An open letter to Anna Hazare

Jan Lokpal Bill

The Anna Hazare Campaign

Dear Anna,

Tomorrow, when you are about to start another fast, I write to you today as a common Indian citizen who is maybe more disgusted with the corruption plaguing the country than many others. Having personally seen corruption in police, legal system, et al in the last 1 year, my delusion with the country had reached its peak and I had considered what I never thought I would consider – to migrate out of this country. But then you came along and with you brought a hope of change. I was super excited and the first time that you campaigned I did all I could to support you – from the missed calls, to the sms and the email forwards. And after years I had hope for my country – A hope for a better India. But then it ended there, and today I write this letter to tell you why.

I will first start by telling you how I find you and the politicians are so similar:

1. All politicians irrespective of how minor they are change, once they taste power. Your team is no different

The first time you campaigned, the idea was a strong Lokpal Bill and was not just JanLokPal Bill. But the next time around your campaign changed. From the underdog, common man telling the politicians that they should start give us a strong Lokpal Bill and take steps to curb corruption, your stand changed completely to saying give us only Jan Lokpal Bill. Leave alone the fact that the Jan LokPal Bill was equally flawed as the Government version, the entire campaign was a complete U-turn from the earlier one, when you wanted the Government to bring a strong LokPal Bill. Suddenly it seemed that your team was talking with the same tone, we were used to hearing politicians talk – a tone which said we have the power and we will do what we want to, come what may. It seemed only you knew what was good for the country and even the likes of Aruna Roy and all knew nothing. It was as if only your team knew what was good for the country while the rest of the equally diligent civil society members knew nothing. That was the first time I realised that when one tastes power, everyone changes.

2. All politicians love to be the judge, jury and executioner of judgement of their own misdemeanors. Your team behaves identically like them.
A few days back there was a huge hue and cry of most of your members. There was a hue and cry about Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and there was talks that you will change your team. So you guys decided to meet and judge the situation and take a decision. It was quite funny watching your team of so-called guilty individuals gather together (minus you) and proclaim themselves innocent and take the decision that they would continue as your core committee members. Actually the only members who were present for that meeting were the actual offenders. Somehow reminded me of politicians (read ministers), when charged with crimes who come up and say they will not leave their posts and would form a team who will report to them and tell them that they are innocent or guilty.

3. The third thing is your paranoia like the ruling party.
The ruling party is of the opinion that anyone who stands with Anna is a part of RSS/ BJP, while you are of the opinion that anyone who dares call your team corrupt is a part of Congress sponsored campaign. While both are right according to me in their limited view, the fact is it is a complete wrong assumption to assume that your so called huge support is only cause of BJP/ RSS support and every dissenting voice against you is Congress sponsored. It seems both parties seems to have an extreme myopic view of any criticism leveled against them and seem to think they can make no mistakes.

So tell me if the teacher behaves the same way as the so called errant students, how are you having the moral high ground to tell the politicians anything?

My second problem is the hypocrisy your team displays at all levels and the dual standards you expect you should display and our politicians should display

1. Let’s start with the fact that you were ready to sue Manish Tiwari cause he called you names, but you at every stage jump the gun, and call everyone the ruling party names. You keep calling them thieves, weak, etc. I have no love lost for any politician of this country, including the Congress, but I am of the firm opinion that you cannot preach, what you cannot follow at least in your public life. Tell me Anna, how are different from them? Have you shown me that your standards of conduct are better than theirs?

2. The second hypocrisy I find is when you have dual standards for the way you judge your team and the way you judge the politicians. A judge recently ordered an inquiry against your core team member Kiran Bedi. You and your team have immediately called it a Congress ploy casting aspersion of course on the judge. But when a judge just agreed to allow someone to present a case against Chidambaram, you and your team immediately declared him guilty and wanted him behind bars ? Why Anna? Why this double standard? What is good for the gander should be the goose? Then why this dual standards for two teams?

3. The third hypocrisy is when you refuse to see the corruption in your team. Kiran Bedi has herself admitted to stealing. Even if I assume or even believe 100% that it was the Government which leaked the news, the fact is she herself admitted to the theft and hence irrespective of how the whistle blew, the story remains is that a wrong act happened. And please do not tell me that a Robin Hood act makes the theft any less of a crime. Robin Hood was a hero of the 13th century but in 21st century sensibilities have changed and such acts are considered a crime today. During our freedom movement, killing Britishers was a heroic act of independence, but today such an act would lead someone to call that person a terrorist, and by the same standards Kiran Bedi is wrong. So then how does your team hold the moral high ground to call politicians thieves? Not that they are not (or most are not) but what gives you the authority to call them one?

