Part I of the article can be found here

In India, credibility of statistics on Internet user-base has always remained questionable. At the same time, it may be safely stated that Internet may not have reached even ten per cent of Indian population yet. Further, going by the learning curve of these 10% of people – most are still in the initiation stage as of now.

Technology, in the context of India, therefore must include basic mobile services also, where the penetration may be closed to 60%.

So the journalists who questioned Anna Hazare movement no doubt did their job by visiting Jantar Mantar on the 1st or 2nd day of his fast, and were not wrong in reporting credibility of the demand with hardly 200-300 people being present. Where they went wrong is in underestimating the role of the technology and network effect of it, in spreading the demand to a lot of the 1.21 billion Indians who are connected in some way with the information revolution – be it through Internet or a phone (or a TV too).

Anna Hazare and Jantar Mantar, for some time during this movement featured within top ten twitter trends, world wide. Who could have ever thought this being a possibility on the 1st day of the movement (other than probably a cartoon in The Hindu that showed Hazare growing bigger by the day against the Prime Minister)? It even surprised researchers having knowledge of power of the Internet and technology. And this is where experienced journalists and policy-makers got it wrong.

 They were also wrong in overplaying role of Indian private television channels in spearheading the demands of the protesters. Lord Meghnad Desai got it right when he stated (against threat to the movement in case private TV channel covering news start focusing on the forthcoming IPL cricket matches), live from Jantar Mantar, that most of the Indian mainstream media, too, has been a follower than a leader for this fight against corruption.

Now it’s been a classic case of a winner having many parents and a loser being an orphan. Even government has also been claiming that credit of parenting it, which some part of Indian mainstream media feels to be legitimately their child.

The actual parent is civic society, under a credible leader, in the context of the famous saying of Victor Hugo – ‘nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come’. The all important technology has been on the side of the idea.

Here’s one of the best journalistic organization in the world who understands how technology has made traditional journalism irrelevant. In comparison, one sees mostly ‘paid journalists’ or immatured, inobjective lot of Indian journalists. Point is, like the custodians of the Church in the 15th century, no one loves to be challenged about the authorities that’s been traditionally bestowed on a profession  – be it policy-makers, be it journalists, or be it academicians.

Journalists in India still believe they can influence public opinion, they can make a real difference in society. The objective is laudable, and society support journalists who do it with honest intentions. However, matter of fact is, they can probably ruin all their credibility in a single day or event, in one wrong or unethical step.

Jan Lokpal bill attracts another criticism due to its naivety; as many legitimately felt, that one more autonomous body or law would not be able to weed out the corruption-gene from the Indian society. The author humbly agrees with that possibility, having the optimism that it may at the same time make a little difference. People talking about weeding out corruption altogether from Indian society (or any society per se), due to Jan Lokpal Bill draft being passed as a law, suffer from the Pollyannaish syndrome. Jan Lokpal Bill merely attempts in creating a credible check and balance, and with the much needed teeth too, as proposed in its draft. Therefore it may eventually succeed to a certain extent.

At the same time, all of us must remember that there is no universal panacea in any textual law or in any policy-tool, the remedy actually lies on how the same law and tool is being practiced in reality in the grass root levels to the top echelons of public offices.

Let’s hope Indian citizens fighting against corruption will eventually get it right. No doubt that they will make mistakes, they must learn how to face obstacles and failures quickly lest the patience of the country should run out, no doubt there would be questions on their ability sooner or later. They would surely faulter, but they need to get up quickly and get the direction right.

At the same time, civic society should also know that too much expectations too soon, in this age of ‘fast food’ culture,  can kill a great idea.

Let’s hope for the best. Technology seems to be on the side of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

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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