IAC, a big chance to clean system
Arvind Kejriwal has done yeoman service by exposing scams and scandals by our leaders and public representatives. The latest exposure by his organisations India Against Corruption (IAC), revealing names of influential industrialists and politicians, who have stashed money away in Swiss banks, deserves serious attention and investigation. The government should at least get a list of Indians who have huge deposits (say, in the region of Rs100 crore) in Swiss banks. It is ironical that Switzerland, a country where the level of corruption is very low, allows people from other countries to deposit their ill-gotten wealth in its banks. It requires enormous courage and conviction to fight against powerful and influential politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen. There was an impression earlier, that IAC was focusing only on the ruling combine. But they have done well to expose the corruption by individuals, irrespective of political party or affiliations. More and more people must support the work by Kejriwal and his team, so we can move towards curbing such corruption and cleaning the system. IAC could also start a campaign to isolate and socially boycott the corrupt and crooked. Hitherto, the general attitude of helplessness over corruption, has contributed to the spread of this virus. Our values have slipped to the level that we have eulogized the rich and the corrupt (irrespective of how they have got wealth) and we branded honest people as fools and idiots, who are unable to earn wealth. Mounting public pressure and social boycott, may lead some people to introspect, perhaps even keep off the temptation to amass wealth by unscrupulous means. This is a big opportunity for us to show to the world that in the largest democracy ultimate power lies with the people and not in the hands of a handful of politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats. This could encourage honest and responsible people to join politics, which till now was a synonym for dirty tricks and an activity not fit for men of principles.
—EM Adithyan, Edapal, Kerala
Cong hopes will revive
The one political party in India that has much reason to welcome the re-election of Barack Obama is the Congress. The party will look hopefully to return to power in 2014. Indeed, Obama’s re-election against all odds and defying the predictions of the pundits, would have strengthened hope in the Congress. It was suggested that the US elections would be decided on burning economic issues, whether it is the mind-boggling deficit, national debt, rising unemployment and likely recession. But it turned out that the result tilted on a hope for change and emotional rhetoric. Now, the Congress party will fancy its chances of returning to power, 18 months from now, despite the burden of corruption hanging around its neck. The similarity does not end there. In India, like in the US, there are assured constituencies of voters that the Congress can depend on to take it over the finish line. Some populist programmes (Obamacare in the US, here we have MNREGA) should do the trick when it appears impossible. So, when the elections come round, it will boil down to the discerning voters, to act with our heads and not our hearts.
—Bernie Tellis, Mumbai
Coming back stronger
Apropos of ‘Anna Hazare announces new team’, now that Hazare has separated from attention-seeking and publicity-oriented individuals, and that he has made his intentions clear to keep the movement strictly apolitical, there is every chance that he will drive home his social agenda more powerfully. A social movement tends to fade once its members start nursing political ambitions. Hazare will know by now that it is not always necessary to be iconoclastic to ignite people’s imagination. In this context, Anna’s primary task will be to keep the profile of his team members low, without being laid back. Already, a member of the core committee, Rajinder Singh, has said that the title ‘Team Anna’ was inappropriate. Kiran Bedi has said that Anna’s team is the original India Against Corruption. It will be interesting to see how Anna deals with such personal views and contrasting personalities, now that he does not have some of his skilful negotiators to help him prevent this from enfeebling the movement. Judge Santosh Hegde would have been an apt substitute, with his sharp intellect and loads of experience in the judiciary, but the former judge has been enigmatic on where he stands vis-a-vis Anna’s movement. Media attention will come without asking and people will throng Anna’s path of protest, knowing his captivating ways. Anna would know that it is not difficult to rope in eminent citizens who would devote themselves to a social cause. If Ralegan Siddhi could throw up an Anna Hazare, there are plenty of similar places from where sagacious citizens could come to join Anna’s mass movement towards changing the social facade of the country. He has our support.
—Dr Ganapathi Bhat, Akola
Pilikula comes alive
Apropos of ‘New life in green zoo’, the slow but steady increase in the number of tigers and other animals at the Pilikula zoo in Moodushedde (Mangalore taluka) will be exciting news for wildlife enthusiasts. The location of the biological park in a forest area seems to have paid rich dividends, if the high breeding rate is a yardstick. This is commendable, considering that zoos elsewhere in the country have reported scores of animal deaths in the recent past. Credit must go to the officials of the Pilikula Nisarga Dhama Society and Dr Shivarama Karanth biological park for doing a sterling job in turning the zoo into a flourishing centre for wildlife conservation and one of the best managed zoos in the country. The life of suffering wild animals at other zoological parks could be improved if these centres can take a leaf out of the book of the Pilikula zoo.
—NJ Ravi Chander, Bangalore
Rush of crimes
Crimes against women and senior citizens in the city are happening at an alarming rate and the police appear to be clueless. Most of these crimes are committed by persons from the floating population, who commit these act and then take the train back to their home states, to return when the dust from their deeds has settled down. It is difficult for the cops to keep a track of all such persons. Citizens should also be on the alert and co-operate by following basic safety measures. Some police seem to be more interested in moral policing, or they are pre-occupied with security concerns of VIPs/VVIPs instead of the security of the common man. It is also true that nowadays, these criminals do not fear the police, as they believe they can wriggle out of these situations quite easily.
—Vanita Shenoy, by email