India: corruption scandal sparks "Tahrir-like" citizen movement

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31 Responses to “India: corruption scandal sparks "Tahrir-like" citizen movement”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its getting closer to us now…I actually thought it would burn out first. Not geographically closer, mind, that doesn’t matter so much.

    -Blaze

  2. Lobster says:

    I wish them luck, but India won’t be so easy to overthrow. The nation has a very significant military and they’ve been spending far more than most other countries in the world in recent years, trying to make sure they have an obvious advantage over a chronically unstable Pakistan.

    Then the other side of it is even if some sort of massive citizen uprising succeeds, who is going to secure all those weapons?

    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing or that it’s any reason to let people remain oppressed. All I’m saying is it could end up like Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Chaos, with one of the largest militaries in the world effectively up for grabs.

    • Laxmin says:

      Dude, get a grip on reality. and if possible, please learn a LOT about what you are griping about.

      THe Protests are NOT for overthrowing a government, its not civil war or a coup. Its just a citizen’s demand for a neutral anti-corruption body, an Independent Ombudsman. Thats all.

      All the talk about the weapons falling to whose hands is all kiddish. Also India’s very viable enemy is Communist China which has a thing going on with Pakistan,help its nuclear weapons program, militarise Tibet and encircle India with a Military ring. China is in possessed of Indian territory and claims a whole Indian State as its own.

    • Metlin says:

      You, sir, are an idiot. Nobody is trying to overthrow the government, which happens to be democratically elected.

      The very least you could have done is read the blurb that Xeni had posted:

      “…force the government to pass a comprehensive anti-corruption legislation, the Jan Lokpal Bill.

      The citizenry is trying to force the government into passing an anti-corruption bill with more teeth, with bigger consequences for corrupt bureaucrats and an independent body composed of citizenry to provide oversight.

      Even ignoring your really poor grasp on the political and military makeup of the region, to Laxmin’s point, the worst thing that could happen is that one of the political parties in the ruling coalition withdraws support and reelections take place.

  3. tr3x27 says:

    Anna Hazare is an amazing activist, and has been responsible for helping thousands of Indians fight corruption and injustice. Just google Ralegaon Siddhi, and see what I mean.
    But if anyone thinks that this will spark off into an “Indian Spring”, I’m sorry but you are mistaken. Even if the Citizens Ombudsman Bill is passed, I’m sceptical of any major change. India has great laws, among the finest in the world, but even if they look good on paper, their implementation is another story. The facts is that the wrong people have the power, and abuse it, so even if you have a decent politician, he cannot really do much to change things.
    I was just discussing this with some friends, and we came to the conclusion that the only way India can change is extremely slowly, through violent revolution, or if we had a benevolent dictator.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am currently travelling in India. This is nothing like Egypt or Tunesia movements at this point. India has long had a functioning parliamentary democracy, though clearly full of corruption at all levels highest levels. The general populace abhors this, but basically has accepted it for a long time.

    Yes this issue is on the news 24-7 here with all kinds of pundits and people in heated discussions talking over one another. There is no restriction of the formal nes channels to report on this. The government is refusing to form the “formal” committee which includes representatives of civil society and government preferrring an “informal” committee while the protestors want a formally established joint committee to write the new Jan Lopal anti-corruption bill.

    Most likely result is that one of the political parties in the current government coallition withdraws it supports from the current government in an attempt to coopt the protest movement to consolidate it’s support base and a new government is formed. Yes a better anti-corruption bill gets passed, but in the end it’s all about the actions of the courts, etc. to properly enforce the law and if the law doesn’t have any real punishment not much will change.

    Meanwhile it’s business as usual throughout India beyond a few passive demonstrations and alot of talking heads on the TV and twitter posts flying all over the place.

    • lokayukta says:

      I think if you read the text of the proposed bill addresses the concerns you bring out. The top working institutions in India, the ones which haven’t lost the public trust, and which are not totally susceptible to the temptations of crony capitalism or political patronage, are the election commission and the Supreme Court, the former more than the latter. Both of these institutions have reasonable autonomy and mandate to initiate action. It is the same autonomy and real power to act against corrupt politicians, which is being sought for a new body: the Lokpal. Indian politics has shown repeatedly, that it doesn’t have any self-correcting mechanisms. Hopefully, the new body will act as one.

  5. Richard says:

    I can’t understand why she would choose the Jantar Mantar site rather than the the Gandhi memorial statue for instance.

