Anna Hazare Brings Social Media Revolution In India

The crusades of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption reached me not through Television or local newspapers or any of the 21st century medium like online news portals, instead the development stuck me in the flurry of numerous status messages on social media including Facebook and Twitter and also through various internal messaging system. It seemed like India, our own country is having a revolution break in social media after the social media influenced uprisings in parts of North Africa and the far middle east. Not only this, the Indian news channels were quick in seizing on the grounds of Hazare’s anti-corruption head quarters at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.



The people in India were craving to end the corruption once and for all.

But this isn’t what actually it turned out to be. Is it?

My blog is followed by few people outside India and I am sure they might be wondering what I am talking about. For them I would like to brief all that happened last week in the capital city of India. Last Week, Anna Hazare, and his 150 followers demanded the Government of India to enct the Jan Lokpal Bill, which would help in establishing an anti-corruption panel in India outside of government and political interference.

This was done by following the paths of Mahatma Gandhi i.e. by the way of a fast-unto-death at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and to my biggest shock millions of Indians supported him through social media mediums and ubiquitous status messages. After all the social drama, on April 9th, the government of India finally agreed to all the demands made by Anna Hazare and his fast was broken with a glass of sweet lemon water. Phew!!!!!!

But I dont understand why all these social drama was required? And if he was doing these things why were the millions of Indians supporting him?

First of all the fast, the movement and the goal, all three of them were misguided from the motive. I would like to remove his personal politics from the equation before discussing anything further. I know you might be remembering his contributions in developing the model village in Maharashtra which he still describes as Gandhian because of his beliefs in non-violence. Anna Hazare personally disregards the entire democracy in India due to its base of ill informed voters. Let me tell you Mr Anna Hazare, these are those voters who make up the masses for whom you purports to act.

It is basically done to cut the aam aadmi out of the scene in order to get anything done. This entire process is the perfect example of circular reasoning. And trust me these things are of no use when you go out of your house to change the world.

But here Hazare is not the prime focus. The main focus is on corruption and how to bring Indians out of this corrupted society. As per me, the Jan Lokpal Bill itself is littered with legislative stories and has the full potential to corrupt the society. It is nothing but a way to address the symptoms of corruption rather than searching its root cause. And this cause is embedded in the entire nation’s mentality of acceptance.

I was so shocked with those status messages expressing solidarity with Anna Hazare. His sentiments are noble and worth, I agree, but the only fear is that these things give more freedom to sheep mentality.

Dear Anna, this concept is not at all new, its just presented in a different way. Why do people copy pasted those status messages supporting Anna Hazare and his anti-corruption movement. Next time when you are speeding up your car on the traffic signal and the policemen catches you, i ll see how many of you keep your faith by not paying him a bribe. Corruption doesn’t involve good or bad guys, it is not consist of Suresh Kalmadi or the 2G guys, corruption is participation from your side, it is the acceptance of the society.

This post is not meant just to go against Anna Hazare but I believe that the real change cannot come into existence by bringing new laws, it will come when we attack the cause. This is the main point which the Indian status message revolution and Anna’s crusades missed it since the beginning.


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4 comments on “Anna Hazare Brings Social Media Revolution In India

  1. I was going thru the Jan Lokpal Bill 2010 and was happy to read the provisions made on anti-corruption. The effort is commendable. This bill is the product of activists/civil society so has to fulfill the aspirations of every Indian. However following are some of my observation on the bill and i would be happy if you could clarify the same.

