Sunday, July 29, 2012

You, Yes YOU are Corrupt

Corruption is the latest chick in town. Its hot, Its happening and its trendy. Everyone seems to be talking about it. It has caught the imagination of this 'Young' country and the population has begun to display a rat-like behaviour- running after the pied piper, who himself is surrounded by rats of extraordinary quality. In case you didn't get the subtle reference, I meant Lord Anna here. People are out on the streets demanding 'freedom from corruption'. The youth is bombarding the social media to bring about an 'Indian spring'. The country is boiling in a delicate frying pan, despite the fact that the gas beneath it, is visibly turned off.
Just the other day I came across a teenager wearing a white Gandhi cap. He was a part of a group that was protesting against corruption. Here is a transcript of the conversation that I had with him-

" I Love your cap", I said, "You mind telling me where you bought it?"
"They are distributing it for free", he said, pointing towards a stall in the corner where numerous such caps rested one over the other.
"Do you know what its called?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said as a matter of fact, "Anna Topi".
I was a little taken aback. It did have "I am Anna" written in bold, black letters.
"Its actually a Gandhi cap", I tried to correct, "It takes its name after the Father of the Nation".
"Whatever", he remarked," Gandhi was Rahul Gandhi's grandfather. Might be as dumb"
Now this was a serious intermix of relations- personal and political. Yet, I decided to press further.
"What are you protesting against?", I asked.
" Corruption", came the one word reply.
"And how do you think it'll be eliminated?"
"Lokpal", another single word.
"What will a Lokpal do?"
"He will arrest everybody who is corrupt. Even the Prime Minister, the President and everyone else. Our Constitution guarantees a Lokpal"
I was almost about to laugh. Getting a hold over myself, I proceeded, "Do you think this protest will get you a Lokpal?"
"Congress is corrupt. MMS is impotent. We are a democracy. I have the right to speak".


This was nothing short of a slogan. A slogan that has been reverberating across the genus of pseudo-intellectuals today. I really didn't know how to continue the conversation further and thus I walked away. However, it did set me thinking. Are these half-baked truths, persistent character assassinations, dirty blame games and irrelevant knowledge going to lead us anywhere? Why have we suddenly developed this herd mentality? Why this continuous search for a magic wand? If we, as a nation, have to deal with corruption, we are just not looking at the right places. Cleansing corruption needs a conscience, more than it needs a law.

At the outset, let me clearly state that an anti-Anna opinion does not automatically become pro-Congress. Just like "Don't Vote for Congress" does not by default translate into "Vote for BJP". Nevertheless, we as an aware citizenry need to understand a few basic facts. Facts which will determine which course our nation takes in the future; Facts which will give the coming generations a breathing space; Facts which will help us make an informed choice. Let us get to them, one by one.


Fact 1#- Corruption is Omnipresent, Omniscient,Omnipotent. You just cannot deny its existence. It was there in the past, It is here in the present and if things continue the way they are, It will be heightened in the future. Hire a cab, the driver will charge you more than he needs to. That's corruption. Go to a school. The administrator will charge a few hundred bucks to get your child admission. That's corruption. Drive a car. The traffic policeman will charge you some undisclosed amount to help you avoid the 'hassles' of court. That's corruption. And thus the fact remains that we, the people of India, who have been granted immense liberties in the Constitution, happily forget our duties and indulge in massive everyday corruption. After all who wants to go to a court? Who wants to lodge a complaint against a bribe-seeking officer? Who wants to tread the right path? We all are always looking for some 'under-table' deals or some 'Chai-Pani'to spare us the horror of following rules. When there is a procedure to follow, we vouch for a shortcut. Who has the time to stick around an office and claim his/her rights? Don't we then deserve what we get? If A.Raja bungles up a whopping amount out of the taxes we pay, it is us, who have acted criminal from the very start. One by, electing him to power and Two by finding various routes to escape taxation. Always remember, the money we hide from the authorities is as black in colour as the money that is reportedly stashed away in Switzerland.

