Taking the Indian Anti corruption movement forward

Anna Hazare

Close to two weeks of drama came to an end yesterday when Anna Hazare broke his fast. The Indian Government finally accepted his demands for considering a strong Jan Lokpal(Ombudsman) Bill against corruption.

Collective consciousness. It was, in a way, surprising to see this sudden buildup of public support and participation. This is something that has never before happened in India. While people have been fed up of corruption for long, they never came out so vehemently against it. This, to me, shows a collective shift in the consciousness of Indian psyche.

I feel that the state of a country is a mirror of the collective consciousness, collective mental attitude of that country. No single person, or group of people, or a certain department are responsible for the state of things, we are all collectively responsible.

The collective consciousness has risen from one of apathy to that of anger and then, to that of pride and action. I, for one, am happy with this rise and would love to see more. When a whole society takes a leap in consciousness, when a whole society rejects what it has till that point tolerated, then every human institution around has to change to accommodate this shift. For that reason, I think all of us Indians have something to be happy about, we have made a definite shift.

The corruption within. Although this shift is desirable, there is a lot of room for us to do more. This strong bill may be passed but, bills have been passed before and the human mind has always found a way around every such bill before.

What will make a bigger difference is when we take on the corruption within. This is a more demanding task. Even to accept the presence of corruption inside is difficult for most. To see and point out corruption in others is easy, even self satisfying but, as I said before, we are collectively responsible for what is. The other person is corrupt because we are corrupt. An officer accepts bribe because some among us offer bribes. Let us resolve to remove corruption from within.

I believe, when you expect someone to be corrupt, you indirectly, and to some extent, induce that person to corruption. That person picks up the vibes and acts on them. When the whole society expects a certain office or officer to be corrupt, that office or officer reflects this expectation even more strongly.

Facing the corrupt. The next time you face such officers, meet them with love and faith. Believe that they are friendly and helpful and treat them that way. Their attitudes towards you will change, even if it is a small change. I believe the more you can bring about this faith and love in your interaction, the more they would reflects the same.

Let them do what they do, you be firm in your friendliness and honesty. Frustrate them with your curiosity about rules.  When the officer asks for money, smile and ask for the reason. Your role should be one of a friend trying to understand better and trying to help his friend see the right way. Stay connected, with yourself and with the other person.

There might be times when you are too impatient or fearful, and your inner corruption urges you to submit to the corruption in that officer. When you thus falter, don’t sink into guilt, resolve to stay more connected to yourself the next time and forgive yourself and that officer.

When the corruption within is thus replaced with faith and love, we would have shifted to a yet higher level of consciousness.

Lessons from an old and determined man. I congratulate Anna Hazare on this victory(to bring the whole Govt to it’s knees was no mean feat). I have had reservations about his method and the public perception of the anti corruption campaign. My views on the same were shared in this article. But I still see a lot to learn from him. An old man of 74 has done something that nobody would have thought possible in India a few months ago. He is a person who lives simply and has devoted his life to social causes.

He did not wait for someone to come and make the changes he wanted in society, he made the effort himself. We have to take this lesson from him. Let us find what our heart feels for and let us take the necessary action ourselves. Let us each stand up for what we believe in and be ready to lead the effort.

Let us learn that happiness, a smile and the adulation of all is not dependent on accumulating wealth and riches. Simplicity breeds happiness and good will. It also breeds clarity and focus.

Let us learn from him to keep going when no one is listening to us. Let us also learn that when finally everyone does pay attention and raise us to the status of a hero, we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground and not loose focus of our core values.

Let us learn from him to take away attention from our fears of insecurity and put it on doing things we feel for.

May we all draw inspiration from him and build an honest and lively core within. Let us remove corruption from the inside out.

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