Anna, when you show that you do not enact a single thing you tell the politicians to follow, why should I trust you?

Thirdly Anna, and the biggest reason why I have no faith in you, is you like politicians are leading us on to believe you want to cure corruption, and which is far from the truth, and I will tell you why I believe you do not care.

1. Anna, in Hisar campaign you proudly gloated that cause of you Congress lost (It’s a different matter that Congress would have lost there and you used it as a political opportunism but nevertheless). So Anna, why do you want the Jan Lokpal Bill? Is it not to curb corruption? Or am I mistaken and there is a different agenda to your movement? Cause when you gloated that your team was the reason why Congress lost, you forgot to tell the world that you are the reason why the most corrupt candidate won. In other words, you have no interest in curbing corruption, just like every politician.

2. Anna, though I do believe that even if you are a BJP/ RSS sponsored campaign it does not taint your campaign, but the fact you led me on to believe that your campaign is apolitical, whereas its clearly only a anti-Congress campaign, makes me realise you and your team are no better than the bunch of politicians we have. Anna, I know you will tell that it is all a lie. But then let me ask you a simple question. You want a strong Lokpal Bill, and of course that includes a Lokpal in every state. Tell me Anna, why did you not come to Karnataka by-election and campaign against the BJP? The BJP here wants to remove the Lokpal, has made every effort to put in tainted officials in Lokpal after Justice Hedge retired, have even had the gaul to call Justice Hegde’s report trash (He is the only team member in your team whom I sincerely respect), and yet not a word from you. Neither a word from you when Gujarat does not have Lokayukta head for over 7 years? So Anna, am I to believe that this anti corruption movement and Jan Lokpal is just a farce for you? And you only care to malign the Congress. I have no issues with you doing that, but to lead me on to believe otherwise is a criminal offence.

Anna, the politicians robbed us of our money, of justice and basic belief that we matter. But none of the politicians, including our Raja and Kalmadi could rob me of my faith and optimism that tomorrow there would be a better India. That someday, someone will come along who will really be honest and think of us citizens first. But you Anna, have robbed me of that last faith too. So I beg of you Anna, do not continue your agitation. Am ready to live with the fact that we have corruption, but not ready to live with the fact that there is no hope

Anna I do know that if you ever read this letter you will say that I am being paid by Congress cause like them, you cannot bear criticisms. You seem to live in this euphoria of the media generated circus that you are invincible and like the politicians, you too believe you own the country. Sadly you do not. And next time you tell in your interviews that 1.2 billion Indians are behind you, would appreciate you say, 1.2 billion – 1 Indian is behind you, cause I am not.

With best wishes


PS : And if you can believe then do believe I am no Congress fan or for that matter fan of any politician.

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  • Prosenjeet Paul  On December 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

    To begin with, I was never in favor of a Lokpal system. Call me a cynic or whatever but I have been bound to believe that the definition of corruption is not clear to the masses and everyone twists it to their convenience. There are instances when you just can’t do without bribing the persons at the jobs or else you will never get through with the weak bureaucracy that resists in our country.But still,as we mentioned I had a faint hope that things might change for the better. But what it seems now, we are going to have just another bunch of power hungry activists.
    A well-written post that shows the angst among a few individuals who can think and can question rather than getting driven emotionally by speeches,fasts and yeah ‘maun vrats’ which is nothing but a case of running away from the fact.

    • priyashmita  On December 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      prosenjeet am of the firm opinion jan lokpal bill will create more corruption than remove it. i had written another piece sometime back where i wrote that tell me if all are corrupt who will head jan lokpal ? it’s like jan lokpal will judge judges and judges will judge jan lokpal- a clear case of u scratch my back and i will scratch yours.
      plus this idea of going to court to remove is hilarious. when we do not go to vote, we will go to court?

  • RSR Murthy  On December 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    All of us agree our politics are dirty. Our politicians, including the so called representatives in Parliament and state assemblies have become non representative of peoples views. Unfortunate, but some one needs to bell the cat and pave the way for change,and put the political class on notice. That is what Anna & team are doing. It does not matter and it is a usoteric debate of who should behave like what – who is 100% clean or 100% dirty, the bottom line is the political class need to be put on notice.If congress is the ruling party, it is naturally more at the receiving end. Same would have been the case if another party was ruling. To me Anna,s movement is about more than lokpal bill – that is only the context – the destination is mending the ways of our politicians. This is long overdue and I am happy that Anna and his team are doing that. I have no doubt that this phase of challenging the political degradation in our Country is long overdue and will do some good to our country. Do we really believe we can make our politicians ponder on their ways by a debate? No way, mobilising people is the only way which Anna and team have achieved remarkably well.