Fact 2#- Corruption is not a Congress-specific phenomenon. The UPA government just happens to be in power at the wrong time. At numerous platforms, at various junctures, I have seen people uttering nonsensical words and shoving spectacularly idiotic arguments in each other's faces. Twitter, by personal experience, has been a victim. A breed of 'Internet Hindus' has cropped up. I am told these are full-time workers who get paid for lambasting the Congress party. I am not sure if that is true but the way false information and empty rhetoric is dominating the social media today, the prospect seems very likely. Ms. Sonia Gandhi, for them, is an Italian Christian. Mr. Rahul Gandhi is a dumb fool. Dr.Singh is an impotent PM and the entire cabinet is the 'Chambal of dacoits'. How ironical is the fact that the people who uptil a few years ago showered praises on the Gandhi-Singh duo, today leave no stones unturned to malign their character. Let me illustrate this with an example.


Have a look at this picture. This is circulating like wildfire on the Internet and is being touted as a validation of the Congress Party's corruption. Anyone with a decent command over English will be able to spot a minimum of five grammatical mistakes in the text. Have the Swiss authorities forgotten their basic language lessons? The letter gets the logo incorrect, the name of the bank incorrect and not to forget, in its entirety, it violates all agreements of confidentiality ever signed. And I am still wondering, why would the Swiss 'Corporation' choose to address the letter to the 'Indian Government' and then release it on Facebook.
The fact here is, that the NDA government, when it was in power, was as guilty of corruption scandals as the UPA is. The difference lies only in the fact that media coverage and transparency in functioning of both, has grown from then to now. In today's times, you merely need to file an RTI application to expose a Kalmadi. Back then, you had to conduct a sting operation to nab a Bangaaru Laxman. Without getting into the details of which is a better alternative, I'd only reaffirm one statement "ELECT WITH INTELLIGENCE". The power to vote in a democracy is much more significant than any other power. Verify the credentials of the contestants and vote on merit. Its quite another unfortunate matter that those who cry their throats hoarse shouting anti-corruption slogans today, are the same people who accept cash, accept liquor and accept women as a compensation for their vote during elections.

Fact 3#- Anna is not God. Neither is Baba Ramdev. The sooner we understand this, the better. In this nation of traditional ambiguities and growing individuality, we have surprisingly pegged our hopes to men, who we know absolutely nothing about. No one wants to know how Anna Hazare got the scourge of liquor eradicated from his village. We conveniently turn a blind eye to the complaints of people who were mercilessly bound to poles and beaten up, with a stick. Also no one questions the sudden rise of Baba Ramdev to international fame and popularity. From practicing the simplicities of Yoga, to running the complexities of a multimillion conglomerate, his rise has been phenomenal. Yet, when we are shown a mirror, we look away and cry conspiracy. Is this how we plan to run the "Jaago India" campaign? Are certain individuals above all other institutions for which this country fought? Truthfully, this agitation has lead the country into a deep quagmire today. Not only has it slowed down the policy making structures but it has also created uncertainty in the nation's economic climate. Investors have begun to doubt the political stability of the country. And as a domino effect, we are losing out on jobs, employment, income equality and social parity. Still, who do we hold responsible for it? Our Prime Minister! Just to put things in perspective, it was the same guy who opened this country to the globe. In other words, the clothes that we wear today, the phones that we use, the cars that we travel in and the computers we are reading this on, were brought into this country due to the efforts of the man we today have as the head of state.

I am sure this article would invite a lot of ire. And I am prepared. They say, when you don't have an answer, you raise your voice. When that doesn't work, you raise your hand. The sole unfortunate fact is,that we, the hypocrites we are, don't channelize our energies where we should.

You want to get rid of corruption? Well, here is the Mantra- STOP giving bribes. STOP accepting compensations. BE honest to your NATION. ELECT sensibly. VOTE when you must. Raise your VOICE. COMPLAIN against the official. Don't stay QUIET. If you can't do any of these, I am sorry to say but You, Yes YOU are corrupt too.

As a final word, the next time you point a finger at how the politicians are ruining your livelihood, make sure you have black ink on it.



















