Fighting corruption the Anna Hazare way : How effective is it?

Anna Hazare on 2nd dayphoto © 2011 Pankaj Jangid | more info (via: Wylio)
Anna Hazare has started a fast unto death for the Lokpal bill against corruption. It seems to have captured the fancy of the youth in India. For me, this is a move in a similar direction as mine(for a better India) but with a different approach and focus. To tell you the truth, I cringed a bit the first time I read the article headline – ‘Fight against corruption : Fast unto death’. It got me thinking.. what about it seems to make me repulse away? Here are my thoughts on the topic.

I think what put me off here is not Mr. Hazare’s actions, in fact, I have respect for him. It’s more the news headlines I saw and the response his actions created in the young people. Let me analyze the headlines first : Fight against Corruption.

Fight. I don’t like this word in the sense I have come to understand it. A fight almost always has meant that there is a wrongful, outside entity causing you harm. You are the right, the other is the wrong. I see this as a false situation created by our ego to feed itself. By making this statement, we alienate ourselves from the problem.

When we say someone else is responsible for what is causing us trouble(in this case, the corrupt), first we renounce all responsibility and, second, we give the power to improve our lives away. That somebody else has to mend his ways for us to have a better life. As grown up, wise adults, we are all equally responsible for the way India is today. We might not have created the problems, but letting things continue this way or not is our responsibility.

So should we be mad that our leaders are not passing the right bill? Should we fast and have rallies to make them do what is right? I don’t know about you but I believe I have total control over my life. If I need a change, and it is not happening, I don’t keep asking others to make it, I do it myself. Expectations from others are a sure fire way to feel miserable. So if corruption was the single most important issue in my life and the leaders didn’t seem bothered, what would I do? I would find my way into politics, become the decision maker and then make the right decisions. Would it be easy? I don’t ask that question of myself. All I know is that this is the only way to bring about the change I want. If I really want it then the effort needs to be put. Period.

Corruption. I believe in the Law of Attraction, which says that what you focus on constantly and repeatedly, manifests in your life. It doesn’t matter whether you like that thing or not. If you are thinking about it, you are going to manifest it. The focus in the headlines seems to be on corruption. Need I say what you are going to manifest when you see the situation this way?

Does this mean I don’t support Mr Hazare and his actions?

I can’t give a clear answer either way. Here is what I have to say.

I am working towards an India full of conscious people. People who love themselves and others around them. People who have inner strength and discipline. People who are purposeful, passionate. People who create beauty around them. People who seek knowledge and people who are joyous and happy.

I want a world where people do their jobs well, of their own free will. I don’t think using negative motivators like fear of some Bill, can help for long. I don’t want to go around monitoring whether people are doing their job or not. When I deal with someone, I would want that person to do his best job by default. My efforts on this website are an effort towards creating such a society.

I like the idea of making personal effort for change and I see that in Mr Anna Hazare’s act.

I don’t like the idea of making myself suffer to induce people into guilt. Why a fast unto death? Why die? Live and make the change.

If I want certain people to do something, ad they are not doing it, nor willing to talk to me, then, instead of fighting them or pressurizing them, I would do what I can on my own. I will find a way on my own. If what I do is beneficial, people are bound to notice and come up one by one, of their own will.

That people work with me of their own will is very important. Coercion, intimidation, guilt and fear cause separation and break down.

I might not support his methods or his focus, but I respect him for making an effort. I respect him for being the primary driving force behind his own dreams. He wants a better India. In that, I whole-heartedly support him! I think ultimately, we both envision a progressive and prosperous India where people are happy. And that matters more.

On corrupt people and their victims.

I have never seen a happy corrupt person. They all seem tense and unhappy, seeking happiness outside. They are usually scared people who think intimidation, taking away from others is the only way to survive. They might take away a lot from others but that never puts a genuine smile on their face, nor happiness in their hearts. Then I see those who feel like victims of such people. They always feel like someone is going to take away what’s precious to them. There is something common between these two groups, both have an attitude of scarcity and that life is difficult and unforgiving. I feel pity for them.

Inducing fear in the already fearful corrupt people does not seem to take me towards the world I want. I have to give them hope, make them understand that there are better ways to live, to live free, free of fear. That there is a way to happily co exist with others. That there is enough for everyone to be happy. That this, in fact, is the only way to be happy. Changing their attitudes and beliefs is the only way to bring permanent and stable change. Of course creating the fear of imprisonment seems an easier solution to implement. After all, how easy it is to change the attitudes of a billion people? But then just because a proposed solution is easy, doesn’t make it a lasting, or even a working solution.

