EDITS | Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 2:03:11 AM
A Surya Prakash
The Congress’s fascist reaction to the anti-corruption movement shows the party still remains unchanged. Its misdeeds remind us of the 1975-77 Emergency.
The Congress-led UPA Government is sadly mistaken if it thinks that its ruthless Gaddafi-style midnight operation to evict Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila Maidan in the early hours of June 5 will crush the movement against corruption in the country. The Government’s action, which is reminiscent of the response of Mrs Indira Gandhi to charges of corruption in the mid-1970s, only goes to show that nothing much has changed within the Congress. It continues to function like a family-owned private limited company whose promoters have fascist tendencies and remain extremely vulnerable to charges of corruption.
Apart from ending the mass satyagraha at the venue in Delhi, the Congress has launched a vituperative attack on Baba Ramdev, calling him a “thug” and a “fraud” and raising questions about the funding of his organisation. There is nothing new in this. These very tactics were deployed against Anna Hazare and his team members in April. An identical operation is now on to paint Baba Ramdev in ugly colours.
The Government is rattled by Baba Ramdev’s movement because it strikes at the root of the problem — money stashed away in Swiss banks by politicians and businessmen. The Anna Hazare movement got confined to the limited issue of establishing a national ombudsman (Lok Pal) to deal with corruption at the highest level. But, the creation of such an institution is just one of the many initiatives that need to be taken. Since corruption is a hydra-headed monster that has affected all aspects of politics, governance and life, what is needed is a comprehensive anti-corruption agenda that seeks to tackle the problem at the root and throw up permanent remedies.
For example, money power has vitiated the entire electoral process since the beginning and the humongous amounts spent by candidates in State Assembly and Lok Sabha elections has made a mockery of the spending limits imposed by the Election Commission. Over the last two decades, the permissible spending in a Lok Sabha constituency in a large State has more than trebled.
Just three monmths ago, the Conduct of Election Rules were amended yet again to enhance the maximum election expenditure in Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies to Rs 40 lakh and Rs 16 lakh respectively. However, those who track election-spending are aware that even this revised limit will be observed more in the breach than than in the observance because in recent years the average spending by serious candidates in Lok Sabha constituencies is between Rs 3 crore and Rs 5 crore.
All of this is black money — some generated within the country and the rest brought back fromSwitzerlandand tax havens likeLiechtenstein. Therefore, any anti-corruption initiative must first deal with the issue of black money vitiating the electoral process and making a mockery of the democratic system. We need to accord high priority to this problem.
The second most important source of corruption is Government contracts. It is long established that those who run the Government and the ruling party get kickbacks on every deal. In the early decades after independence when the licence-permit-quota raj held sway, bribes and commissions were paid in Indian rupees. Later, after Mrs Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980, the Congress chose a new route for political funding — kickbacks from international deals which are paid into secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens.
Those who have worked in Government at senior levels — for instance, Mr BG Deshmukh who was Cabinet Secretary during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister — have noted that since the 1980s, the Congress has found it more convenient to take commissions from foreign companies in international deals rather than pass the hat around among Indian businessmen and industrialists to collect party funds. This way, huge sums can be collected to fund the party without any obligation to industrial houses within the country. It was presumed that there would be no whiff of corruption if discreet payments were made to Swiss bank accounts.
This grand plan, however, went for a toss when the Swedish Audit Bureau reported that arms manufacturer AB Bofors had paid ‘commission’ to certain individuals in connection with the sale of field guns to India in 1986. Despite that embarrassment, there is no indication of any change in the attitude of the Congress towards collecting funds. This is also the reason why the party is dragging its feet on the black money issue.
When the pressure from the Supreme Court became unbearable, the Government cleverly announced the setting up of a “high-powered committee” to keep the court at bay. This committee is supposed to examine the problem and outline a plan of action to bring back the loot. The Government offered a similar bait to Baba Ramdev the other day, offering to set up “a committee” to draft a law to bring back black money.
After making this offer, the Government claimed that it had met “all the demands” of Baba Ramdev and wanted him to end his satyagraha. When he failed to oblige, the Government responded with police brutality. The use of brute force to end a peaceful agitation is reminiscent of the Emergency days. This was exactly how Mrs Indira Gandhi responded to Jayaprakash Narayan’s campaign against corruption 36 years ago.
In fact, the parallels between 1974-75 and 2010-11 are striking. Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement began with the campaign against corruption in Gujarat and with the demand that then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi probe the allegations against LN Mishra, a senior Minister in her Cabinet. Mrs Indira Gandhi did none of this. Instead, she used brute force to crush the movement.
Mr Manmohan Singh, too, has resorted to an Emergency-style operation to crush the satyagraha at Ramlila Maidan. Also, in typical Mrs Indira Gandhi fashion, he has defended the midnight police raid and said the Government had no option but to resort to such action. There are other eerie coincidences. It should be remembered that Mrs Indira Gandhi imposed her dreaded Emergency in 1975 after a massive Opposition rally which, incidentally, was held at Ramlila Maidan and in June.
This only shows that more things change, the more the Congress remains the same. The party continues to be extremely vulnerable when corruption is discussed and the party’s fascist tendencies come to the fore whenever its Government is cornered on this issue. That is why all those who believe in democracy need to be on high alert after Mr Singh’s Ramlila Maidan operation. Needless to say, eternal vigilance is the price of democracy.