47 comments:

  1. Very well expressed..The essential difference in Mahatma & Anna has been - when Mahatma wanted British Government to stop importing foreign material, he exhorted the fellow Indian citizens to stop using imported clothes. We have to be the change which we want the world to be.

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    1. Absolutely Ashish. Charity begins at home. We constitute this Nation. If we can't change ourselves, we will continue to get what we deserve.

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  2. Very well said......

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  3. Great Job Akil..for bringing the light on appalling ignorance of our " well educated & techno savvy social media".
    May God bless Indian Youth with same boldness and analytic power as possessed by you, so that they can take the side of truth despite the irks it may rise, infuse in youngsters a faith in democratic values, strengthen their moral responsibilities towards the nation.
    Rest ur Inspiring message is crux of turning the monster of corruption into a story of past if it is adopted by all the people apart from liking and sharing:)

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    1. Thank you Daisy. And that's actually the entire point. Liking and sharing would not help until we learn to inculcate the smallest of measures in our own system, ourselves.

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  4. Very well written sir! People are just too blindfolded and misled...

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    1. Thank you for the kind words :)

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  5. I duly read your full blog and endorse your view i.e. not to give bribe,not to encourage bribe taker and also to take on movement from mouth to mouth to de encourage corrupt people

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  6. Absolutely the point. Thanks :)

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  7. A very good article! I have been debating same to my friends, colleadgues ince this anna rise of rhetorisim! We need to strengthen present ani corruption law. Who will ensure that lokpal wont b corrupt? Who will ensure that lokpal wont blackmail govt?

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    1. Exactly the point. We immediately get excited at the prospect of anyone having an opposing viewpoint and wish to put them down. Yet, the truth remains what it is :). Thanks.

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  8. Vry well expressed sir..but as per my view.Today if we are tallking abt this issue is due to Anna Movement..Atleast people had started doing something ..Instead of just saying "ye desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta"

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    1. You are correct Nikhil. Last year, it was totally a different scenario. The movement, gave voice to people. But we cannot squarely blame everything on 'other's right? The fact is, there are no others. Its just us.

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  9. Well articulated. The point about not being an active participant in the process of corruption hits the nail on the head. We're extremely comfortable and confident when it comes to blaming individuals of corruption (im not saying they're not corrupt), but we in our own small way promote corruption on a daily basis.
    i believe one of the major change factors has to be to have a clear conscience. After all, even if we do get the lokpal bill passed, whats the guarantee that the people elected in that body will not be corrupt.
    Regarding the herd mentality, its helpful to the extent that it unites the nation (as witnessed during the early stages of the anna movement), but we need to get the bigger picture. Protesting alone is not going to solve any problems. The people in power are smart enough to keep delaying the process. We need to be extremely responsible and prudent when it comes to voting, and at the same time, do our own bit to cleanse this huge labyrinth of dirt.

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  10. Thank you. This is precisely what I wanted to put across. We need to get things started on our own. No system can give guarantees of absolute honesty and neither can an individual. The moment we realize how we, as citizens, contribute to corruption, we will be able to gradually eliminate it from our culture.

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  11. Well written,
    Read it along with this.
    http://www.livemint.com/2012/07/25194750/Freedom-is-never-really-free.html

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  12. There were always people like you, even before Independence, who said that indians cannot maintain their freedom, Indians are illiterate etc. What are you doing instead of writing a blog Piece like this. Even for people who come to rallies conducted by your political party, people do not know what does a leader from that dynasity going to do.People like Team Anna are trying to do something to eradicate the menace, and are doing what they think is correct, if you think this is not the right way, then proceed in the way you think is correct, who is stopping you from doing so. In democracy, everybody has the right to protest peacefully in whichever manner he feels correct.If you like, follow, if not, just ignore.

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    1. Rest assured, there will always be people like us who will have the courage to stand up and say the right thing without fear. Dynasty, when elected over and over again, in a democracy, acquires democratic colours. More so, I do hope you read the text which clearly does not talk in favour of a political party, in specific. Nevertheless, all the very best for the anarchy, which may soon dawn.

