Lokpal: A neo-con leech – Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain“Anna is MIXING UP the corruption that ordinary citizens are forced to indulge in – for admission to school, getting a gas cylinder, breaking a queue somewhere – and instilling guilt in the middle class. Anna is pretending that the small, medium, or large extortions that the middle class is subjected to are at par with the gargantuan corruption of the 2G scam.” – Sandhya Jain

K. Ashok RaoThe term ‘civil society,’ as wisely noted by Shri K. Ashok Rao, president, National Confederation of Officers’ Associations (NCOA), is an integral part of neo-con lexicon.

It denotes a group created by Capital and supported by Corporate Media. In this scheme of things, campaigns launched by foreign-funded NGOs are ‘civil society’.

The Corporate Media too, have a generous dose of FDI to keep their moral outrage flowing. As the Hindi proverb admonishes, bhooke bhakt na rahe Gopala, or ‘the hungry do not remain devout’.

Precisely such a neo-con scenario is unfolding in India today. A group of persons whose eminence lies in the foreign Team Annaawards and purses bestowed upon them by far-sighted benefactors, have invested huge resources in a nation-wide propaganda blitzkrieg to emotionally manipulate a citizenry nauseated by the corruption in the higher echelons of government.

And they have played an amazing game of Deception, Deceit, and Duplicity. They have deliberately confused issues to instill guilt in ordinary citizens and compel them to commit to their movement in public, all the while pursuing a covert agenda to undermine the Nation.

Real Problem vs. Phantom Issue

What has outraged ordinary citizens is the phenomenon known as ‘crony capitalism’. This is an open and shameless nexus between the political ruling A. Rajaclass, the senior bureaucracy, and the expanding corporate sector, whereby scarce national resources (like Spectrum, land) or lucrative national resources (like oil, gas, metals and minerals) are handed over to the private sector at throw away prices, to the detriment of the public exchequer.

This nexus has given us horrible scandals like 2G Spectrum; Adarsh Housing Society; Commonwealth Games; mining scams in various states; IPL (cricket); illicit accounts in foreign tax havens; to name just the most recent.

This loot is qualitatively different from the same nexus when it existed (it is eternal) in the pre-liberalisation era, popularly known as the license-permit raj. Back then, businessmen desired freedom from the strangulation of an inspector raj that did not let them function productively; they paid bribes because they had to in order to function, and ordinary citizens sympathized with them because they generated all the jobs outside of government and the public sector.

Anna HazareInterestingly, as corporate wealth has grown in recent decades, there are sectors with an army of ill-paid contractual workers and few permanent jobs with benefits. American billionaire Warren Buffet pointed to this truth in his own country recently.

But Anna Hazare and his moral brigade are not mentioning this issue – which is corroding the economy and spirit of the nation – at all.

Anna is MIXING UP the corruption that ordinary citizens are forced to indulge in – for admission to school, getting a gas cylinder, breaking a queue somewhere – and instilling guilt in the middle class. People are being asked to sign pledges that they will not give or take bribes, which is neither here nor there. That kind of bribery ends when institutions or services are improved; viz., you no longer need bribes or contacts to get a phone connection.

Sonia GandhiBut Anna is pretending that the small, medium, or large extortions that the middle class is subjected to are at par with the gargantuan corruption of the 2G scam.

Anna Hazare had no hesitation in seeking Ms Sonia Gandhi’s intervention to persuade the Government to pass his Lokpal Bill in April 2011. Now, in view of her mysterious disappearance abroad – for surgery or other personal reasons, no one knows for sure – he has thought only of appealing to Mr Rahul Gandhi to bail him out.

Why?

The question comes to mind – is all this a charade to force the beleaguered Prime Minister to throw in the towel and anoint Mr Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister, when no one wants him and no one believes in his leadership (sic) qualities?

Robert VadraIt is relevant that Anna and his cronies have not dared utter one word about Ms Sonia Gandhi, though she created unseemly controversies for the Gandhi family in many deals involving public money during the reign of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. They can hardly be unaware of the questions in the public mind about the sudden financial eminence of Mr Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Ms Sonia Gandhi.

The fact that they constantly turn to Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Rahul Gandhi, like petulant children determined to have their way, raises serious doubts about their agenda and objectives.

Pied Piper and the Indian ‘Arab Spring’

Recently, an internet website, BeyondHeadlines, filed a query under the Right to Information Act regarding Anna associate Manish Sisodia’s organization, Kabir. Under this, Afroz Alam Sahil and S.Z. Saleem learnt that Kabir received funding from diverse sources, including the Michigan-based Ford Foundation, which has close links with the ubiquitous Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Thus, it transpires that Kabir received funds from the Ford Foundation (Rs 86,61,742), PRIA (Rs 2,37,035), Manjunath Shanmugam Trust (Rs 3,70,000), Dutch Embassy (Rs 19,61,968), Association for India’s Development (Rs 15,00,000), India’s Friends Association (Rs 7,86,500), United Nationals Development Programme (Rs12,52,742). A paltry Rs 11,35,857 were collected from individual donations between 2007 to 2010.

Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi & Manish SisodiaBesides the Ford Foundation, the UNDP and India Friends Association are US-based. PRIA and AID are headquartered in Asia.

In the light of what has happened in Iraq and now Libya – where foreign-funded dissidents brought down supposedly dictatorial regimes that gave an enviable standard of living to their citizens – we may legitimately ask why US-based bodies that have Zero Compassion for US citizens are funding a war against corruption (sic) on the other side of the world.

Just as the Iraqi stooges have no shame for bringing ruin upon their nation and people so American oil majors could loot the wealth of this ancient land, the Libyan stooges will feel no remorse when the white oil majors lick their lips and line their pockets with Libya’s high grade oil. They will feel no dishonour in bringing down the Caesar who was set to lead Africa into the era of the Gold Dinar.

Shall we, children of Chanakya, legatees of Arthasastra, the world’s most ancient manual of statecraft, be swayed by the rhetoric of men and women who owe their eminence and so-called moral profile to foreign recognition and foreign purses?

Arvind KejriwalLet there be no mistake on this score. What has just been attempted in India is nothing but a US-manipulated Colour Revolution, a kind of non-violent Arab Spring, with ample provision for violence should the need arise.

Consider three points.

First, in the preparatory Delhi seminars in April, where he lobbied with RSS think tanks for their cadre support, Mr Arvind Kejriwal constantly enticed his audience to make Anna Hazare’s fast at Jantar Mantar into India’s Tehrir Square.

I was astounded. At Tehrir Square, as everyone knows, emotive crowds pressured Mr Hosni Mubarak to quit office. But the Army remained in full control, and even now there is really no change in governance in Egypt. Where is the great revolution?

Rahul GandhiCan making Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister be the fruit of India’s Tehrir Square (Ramlila Maidan)? What an anti-climax.

Secondly, Anna Hazare openly encouraged the crowds to gather at the houses of Ministers and MPs and force them to support his movement (he did say they should be non-violent). Thus demonstrators arrived at the official residence of the Prime Minister in Assam and at the homes of ministers in some cities, including Delhi, and thus created an opening for agent provocateurs to indulge in mischief…

Third, both Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal openly exhorted the crowd to resist the authorities if they tried to remove the fasting agitator to hospital. The hysteria on this count only rose after the all party meet declared Parliament was supreme and refused to be hustled into passing his half-baked Jan Lokpal Bill.

Such resistance can only be violent, and let’s not fudge this issue. It was a call to chaos, and any violence that may occur in future should be laid at their doors.

Jain LogoSallekhana and the fast-unto-death

In the Jain tradition, sallekhana (also santhara) or the fast-unto-death is embraced with great solemnity and joy, for a soul that has lived a full life in this world is turning its face back to the Supreme Source from which it emanated. In 1994, my paternal uncle suddenly felt the urge to depart while in full command of his faculties and in good health. He announced after a midday meal that the call had come, and gave up food and water completely. He died after ten days, in good cheer, unwavering to the end that he was going to meet the Source.

Not for us this cheap shrillness – look at me, I am dying for your sins. Reform, repent, do as I say, or all will be lost forever.

Give me a break.

My advice

My advice to the Government is as follows – if Anna dies, let the Lokpal Bill die with him. After all, it is his imposed agenda on the nation. Parliament, in its wisdom, kept it on the backburner for 42 years. We simply don’t need it.

What we do need is:

  • To appreciate the marvellous job done by the Comptroller & Auditor General in bringing the guilty in the 2G scam to book
  • In uncovering the layers of deceit in the Commonwealth Games
  • In meticulously documenting a host of other scams (reports of which are soon to be tabled in Parliament).

Vinod RaiMr Vinod Rai has done the nation proud; he has shown us what is possible when decent officers uphold the dignity of their office. Mr T.N. Seshan did that with the Election Commission. With officers like that, we don’t need an officious Lokpal of foreign-funded moral crusaders.

We do, however, need a Central Bureau of Investigation that is unshackled by political masters. In other words, strengthen the existing institutions; don’t add to the bureaucracy; and don’t burden the Consolidated Fund of India.

We, the humble taxpayers of India, are already groaning under unbearable prices. We don’t want another creamy layer of NGOs battening off our blood.

It is time to end the charade at Ramlila Maidan. 

» Sandhya Jain is the editor of Vijayvaani, New Delhi

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6 Responses

  1. Open letter to Ford Foundation and Arvind Kejriwal on charge of US bankrolling anti-corruption agitation

    Business Standard published this morning an interview with Arvind Kejriwal and Steven Solnick, India country Rep of Ford Foundation in an article titled “Claims that Hazare’s movement is US-funded baseless: Arvind.”

