Monday, 15 August 2011

Freedom Park, Bengaluru - India Against Corruption - A life changing experience...

The Jan Lokpal Bill Team representing the Civil Society. Harbingers of change to Modern India

From morning, it has been Anna Hazare all over our minds. Though we are busy in work, there is some CD running in the background about India Against Corruption. After all, this is the biggest difficulty that we are all facing and now, someone has come forward to help us. Of course, there are inhibitions. Some people question the team that is leading this fight over its legitimacy, recognition, affiliation or righteousness. I really wonder over these people. In most cases, these questioners are those who have never seen the pain of being cheated, wounded and haunted by corruption, redtapism, bureaucracy or differentiation. These people tend to refer the followers of Mr Hazare as herd of sheep. My only question to these people is, "If not follow Mr Hazare, what else do we do to fight corruption?". I repeatedly ask this question and I repeatedly get the answer that the givers of bribe must stop giving. And for this, I repeatedly argue that the givers can not stop giving
  • Your wife gave birth to a cute little baby. You go to the office of Registrar of Births & Deaths to get a Birth Certificate. You are asked for Rs 100-500 in the name of Khushi, what do you do? Give it out of Khushi. Yes, the Ghum starts with Khushi. You think, what's important? Rs 500 or your lovely baby's birth certificate. If your wife gets to know that you did not get the birth certificate because you are an anti-corruption believer, she will . . . you (fill in the blanks yourself imagining about your wife/girl friend & if you are a girl reading this, imagine what you would do)
  • You want to meet the principal to take admission for your kid. The peon asks Rs 100. Is Rs 100 important or your kid's future? "Give it honey", says your wife, "Add some tips too"
  • You want to purchase a land/site/home and the official keeps asking you to come tomorrow, day after and so on giving you one reason everyday. Will you pay him Rs 1000 or spend Rs 10000 on your petrol & office leaves?
  • You are caught by the police for some reason. Will you give him Rs 300 or go with him to police station, lodge FIR, get punchnama (5 witnesses) and file a case hiring a lawyer paying Rs 5000 as fees who tells you that you will lose the case before even fighting it?
  • You applied for a passport. The police verification call has come. Will you pay him Rs 100 or tell him that you are anti-corruption and let him write a negative report and ensure you do not get a passport all your life? Don't underestimate the power of police. They can ask you any question and you can just be caught in anything and everything in just 2-3 questions. They will ask you for a 1000 documents and can very clearly say that they are not satisfied with them
These are just a few real life examples, regular examples, of situations which we all have gone through. The common man does not have the energy in him to fight these adversities. So, he gives up each time. Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 1000 & so on. He keeps giving and giving up with each passing situation and one fine day, he gives even before you ask. He just wants the solution to get out from the trouble. He does  not want an answer or a solution. He just wants to get rid, go away and live

Now, the questioners ought to think & answer themselves, how practical are their questions? Have they been through these situations & what did they do in such situations? What was the effect of it? Its very easy to speak about not giving bribes. However, in a world that is bribed, you just can not survive without it

The second thing that most of these questioners tell us is to use our power to vote. To vote for whom? Each time there is an election, all the leaders come forward to us and tell us that they will improve and do whatever we ask. They tell us that they will make our lives better. We, fools, believe them. What else can we do? Ultimately, we have to vote for someone. So, during this time, whoever makes the best of the promises, we just vote for them. After that, they don't know us and we don't know them till the next elections. In such a situation, where do we use the power of vote? There are Yediyurappas in BJP, there are Kalmadis/Rajas in Congress and so on. Who do we vote for?

And after I ask these 2 questions, the questioners finally resort to their old techniques and tell us, "Why don't you stand for elections?"

