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Friday, May 20, 2011

The hand clap that triggered the avalanche. Comments by divakarssathya in The Harvard Political Review

My thanks to The Harvard Political Review 

This international campaign was the handclap that triggered the avalanche of popular revulsion against the pervasive corruption in India.

Don't miss the response from the slobs at our beloved Prime Minister's Office.

Psychotic PMO Bareknuckles The Economist. and 

James Astill's Dazed Denial

Mad Dogs and the Guardian UK.

Dr Manmohan Singh's Office Asserts Its Determination To Be An Idiot. This Time It's The New Scientist.

As somebody who has conscientiously refused to do business the way it “normally” is in so called democratic societies – “Go along to get along” – I will not pay bribes – and who has been almost destroyed for my pains, it has become obvious to me that corruption is the father of all bigotries.

Corruption is the domination and control, rape, of the very idea of rule of law and makes a mockery of and cripples the authentic psychological evolution of the human race.

Corruption is fascist. And that is why, even in the 21st century, “the more things remain the same.”

Democracies have frittered away their immense moral advantage due to corruption and the people from top to bottom have all but given up on making the system function.

The following is an account of the bigotry against the Indian constitution and the idea of rule of law as I have experienced it over the past two decades.

Twenty years ago – I had the privilege of having conceived, researched, scripted, edited, presented and produced a 37 minute Doordarshan commissioned documentary in Urdu,”Hyderabad. August,1948", on the circumstances in which the 28 year old editor Shoebullah Khan of an Urdu newspaper, Imroose, was slaughtered, because of his open defiance of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad.

The documentary was acclaimed nationally.

Historians of the calibre of Dr Bipan Chandra commended the meticulous research. Freedom fighters expressed their gratitude that light had been shone on a chapter of history, which they believed had been obscured.

Among the most epiphanic reviews was the one by Dr Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser, currently editor of Business Standard and fellow Hyderabadi Dr Sanjaya Baru.

Under the informal chairmanship of Dr Abid Hussain, India’s former ambassador to the USA, I was able to organise a petition to the former Prime Minister Dr P V Narasimha Rao.

This resulted in a freedom fighter’s status and pension for the martyr’s widow, more than four decades after his supreme sacrifice.

However since the past two decades I have been hounded by the bureaucracy, with the Indian editorial class (with an occasional honourable exception) doing its bit to trivialise, denigrate and gag me.

My crime? I have been outspoken – wrote an article in the editorial page of The Hindustan Times and The Pioneer- about corruption in Doordarshan – the Government’s so-called public service broadcaster.

Since the past two decades, the Government of India, the Government of my own state, Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court , the Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have combined to impress on me that what works in India is what I have called the “patronage paradigm” – the paradigm of shoddiness, irresponsibility, cronyism and corruption” – and that ideas of the rule of law and democratic processes are merely spectacles to lull the gullible.

I have been denied the recognition that were commended to me by one former Chief Minister of my state, one former minister of home affairs, one speaker of the Lok Sabha, several prominent ministers of the central cabinet, eminent intellectuals and freedom fighters.

I have been unable to earn a decent living.

The office of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh incited my neighbors to cut off my water supply.

Wajahat Habibullah and C D Arha have conducted themselves as though the RTI Act 2005 does not exist. The information commissions in the state and at the centre denied me my right to information on spurious, brazenly illegal grounds and punished me for daring to object.

The AP high court sought independent legal opinion on my plaint, which was completely and unequivocally in my favour, and a judge issued a notice, yet the AP High Court high court denied me my right to competent counsel – a right given to the 26/11 gunman – and punished me for complaining.

The Prime Minister’s Office appears to have jumped through hoops to heap honour on a businessman alleged to be a serial swindler. In the same vein, it has and continues to illegally and fraudulently deny me the information I have sought and protect the miscreants who have stonewalled my pursuit of justice. Rashtrapathi Bhavan, after repeated urgings from me, had issued notices to the Ministry of Law and the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh almost a year ago, presumably it has taken a prima facie view, but since then has been content to let matters fester.