    They confirmed Arundhati Roy’s charge that Kabir, a Kerjiwal NGO received $ 400,000 during the last 3 years as funding from Ford Foundation. On the broader allegations whether the US steamrolled the Anna Hazare anti-corruption agitation, they drove themselves further to a corner. We send them an open letter as a reaction to their interview.

    Read more: http://exitopinionpollsindia.blogspot.com/2011/08/open-letter-to-ford-foundation-and.html

  2. plese read this piece at http://surajitdasgupta.blogspot.com/ Please ignore my previous comment.As the link given there is incorrect.

  3. Please read this piece at http://surajitdasgupta.blogspot.com/.It is revealing

  4. BEYOND HEADLINES: It’s Official – US-Based Ford Foundation Funding Anna’s Movement – Afroz Alam Sahil & S.Z. Saleem

    New Delhi: The recent hue and cry raised about the “foreign hand” in the Anna Hazare-led ‘mass’ movement seems to have got answers in reply to a query filed by BeyondHeadlines under the Right to Information (RTI) to Manish Sisodia’s brainchild Kabir. Kabir had revealed that it had received funding from various sources, including the controversial Michigan (United States)-based Ford Foundation.

    It may be recalled that the Congress party has questioned US unusual and unexpected stand on the ongoing anti-graft movement in India. Also the Ford Foundation allegedly has links with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    In reply to an RTI query that questioned the funding and expenditure of Kabir, the organisation has disclosed that they have received funds from the Ford Foundation (Rs 86,61,742), PRIA (Rs 2,37,035), Manjunath Shanmugam Trust (Rs 3,70,000), Dutch Embassy (Rs 19,61,968), Association for India’s Development (Rs 15,00,000), India’s friends Association (Rs 7,86,500), United Nationals Development Programme (Rs12,52,742) while Rs 11,35,857 were collected from individual donations between 2007 to 2010.

    Interestingly, a major part of the funding to an organisation that is prominent in the “War against corruption” has come from abroad and mainly from the United States. Apar from the UNDP, Ford Foundation and the India Friends Association are US-based organisations, while PRIA and Association for India’s Development are headquartered in Asia.

    The funding of the anti-graft movement has gained prominence after the exhorbitant amounts being spent on campaigning for the movement in the form of bulk SMSs, t-shirts, caps, flags and the other means adopted by the civil society activists, demanding their own version of the Lokpal Bill.

    • Bring Media Under RTI Act and Lokapal

      Right to Information Act 2005 is a milestone legislation in the recent history that is designed to bring transparency in our polity, society and economy to successfully check corruption. But resistance from the corrupt people in the higher authority is making it difficult for effective implementation.

      Referring to the RTI Act, Union Minister Mr. AK Antony reportedly said RTI will help the transparency revolution to percolate down to all walks of life. He said, “The RTI Act will spread to new areas. I think every facet of human life will be transparent.” This is slowly happening in India under this act.

      Nevertheless, we need to bring important institutions under the purview of this act. Media as an institution needs to be under the purview of the RTI act. There is and there will be resistance from media houses on this but in the largest interest we need to move in this direction.

      Besides the ideological and political inclinations and affiliations media has, over the years, it has become more and more powerful with developing business interest. It has become an industry that is engaged in making profit. In short its turning into a business of what Noam Chomsky said “manufacturing consent” most of the time ending in creating perceptions which may or may not be right.

      The demand to bring Media under RTI assumes more significance when our leading journalists and channel heads are found brokering with the political parties and determining the fate of Cabinet Ministers to benefit their advertisers or sponsors. The Nira Radia saga has been a classic example.

      Recently, a channel head was found guilty of demanding salaries for their employees to a Public Relations Manager.
      Paid news is another blot on our media that is subverting the democratic process. Media exposés have shown that several organizations have been selling news space to politicians at election time, disguising the advertisements as news. The Press Council of India has set up a committee to investigate violations of the journalistic code of fair and objective reporting.

      Press council of India reported, “The phenomenon of “paid news” has acquired serious dimensions. Today it goes beyond the corruption of individual journalists and media companies and has become pervasive, structured and highly organized. In the process, it is undermining democracy in India.”

      Another dimension of how media is threatening our democracy is the use of public money in creating wrong perceptions. The political parties, especially in the government are using public money to improve their government and parties’ image which might be contrary to the fact.

      Sometimes this media relation exercise by the governments ends up curbing public sentiments and doing injustice with people. Many of the owners, editors and other journalists appear to have wealth excessive of their known sources of income. It is thus imperative that they not only become transparent but also bring ‘secrets’ under RTI Act.

      Other three pillars of democracy – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary – are already under the purview of RTI Act.
      Corruption is rampant in media houses too in the name of paid news and public relation exercises. BeyondHeadlines, therefore, demand that media houses should fall under the ambit of RTI and it should also be included in the Lokpal bill.

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