Saturday, April 23, 2011

Platoon attack on a Brigade of Corruption will fail without force multipliers

From: rs chhikara Sent: 21 April 2011 12:32
Dear Chander,
May i request you to consider putting the attached write up on RMS.
(Brig RS Chhikara, Secy Gen INA Trust)

It all started at Ram Leela Ground. Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi were a worried lot. Will the people of India respond to their call adequately or will they remain despondent and cynical. Indians had got used to living with corruption and to participating in corruption if opportunity arose. In the event 30000 people attended as against 3000 expected and planned for. Enthusiastic speakers from civil society out spaced the dais and over ran the time plan. There was a flicker of hope. Obviously, people were angry at the scale and spread of corruption . It was pent up resentment awaiting a lead- a spark, to be ignited. There was hope- yet.

When Anna the disciplined, humble Soldier, turned social worker, turned social activist, came on the scene on 5 April, people were still doubtful. They came to watch but wait. Many had not yet known this man who was but a mere foot soldier in the Indian Army in 1965 when the hand of destiny spared his life in battle and infused him with a desire to serve his fellow humans – gave him a greater mission for his life.

Anna provided the spark. It ignited the dormant desires and hopes of millions in quick time. Trickle became torrent. Participation increased from hundreds to lacs . The movement spread world wide in a matter of just three days. By the fifth day the phenomenon was Tsunami like not destructive but consolidating, constructive. Media, barring the anti national few and the subservient few, was electrified. They sensed their chance for the largest ever TRP ratings and pitched in. A revolution was in the making. Some media outlets joined the race for mere self survival.

Politicians started by deflecting blame on usual party lines. They found ghost provocateurs and conspirators. They called the organizers irresponsible non entities. They brought forth convoluted logic and excuses. They attempted to discredit and divide the people. Every trick of the trade was tried. The Manish Tiwaris and Manu Singhvis were all very clever and shameless but very scared indeed. Other opportunists tried to appropriate the movement for building their personal and party images. The people (unfortunately, more than the organizers) saw through their game immediately. For the first time television debates were not slanging matches, Congress Vs BJP, with each trying to disrupt and outshout the other. Arguments could now be articulated and heard. Politicians were compelled to listen. Face book, Twitter and Blogs brought the issues to the forefront of public domain.

People came together physically and virtually to start a revolution with total clarity on objectives and options. They knew that they were joining a long and demanding war against a wily and powerful adversary who could be relied upon to fight hard for every inch of space. They knew that there will be several bloody battles ahead, before the objective could be secured. Yet, with new found hope and faith in their combined power, they were determined to persevere and prevail.

Today, on April the 8th, they have captured the preliminary objective. (Or have they only secured the FUP- Forming up place) It symbolizes the first success but only the most preliminary and limited. Many more and difficult objectives lie ahead. This is time for hope and confidence but not for rejoicing and rest, yet. As I have said earlier, the problems confronting India and we Indians lie rooted in our democratic system and practices. Those maladies are the root cause of symptoms like Poor governance and corruption. Our party system, our electoral system, Politics of parochialism, caste politics, vote bank appeasement, family and dynastic power houses, politics through patronage, cronyism, the list is long. These are the maladies that will need to be conquered. We have found the weapon– The Brahmastra of collective people’s action. We have to learn to wield this power for the greater good of India.

But In order to be able to wield this power repeatedly and successfully, we will need self discipline and perseverance. We will need to sacrifice parochial and personal interest at the alter of national interest. Clerks will need to work without gratification. Business men will have to tread the straight path of reasonable profits without subverting rules and competition through bribes. Our chartered accountants will have to stop helping entities by helping fudge the accounts. Politicians will have to reconcile to their role as servants of the people rather than as unbridled rulers over the people. Senior bureaucrats will have to reign in their greed for money, power and grandeur. They will need to stop facilitating and conniving with political interests. And above all we will need to learn the imperative of refusing to offer bribes for gain and resist bribing for convenience. We all will need to learn to say no to black money in all our dealings as buyers or sellers. We will need to learn to demand our rights and fight for them where necessary. Be prepared to pay the cost of eradicating corruption.

The last will be painful at times but unless each of us leads this assault on corruption individually and leads by example. The objectives, howsoever laudable, will remain elusive.

As for the corrupt, They need to be exposed for what they are. They need to be shown their place by society. Banish them from society rob them of social respect and acceptance. Hukka Pani Band.

So friends, Let us join the battle against corruption not just corruption by others but by us as well. Jai Bajrang Bali – Jo Bole So Nihal – Allah u Akbar

The Next Phase of War Against Corruption
Only 15 days have passed since I wrote the above. The tenacity of the adversary is clearly visible. It is a battle, the corrupt will not like to loose. They will fight tooth and nail with all the power and cunning at their command. While we have sampled their intent and strength, we need to learn from our own mistakes and deficiencies.

Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal appear to have launched the attack on corruption in a hurry without a realistic appreciation of enemy reaction and consequently, without the required level of preparation and force mobilization. They appear to have launched a platoon sized attack where a Brigade attack was needed. Firstly, Anna Hazare’s support group needs to be strengthened by co opting several others with battle experience and credible leadership potential. While some names are obvious, others need to be thrown up. Politicians are generally detestable but there are exceptions. These need to be activated. Care will need to be exercised in selection to exclude fifth coloumnists. Secondly, local leadership in over 500 locations countrywide need to be organized. As counter attacks will continue to be launched against the movement, many more battles will certainly need to be fought and won.

Anna Hazare appears to have co opted Sonia Gandhi as part of the solution finding process. I share the wide spread view that she and Manmohan Singh are at the heart of the problem. They cannot and must not be seen as potential part of the solution.

The movement has electrified the nation especially the youth. This energy and enthusiasm of astronomical proportions will need to be directed constructively, no body wants a Middle East like situation to develop in India. This will require contingency planning with much foresight. What if miscreants and misguided elements create disorder? What if the state foolishly, tries to use its coersive force against the movement? What if an opportunistic group within the leadership attempts to hijack the movement for political gain? What if external interest groups try fishing in troubled waters? There is need to formulate a strategic plan and control group comprising a few commited and experienced persons.

25 Lac ex servicemen spread throughout the country is one resource that can be of critical value in several potential contingencies. Trade unions are another and perhaps bigger resource. Student unions can be very effective too. Prepartatory work is needed in all these areas to ensure prudent and cautious selection.

The enemy is bound to launch diversionary and deceptive forays. We must not get carried away by these and react in knee jerk fashion. Maintenance of aim and concentration of force are two time tested principles of war. We must therefore learn to stand fast on our course while keeping a sharp eye on adversary tactics and intent. Let us not withdraw under false threat, let us retain cohesion of force and stick with the aim. For example, now is not the time to jettison Bhushans or marginalize Agnivesh. It is time to defend solidarity of the people– All people. Internal differences need to be contained not vehemently aired.
Brig R S Chhikara, Veteran
21 April 2011
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