In other words, even as we speak, Dr Manmohan Singh”s office, “Daredevil” Pratibha Patil’s Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, State Information Commissioner CD Arha are all locked in a most perverse and ignominious conspiracy of silence to deny me justice.

India’s editorial class always narcissistic has decayed and is useless.

Like the police in Hindi films, it arrives after all the action is over and then mouths “dialogue’.

Variations of this comment have appeared in almost every major Indian online publication plus in many abroad. However, not a single editor or reporter has had the professionalism to pick it up and make it “impact”.

My credentials are strong and I have taken much trouble to meet many editors personally, usually on impeccable referrals.

Our “know-it-all-in -chiefs” have had nothing but smirks to offer. When I sought the solidarity of the press, Shekhar Gupta (editor in chief of The Indian Express) advised me, “You cannot go around taking pangas (quarrels) with people, yaar.”

Even my comments are mutilated.

Vinod Mehta’s “Outlook” has banned my comments on risible grounds.

The Hindu crawled. It published “spin” by corrupt officials and got hissy with me for pointing out, with evidence, its craven, yellow soul.

The Indian Press (with a solitary exception) blacked out the fervent open letter written by Padma Vibhushan Kaloji Narayana Rao. That dear man , clear as a bell in his nineties, had laid his head on my shoulder, hugged me and wept.

What about “civil society” in India ?

Since close to a year now, I have written to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Campaign for Judicial Accountability And Reform, Forum For Judicial Accountability, MKSS (Aruna Roy)and Anna Hazare regarding this cascading delinquency of constitutional bodies in India. There has not been one constructive response.

Like a Taliban operating through neglect,they all appear to be in helpless denial of the awful truth that an innocent citizen has been hounded and humiliated since two decades, not for any bad behaviour or wrongdoing, but for resisting the dilution of the values of the Indian constitution and standing up for the correct administration of the Right To Information Act 2005.

It is in this squalid situation that I have come to conclude that the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh and his Congress party have been wishy washy, namby pamby, lackadaisical, mealy mouthed and covertly encouraging of corruption.

As long as the Eleventh Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Get Caught – was not broken, Dr Singh and his party could be relied upon to engage his considerable personal influence and the immense powers of his office to pour unction on roiling waters.

Faced with a eight day long furor and the cold fact of one of his brightest colleagues having been caught red handed, Dr Singh’s reported first response was, ” There are ups and downs in politics”.

Given such dissimulation from the Prime Minister Of India, a scholar with a reputation for probity, for those who stand up for the idea of the rule of law in India, there is only one long, unbroken “down”.

Please visit and participate at http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com

 News and views from Divakar S Natarajan’s, “no excuses”, ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India. Now in its 18th year.

Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity’s struggle to honour the gift of life.

PS: Bigotry is found in the most surprising places.

The account above appears to have staggered some of the stalwarts of the “free world”:

After months of moderating and publishing my comments, Guardian UK has suddenly and without any notice withdrawn my posting privileges and scrubbed all my earlier ones.

Like some apparatchik of a military junta, Guardian UK has in effect, “disappeared” me.

The Economist wobbles – sometimes scrapping my comments and at other times leaving them on.

bbc.co.uk has published my comment in one blog but would not publish them in the Indian blog.In a form letter they have conveyed their fear that they may be sued for “defamation” !!!!!


Have these eminences of the media seriously scrutinised my claims and found them inadequate ? 

Absolutely not.

But they do crumble with one phone call from the Prime Minister’s Office or someone else.

The Indian media’s poppadum panjandrums have said what I have said from the safety of their armchairs. I am recounting my lived experience, with documentation and am demanding accountability.

Have I acted responsibly and in keeping with the greater good ? You be the judge.

Have they ?

I have complained to Press Complaints Commission about Guardian UK’s “baiting” behaviour.

But the PCC appears to be living in a Pre Magna Carta timewarp. Despite the clear appearance of bad intent, requiring investigation, it appears to be believe in unfettered monarchical privileges for online comment moderators and will not intervene.

8 comments:

viji said...

I have heard about many instances of such power misuse in Movies alone. Now I heard a true story.

