Posts Tagged ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’

This was the need of the hour. A person who can connect alike with the young and the old, a person who can awaken the mass, who can shake up governments, who has the power to mobilize the youth, the power to lend voice to the people’s decisions – a decision that marks the beginning of a bright future. We have the man we were waiting for, Anna Hazare.


The face of India’s fight against corruption, Anna Hazare is a social activist and a veteran Gandhian. Kisan Baburao Hazare, as his real name goes, was born on 15 January, 1940 in a small village called Bhingar in Maharashtra. He was brought up by a childless aunt who funded his education in Mumbai but financial instability pushed him into selling flowers for a living and he had to quit studies after Class VII. Anna Hazare started his career as a driver in the Indian Army in 1963. He fought the 1965 Indo-Pak War in which he was the lone survivor in a border exchange of fire.

Anna left the army and shifted to Ralegaon Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district, in 1975. The village then, was in the grip of drought, poverty, crimes and alcoholism. It was then that the 39 year old Anna decided to develop the village. The village, today is considered as a model village for it is self-sustained, eco-friendly & harmonic. Energy is produced in the village itself from solar power, bio-fuel and wind mills.

Anna lives in a small room attached to the Yadavbaba temple in Ralegaon Siddhi, and calls himself a fakir. He says he is a man with no family, no property and no bank balance.


Anna is supporting a cause, the amendment of a law to curb corruption in India. And whenever he starts a protest, every leader from Mumbai to Delhi gets alert, sits up and takes notice.
Anna is advocating the Jan Lokpal Bill (The Citizen Ombudsman Bill), that will form an autonomous authority who will make politicians (ministers), bureaucrats (IAS/IPS) accountable for their deeds. In 1972, the bill was proposed by the then Law minister, Shanti Bhushan. But since then, it has been neglected and some are even trying to change the bill to suit their interests.


India witnessed the rise of another Gandhi in Anna Hazare. People took it to the streets for the man who is fighting our second war of Independence, freedom from corruption.
The support was by the group of frustrated Indians, who before the coming of Anna into picture, simply did nothing, but cursed the systems. They were directionless. But the change-maker Anna provided a platform, a realization of people’s capability and strength. People supported him not because he was a great person, but because he was not one! The mass believed in him as he came without any political or any other intervention. He came as a solution to end the corruption, a ray of hope. He became the voice to people’s mounting frustrations and doubling anger.
The social networking sites did their bit by starting the ‘India against Corruption’ campaigns. It attracted more than 80,000 people on Facebook and 4,000 on Twitter. Apart from this, Baba Ramdev, Mallika Sarabhai, Kiran Bedi, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, film stars like Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher and others also stood by Anna Hazare.


The Jan Lokpal Bill, also known as the People’s Ombudsman Bill, is an anti-corruption bill drafted by prominent figures – Justice Santosh Hegde (ex-Supreme Court judge and present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist) – to put in place a unit to check corruption.
Under this bill, an independent body similar to the Election Commission needs to be formed that has the power to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without prior Government permission. It seeks the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, which would investigate all corruption cases and complete the probe within a span of a year, with a view to start a trial of the case. The trial should be completed within the next year. It also envisages a system where a corrupt person when found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated.

The Lokpal Bill has previously been introduced eight times (in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and as recently as 2008) in the Parliament, and despite being passed in the Lok Sabha on one instance in 1969, the bill never got passed in the Rajya Sabha then and has since been kept on hold.


It was January 30, Martyr’s Day, when Anna Hazare first took out a rally against corruption in over 60 cities to demand an effective Lokpal bill. He further announced a fast unto death from April 5 if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not take a decision on including civil society in drafting the Lokpal Bill.

The decision shook up entire India that stood up for the fight against corruption. The PM discussed the matter with the Gandhian and set up sub-committee to look into the Lokpal Bill, members include ministers AK Antony, M Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal and Sharad Pawar. But the committee did not take any commendable decisions.

The fast started as planned, amongst the support of thousands of Indians and the pressure increased day by day. Candle-light marches, protests and slogans gained momentum. Finally, on the fourth day of the fast, on 8th April, Anna announced to break his fast as the Government agreed to notify formation of a panel, with 50% civil society members, to draft the anti-corruption law and to introduce it in the monsoon session of parliament.

The man created a history!


It’s time we sideline everything and focus on this issue. The movement is for us – for our future – so that we can breathe free in an corruption free country with equal rights. Don’t let this euphoria die, that is what the culprits want, after all. Let us not sit back. India is on the verge of a revolution, let’s be a proud part of it. The least we can do is spread the word. Join the movement, use social networking, chain SMS and contribute to the change. Ask questions, until you get the desired answers.

Let’s be the change we wish to see in this world. And not let the efforts of this Gandhian go in vain.

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