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August 11, 2011 / Gyanesh Pandey

Jan Lok Pal Protest in Mumbai

Bharat Mata Ki – Jai.

Vande – Matram.

Annaji aap aage badho – Desh aapke saath hai.

On 8th August 1942, amidst all the chaos and differing opinions about whether India should ask for complete independence from British rule, Gandhiji in a speech in Bombay urged the country to launch a massive Civil Disobedience Movement. (Nehru thought this was premature. Jinnah was against the call, thus Muslim League gained the support from the oppressors.)

9th Aug 2011, about 70 years later. Anna team which is asking for cleaning up of India and once again there are people, very widely and commonly known as the corrupt, who are attacking this team from various fronts. They just want India to continue as their harem. (Watch this video about Robert Vadehra). It is important to note that at no point of time in the history would there have been a consensus. I’m sure that even during the Freedom Struggle of 1857 when Rani Laxmi bai would have stepped out the way she did, there would have been a significant opposition from her own brethren. But amidst all this plurality one has to make a clear choice that governs the future of a community. Not making a choice is a much worse option. Inaction has much long-lasting and far-reaching negative consequences.

Last Night, it was a wonderfully overcast sky in South Mumbai at Azad Maidan. Thousands had gathered to listen to Arvind Kejriwal and see Annaji. Anna Hazare has become the face of this revolution. People vowed to not work for six days from 16th August and that there is going to be a massive protest on 16th August at all the places throughout the country. Anna’s plea to protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi has been rejected though. Anna team provided a full dose of Civil Disobedience – Intelligent speeches, enlightening words, enthusiasm and a good 5 kms walk.


Why this revolution? It’s the next step in the evolution of the Re-Public of India. It is indeed a process of re-public-ation of our country. The process started with the RTI Act. Anna Hazare had to struggle for 11 long years to get the RTI bill passed. It is a consequence of this bill that a whole lot of scams are now in the public eye. Anna has some 12 police complaints against him, lodged by various politicians with whom he went loggerheads. Anna sat on an anshan for some 11 days in the same maidan a few years ago, until this bill was passed.

This bill brings out all the information about scams but it does not necessitate an action against the perpetrator. It is a consequence of the RTI that 2G scam information is coming out, CWG Scam was brought to light and many more.

Did you guys know that 13 RTI applicants were killed last year! Please note that all these applicants would have been reasonably well read, decently connected people with family and friends. A farmer does not lodge an RTI Application.

Janlokpal is the next step in the sense that if this bill comes into action the corrupt will be punished immediately and their private wealth confiscated by the government. The government disagrees! So amidst all this bosh job that the Congress is trying to do – they are simply not doing anything.

Now the government has also come up with a version – but if that version was to be tested – since the BOFORS to the current 2G or CWG, none of them would be uncovered or taken action against.

Well the truth is that nothing is going to change with the government’s version of the Janlokpal bill. Government’s version is actually designed to deter the whistleblowers. Because if the whistleblower cannot prove the charge then the minimum jail term for such a person is 2 years and if proven guilty the corrupt official has a minimum jail term of 6 months (that is after he/she gets a free advocate.). There is no better indicator of what’s in the heart and minds of our august parliamentarians.

Also under the government’s version following categories are exempted: PM, MP, MLA, CBI, Judiciary, Central Govt. Employees of Group B, C, D.

Yeah yeah… I was also like “So who is covered…”. Very rightly so this bill has been named as the JOKEPAL Bill.

The problem with the governance is that it controls everything including the prime criminal investigating body CBI. This has become a system of the most corrupt.

Essentially because MPs and MLAs were given the protection  by the constitution that they cannot be investigated so parliament has become the home and breeding ground of all the criminals and miscreants.

Another slogan shouted last night was “Kapil Sibbal – Chor hai!”

It is still monsoon in Mumbai and there were light showers in between but not a single soul moved. Umbrellas came up a bit and then went down.

It was so empowering to be standing in that gathering, where we were all strangers yet there was a commonality in all of us. A very tangible feeling. I guess it was an exclusive feeling of belonging to the country. At every other gathering there is a different purpose, this one was for the country for ourselves and for all of us.

A lesson in Civil Disobedience – we have all heard of the various Civil Disobedience Movements done during the long struggle against the British Imperialism. But last night it was a lesson in that. A live case study if you would.

Kejriwal said “Angrez to chale gaye lekin angreziyat chhod gaye. Pehle gore desh ko loot ke London paisa le jaate the ab kaale desh ko loot ke Switzerland paisa le jaate hain.

Kejriwal is an eloquent speaker and with the clarity of a truly engineering mind. Much of what he said was welcomed with huge applause and his speech ended with Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Vande-Matram.

Annaji quoted “Congress Spokesperson said these people from outside cannot dictate terms” and then added “Arre yeh outsiders nahi hai, yeh tumhare maalik hain. Inhone tumhe yahan bithaya hai”. He then stressed on the meaning of “Vidhan Sabha“, a gathering which is elected by us to make good laws for us. “Vidhayak” – we elect you so that you go and make good rules and laws for us. “Tum kya kar rahe ho wahan baith kar!?”

After all the speeches, we sang the national anthem. No recording, no music, thousands of us sang the National Anthem and it was one of those rare occasions where a national anthem feels like a national anthem unlike some other times (before watching a film!).

After the national anthem we were supposed to go for a march from the Azad Maidan to August Kranti Maidan. It was about 5 kms from there. I had never walked as much in South Mumbai. This was right through the heart of South Mumbai. There was a massive traffic jam, where ever we went. Felt sorry for the folks. Then we crossed the huge south mumbai style traffic lights and all the traffic was stopped. By this time, it was dark and the sea-wind fuelled us for louder slogans. A couple of kilometers into the journey a group also got some Mashals. As we passed through the residential areas there was a huge crowd of onlookers and some of showered flowers on us and by god, this was the first time in my life I was participating in something which was welcomed like this. It was not pre-arranged, it could not be! This was for real, there is no greater approval to this effort.

Shouting slogans & sweating in the end, we reached the August Kranti Maidan. Originally there was a plan to take an oath on the ground that we will sit in Anshan from 16th August with Annaji but it turned out that the maidan was not as big.

Well guys please ask your family and friends to contribute to this movement by joining in the anshan for whatever duration they can and also read up about it, understand it.

In my opinion constitution is not meant to be written, it is meant to be MADE! like prepared and we are in the process of making that biggest change. The most desperately needed change. It is the time to get some real freedom. Then only will be a true REPUBLIC. A true Gan-Tantra.


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