When the history of the anti-corruption movement is written for posterity, veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare’s face will be identified with the fight, says writer, social activist and former super cop Kiran Bedi.
Bedi, who released the book “Anna Hazare: The Face of India’s Fight Against Corruption”, is part of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that saw him sitting on an indefinite hunger strike demanding for a more stringent anti-graft law.
The fast garnered wide public support and resulted in the formation of a 10-member committee, comprising civil society members and politicians, for drafting of a more stringent Jan Lokpal Bill.
“Work has started at the joint drafting commission of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The first draft of the was shocking,” she said.
The next phase of action will depend on the kind of progress the drafting committee makes, she said. “I will be a part of it, have to see the bill through and keep a watch on it,” Bedi told.
She alleged that the government had hurriedly prepared the first draft of the bill last year before the G-20 summit in Seoul to present a “clean image of the government”.
Describing Hazare as the “Mahatma of India”, Bedi said: “Anna Hazare inspired the youth across caste and creed. He was like a spark, he touched a problem which was in everybody’s heart.”
“It has been a privilege to see him, work with him and learn from him,” she said.
The book, edited by Pradeep Thakur and Pooja Rana, and published by Pentagon Press, is an exhaustive study of the face of corruption in Indian polity and the role of a lone crusader, Anna Hazare, in cleaning it up.
It traces the history of various abortive attempts to frame a strong anti-corruption bill that could deter people occupying public offices from polluting the domain of democratic governance in India.
Against this backdrop, it highlights the exasperation of the civil society with the clumsy attempts of public personalities to frame and at times, block the birth of such a law. It dips into the past of Hazare, who calls himself a “fakir”, a man with no family, no property and no bank balance. He lives in a small room attached to the Yadavbaba temple in Ahmednagar’s Ralegan Siddh village, 110 km from Pune.
Citing statistics of corruption in the society, noted writer and journalist Prem Shankar Jha, the guest of honour, said: “Nearly 28 percent of the members in parliament have criminal charges, nearly 44 percent of members in the Bihar government are corrupt and nearly 31 percent of the newly-elected Bengal legislators are corrupt.”