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Anna Hazare Fighting Corruption in India

 

Q: How many hours do you think it would take to spark a peaceful national movement inspiring over a billion people to compel their government to stamp out corruption?
A: 98.

Q. And how much food would you consume in those 98 hours?
A. None.

Sounds pretty spectacular doesn’t it? It’s exactly what Anna Hazare, a 71 year old Indian civil activist from India did just last week. Fed up after decades of experiencing rampant corruption Anna decided that the only way to make the government listen was to go on a hunger strike.

Until his demands were met. Or, until his death.

From April 5 till April 9 Hazare fasted. And in those five days a peaceful revolution took place. All over India people took to the streets campaigning in solidarity with Anna calling for the government to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill. This would create an independent body which will have the power to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission.

As inspiring as his individual deed is it is the peaceful revolution that has occurred within India over the last week that is the greater story.

The scale of what ordinary, everyday people in India have had to endure as a result of corruption is astonishing.

As Kailash Chand in the Guardian outlines,

Over the past six decades, the four pillars of democracy, the legislature, judiciary, executive and the press, have all developed serious problems in India. The rule of law stands subverted and moral values seriously eroded. The civil rights of women and children suffer blatant violations. Daily newspapers are replete with news of rape, dowry-deaths, trafficking, abduction and murder. The weak, the elderly and those living alone are robbed and killed every day. The police authorities prefer to look the other way. Attempts to lodge complaints with them are simply stonewalled unless some activist take the cudgels of justice in their hands. Members of the hallowed corridors of the law courts have succumbed to the temptations of underhand deals. Shanti Bhushan, a leading lawyer, claimed that half of the 16 supreme court chief justices before whom he had appeared were corrupt.

If that isn’t bad enough, one more statistic is the fact that in Bangalore (a city in the South East of India) the average patient in a maternity ward pays approximately US $22 in bribes to receive adequate medical care.

$22 may not sound like much. But for the over 450 million Indians who currently live on or less than US $1.25 a day that amounts to around 3 weeks wages.

That’s why we at the Global Poverty Project are excited to see Anna Hazare, along with millions of his fellow Indians, peacefully demand that the Government stamp out corruption. As they have experienced firsthand, corruption undermines their ability to lift themselves out of poverty.  

Comments

13/04/11 5:11am - Posted By Sonia Grobler - Reply to this comment
The Jan Lokpal Bill must be passed!
13/04/11 5:31am - Posted By Guru - Reply to this comment
Does India have democracy in the true sense? Is there Govt. functioning even 10% honestly ? It is a country hijacked by politcians and economically raped. In this respect , Egypt, Tunisa, Syria , india is no different. Anna saved India from blood shed, few more weeks of this protest would have ended into a civil war. Even now what I can see from reports, politicans are coming up with ideas to create a mess, the drafting of Lokpal will pass through hell of a storm, watch out if there is fiddle and no Lokpal comes in right shape and content,we will have worst scene than Egypt and Tunisa. Understandably, it is not easy task to make polticans and bereaucrats, a huge number to bow down to Lokpal. Upto now they acted like demi Gods with fortress of legal protection. If better sense prevails and they accept a sound Lokpal and subject under its rule, India has a bright future. If not politicans and bereaucrats will face realities beyond their imagination. We have the largest percentage of youth who are smart, educated and Anna gave them the concept of their right. The present day politican is not facing a half naked , starving villager. India's youth is a force even super power would shy from, it will not take a day for the youth to polarize. Politicians should know now they have to fall in line to save their lives and India. This is how I see it, I hope I am wrong, I would hate an old civilization go down the drain. It is all in the hands of the politician to see the reality and accept it. So far they made the right choice to accept Anna's demand.

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