue to seek in righteousness. In the meanwhile a change in strategy and a heart-to-heart communication with the Indian citizen are both long overdue.   

This is what Team Anna must say…

Dear fellow Citizen,

The parties in power (the UPA), who control the law-making apparatus in the parliament owing to their being in majority, could easily pass a bill and establish the Lokpal. We believed that by putting all kinds of pressure on them we would get them to deliver somthig useful for us. We even risked being tagged as ‘political’ but continued to selectively target them, hopeful that the nation would ultimately get an effective lokpal.

A glimmer of hope appeared when the special session was announced and assurances were given by our parliamentary representatives. But we decided to keep up the pressure none the less, believing that it would help get the parliament to truly deliver… And outcome is there for all to see...

It is evident now that there is need for a change in approach; the challenge for us appears to be effectively bigger than the one we originally took on; it is not just the parties in power which we must hold responsible and take to task, it is the entire political class. While the MP's on both sides are 'eloquent' and 'dramatic', their 'actions' do not add up. An effective watchdog appars like a far dream. We need to develop a strategy which will compel the entire lot of the parlimentarians to deliver. 

They raise many bogies of which one is that the lokpal will become dictatorial. How can an institution that can only investigate, and that too only corruption cases, become dictatorial? The Lokpal can only inquire into a mistake that has happened and place its findings before the courts. It cannot judge, it need not award any punishments. How can such an organization be of harm to anyone? Only the wrong doers will be affected and even they will only be exposed before the judges—not hung or jailed by the Lokpal; the Judicial system of India will decide what punishment will be given, based on the law of the land. Why the fear?

At the moment there seems to be only one request we can make to you; on which you may act according to your own free will. It goes like this:-

There are close to 20,00,000 people in each constituency, definitely there are enough wise men amongst them other than the  one that is already in the parliament. Picking up one such person in order to substitute the present MP will definitely not harm our nation. 

Votes which they receive in elections give MPs the power, prestige and status they wield; this power can be given to other people, other families…

If we resolve to “vote for change”; ‘ANYBODY ELSE SUITABLE’ from ‘ANY OF THE EXISTING PARTIES’, other than the MPs who are currently in parliament, or are close family members of the MPs, we can make an impact.  

Do also look out for the ‘constructive program’ which we shall announce shortly; do participate in it and make it a success.

Thanking you,

Team Anna

Anna can alter the contents to personalize it. As for the constructive program, do consider taking up ‘Panchayati Swaraj’ that is projected in the Vision section of this website. It is close to Anna’s heart and is his forte… we can catalyze peoples’ focused and systematic action in Gram Sabhas across the country so that Gandhiji’s idea of ‘little Edens’ is realized in them (with modern amenities of course)…

3: (30 Dec 2011)THE LOKPAL ISSUE CAN BE RESOLVED ONLY BY RAISING THE BAR

Parliamentarians from all parties, despite their protestations, dramatics, finger pointing, name calling and indignation, cannot be expected to easily give the nation an effective Lokpal bill. After all, the bill would “go against themselves” (as the parliamentarian who tore up the bill blurted out).  

Without corruption it is almost impossible to sustain in politics today. The present political arrangement is not set up on the foundations of honesty. This is evident because one cannot survive long in politics if one does not use his authority to grant sops and get ‘support’ in lieu.   

But that is what politics is all about one may say. Is this not the norm in politics—you scratch my back and I scratch yours?

Unfortunately it is and that is the problem. It must be noted that this is the devil's throne—or the evil sanctum sanctorum equivalent—of all corruption. No wonder it is fashionable for some luminaries to claim nobility because they do not participate in politics—misplaced pride...

The ancient Indians build up their distinguished civilization around political and social values that did not hinge around 'trading' with each other. The approach to a family is not “I will earn for you and protect you and you give me food, pleasures and babies.” Neither is it, “dear king, I will pay you money and you protect me and give me justice” (though there were many in our history who sought to reduce it to that). Instead values of Lord Rama were sought to be instilled in every citizen and they were to aspire to do their duties (Dharma) in society. Be it as a wife, as a son, as a king, as a barber…

So then, has the politician's duty been defined today that he must hold sacrosanct…? Do citizens have for themselves any ‘Dharma’ defined in the polity today? There is no need of genius to know that today voting is being done as an extension of individual self-interest, not as a duty to society.  As a nation, as a generation of inheritors of the Great Indian Civilization, we have failed to use the inspirational values which the best amongst our forefathers cherished.

The whole idea of setting up a polity on the basis of give and take is faulty. When we choose to go along this way, the kind of parliament we have today resluts. In this system, if the nation does not churn up “corruption money”, the political arrangement will transform; for, if not for the corruption money, the honest Indian, with decent means, would get into strong contention for power and that would change the rules of the game.

Dear Anna, when the Indian started feeling let down with the thu-thu-mai-mai enacted in the parliament at the end of its extended session, he began looking for somewhere to make himself heard and you had to unfortunately shut shop. You cannot play boss, for you hardly have any pledged cadre or paid faithful to come at your beck and call. You can just be a lamp showing the way to the common citizen as to how he can protest… remember how Gandhiji picked up some salt on the seashore and the nation knew what to do? Those that come to you are people who follow their conscience and choose to act on it; and so you will be relevant as long as you stay loyal to your own conscience and choose to act by it.

Team Anna has no choice but to play by the rules that govern the heart.