    Jantar Mantar,
    Sawai Jai Singh’s Astronomical Observatory in New Delhi:
    http://www.henleygraphics.com/IndiaPhotos3.htm

    Does someone have the reasoning behind that choice ?

    • Laxmin says:

      Not every protest has to take place near/at the Gandhi Memorial.

      Jantar Mantar is just a stone throw away from the Parliament House. It is now basically a green turf garden with the Astronomical Observatory unused and affords a practical arena for meetings, especially those of protest against the Politicos and party honchos.

      Visibility is key to any Protest, even more than symbolism.

  6. octopussoup says:

    Why do I have the feeling that it’s just the muslims in India being copycats and having the misguided idea that they are going to overthrow the tyranny of indian democracy and….that they will actually do anything.

  7. abulafia says:

    Corruption has long been endemic to the political process and life of India. The country is large, the government trying to legislate for a huge population over a vast area of land which encompasses huge (larger than most) urban areas and huge (ditto) rural areas.

    I would make a comparison to the US, or the former Soviet Union, but such comparisons are…..

    Oh, wait….

    • Mister44 says:

      Yes it can. For quite some time. Revolution won’t happen until around half of us are too a breaking point. And that won’t happen as long as we are placated with our cell phones, satellite TV, and X-Boxes. Even our poor has most of those things.

      Most people are simply too apathetic to care which way we go – left – right – as long as the President doesn’t interrupt American Idol, they couldn’t care less.

      • Cowicide says:

        Yes it can. For quite some time. Revolution won’t happen until around half of us are too a breaking point. And that won’t happen as long as we are placated with our cell phones, satellite TV, and X-Boxes. Even our poor has most of those things. Most people are simply too apathetic to care which way we go – left – right – as long as the President doesn’t interrupt American Idol, they couldn’t care less.

        I would agree with you, but without jobs, healthcare, etc. the poor are selling their TVs, etc. and they are getting restless. The middle class is becoming poorer and poorer as well.

        I’m not saying widespread revolution the USA will happen this year, but if things keep going (or not going) as they have been the current revolution that’s already started in places like Wisconsin will continue to spread and gather strength. They have Wii in WI.

  8. gwailo_joe says:

    After some thought: my first comment was hasty and pedantic.

    Reading the same article again I see things I missed the first time.

    Ol’ Molly the law minister: ‘well, hold on now: we are very, very busy running the country and if this useless bill is being resurrected again after 40 some odd years: well, there must be a good point to it.’

    No, actually it sounds like a pointless bureaucratic shuck and jive.

    Thumbs way the fuck down.

    Indian citizens make your democracy work for you! Fight the entrenched power!

    IAC=AOK OB=BS

  9. Yamara says:

    YES! It’s time democracy was brought to India! For far too long they’ve suffered under the iron boot of–

    Wait.

     

    Uh oh.

  10. Duffong says:

    Don’t have a cow!

  11. lokayukta says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg8ZZ__sPlg

    Slightly long but exposes the extent of corruption in India.

  12. Anonymous says:

    yayy!! come on india !! time to say enough is enough !!

  13. Mister44 says:

    The anti-corruption movement has a $0 Gandhi bill to give people when they ask for bribes.

  14. millrick says:

    fasting?
    worked once. why not again?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am glad everyone is thinking that it is the time to be the change.

  16. jaytkay says:

    A Mahir moment! Sweet! “I kiss you! I kiss you!”

    Oh, wait. Never mind.

  17. gwailo_joe says:

    No. It’s actually a ‘Tunisia’ moment. If you recall it was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi that sparked the protests that ousted the incumbent dictator in that country.

    He got too tired of the corruption. . . If we’re talking about one person starting a movement. . . Tunisia is the place and that’s the guy to compare to.

    And now that I read the article; well, first of all. . .the lady ain’t dead yet. A hunger strike is not the same; until it is. And the on-line petition has 570,000 supporters. . .

    That’s 0.047% of the population. Yes, manymany people there have no online access. And most everyone can agree that corruption is bad.

    But it’s not exactly a mandate of the people.

  18. lokayukta says:

    It’s also only the 3rd day of the fast, and it’s a guy, not a lady who is fasting.

    For some context, Anna Hazare has used this method of civil disobedience before to pressurize the government to pass a Right to Information (RTI) Act, which is a hallmark in the public accountability legislation movement in India. A lot of RTI activists have been brutally attacked and killed in India recently, and that’s another thing that the demand for a Jan Lokpal bill addressed.

  19. lokayukta says:

    Here’s some technical details of the proposed bill:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Lokpal_Bill

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