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  13. This is indeed a good article. I cant see any strong protest from anybody. It is strange. Yesterday, I found one poster in FB with two photograph. One with Mr. Bajpayee and another of Mr. Manmohan Singh. Text below the left one is investor's rating was highest in the world his time. Text below the right one is rating investor's is lowest in the world in the world his time. I asked that person where did you got this rating and what rating you are talking about. Person replied he do not understand about any rating. People should stop sharing that type of nonsense.

    Thanks again for a well formed article.
    Raktim

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    1. Thank you Raktim. I have seen that picture too and honestly, it gets everything wrong. It brands Mr.Vajpayee for unimaginable growth rates till 2006. Its another matter that his government bowed out in mid-2004 and never touched rates beyond 7. The picture remains silent about the period till 2010 and then attributes the recession to Dr.Singh. People, as of now, are willing to share anything sensational, with of course, the sense part missing.

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  14. good article.. nicely written .. captures where we (Indians) are wrong..

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  15. Hi Akil...It was a very honest attempt !! Coincidentally, i had written a similar article in my blog a year ago... :) http://mariascribbleboard.blogspot.com/

    Anyway, good to know that there are still sensible people around who has the ability to think logically than riding along the wave...

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    1. Thank you Mamtha. I just went through your post. Logic as a part of reasoning has fallen off the grounds now. For now, its mere emotions. That too, caught on the wrong foot.

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  16. Very well articulated indeed. You make good points. Indians (myself included), look for quick fix solutions to everything and then start either clutching at straws or blaming others when they don't find them.
    That said, let us not take away from the fact that it was Anna who brought this much needed. Long overdue issue forefront of public awareness.
    Lastly, nothing wrong in having a sexy chick around now, is there?

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    1. Ha Ha. Thank you! Yes, Anna must be given the credit for creating such a huge wave of fan following for the chick. Yet, the fans need to see how they run their houses before they point fingers at how others run theirs.

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  17. I was actually smiling while reading this piece of text because of the reason that I too share the same thoughts over the current issue.. People simply have to understand the fact that until unless they don't vote they will never be able to really throw out the problems.. the simple logic is that on an average we've merely 40% voting in all forms.. so it it obvious that the elected candidate has to cater to the needs of only those 40% our less to have fair chances of winning the election next time.. the day this count goes up to 80% , we will surely have many prayers answered... And undoubtedly people are corrupt too...

    Having said that I would humbly like to disagree you over one thing.. The boy you met with the Gandhi Topi was just another face of a crowd anywhere in this world... Those of us who have read the lokpal and jan lokpal bill always try to come harsh over those who haven't .. Before we point them out we need to understand what does exactly the term crowd mean in this sense..A crowd herein is a group of all educated, literate with the likes of uneducated and illiterate who are surely not "Aware"... education will never bring awareness and this can't be changed til eternity...we at this moment should if not else, should protest against the government for not passing the lokpal boll which was first passed in lok sabha in 1969... is that not a shame for our government that they not been able to pass a particular statute for some more than 40 years...that obviously leads to frustration in the minds of masses...

    but yet again I would like to force that the only answer is voting...a nice read by the way

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    1. Thank you Anshuman. You are absolutely correct to point out that voting is the only answer. Strangely, we have not been making use of it, at all. We have failed to realize the power it entails and the change it can bring. The boy I mentioned, like you rightly point out, was 'aware' but not 'educated'. And that's not his fault. He merely joined the protest because his friends were in it. But then again, you are correct, the change must be initiated from the top too. The government has to take effective steps to ensure that the frustration does not lead to desperation. At the end, the choice would be between democracy and anarchy.

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  18. Hi Akil,
    Loved your blog, you gave word to my thoughts. I would like to point out two more things:
    1: Amaran anshan: what they are teaching to our kids or current generation, if I don't listen to you, you can threaten me and get the things done.That does not seems right, atleast not to me?
    2: AK appeal not to attend school/collages recently: So these students or youth power they are mentioning in their speech, they should not attend the school, which is sponsored by their parents! and some parents might having been facing financial issues but still taking care of their eduactions.Putting students future in zeopardy so that your bill gets pass, not fair.

