History has probably been made in India with Government acceding to the demands of a group of social activists, led by Anna Hazare. The demands essentially asked for having half of the say in drafting a bill that is supposed to have all pervasive ambit, with the much needed teeth too, in dealing with corruption in India.

As Parliamentary democracy demands, the draft bill needs to be passed by the Parliament, and needs to be signed by the President to be a law.

There are people who would try and measure corruption in India with rankings from Transparency International or other such bodies; and there are people like this author whose humble opinion is that corruption probably can no where get worse than what it has been in India in the recent past.

It suffices to say, that political leaders rarely spoke the truth over the public media, that too proudly day-after-day. The only way these minority few, who should have represented Indian citizens through representative democracy, could do so is because they probably thought of India as the nation of ‘another 1.21 billion people’ believing in the noble moral code of ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ from the East about these policy-makers; while the political leaders themselves, overtly and covertly, engaged in all types of evils.

However bizarre as above may sound – that’s what actually have been happening until an old man stood up and declared war against corruption in his own ‘Gandhi-ji’ style on 5th April. This old man displayed the rarest of the rare courage to state to the Indian Prime Minister, in an implied manner in a letter during this protest movement, that ‘Hon’ble Prime Minister, you are lying’.

Rest is history.

The core group of the people, who led to this history making process, practically putting Government of India on the back foot, has since then thanked all the people who supported the movement. They have termed it as ‘people’s victory’, justifiably so, because that’s what people’s desire has been in India, irrespective of how policy-makers in India interpreted the people’s desire, or even hijacked same. 

This core group of people spearheading this history of Jan Lokpal bill has been probably right in terming it as ‘people’s victory’ when one considers a much-required inclusive definition of people that should also include the way these people have been using technology, to express themselves and their views, on the role and type of governance that they want.

However few puritans, particularly from the sections of policy-makers, media professionals or even constitutional experts, who are not comfortable with that definition of ‘people’ that includes ‘people using technology to be more vocal and thereby be heard’; technology needs an explicit mentioning, and thereby also deserves to be thanked for the success of this movement.

Yes, without technology the movement led by Anna Hazare probably would have been dead. At best, it could have tested worse situations before being successful, which many would believe, it achieved quite comfortably. So it effectively is a people’s victory in the age of the technology, as it redefined what Government should mean in the age of the 21st century information age.

As expected, there are quite a few of those ‘puritans’ in India, shedding crocodile tears, or genuinely confused, since this history making process started; as they worry about ‘precedence’, to ‘norms of parliamentary democracy’ to ‘constitutional nitty-gritty’.  As these puritans from certain sections of Indian society expressed their views in bewilderment on these developmentsthat, that challenged their age-old knowledge (or baggage of knowledge?);  they need to be reminded the obvious that’s ‘blowin’ in the wind’, since history started recording itself.

They may start from the magna-carta, to Jefferson, Paine and Franklin, to the implied desires of the founding fathers of the Indian constitution. If they had got it right, then Anupam Kher, an actor and educator who supported the movement led by Anna Hazare, would not face privilege motion for ‘defaming’ the constitution or his house would not have been attacked by an unruly mob under vested interests of some political leaders.

Bizarre India policy-makers think that anyone questioning the constitution or the pillars of the constitution is blasphemous, as if the constitution is a sanctum sanctorum – not to be questioned for ever. They simply forget that the constitution merely legalizes the moral values of a nation and its founding fathers, therefore one must not pay more attention at the legal details ignoring the moral values totally, and probably deliberately too. They also forget that when India declared her constitution, it had a population of barely one-fourth of what it has today, or a literacy rate of barely one-third of present time.

The aspirations of the people, more in number and more literate now than it was in 1950s, have made Indian citizens realize how the same constitution have not come to help citizens of India in a timely manner in spite of its stated explicit or implied objectives when Nadigram happened; or when Tademtla, Morapalli and Teemapuram have been happening – in a repeat of Nandigram like incident.

Examples of how Indian policy-platforms have been hijacked are aplenty, and arise from all possible sources of vested interests.

Coming back to the role of technology in this movement, it has merely started doing what the printing press had done to the authority of the Church back in the beginning of the industrial revolution. That is the prophecy of Peter Drucker – the guru of the management gurus:

 ‘This (the information revolution in society) is very similar to what happened in the printing revolution—the first of the technological revolutions that created the modern world... What the new industries and institutions (as an outcome of this ongoing information revolution) will be, no one can say yet.’ 

The puritans – genuinely ignorant of these developments, or due to their vested interests deliberately, ignore the historical perspective of human civilization, and thereby can’t stomach too much change too soon that at times may even look like an anarchy to parliamentary democracy. They have not heard about Trafigura: and how a few tweets restored freedom of speech ,  they have not heard Benkler -  when he quoted about Frederick Roosevelt’s call on muckrakers, and the role of media in the context of  WikiLeaks (and the author of The Wealth of Networks), they have not heard about Metcalfe’s law on how networks can multiply, and they have also not heard about the empowered, online citizen who is now very much part of the fabric of everything in society.

Here’s a piece that policy-makers to journalists to constitutional experts from any field better pay heeds, lest  they should be irrelevant:

 ‘Not too soon or too fast, for the Internet has not yet reached five-sixths of the world. But even now, with this low base, the alarming call to the policymakers rings loud and clear, getting stronger with each passing day. It’s a wake-up call. Governments and policymakers take heed. Before the Internet makes you irrelevant.’ 

It got repeated from South Korea when OhmyNews played a pivotal role in the Presidential election back in 2002 with underdog Roh Moo-hyun getting elected due to OMNI’s citizen-centric campaign, to President Obama in 2008 in his campaign to WikiLeaks to the recent Arab revolutions.

Part II and the concluding section of the article can be found here.

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.

Be Sociable, Share!