How I will do this, I don’t know fully. That I am going to do it, is certain.

I believe in the oneness of everything and everybody. If we have to create lasting happiness and progress, that will happen by working for it together, not by finding people to blame. We are all as responsible for the state of things as anyone else. There is no ‘us’ against ‘them’.

What is causing this mass reaction?

How many of you have really envisioned an India without corruption? Think about it. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live in an India where people are loving and respecting?.. where people do their work with passion and for it’s own sake, where people have a tendency to help others and create a better life together? Have you really sat down and given thought to what you are aiming for? Were you working earlier against corruption, before Mr. Hazare came into picture? I am sure most of you weren’t.

Most people have a lot of troubles of their own that they have no answers to.. when they find an opportunity to blame someone else for some of their troubles, they pounce at the opportunity. You find it hard to accept responsibility for the troubles in your life, so you jumped upon this one chance to hold some others responsible and fight against them. This clear goal here, that tells you you are right and that there is a clear way to go about, gives you a sense of purpose. There is a leader to tell you what to do. Everything here seems rosy.

So what do I propose?

May I suggest a change in focus. Focus on how you exactly want India to be, not on what you don’t want in it. Focus on how to make everyone work towards it, rather than finding enemies within. Focus on taking responsibility for how things are, rather than blaming others, and focus on your own powers, rather than feeling helpless. There is infinite power within you. You can change everything. You don’t need to wait for some ministers or leaders to change. Make the change yourself. This may take years. But if you want real change, you and only you can make it happen. Don’t look for short cuts, don’t look for others to change or start movements or to come to your support.

My movement : Working to raise the consciousness levels of people. Make them love themselves and those around. Make them grow in inner strength and discipline, make them seek knowledge and growth, make them create beauty, make them seek happiness and joy and find it.

As the collective consciousness rises, we will have lasting progress in all fields and genuine happiness.

Do you think you share my ideas? Join me. Do you feel like taking a different path. Go ahead and take it. I am sure we will still find ways to work together in some ways towards this common goal.


  • Jyoti
    April 7, 2011 - 4:36 am | Permalink

    I was going through the updates of my FB and found almost everybody supporting Anna Hazaree…and his cause…but I know that 5 days from now…no one will even remember about the incident…forget about the cause. New things will catch people’s attention. Really feel like asking people…if you felt so strongly about corruption in India…then why don’t we do something…about it. I mean commenting on FB and gaining support..will lead to what..I don’t know.
    To cut the long story short…interesting article in midst of the herd mentality which people are showing all around. :)

    • Rahul
      April 7, 2011 - 6:38 am | Permalink

      Glad to have someone who feels similarly :)
      May I suggest stop expecting from others. Focus on your path, the right company(and FB comments!) will come. But then you probably already know it :)

  • Premangshu Debnath
    April 7, 2011 - 4:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Rahul,

    Good effort to impart you thoughts and ideas on this issue. It was quite an insightful reading for me. Following are my views on your thoughts about certain aspects on which I agee or disagree:

    Fight: I personally believe that this word makes a lot of sense here. I cannot agree that we are alienating ourselves by calling it a fight, because it’s our own struggle and we cannot achieve what we need without calling it a fight or rather fighting for it. Whenever there is a need, there has always been a revolution and fights too, for good or bad, history has it. Fight may not always mean violence, there are many ways to fight and we can just look out for as many ways as we can fight to achieve what we need.

    Coming to the next point, it is impossible for a million people to become decision makers however talented you are to stop something wrong and brings things into place. There has to be a collaboration of minds, strengths and masses when something wrong reaches the point of exhaustion and get right decision maker/makers in place. And one need not be a politician to achieve this.

    Corruption: I get what you mean by Law of Attraction..And yes if we are talking of coruption, it will yield at certain point into us too..but then I believe we are talking more of Anti-Corruption than Corruption that should keep away a lot of us from corruption as a whole.

    About Mr. Anna Hazare: Until recently, I myself wasn’t aware of who Mr. Hazare is. However, when I read his biography I came to know that he has led a number of successful campaigns as a social activist and has achieved some significant success.

    Hence, it makes a lot of difference and sense for an activist like him to initiate such a movement which inspires the masses to follow him. If the facts about him on the internet is true, what I understand is, he has been serving the nation selflessly and fighting for the country’s progress till date which makes him an even better figure for such campaigns compared to other celebrities or leaders.