As common man are not raising questions against them they think that they are born from sky and we would ask everything what they say. It is ridiculous.

Such situation wont prevails long.

Shom said...

You seem to have suffered tremendous hardships. But other than sympathy and support I cannot offer you much because I am even more powerless than you.

The media is a TRP driven creature. They dont support Anna Hazare from an ideals point of view. People watch. They get money. So they show Anna.

What Shekhar Gupta said was indeed outrageous, but it is sadly true, that the bigger the person's name or power, the bigger his ego.

Even people with merely fame and no power have such big egos.

If you hurt people's egos, they being more driven by the animal-origin ego-drive, will never respond favourably.

Hence why whistleblowers and spies are used in places where the adversary does not cooperate.

As far straightforward honest protest goes - see Irom Sharmila or Dashrath Manjhi. These people have similar struggles against public apathy as yours. People laugh at them just as they laugh at you. They are called great much much later that too by a few people.

And their cause is not fully fixed. It is nominally fixed for a decade or two and then again things start rotting.

This until something like Gandhi or Anna comes and changes the platform itself.

I am under no misconception that even in the Anna Team, if you brush someone's ego, your idea gets thrown out or you get ignored.

I have faced similar ego-based discrimination in movements other than this Janlokpal one.

I gave up and went back to my life, you have not. And frankly I have no useful suggestions to offer.

At least blogging allows you a space to record the facts. Do that meticulously, build a case against the crooks and create a movement. Then people will join.

Dont restrict your efforts to just your case. Fight with public and for other causes. Then people join you. Then the egos have to bend.

Till then, a single Satyagraha does not hurt the big egos enough to make them notice.

Divakar S Natarajan said...

Dear Shom,
Thank you for your sincere comment.

It is not as if our "adversaries" are omnipotent and we are impotent.

The objective in any struggle is to get past the resistance and create a breakthrough.

Yes, narcissism is pervasive and impossible to reason with.

But there are others who are fully functioning human beings. Usually quite away from the power circus.

They too are wrestling with similar issues. I believe if my sathyagraha can reach even one fully functioning person, it can reach them all.

You will be delighted to know that I may have reached more than one such.

The struggle for transparency, accountability and the rule of law are critical to let this nation "modernise" and grow in its own skin, so to speak, making full use of its abundant cultural heritages.

Please keep in touch.
Divakar

Vishal Kataria said...

Very moving post, sir. I am heartened to see you take up the fight against corruption on India's behalf, and disheartened to see the appalling (even that word is under rated) response on behalf of the government, media and civilians.

I will divert as much traffic as possible here. More people should know about this.

What more can we do to help? Please let us know.

divakar snatarajan said...

Thank you,Vishal.

Our ruling classes are hopelessly mired in corruption.

They are a waste of time.

A new leadership will emerge that has no connection to the present lot.

Appreciate your offer to spread the news. That is most critical.

Please remember to follow on Twitter.

Feel free to chat :)

Neeraj Singh said...

Dear Divakar: Problem is only one - You don't have a gun in your hand hence can be subdued easily; The problem with those who have the guns against the system is that they have become perverts & instead of working for the cause, they find more fun fighting with the gun. "Channel Current" which exposed many blue chip companies besides a lot of powerful & Corrupt in the world had to close their UK ops because none of the broadcasters ware ready to promote their programs as they seemed to be "Exposing". Do things change/improve? Yes, they do. Will change come in our system? Yes, it will; will it be absolute, No, it won't be. Fight has to be relentless & it will need to be carried on. Corruption is not in money; Corruption is in the mind. Satyamev Jayate, Satyagraha must go on, even if one is alone, Comrade.

John Kennard said...

Plutocracy is corruption, and corruption is plutocracy:

After all, if government is for sale, who would you expect the highest bidder to be?

And plutocracy is not democracy:

Plutocracy is slavery.

Abhay Shah said...

I have not read your struggle to end corruption, but seeing that your struggle is long, the right doors have not been knocked on or the right feathers fluttered to engage actively in your fight. Would love to help in any way I can.

Or maybe you did but the door remained shut and feather unmoved.