Now come on, if you want to speak, speak about solutions & answers. Else, its better to shut your whatever. Its kind of stinking.  There is no meaning in just pulling the issue just because you have to prove something and ensure that you will not lose the debate or whatever. Grow up. At this juncture, we have a solution in the form of Jan Lokpal bill. And for all those questioners who are questioning these 6 people fighting for the bill, firstly get your knowledge levels updated. Learn what is Lokpal, Jan Lokpal, Government suggested Lokpal, the differences between them, benefits, concerns, etc. Only when you have learnt these, you can speak better. There is no meaning in seeing the TV or catching comments on the internet and following them blindly. Visit this website to find out more and for those who are lazy to even read, watch this video where Mr Arvind Kejriwal briefs you on the differences and why they are fighting and wanting the Jan Lokpal bill to be passed in their format only and not as per the Government's format. If not anything more, you will at least be SHOCKED to know the differences and the games played by our honorable leaders in power

While all these thoughts were running over mind, there was a call for some action. Raghuram called me and asked me if I can join him at Freedom Park. I was ready but Bengaluru was like raining cats and dogs. I waited for a few minutes and as it did not seem to stop, I drove through the rain. It was fun driving on MG Road, Cubbon Park and finally reaching the Freedom Park

I was wet. I mean, I was drenched in rain. I logged in to the venue and observed that about two and a half thousand people were present. I inquired the organizers and understood that more than 5000 people have visited today. That was really a big number. But then, if you tell this to the National Leaders, they will tell you that the population of Bangalore is close to 10 million and not even 0.05% of people are interested in the Jan Lokpal Bill. Its so simple & easy to rule out things. Statistics and Law are 2 subjects which can just, just, just be used however one in power wants

Soon, the energy was flowing into us. We joined the people singing Vande MataramHum Honge KaamayaabYeh Desh Hai Veer Jawaanon Ka and so on. We kept roaring with slogans like, 'Annaji aap aage bado, Hum tumhare saath hai', 'Shun Shun Corruption', 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', etc. I was kind of having a ball. At the same time, someone handed over the national flag in my hands and I loved holding it and making it cruise through the sky. It was raining heavily and with each droplet, our energies were kind of doubling. There were songs, slogans, speeches, etc highlighting and enlightening us about the progress. There were regular news updates about what was going on across the nation

A news flowed in that Ms Kiran Bedi & Mr Shanti Bhushan were released and immediately on release, they went to the Delhi Gate. Very quickly, this was followed by the super news item of the day that Mr Anna Hazare will also be released. The moment this news was announced, the whole gathering came to life. Nobody was seen sitting. AR Rahman's Vande Mataram energized everyone and people sang, danced, jumped with joy and enjoyed themselves ( But then, this is just the beginning

The happiness, the confidence, the patriotism, the strength that I felt in these 2 hours are something that I can really not express. One can only experience them. It was a magical. Another fantastic rule made by the organizers was that nobody was allowed to contribute more than Rs 500. The estimated expenses for a 10 day fasting at the place was about Rs 0.35 million. It would not be a big deal for anyone to collect this amount. In fact, just 1 person can donate this sum. However, to ensure that the donor will not be blamed in the future by the Government or to avoid a circus like setting a parliamentary JPC to investigate the source & intention on such a donation as well as to ensure that there is mass participation and thus let people feel that they too are a significant part of this struggle, the donation was capped at Rs 500 per head. This was really awesome

I thoroughly enjoyed these couple of hours in support of the Jan Lokpal bill. Most of us hail from a middle class family. For us, leading life itself is a challenge. Daily needs are a dilemma. In these times, when someone has come forward to help us selflessly, we definitely will join hands with them. We know that we can not bring change to the world ourselves. Its only the big shots who can do this. Just imagine if Mr Amitabh BachchanMrs Aishwarya Rai BachchanMr Mukesh AmbaniMr Sachin TendulkarMr MS Dhoni, just these 5 people, just 5, paanchsirf paach, sit on a hunger strike saying that they want the Jan Lokpal bill to be passed, what will happen? I leave the answer to your imagination. And once you have the answer, ask yourself, 'What is the value of your life?'