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    1. Thank you. And I totally agree with you on these two points. Actually, not just these. But many other tactics being used by the 'Team' need to force us out of our sleep. We just can not have a rowdy mob of a few thousand, dictating terms to this nation of billions.

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  19. Good article underpinned by lucid points. One correction though: PM under our constitution is head of government; the President is head of state

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    1. Thank you. And yes, I realized that later. PM is the head of executive :)

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  20. dear akhil, i am happy that u didn't doubt need of an independent anti corruptn agency for which anna is fighting for. u said "cleansing corruption needs a conscience, more than it needs a law". that is absolutely true. if v want to eradicate crrtpn, then d mindsets of 1 billion people has to be changed. How can v wipe out rapes or murders ? can it possible only by law? if not, then do we need such laws? No evil practice can be wiped out completely by law but it doesn't mean that we don't want strict laws against them..

    Why an ordinary citizen has now to pay for every service to which he or she is entitled free of cost as a law abiding and taxpaying citizen? why r we forced to give bribe? its because 2day we are living in a system which favors the corrupt. if we r honest then we have to fight against a mighty system which has immense power, almost alone. Do u forget d stories of satyendra dubey, narendra kumar ips, sheela masood and many more whistle blowers who had decided to be honest and eventually laid down their life fighting against the same system. why d culprits behind their murders had not been punished? it is because they r d agents of the people who controls the same system. How can a common man who has a family to feed, fight with the such a strong system? And what weapons he has? if he moves to court, the court will take 20 years to take a decision. if this is the condition prevailing in this country how can we direct them to challenge the system? This is the reason why people demand an independent investigative agency to hear their grievances. If we have a strong lokpal, then this condition will change. Then only we can ask the people to be honest. that is why team anna is fighting for it. Strong lokpal ensures that true and honest people can live without much difficulties.
    Anna is not the despot of Ralegan Siddhi as he is being made out to be now. It is difficult to understand why the flogging of drunkards—this has to be considered a category distinct from social drinkers—is so appalling to many. When Anna came to the village after his stint in the army, it was left ruined by liquor merchants. Many villagers had become addicts. Abject poverty and borrowing from money lenders had come as the obvious consequence. Anna saved the village from the menace by organising the youth who destroyed liquor units and discouraged drinking by resorting to the strong-arm tactic.

    What is so wrong with that? Village women in several parts of the country are known to unite and attack liquor outlets in their vicinity and their backers. It is not necessarily an attack on some one’s freedom; it is an effort to save one from ruination. Not many would be aware of the debilitating impact of alcohol in the countryside.

    You said "Vote sensibly" but to Whom? Look at the options people have Kalmadi's congress, BSY's bjp, mayavathi's bsp.....who will give a better future to the nation? If you have bad cards, shuffling them doesn't make them any better.

    it is funny to say that it is this movement that tarnished the country's image not hundreds of scams that looted the nation.

    Dont forget that JanLokpal bill has vastly improved upon the official Lokpal bill, offering hope for drastic action being taken against bribe-takers. To be specific, the civil society bill will cover bureaucrats and judges also, in addition to the Prime Minister, Ministers and Members of Parliament. It will not be a hollow, toothless recommendatory body as the one that is envisaged by the official bill. It will go far beyond that and function as a prosecuting agency, with the (CBI) being a part of it.
    If the govt is not ready to pass a strong lokpal, what should we do? should we remain silent and wait for next govt? how long we can wait? so there is only one way- protest

    Now, tell me what r ur reasons for not participating in the movement?

