Advertising | Metro Eireann | Top News | Contact Us
Governor Uduaghan awarded the 2013 International Outstanding Leadership Award  •   South African Ambassador to leave  •   Roddy's back with his new exclusive "Brown-Eyed Boy"  •  
Print E-mail

Power to the people of India

Last update - Thursday, September 1, 2011, 09:04 By Priya Rajsekar

Democracy is perhaps one of the most sanctified citadels of the civilized world, a word bandied about by the elite social class, but the interpretation of which is often denied to the very class of humanity it is dedicated to – the common people.

The last two weeks in India marked the beginning of a new revolution in the world’s largest democracy. Led by a 74-year-old Gandhian, the people professed their right to define what the word and the system should truly live up to be. The universal norm of parliament passing legislature at its own will was turned on its head, with the country’s citizens demanding the immediate passing of laws that would, in their eyes, put an end to the cancer of endemic corruption.
Fuelled largely by graft scandals which have rocked the country over the past few years, the frustration and angst of India’s millions was manifested not in a bloody revolution, but a fortnight-long peaceful, non-violent protest led by Anna Hazare. Through the Gandhian means of a fast in a public park, Anna kept the world focused on the issue, forcing a sluggish Government to respond to public demand. Thousands of supporters – including actors and spiritual leaders – thronged the venue, keeping the flame of the cause burning bright, while the media’s unwavering presence was strangely reassuring.
In the drama that unfolded, the will of the common people prevailed, marked by a unanimous parliamentary resolution to pass the Lokpal bill. This bill, which had been tabled unsuccessfully about eight times over the past four decades, now finally seems poised to become law.
As the man behind this historic moment broke his12-day fast last Sunday, the nation erupted in celebration, marking the moment as the beginning of a journey of reform. India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh summed it up quite nicely when he said “the will of the parliament is the will of the people”.
In a world increasingly exposed to bloody unrest and loud protest, it is not hard to see why the Anna movement attracted such global attention. Fortified by the mass weapon of peaceful protest, it had the potency to include every Indian with a will to bring positive change. Here in Dublin, Indians congregated at the embassy to express their solidarity with the movement. An online petition was signed by nearly 150 Indians living in the country – immigrants and students alike – with many more signing up to the group’s Facebook page.

The Anna movement’s triumph is nothing short of a miracle, given the scale of opposition it has been met with. Critics slammed the movement for its audacity, comparing its methods to blackmail.  Some even saw it as a betrayal of the nation, because the world was witnessing India washing its dirty laundry in public.
But in the end, and rightfully so, the people prevailed. A nation once used to bribery for anything from obtaining a driver’s licence to securing a place at university voted for change, joining a movement that could clean the dirty underbelly of corruption ill befitting of a country that sits on the threshold of superpower status.
By taking this first crucial step to eradicate corruption at all levels, India has won the respect of the world as the largest functioning democracy, one that truly listens to its people. And as Indians across the globe celebrate this victory, it might be worthwhile to reflect on Mahatma Gandhi’s call to be the change that one wants to see.

Priya Rajsekar is a freelance writer and co-founder of College Canteen, a student- academic social network.

Latest News:
Latest Video News:
Photo News:
Kerry drinking and driving
How do you feel about the Kerry County Councillor\'s recent passing of legislation to allow a limited amount of drinking and driving?
I agree with the passing, it is acceptable
I disagree with the passing, it is too dangerous
I don\'t have a strong opinion either way
Quick Links