    I do agree to the fact that we essentially don’t have to force ourselves to fast and die to make a change. We can think of other possibl ways to run the revolution. However, the matter of fact here is that, him running this indefinite fast has induced rapid realization across the country and united people somehow to make a change which is incredible. We are yet to see an alternate way which can achieve this! Hope you would agree to it too and this essentially also answers why we always wait for an activist or a leader to initiate such bigger revolutionary campaigns. The bottom line is the majority is always too complacent, lazy, afraid or ignorant to lead a revolution and you or I are not excluded from that majority!

    Finally coming to the idea you have given under “My movement”, I respect and totally agree to this idea. This is pretty much most of us educated citizens try to imbibe and follow. But we can’t forget the majority of the Indian population still remains in the uneducated communities across villages and rural areas. These people are not intellectually so enlighetened to carry such ideologies or principles. this makes it way easier for the political leaders to influence them and use them to get into power. Hence, there’s a bigger problem of education coming in there. It’s like a cycle. And we cannot expect the situation to change by just remaining enlightened and staying away from corruption. That has been tried and tested by many through years. It’s a bigger problem now and it has crossed the point of tolerance for many and hence this revolution. The only possible way to break this is by uniting and fighting against it. I believe this revoltion will now definitely scare those corrupt politicans next time they try to indulge into any kind of corruptive action.

    At the end of it, what I believe is, if all intellectual minds come together and support more whole heartedly in all possible ways they think would make sense rathe than analyse or debate on without acting much at this time of action, it will make a much bigger difference….

    • Rahul
      April 7, 2011 - 6:35 am | Permalink

      There have been fights throughout history. Whether they were for good, that can be a matter of debate. History has decade long fights just for the possession of a woman. You seem to equate fight to struggle. I find them different but then that is fine. Different people use words differently.
      You say fights have happened whenever they were needed. I doubt. I can’t think this particular one was not needed earlier. I don’t remember the last few decades as having been corruption free.
      Of course a million people can’t(and shouldn’t!) become politicians. Different people have differnt things they feel passionate about. Let everyone do what they like, just like you.
      Wrong and right are subjective. I think almost everyone differs from each other. We just have some common rules called Law, to go by. If corruption is so rampant, it means a lot of people are actually finding it right!
      Law of Attraction does say that you get what you think about. So if you think ‘anti-corruption’, both of ‘being anti’ and ‘corruption’ will manifest. I would suggest aiming for a loving and helpful society.
      Mr. Hazare indeed seems to have achieved a lot. A lot of respect to him. He seems to be a person who has followed his passion, something I like to think I share. I still disagree with some of his ways as mentioned in the post. I think most people who follow their own calling and respect themselves, understand they don’t need to agree totally with someone just because he has been successful. Success, and effort towards it, is always personal. Ideas and methods chosen may differ.
      What makes sense to someone, is totally his decision. If you find someone good enough to follow, I wish you well. I will make my own choices, and they include quetioning and testing everything I come across. That includes personalities who have done well.
      It may be to some extent as you say, ‘rapid realization across the country’. It may also be ‘rapid jump from World cup to another thing to grab someone’s attention’ before it goes on to something else. I think people already were aware of corruption. They know all the cricketers. No one told them the names, they picked it up. If they did not know about Lokpal Bill, it is because they don’t consdier it a priority.
      Yes, a lot of people wait for someone to start the big changes. I don’t know why you consider me in them but I like to think of myself as someone who is following his passion and making all the life changes he thinks important, by himself. Complacent, lazy or afriad is not what I associate with myself. The changes I am making may not be what you or some might think are the best, but then I always follow my own calling :). It usually turns out a lot of people like it. I am OK with that.
      The point of educating the rural populace is in my mind too. Finally something we agree on :) I am going to work on that when I deem fit. I imagine an enlightened India, both rural and urban, and I intend to manifest it.
      I hope it is really a ‘crossing of tolerance level’ as you say(and not just a shift in attention). Probably we will have people who qualify both. The majority shift will make a difference. I also hope it scares politicians. But then my experience says that the cunning always find a new way out to bend the rules. As you mention, history has it. A shift in attitudes, I repeat again, will be a more lasting solution(even though it may seem very difficult to bring about).
      I hope all minds do come together, but not as a herd that just had something to catch it’s attention, but as people who are clear and determined about what they want and as people who are willing to make personal efforts. Whether that happens here is yet to be seen. I hope it does.
      Best of luck in your endeavor. I am looking forward to the day when we converge.