Revolution – Final Goal of Baba’s Fast and How can that be achieved:
By Nimesh Dikshit
Recent news is Sri Sri is in Hardwar, asking Baba and his followers to break the fast. I also heard that he even announced from England that Baba should not do fasting. Well I do agree with Sri Sri in that too – that only Baba’s fast is not going to change the heart or break the knees of Congress Party. Instead Congress Party will help purchase ticket to heaven for Baba at tax payer’s money. Now its too late in the game to retreat. The War has been declared and Hindus will have to fight it to save Mother India. The Swayamsevaks of Mother India must retaliate peacefully against the state power unleashed by an Italian Congress and Sonia Sevaks.
But now the war has been declared. Baba went on peaceful fast and police brutality that followed, was a clear Jihad started by Italian Congress Party. Now they are not going to go back foot. Their only agenda will be to destroy Baba completely, by hook or by crook. The person who has such a big empire – its very easy for IT guys to find problems. Each problem will be magnified by the Media which is on the payroll of congress party. That is their job – and they will do it well. The fact that they could change the mind of a Yogi like Sri Sri Ravishankar is good enough to understand the power of Media. Any retreat at this point is a death of any future agitation against this government and that can not be allowed. Its too late.
What someone should advice Sri Sri instead ? What should Sri Sri really do? How this movement can be made long lasting movement? Its true that this movement is premature in the sense that next Lok Sabha election is in 2014 and Congress knows very well that people will forget the police brutality on the innocent, peaceful, Hindus who were fasting for the whole day. Congress also knows that neither Baba nor his followers can sustain 3 year long campaign by fasting. So then how can this movement drag on for next 2-3 years and gather force and awaken Hindus? To answer that, I would like to put forward a little observation of the problem of Hindu Society.The reason I use the word Hindu is only Hindus care for Hindustan others have their affiliation somewhere else.
Problem of Hindu Society lies in the multi sect philosophy all of which ultimately concur to Vedic Principles. This is a Strength of Hindu Society but at the same time that divides the society many folds. Coupled with that the greed and possessive nature of Human Being from which these Sadhus and Sants are not liberated. They suffer with the attachment to their capital, both financial and human. They will not like to have joint programs with other Sadhus or allow their followers’ kids to mingle with the children of other Sadhus’ followers. I have personal experience of this weird behavior of Sadhus. Any follower goes to other Sadhu or Teacher is looked upon as a blow to his/her bottom line. Most religio-spritual organizations suffer with this human nature. That’s why Guru ji of Sangh, started an organization called VHP – whose sole work is to unite these separate sects and bring them on one platform. Sangh is a non religo-spiritual organization so it does not have direct competition with them and with its large following of sincere swayamsevaks makes the best organization for facilitating this platform. Despite that non competing nature of VHP, it still has this uphill battle for last 46 years, and has found some success, which is of help only for particular occasions – and then they go their merry way without caring for each other’s organization.
Here I feel Baba’s agitation can unite these separate sects if the heads of these sects remove their possessive nature out of their soul and mind. Sri Sri who I know for sure is not the one who possess this nature, must be made aware of this grand possibility of Hindu Revival by creating unstoppable Chain Reaction. How? Sri Sri who is so well accepted across the society and who has following worldwide – instead of asking Baba to stop the fast, should have joined the fast when Baba is in Hospital. He should have asked Baba and his followers to stop fast and started fast of his own, replacing Baba, on the same platform where Baba was doing the fast Not only that he should have asked his followers worldwide to go on token fasts. All black, white, brown and yellow skinned people would have observed fast worldwide and at 24 hour notice. I know personally, and have visited Sri Sri’s camps many times, to say confidently that just like Baba’s followers thousands of followers of Sri Sri would have joined another week long fast. Baba would have been out of the fast, but Congress would not feel the victory – since other 100,000 plus people would be fasting for the following week. In meantime some other guru, shankaracharyas or teachers would go to Patanjali Vidyapeeth and join the fast and Sri Sri and his Followers would break the fast. These could have created a chain reaction. And followers of all Hindu sects, gurus, swamis, acharyas would have united under one cause to free Mother India from the shackles of the falsehood. This does not have to all happen in onlyHardwar, such fasting should go on in all temples, maths and other spiritual places. While motherIndiais an abode of 1000s of gurus and swamis – only 108 swamis are needed to continue this agitation for two years. Once the mala, whose beads are each of these gurus – who went on a weeklong fast is completed, these gurus should go all out on road and Congress would lose its sleep for the next election. They will not be able to bring back the black money – otherwise Sonia would have no other option but to RUN and Run fast, so that they will have to choose a defeat instead. Or they have to declare the emergency like in seventies – there by creating the ultimate blow to Congress Party and its 60 years old regime. And this will not be a civil agitation without any spirituality as in 1970s but the one guided and lead by spiritual and traditionally Hindu Sanskriti. After two years a modest, honest, visionary leader who does not have any ties that can spoil his image or make him to hesitate from taking the harsh decision should be declared as a next PM candidate from any party of their choice. And all gurus, sadhus and swamis should put their force behind that person. That way all the Hindus will unite. If 25% of the block Hindu vote bank can be created – there is no stopping for a Hindu Party to win the next election. And the goal to bring back black money, making of laws that put the politicians, businessmen and media moghuls behind bars can be achieved by a stroke of a pen.
But alas, we at this point do not have any sadhu who would join Baba in his fight against Corruption. Since they will feel following the leadership of Baba Ramdev. Instead they would want to look wiser then Baba by asking Baba to stop fast, without thinking how can he do that? And that is the Irony of Sadhu Society that there is no neutral group that can accept this as a solution and bring Baba out of his fast without letting Congress celebrate their victory over Baba’s crusade against Corruption. Also another bright side of this is – it will not require Baba to prepare a protective force. But who will take the lead to tell Sri Sri to go on fast and relieve Baba from his Dharana and still feel victorious. So that Mother India can be ushered back into Her Past Glory. That is the Need of the Hour.