Dec 30 2011

 

2: (24 Dec 2011) THE TABLED LOKPAL DRAFT IS DILIGENT BUT DOES NOT GIVE MUCH

Something good about this drafted bill it that it lacks the cynicism and contempt that defined the earlier one. The persons who have worked on it have crafted it well and given it serious thought and have attempted to create an agency that can take birth in the real world. But be that as it may, the fact remains that it is very cautious and does not give a free hand to the new agency. This can be analyzed by taking a look what the bill has to say about certain aspects of the agency that is being proposed for creation.

Autonomy: The constitution of India defines autonomy by specifying the ease in which the top person in the organization can be removed from office. So when creating the Election commission it said that a 2/3rd majority in parliament would vote him out after his guilt has been fixed through due process and adjudicated by the Supreme Court. In this bill the 2/3rd majority in parliament is dispensed with and therefore the conceived organization is weaker.

Financial Independence: In the case of the Election Commission the expenses are “Charged” on the consolidated fund of India. Or in other words the government cannot interfere but in this case it is to be given as “Grant” by the government based on the budget presented… this is a weaker position.

Control over staff: When someone works for you, you would have his full cooperation and loyalty only if he reports to you in matters of ‘supervision, control and discipline’. This can be affected by creating an independent investigating and prosecution agency under the Lokpal or by transferring the required staff under the supervision, control and discipline of the Lokpal when they work for the Lokpal. Instead the Bill seeks to transfer the ‘case’ to other ‘organizations’ and there upon obtain the investigative report. This path effectively makes the Lokpal powerless to control the investigation effectively and yes as Anna team points out, makes the Lokpal a little more than a post office. One must note that in the 2G case the Supreme Court was the one that was driving the CBI; the conceived lokpal will not have that kind of strength…  

Flooded with work: The Bill allows for delegation of “administrative” and “financial” powers but does not allow for the delegation of ‘bench’ power, meaning that the small group of 9 persons must sit thrice on each case that comes up before the Lokpal… And simultaneously by including NGOs that receive funding more than Rs10lakh per year from either public or international sources, besides the entire lot of Central government employees… the jurisdiction is being made excessively large. This is either conceived in ignorance or in mischief in order to ensure that the Lokpal cannot work.

Constitutional authority paralysis: Interestingly in respect of constitutional authorities the bill allows for the charge-sheets against them to be filed in court while simultaneously intimating the “Competent Authority”… this is more than what is required. Within the constitutional scheme the “Competent Authority” must have the authority to initiate proceedings for the removal of the concerned official without additionally filing cases in courts. He can be taken to court after the relinquishing of his authority; but when in office only the procedures laid down by the constitution must be followed. The present bill therefore adversely affects the balance of power in respect of the constitutional executives and this is unnecessary.  But surely the Lokpal must have the right to investigate any official; there is only need to define as to what powers the Lokpal will have in respect of ‘summoning’ such high authorities for their procedures; it must not lead to paralysis of functioning of the constitutional authority.

The Parliament must address these major issues when it meets on 27th 28th and 29th of this month; the red herring of ‘quota’ notwithstanding.

 

1: (22 Dec 2011) CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IS THE BEST ROUTE FOR LOKPAL LEGISLATION

This approach has three clear advantages; it helps the definition of an autonomous new organization that is acceptable to the constitutional arrangements. Secondly it will not be easy for governments to arbitrarily re-define the powers of the Lokpal using ordinances. And third it can provide for a uniform definition of Lok Ayuktas across the states.

Clearly, this has advantages for the ruling UPA since the opposition parties too would now have to face the ire of Anna's movement. It makes it more difficult for Anna's team since now they cannot uniquely 'blame' the government, especially the 'Congress', as the 'enemy' of anti-corruption. And finally it will be difficult for the opposition to remain uncommitted and ambiguous.

In any case it must be remembered that the present political arrangement needs that there be a pool of corruption money ready for the taking; into which one can dip in and scoop, amorously, in order to further one's political interest. Moreover an efficient and autonomous investigative and prosecuting agency, against corruption, is likely to dig out skeletons from many cupboards. The political leadership will therefore gang up against it.

Even if the righteous individuals, who need no monetary backing to win votes, desire that efficient anti-corruption mechanisms get into place, those with their hands smeared with mud will not allow it to happen.

One therefore wonders if the Anna campaign must henceforth say that the present parliament is not helping clean up the process and therefore none of those that represent the constituencies as of today, or their relatives, must be voted back in the next general elections... But general elections to the Lok Sabha are some distance away.

In the meanwhile, even as the UPA presents itself with bravado, and even takes credit for making Anna Hazare the ‘Frankenstein' that he is supposed to have become, its position of righteous inheritors of the Gandhi legacy continues to slip away from its grip. Terrorized by the thought it continues to squirm with every dictate of an ordinary common Indian citizen.

Anna must keep his pressure up, even if it looks dictatorial, he must use the power he wields to bring welfare to his nation, the best he can, his team is driving home the advantage and it makes for great strategy... (Dec 22, 2011)

 

10: (Jan 2013) Mr. TN Seshan to Justice Verma on Protection for Women

9: (4 June 2012) Team Anna: Success or failure could hinge on this

8: (30 May 2012) Congress: Don't dump the legacy of Righteousness

7: (20 May 2012) Indo-Pak: a case for being big hearted

6: (20/3/2012) Dear Rahul Gandhi, the legacy of the Independence struggle calls you

5: (16 Feb 2012) The Row About the Chief's age is a blot on the nation's conscience

4: (Jan 2012) What Team Anna Must do Now

3: (30 Dec 2011) The lokpal issue can be resloved only by raising the bar

2: (24 Dec 2011) The tabled lokpal draft is diligent but does not give much

1: (22 Dec 2011) Constitutional amendment is the best route for Lokpal legislation