    • priyashmita  On December 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      Well ya but sadly its not so. He and his team (except justice hegde) are a bunch of people who are making the nation believe that their so called jan lokpal will solve all problems, though actually it will create more. Of course the fact that they all have hidden agendas is quite clear

  • Manish  On December 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    So, I believe you that you are not from Congress.
    However, reading your ideological article made me wait for the solution somewhere.

    First thing is – you are no one, like me, like everyone. So, should Anna Hazare or PM should come and thank you for your great thoughts. I hope Anna or PM read your article and comes to do that.

    Second one is – Is glass half empty or half full? I will put your article in half-empty category.

    Third one is – I am waiting for your glass half-full article. I hope, you show same vigour and efforts with your half full glass article.

    Last and not least is – If you cannot take this response in your stride and try a glass half-full effort, you are NO DIFFERENT. And why not suggest a ‘workable’ solution which you can MAKE happen. Please focus on (1) workable (2) You do something to make it work.

    If only speech writing is gift of the gab. Both of us are equally blessed. I may be little less; because I saved my time by ‘not writing an article’.

    I cannot take your views because (1) I am with Anna (2) Please guide Anna on what WILL work. Instead of what will NOT work. If you do not have a solution, why cannot you ‘try’ another bad one among so many things? At least try believe of few more people, if you cannot have your own.

    Cheer up!!! Now. My comments are over.

    • priyashmita  On December 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Manish, I am not Anna or the politicians that I cannot accept criticisms. I publish everything unless its abusive or racist.

      Secondly, in a democracy the right to criticize is there and I am criticizing him and I have every right to do so and say he no better than the bunch of 542 politicians we have elected.

      Thirdly his entire Jan Lokpal is flawed, about which i have written.

      Fourth, it is not my job to give a solution and I see no reason why cause I find his solution and him wrong I have to come up with a solution. It’s like I go to a restaurant to eat and do not like the food there, but does not mean I can only dislike the food if I know how to cook. I am free to dislike it even if I cannot cook. But yes, if I cannot cook and open a restaurant where I am the chef, then there is a problem. And that is the same problem that there is with Anna and his team.

      Fifth, I write cause I want to. You are free to write too.

      Sixth, when I know something is poisonous I see no reason to try it out. If the idea is we gave a bunch of 542 thieves chance for so long, let us give another bunch chance now to steal, then of course I guess my entire article is wrong cause I assumed that we were trying to remove thieves.

      Seventh, would have loved it, if you have actually come up with a single point refuting what I said. Sadly saw none. In other words what I said is true. I usually back my points with facts and would love someone to refute it with facts too.

      Oh and am always cheered up, hence I would rather not have an Anna spoiling my mood and hence my objection to him. Of course my objection is to the entire Jan Lokpal bill, about which I have written before

  • ranvijay  On December 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    jan lokpal

    1.give right to normal people fight against.
    2.draft by kejriwal ,kiran badi and bhusan
    3.jan lokpal is a system who protect honest people and make corrupt people into honest people.
    4.janlokpal protect 98%people from correption.

    sarkari lok pal
    1.give protection for 2%people(neta,sarkarikramchari,police ext)
    2.draft by kapil sibbal and khurshid they draft according their friends like lalu and muliam singh yadev.
    3.sarkari lok pal is a machine who convert honest people to corrept people if he is not going to convert sarkari lok pal rubb them and kill them.
    4.sarkari lok pal is protect only 2% corrept people
    now days every body said that if u r work with honesty u will never grow this is effect of sarkari police.
    i solute anna ,kajariwal, and kiran badi(first woman honest ips)

    • priyashmita  On December 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Really? Have you really studied both or parroting what this Anna team speaks? If so, would love a debate cause what you speak is no way what either of the two bills have. The original govt lokpal bill would not have fought corruption and the jan lokpal would give rise to more corruption. I have another article on the same. Do read it and if you have studied both the bills, would love to talk. If you parroting this bunch of anna team, then of course I have nothing to say, except God save India

  • Loriann Artz  On December 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Great post!

  • Ranganath Tirumala  On August 16, 2012 at 5:07 am

    So on one hand you claim to be “more disgusted with the corruption plaguing the country than many others”. On the other hand all you have done to support the cause is send SMS and forward emails.

    Need I say more

    • priyashmita  On August 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Well if jumping up and down telling people to support a jan lokpall bill is the other way – then no you need not say more. Since I study things before I commit, it did not take a genius to figure out that jan lokpal bill was anything but a solution to the problem.

      What I do, is look inwards which sadly most of these so-called messiahs do not. Anyway hardly matters


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