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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

How One Man Can Move a Nation


Written by Dr. Seshadri Kumar, August 19, 2011


Cannot tell you how it felt when Anna was going on his cavalcade from Tihar to Ramlila Maidan - it is an inspiring moment. This morning we were waiting for when this would happen, and since nothing happened for a while, my mom was watching her favorite daytime soap. I turned on the TV in the other room and then told her about this, she switched to the news channel.  Now my mom is very particular about watching her daytime soaps, no matter what else is on TV, so I said, "I just wanted to let you know so you didn't miss the event - do you want me to change back to the soap?"  She said, "who cares about the soap now? Let's stay with this - it is too electric."  After a few minutes, she said, "This is a great man.  I was too young when Gandhiji was alive ... I feel like I am seeing him now." My wife and I felt the same way. I had never before seen the ability of one man to move a nation before now.

Just now Team Anna concluded a news conference at Ramlila maidan.  Boy, they are energized.  They have won, and they know it.  They say the Government has to pass the Jan Lokpal bill.  They are open to the way to do things, but they will not compromise on corruption.  They are not going to say someone or some group is above the law on corruption.  NO.  One journalist asked the oft-repeated canard in the press that Anna is operating outside the parliamentary system and that this might be construed as anti-democratic, to which Arvind Kejriwal said clearly and forcefully that the government exists for the people.  The Lokpal bill has been introduced and rejected 10 times since 1968.  They (India Against Corruption) have conducted referendums in several places in India, and in every referendum the people have consistently returned results that over 85% of the people want the Jan Lokpal bill.  The concept of a democracy is not that MPs only get elected once in 5 years and then do whatever the hell they choose, he said.  They have a duty to represent the people in a parliamentary democracy, and if the people want the Jan Lokpal, then it is their duty to pass it.  

Arvind Kejriwal said that if the government doesn't trust Team Anna and the millions of Indians who are marching on the streets that this is the wish of most Indians, then they are open to the Government holding a nationwide referendum on the Jan Lokpal bill v/s the watered-down Govt lokpal bill.  Whichever the people vote for should be made law.  Is the govt. ready to do this?  If not, then they should accept the Jan Lokpal bill.  And they are in a position to pass it, since they are in a majority in both parliament and the standing committee.

I think Parliament had better take notice and start preparing to pass this bill.  The people have spoken.

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