Part I of the article can be found here 

Everything has to have a beginning.

As citizens, we feel for many of these other legitimate causes and have our moral support to those causes. However, when one uses one such cause against another following divisive tactics; that needs to be nipped at the bud. If there are grievances, it must be directed against the people in authority, and not against the team spearheading Jan Lokpal. Irrespective of other legitimate causes, to have a just and fair society – one group acting towards that objective must support another group having the same objective.

Blaming Jan Lokpal for Irom Chanu Sharmila  (and similar others) not getting justice, as part of media has hinted at, is metaphorical to blaming Binayak Sen for getting bail, finally, while hundreds of people happen to be in exactly the same legal situation as he was, while in jail. 

Coming back to the book of Joseph Lelyveld, many of its reviews have been sensational, particularly one in the WSJ by Andrew Roberts that attracted nearly 300 comments. One particular comment worth mentioning here is by ‘Pierce deWah’: ‘…tenets of non-violence can be found in each of the major Indian and Abrahamic religious traditions.’ If this comment is true, Gandhiji was not the inventor of it, he rather used it in the right context.

Without the sensationalism, Pranay Gupte (who also had worked with Joseph Lelyveld in the NYT)   had an article on it titled ‘Joe Lelyvelds of this world don’t lie’ in The Hindu. Indian media however has been mostly silent on that book, or its ban in select Indian states.

In spite of the failures that any organizations can have, the NYT as an institution is respected globally to be accurate, even when they have been found to be on the wrong side. However, today that credibility is badly lacking from most of the institutes in Government or Indian mainstream media. And same has started spreading among citizens as well. We have started looking at each other with that jaundiced eye.

So, one must not allow personal issues to score over the issue of corruption, as Jan Lokpal bill demands now. The relevant question to be asked is not whether Shanti Bhushan is as clean as probably X is, but it rather is how the team, representing aspirations of millions or billion of Indians, collectively goes together in its acts on the issue of fighting corruption. Within the team, members must complement each other in finer points of legal and constitutional issues, and they must also share a spirit of bonhomie, keeping in mind the uphill task they have undertaken. If the existing members have it as per their belief, let it be so.

Let’s not crib about that, and thereby damage that legitimate Indian aspiration.

So it is immaterial for any to even demand for a 100% untainted image for all these five committee members, be it legally, morally or professionally. However as long as they carry on doing their job as volunteers in the Jan Lokpal committee, which is a fruit of their own hard-fought battle against all odds, without any remuneration whatsoever, that too with the self-less devotion and enthusiasm that they have exhibited in the recent past, the rest of the country must stand behind them.

Or else, Mahatma may also fail in today’s age of media scrutiny – in the name of splicing and dicing. A re-reading of the WSJ review with the comments, in spite of whatever wrong intention Andrew Roberts may have, would strengthen that point of view. Gopal Krishna Gandhi,  a great statesman of contemporary India, other than being the grandson of The Great Mahatma, highlighted same in his interpretation of Anna Hazare. He also explained what Andrew Roberts or Joseph Lelyveld might have missed, that Gandhi’s protests were equally divided in three parts (1) fight against oneself to improve the self, (2) fight against (Indian) society to get rid of the evils of society, and (3) fight against the colonial rules. Most of the Indians, or even Gandhian followers, might not have known the first two parts of The Mahatma as he continued with his experiments with truth in his own life.

Gandhi, in my humble belief, could not have become Mahatma under simplistic slicing and dicing of non-issues that Indian media has been engaged at. The investigative journalism, if there is truth in it, has been done by the Jan Lokpal Committee members when they pointed out (should have been the job of the media, right?) fallacies in the CD that now has emerged to defame the Bhushans. In this age of WikiLeaks, and investigative journalism; Indian media should take inspirations from Daniel Ellsberg, or from I F Stone, when they went through hundreds of pages to get the truth (‘Stone’s journalistic work drew heavily on obscure documents from the public domain; some of his best scoops were discovered by peering through the voluminous official records generated by the government’).

If Indian media can’t provide clarity, let them remain quite. They however don’t have a license to create confusion in people’s mind. If they lack capabilities to seek truth and accuracy, let them not throw muck at people at the allegations of people who already might have lost all credibility. Here’s a nice piece of advice that Indian media must keep in mind, in their enthusiasm of practicing (Indian-styled) journalism, which would slice and dice any would-be future great soul to pieces, missing the whole of it totally (remembering the Gestalt belief that ‘The whole is something more (or else, whatever) than the sum of the parts’, as could be applicable for The Great Mahatma Himself. The quote is also attributed to Aristotle):

 ‘[I]t is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muck rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed. But the man who never does anything else, who never thinks or speaks or writes, save of his feats with the muck rake, speedily becomes, not a help but one of the most potent forces for evil.

There are in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man, whether politician or business man, every evil practice, whether in politics, business, or social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform or in a book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful.’

Theodore Roosevelt, The Man with the Muck-rake, 14 April 1906 

At the same time, irrespective of maturity of most of Indian mainstream media, Indian netizens must use their power of technology to counter such organized efforts to derail the Jan Lokpal. If we fail collectively to steer Jan Lokpal Bill clear of such controversies, we should blame ourselves for the prophecy of this (disputed) Churchill-quote:

‘Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.’

I invite you to visit my blog, Wondering Man (or take a look at my book,Wondering Man, Money & Go(l)d that rightly predicted many of the economic and geopolitical crises, to the gold prices and the currency disputes). You are also invited to join me on twitter.

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