  • premanshu
    April 7, 2011 - 5:13 am | Permalink

    I appreciate the bloggers approach, but even the best system/society has or is prone to virus. Bills like ‘lokpal’ serve as an anti-virus, and so should be strengthened by all means.

    • Rahul
      April 7, 2011 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

      That is one way to see it.
      Anti-virus are prescribed by the allopathic system of medicine. It gets results quickly but is known to have side effects. People like quick fixes(as I see the case here) and disregard the long term problems.
      There are other systems of medicine too, that look deeper and find the cause in lifestyle or deeper still, in the mental balance of a person. I think my solution of working towards creating a more positive society is geared towards that.

      • premanshu
        April 7, 2011 - 11:44 pm | Permalink

        I am too an admirer of homeopathy but still at times shift to allopathy. When, in case the disease, is or appears to go chronic.

        It feels great and fulfilling to see India not short of any form of cures/pathies, with you and Mr. Hazare working so effectively.

        Very soon India will be healthy,wealthy and prosperous…free from all disease and disorders.

        • Rahul
          April 8, 2011 - 12:12 am | Permalink

          :) I agree. Allopathy has it’s own unique uses, and so probably can such bills have. Whether that chronic condition is reached, I am not sure. I hope if this bill is implemented, people will understand that this is a temporary measure and more needs to be done in addition.
          Amen to your last words! May everyone work towards his/her dream society and make it happen. :)

  • April 7, 2011 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Too much of intellectualism. Do you live in a real world? Your solution is perfect in an equilibrium where in everyone is honest and selfless. Doesn’t happen that way I am afraid. Law of nature is to move towards higher degree of randomness (Entropy). Some strong force is (Motivating or restraining) required to streamline the chaos. Hazare is doing the same.

    • Rahul
      April 7, 2011 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know of an exact way to define when intellectualism becomes too much. I feel people use such words when they actually want to say that they don’t agree or that they couldn’t understand what was said. Instead of saying they disagree, they would say the other person is too intellectual!
      I don’t know how to exactly answer this question about our worlds Avijit, I currently think of this world as singular and so this question doesn’t make sense to me.
      You might want to read my solution again, it is not ‘for’ a world where everyone is honest and selfless, it ‘is’ to make efforts towards, to create a world where people are so.
      I don’t know what experiences you have with the world. I myself have lived in India for 27 years and in New York for 3 years. I have seen a completely different society in New York, at a very different level of collective consciousness and attitudes.
      I believe it is possible for a society to function at a different level of collective consciousness than what we currently see and I believe it is possible to make that shift(difficult though it may seem). Perfection may not be reached but improvement most definitely will be. It may be slow to come but would be lasting.
      I believe we all mold the world with our beliefs. You think of it as tending to entropy, I think of it as everyone seeking happiness, seeking the direction to reach it.

  • Premangshu Debnath
    April 7, 2011 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    Who is this Premanshu who has commented above? Is it someone with the same name as mine? This surely wasn’t posted by me! I appreciate the comment though.. 😮

    • Rahul
      April 7, 2011 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Yep, he is a friend from Lucknow. I also thought that was your comment!
      You have similar names and similar ideas.. You two probably can get in touch and work together on this one :)

      • Premangshu
        April 14, 2011 - 2:13 am | Permalink

        Lol..Nice to see someone with the same name which is kinda rare.. 😀

  • Vidhi Aggarwal
    August 26, 2012 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Your world is a sort of dream i used to see..
    but now I’ve realised there s no use waiting for such a utopian vision.
    I dont agree with Anna Hazare in the Gandhiji type mass movement..
    undoubtedly it was successful but it seemed useless in such a lengthy span of time .. and what you are talking about.. changing people’s attitude.. is perhaps never achievable..

    The only logical solution I can think of is strict, just and timely reactions..
    May it be punishment, admiration or whatever..
    kind of Sanjay Gandhi and Bhagat Singh type solutions and hardcore punishments to law breakers that seeing them no other person would dare to cross the line..
    Reversing what happens in India where people are afraid to be themselves due to the prevailing conditions ..

    My vision may seem utopian to some but one PERSON.. With enough wit will be able to drive it through..and perhaps make your vision a reality in no time..It wont be Hitler.. all people would support him..
    because the ways would be just…
    What say?

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