A change will come into this world if and only if the leaders change. The orders flow from the top. Even if requests flow from the bottom, the person requesting will be fired. Forget about questioning or orders. The bosses dictate the terms and the employees follows. That is how it is. The change has to come from the top of the pyramid. We are all rotten, rusted, trashed losers at the bottom of the pyramid who are still dying to meet our basic needs and fulfilling the needs of our leaders by bribing them and doing whatever they tell. The Maslow's need hierarchy theory says that the first thing we human beings need is Roti, Kapda, Makaan , ie, basic needs and then we have needs of security followed by sociologicalphysiologicalesteem and self-actualization needs. So, the people in esteem or self actualization stage can only bring about a change. Not the herds in the bottom of the pyramid who are unsure of their own lives

This is a little that I have been able to do towards the India Against Corruption campaign. I definitely look forward to do more of my bit towards the same. I would love to see a corruption free India in the coming days. But then, its a very long way to go. The Government currently appears in a confused state. Whether the future will add confusion, cause diffusion or bring solution is something that we need to wait & watch

PS: On the way back home, it continued raining terribly. The Kumara Krupa road was blocked. I somehow managed to cross it. The entire stretch from Windsor Manor to Mekhri Circle was jammed with vehicles moving at a speed of 5-10 kmph. A WagonR car was moving ahead of me. At a compulsory U-turn near Sadashivnagar, the driver misjudged and the vehicle got struck on the footpath such that its wheels were off the road and the body was struck hanging over the footpath as it was a high one. I luckily held on my brakes. It was a family in the car and they were safe. I got down. Some other people stopped to help. We lifted the car off the footpath and placed it on the road. It was not a big achievement by any measures but the people happily thanking you as if you saved their life make you remember this moment forever. I relished those moments that added to my already excited senses and felt somewhat like the day was truly complete. The happiness in helping people is something that, perhaps, has no equivalence


  1. Really commend your effort in going to the Freedom Park in such a weather. I also wanted to go but was deterred by the weather.

  2. thanks @prashantmehta glad to know that you shall be joining the movement soon... :)

  3. Well Puneet good to see you part of this fight against corruption & proud to see you practice in real life as I have witnessed you fighting against to pay the bribe which is actually required by each one of us & the best solution for this struggle.

    Further reading your blog it made me think on the issue & express my views on the same. Do read it at :)

  4. We are all with Anna and will chip with whatever we can buddy...and you keep going..with more posts...together we will bring push the corrupt out...and bring in accountable leadership...Jai Hind..

  5. Off course points raised by you are very valid and force anyone to think before commenting. I am also one of those who have been asking to correct ourselves first before making any such law, Though never doubted the credibility of Anna and his team. I will try to answer you in the best of my capacity.
    We can make laws, even more stringent than what is being proposed, but will that really help remove corruption in the current system? Aren't there enough laws which failed only because system itself is corrupt? When I say that correct ourselves first, I mean to say that stop bribing at places where you can avoid. Off-course examples given by you are such where it cannot be avoided and it is where the system comes into picture. There are laws to punish such people, but don't work effectively. Let me take one more example. Why do we bribe the police constable? Why can't we pay the fine? Or even before that why don't we wear helmet so that he does not catch us?
    As far as voting is concerned, as per section 49-O, you have right of not voting in India. You can read the details on net, but in nutshell its a powerful tool which can actually do wonders. It is not taught in any college or school out of a bigger conspiracy (which again is an example of rotten system).
    Do you support Anna? Really?? Why???
    Just like that...

  6. Hey A prudent blog post, and of course its the most prudent thing to do to support Anna Hazare but one has to imagine what happens when the bill is passed ? I mean come one we will be voting for the same corrupt people who defenetly will come up with something which makes the jan lokpal un effective ..most probably they will corrupt that institution also.
    I am a supporter of Anna hazare but some times I get appalled by the myopic views of team Anna ..for them the jan lokpal bill is the end of the world ..the sanjivini booti which will heal Indian mind set, Its not.
    The problem lies with the corrupt leadership as you mentioned, the jan lokpal bill aims at weeding out the corrupt ..which means if the bill is effective in the coming years there will be very few politicians left in India, a leadership crisis.
    I think team anna should take greater responsibility as they have the intent and support of the people..what India needs is a way through which honest people can come to the make that way its essential that a honest government with clean people comes to power for at least 10 years.

    Just thinking that politicians will mend their way because there is a lokpal with tooth as sharp as a shark is like daydreaming.

  7. Can't agree more! It got to be now or never!

  8. thanks Priyanka, I read your blog... Nice write up... :)

    India's No. 1 blog, you seem to be roaring with energy haan... :)

    Mohan, thank you... :)

  9. nice..its good we shuld keep on updating our blogs. It's now or never!