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  21. Dear Sandeep,

    The fact that you mentioned my name incorrectly, clearly tells me how you jump to conclusions without understanding and investigating the depths of the matter. I read through the entire comment of yous and realized that you actually have justified violence. You are propagating that what Anna does with drinkers is feasible and probably the only way to set things straight. Firstly, I don't side by that. Nothing, and absolutely Nothing which hampers a person's personal liberty is justifiable in any case.
    Secondly, you have misconstrued the article to be in favour of political parties and against the common man. It most certainly is not. The cause is appreciable, the tactics are reprehensible. What culture are you trying to promote? A culture where you have a band of 13 super-powerful Lokpals who oversee the entire nation? That is impractical and non-feasible. Moreover, what is your guarantee that the Lokpal and his team will not be corrupt? What is the surety that they will not turn dictators and snatch from us our much cherished dream of democracy?
    You talk of people being forced to pay bribes. You talk of delays. You talk of a powerless man who can do nothing against the system. Sorry, I don't buy that. Those who raised their voices and were killed, should be our inspiration. Not those, who declare themselves to be Messiahs and run movements that threaten our very basics. We need to explicitly understand that WE, as people, don't have to FIGHT the system. We have to CHANGE it. Those up there, who are basking in the glory of corruption are as much Indians as we are. You also talk of , who to vote for. Why don't we contest? Or still better, why don't a man with a sound character stand up for a post? He doesn't because he knows that people will not vote for him. Why? Because they vote on caste, community and monetary lines. So, who is the corrupt element here? Those who give bribes or those who happily take it?
    It is easy to blame others, but it is difficult to introspect and find where we stand. The moment we are able to do that, we will be able to contribute in order to create an India that our forefathers dreamt of.
    So, now I'd suggest, think over everything again and decide- you support an unwilling mob which blackmails institutions or you want to be the power of change yourself?

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  22. Well written. I agree with most of what you've argued.

    That said, I'm forced to admit that the Anna movement has had some positives. People are more aware of corruption and more united against it. That it has degraded into hero-worship and anti-Congress chants, is sad, but at the very least, politicians have been made aware that someone is watching and someone cares.

    Also, I've been terribly appalled by the media coverage during this whole thing. Holding Anna up to the same standards as everyone is fine, highlighting his proclivity for dictatorial solutions is also fine, but these days we're constantly bombarded by anti-Anna hype in the media. Team falling apart, members are corrupt, people not responding, and god knows what else. I don't agree with everything the man says, but for God's sake, don't keep making random accusations at him and his team everyday. And these are subtle, worded in the form of questions 'Is Team Anna falling apart?', which suggest everything, but are one hundred percent legally deniable later. All I'm saying is, report the facts, don't cast aspersions that aren't there.

    Pardon the conspiracy theory, but it almost seems as if the media is determined to stub this movement out as soon as possible. I have not joined his movement and I'm sick of the hero worship and anti-Congress bias, but what scares me more is the persistent media bias. Now I can no longer tell someone in an argument that Anna went away because he had a stupid idea, because I know myself that the media played a role.

    Agreed totally on the RTI part. I appreciate the UPA hugely for having the balls to pass that act.

    And before I forget, interesting picture, hadn't seen it before. they're getting creative now, internet hindus..

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    1. You've actually got the entirety of what I wanted to convey Kumar. And frankly, you are absolutely right about the media bias. In fact, there are a number of questions which lie unanswered. I have no clue as yet about the stand of the principal opposition party on Team Anna. Neither do I know what the Left or the other regional parties have to say about it. Apart from the one time, when they shared stage with Team Anna, no one has spelled out anything in particular. Add to it, the nexus which usually exists between the political class and the fourth pillar of democracy. The bias, in all its subtlety, instantly becomes clear. That said, I am only hoping that no more anarchy prevails. I do hope people realize what's to value and what's to discard. But I guess, that's a huge thing to look forward to. Thank you for the appreciation :)

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  23. Quite sensible approach towards one of the crucial problems our nation is facing. One can see many people preaching and accusing one another for it. But most of them failed to realize that, in a democracy like ours, no single group of people or party can be held accountable for creating or resolving any problem.

    We all are responsible for it in some way or other.

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  24. Good read. I appreciate the efforts put in.

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  25. Great Article...Hope more and more people Read it. Happy to see so many sensible people still there. :-) Cheers

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