    1. The entire thinking behind Lokpal institution is that a strong anti corruption system would deter public servants and government servants from indulging in corrupt practices. It has no mechanism for preventing corruption to happen. It is only treatment oriented.
    2. The ultimate aim of this bill is to change/modify the behavior of Public/Government Servant but there is no incentive for the honest public servant (he/she is dependent upon service rules). Using coercive methods for change have a bad history worldwide.
    3. Section 4 of the bill relates to the Chairperson and members of Lokpal not to hold certain office and section 6 relates to appointment of Chairperson and members. Reading these two sections doesn’t clarify whether the Chairperson and its members would be Indian or foreigner. It appears that there is no bar on Lokpal being a foreigner. Section 4 bars a person who is connected or was ever connected with a political party from holding the office but it doesn’t bar a person who is connected to a religious group/ outfit or party.
    4. The Lokpal bill proposes to repeal the Central Vigilance Commission Act and merger of anti corruption branch of CBI and departmental vigilance with the institution of Lokpal. The entire structure of operation and its functioning with other law enforcing authorities is not clear.
    5. Lokpal is formed as a supreme institution for the effective anti-corruption and grievance redressal system at centre so that effective deterrent is created against corruption and to provide effective protection to whistleblowers. In an democratic system no institution can be given unlimited powers. No proceedings or decision of the Lokpal is liable to be challenged, reviewed, quashed or called in question in any court of ordinary Civil Jurisdiction. Such a provision is more of autocratic in nature than following the principle of natural Justice.
    6. Who will set up the Selection committee under section 6 is not clear. The selection committee is heavily tilted towards serving (the bill doesn’t mention serving or retired) bureaucrats and Judges. Civil society/citizen participation is limited to awardees of Bharat Ranta, Nobel laureates and Magsaysay Award.
    7. The selection process is not clear. Selection process is solely based on the recommendations of selection committee members who are mostly bureaucrat and Judges. There is no time frame for selection process. Section 7(h) says public feedback shall be invited on the shortlisted name but doesn’t mention or describe what will be done and how will this feedback be used. What would be the waiting period for the feedback and how citizens can make Lokpal accountable. It is presumed in the bill that the Lokpal would not need control citizens.
    8. Section 7(i) mentions that the selection committee may decide to use any means to collect more information about the background and past achievements of the shortlisted candidates. This will take time and money, who will bear the cost of it. Ultimately they will depend upon the existing institutions and authorities.
    9. Section 7(j) mentions about calling shortlisted candidates for discussion but what will be the framework of discussion is not clear. Having “unimpeachable integrity and should have demonstrated their resolve and efforts to fight against corruption” looks very vague and needs specific parameters to be defined.
    10. Section 7(l) mentions that final selections for the Chairperson and members shall be made preferably through consensus. The chairperson and members both shall be selected by the selection committee. What accountability do the selection committee carry ensure that a impartial and appropriate Lokpal is selected. Decision by consensus is a idealistic situation.
    11. Section 7(m) mentions that all meetings of selection committee shall be video recorded and shall be made public. It doesn’t mention whether video recording shall be censored or not. A censored video is of no use.
    12. The Lokpal fund appears more like a revenue generation mechanism than a fund for infrastructural requirement. The purpose of depositing the penalties/fines imposed and 10% of the loss of public money detected/prevented on account of investigation doesn’t serve the purpose when there is provision under section 14(3) to meet the Prime Minister aannually to assess the needs of Lokpal for finances and manpower and further section 5(4) charges the administrative expenses to the Consolidated fund of India. Instead a separate budget provision can be made based on the annual planning exercise of the Lokpal.
    13. The “whistleblower” is defined in the context of “threat” if there is no threat than he/she is not a whistleblower. There is already a bill called “The Whistle Blowers (Protection in Public Interest Disclosures) bill 2006 introduced in Rajya Sabha. The Lokpal bill is silent on this bill.
    14. There is already shortage of Judges in Indian Court. The government is not appointing judges and not providing infrastructure for the same. The section 13(a) requires appointment of special Judges. A proper strategy is required at national level for the appointment of required number of Judges.
    15. Section 14(7) provides for taking decision to initiate investigation or prosecution against any member of the Cabinet or any judge of High Court or Supreme Court in a meeting of all the existing members and the Chairperson. How the decision shall be taken is not clear. Is Prime Minister included or excluded under section 14(7)?
    16. Under section 26(3) regarding complaints against officers and employees of Lokpal, the investigations shall be completed within one month of receipt of the complain but it is not clear who will conduct such investigation. Who will head the separate investigative wing made of such investigations. How can Lokpal conduct investigation against it’s staff when the bill itself is stating that for all other public authorities the CVO will not be from the same authority.
    17. It is not clear whether Lokpal is a Public authority or a government authority.



  3. Pingback: India: Social Media Powers Anti Corruption Bill Campaign · Global Voices

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