September 20, 2020
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'I'd Rather Not Be Anna'

'I'd Rather Not Be Anna'

Arundhati Roy in the Hindu:

If what we're watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times. For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you're likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind.

For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State. One working from the bottom up, by means of an armed struggle, waged by a largely adivasi army, made up of the poorest of the poor. The other, from the top down, by means of a bloodless Gandhian coup, led by a freshly minted saint, and an army of largely urban, and certainly better off people. (In this one, the Government collaborates by doing everything it possibly can to overthrow itself.)...

Is it surprising that members of Team Anna have also been associated with Youth for Equality, the anti-reservation (pro-“merit”) movement? The campaign is being handled by people who run a clutch of generously funded NGOs whose donors include Coca-Cola and the Lehman Brothers. Kabir, run by Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, key figures in Team Anna, has received $400,000 from the Ford Foundation in the last three years. Among contributors to the India Against Corruption campaign there are Indian companies and foundations that own aluminum plants, build ports and SEZs, and run Real Estate businesses and are closely connected to politicians who run financial empires that run into thousands of crores of rupees. Some of them are currently being investigated for corruption and other crimes. Why are they all so enthusiastic?

More here

Also on the blog The South Reports:

Let us say, we are living in a city of shopping malls, where hawkers are illegal. If there is a woman on the road who sells samosas in a cart and pays the municipal officer and the police, is that a crime? Will she have to pay the Lokpal too? Are we creating two oligarchies that she has to deal with? If the Lokpal is meant to oversee from Prime Minister to the lowest government functionary, may be at the top you will have 11 morally upright people, carefully chosen, but you are creating an entire bureaucracy that is a second oligarchy.

Read here: Can the hungry go on a hunger strike?

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