  10. animesh k mishra, like you have mentioned, every rose comes with a thorn attached... we can not avoid it... like i also mentioned, we just have a hope... Lokpal bill might not be a 100% answer but it can at least help us by 50-60%... something is better than nothing... that is all we expect to happen... BTW, there were similar inhibitions when we forced to Govt to pass the RTI Act... people said that things will not work... but today, don't we see it working... Again, not 100%... but to certain extent... if all these scams are exposed and at least a few corrupt people are in jail, its because of the RTI act... Jan Lokpal will be yet another such tool... Again, like you say, its not going to be 100%... People will change if and only if leaders change... :)

  11. kumar gaurav, absolutely right... there is a greater responsibility on the team... just passing a bill is no solution... however, one point is that we do not have a dearth of leaders... India is full of people who can lead, lead the right way & do the right things... we can, on a better note, have better leaders... :)

  12. Sneha, absolutely correct... :)

  13. So nice to see your efforts Puneet :) :)

  14. SuKupedia... Thank you... :)

  15. hey,
    well written article sir
    though a wider overview might help
    here check it out

  16. Superb Initiative dude..The Anna Hazare Mass moment is really making huge progress in tackling Corruption in India. Yesterday our entire office had launched a mass peace protest against corruption. Long live Anna Hazare. But I also feel the Lok Pal bill should not be passed in a Hurry and a proper debate should happen before it becomes a Law..

  17. great thing to happen to you...hope it is a life changing experience...all of us have to do our bit...I did my bit in the 10th CBSE classroom today...channeled a few young minds in the right direction!

  18. The post is full of joy and the sense of accomplishment, capped by the act of rescuing the family from the car. God bless you.

    The bill needs to be enforced most strictly for it to be successful, else the politicians will bend it their way. How is it going to shape up?

    @animesh: the middle class is exercising the right of not voting and look at where it has led us! The illiterates and the vote banks are voting in all kinds of scum into the Parliament; At least now, let us exercise our votes by electing ONLY the clean ones, and report the rest to the Lokpal!

  19. Twesh Mishra, thanks for the words...

  20. Harshad Sonaje, I agree...

  21. Nalini Hebbar, yeah, it definitely was a nice experience... great to see that you are making a difference to young minds... if we can channel youth, there is nothing better than that... and this is the age at which they need to be channeled... like they say, 'mend it & set it right when a plant, you can't do anything with a tree... it hurts to cut the tree and so, you turn helpless...'

  22. Hey what happened to my comment?

  23. Very good article! Appreciate your effort of participating in the protest even in rain. Each effort counts.

    I agree with each point though I believe voting is also very much important. Whats missing is that middle class people do not vote (60% do not vote) and thus it is not considered a vote bank.

    People should support this movement but should also realize their power of voting and spend time to do a research on candidates in their constituency before voting.

  24. sanchit, thank you... valid point... however, research on candidate, in most cases, proves that the candidate is not worthy enough... we have hardly seen anyone in the field of politics who is doing his job correctly and serving the society... from the last 5 years, i have been planning to vote for the right candidate... i study them... and get to know that none of them will add any value to anything except their own bank accounts... till today, i am yet to cast a vote... i know that my one vote makes no difference... my only concern is, when there are two thieves, say A & B, standing before your house and giving you only 2 options, either let A in or B in to steal your house... who will you let in... and, is it worthy or useful to decide who has to be let in... or is it wise to walk out and save your life... this is what most of us think and have decided not to vote till we are certain that the candidate is worthy to be brought to power... :)

  25. @puneet, way to go. i would definitely not have gone through the rain and what not. But guess we have to move our behinds and get behind Mr. Anna for all the efforts and genuine concern for us and all of us.

    keep writing

  26. @mark, thanks for your kind words... ;)

  27. Nice post. The Freedom Park in Bangalore is a tribute to freedom fighters of the country, who were imprisoned in this very spot. The park was inaugurated by L.K. Advani. During the emergency of 1977, political leaders like Ramakrishna Hegde, AB Vajpayee and Deve Gowda were also imprisoned in this jail. Explore more about freedom park also.