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Do not politicise anti-corruption movement

The Tribune has gracefully complimented Anna on his successful attempt to revive the Lokpal Bill, which has been hanging fire for the last 42 years. But it has very aptly questioned his latest decision to draw a political agenda for his team members (editorial, “Taking on the Congress: Anna is not one to give up”, October 6). Many people now in this country feel that Anna is really "overplaying his hand". Anna must not forget that there are many other distinguished individuals and organizations also who have been consistently raising their forceful voice against corruption.

I fully support the view that once Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill stands referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament along with other drafts submitted by the Cabinet Ministers and the social activist, Aruna Roy, it is rationally advisable that Anna and his team members should have the courtesy to wait till the "due process" is completed.

Moreover, the educated sections also feel that Anna's decision to go political will actually dilute the intense appeal of his original civil movement against corruption among the common people. I personally feel that Anna should not assume that the people of India have come to accept him as their unquestionable social and political prophet. He and his team members should not nourish grand illusions about their nationwide acceptability and they must respect the drastic need for a democratic discourse on all controversial aspects of the Lokpal Bill.


Plight of the poor

This refers to the news item, “Poll turns preserve of the rich” (October 6). It is becoming clearer by the day that the rich have slowly and furtively strengthened their grip over governance. The rich have vested interests in various enterprises and their goals are always centred on bigger profits. But, to quote E B White, “The trouble with the profit system has always been that it remains highly unprofitable to most of the people.”

The phenomenon of ascending prices stems from the greed for more profit. Protests against price rise are witnessed occasionally. The silence of the organized sector is always bought by throwing a few crumbs by way of hike in the pay, allowances or minimum wage, leaving the basics unchanged. As a result, the paradox of profit vs. poverty becomes even more glaring down the years making the poor poorer and the rich, richer.

In addition, expenditure incurred on successive polls also works against the poor. This will be quite clear if one compares the progress of Mumbai with that of Vidarbha (both in Maharashtra) over the last 40 years. Whereas the cerulean skyline of Mumbai has much to boast of by way of Ambani’s multimillion mansion, flyover bridges and the sea link, the torpid and barren landscape of Gadchiroli is now dotted with the additional dingy, dark and dank huts of farmers who were born there to commit suicide within this very period. There seems to be some sort of conspiracy, if not outright perfidy against the poor of this country. One is reminded of W B Yeats in such callous times:

‘But I, being poor, have only my dreams,
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’


A great revolutionary

Written in an otherwise sober language, Manpreet Singh Badal’s article (Why Shaheed Bhagat Singh enjoys mass appeal, September 28) on Bhagat Singh casts aspersions on two great revolutionaries -- Che Guevara and Fidel Castro -- by saying, “Guevara cannot escape the blame for fomenting some needless wars and persecution of innocent people in Castro’s Cuba.”

Che Guevara was a Finance Minister in Castro’s Cuba. He could have lived a comfortable life of a minister, but he quit his job and went to the jungles of Bolivia and joined guerrilla war against US imperialism and got shot down by US mercenaries in 1964 at the young age of 37. His killer shivered at the defined moment, and it was Che Guevara who challenged him to shoot, as Bhagat Singh had challenged British colonialism to “shoot them as war prisoners”.

What Fidel Castro and Che Guevara did through the Cuban revolution in 1959, and what Che Guevara did by sacrificing his life in 1964, it has made today at least 20 countries of South America like Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, apart from Cuba, to stand up against US imperialism in the region and build their societies of their own will without being dictated by the IMF, the World Bank and American companies.

I am one of those whom Manpreet calls “idiotic” persons who see a lot of similarities in the dare and sacrifice of Bhagat Singh and Che Guevara for the cause of human liberation.

CHAMAN LAL, University of West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

Triumph of honesty

The middle, “Is honesty the best policy?” (October 7), is interesting and timely. We have debated for long whether honesty indeed is the best policy. Now is the time for us to act on our belief. Why should we not become dishonest? This is because of the simple reason that when we become dishonest and act accordingly, it gives us pain, which is difficult to conceal. It is this pain we need to avoid.

Honesty does pay in the long run. Moreover, our life does not become complicated. We do not remain confused all the time. If I am dishonest, people will always find out. We may or may not be satisfied with our leaders, but we have to accept the fact that there are people who are still honest. Besides, the most important thing is we still recognize the fact that honesty is needed everywhere.




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