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Upper caste uprising

By Chandra Bhan Prasad

Hazare's movement used symbols that were non-Dalit

Recently, a foreign correspondent from a well-known publication wanted to know what I thought about Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement. He was accompanied by his Indian colleague. He had done his home work, and asked me to the point question. One of his question's was — what evidence I have to support that Hazare's movement was an upper caste uprising against democracy?

I cited some incidents from Bengaluru and Mumbai. During the movement, the upper caste in the two cosmopolitan cities mentioned had come out in the streets in full colours. They had dressed their children — aged five to 10 — in clothes that resembled Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Shubash Chandra Bose and the likes of other freedom fighters. But, there was no Dr BR Ambedkar and no Mahatma Phule.

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Entering the information age

By Gail Omvedt

WILL THE computer age bring an era of renewed Brahman dominance? This is not simply a fear of a few pro-Dalit fanatics. It is a possibility that has been expressed, if not hailed, by no less an authority than Mr. Swaminathan S. Ankleswaria Aiyar, who characterises the information age in terms of ''Saraswati'' taking over from ''Laxmi.'' In his words, the ''neoBrahmans'' who had controlled the Nehruvian statist economy but yielded to the ''wretched vaishya culture'' which seemed to have won with liberation, can now smile again. ''The information revolution has enabled the neo-brahman to stage a shining comeback.'' (The Times of India, 2-1-2000). It seems true; the most-lauded Indian company is no longer a Reliance or a Telco but an Infosys, and the richest Indian is no longer an Ambani or a Hinduja or a Birla or even a Tata but a Deshpande.

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Change is on cards

By Chandra Bhan Prasad 

Our democratic set-up is heading for a complete revamp.

To decode Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill vs Government's Lokpal Bill cry and to translate that is a phenomenon in itself. To understand this, one will have to travel the path that Britain underwent in creating their Parliament and democracy.

Approximately in 1200, British barons (feudal Lords) owned agricultural land in Northern France — strange as it may appear. In return for these landholdings, the lords gave the King of England money and manpower so that he could protect their territories in France.

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Anna’s social fascism

By Kancha Ilaiah

The recent happenings in Delhi around the issue of the Lokpal Bill have been celebrated by the media as people's victory, pinned down on Team Anna Hazare. But the majority of the "masses" of this country, living in institutional caste and class enclosures, are not yet part of the "civil society" that the victorious group was talking about.

The so-called anti-corruption movement, therefore, needs to be examined from a multi-dimensional perspective. For example, I see it as a modern Manuvaadi Leviathan's victory. Manu's modern disciples walked into the Ramlila Maidan to celebrate the rise of a modern Levia-than, decorated in Gandhi topi.

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Want to live in the India Anna wants to build?

By Chandra Bhan Prasad

It is true that corruption is a menace that must be uprooted and a new law enacted in the changing circumstances. India has seen an explosion of wealth post 1990 which has resulted in rampant loot.

But who will make the new law? Members of Parliament or the Anna Hazare-led battery of NGO operatives? And where will the new law be drafted -- on the streets or inside Parliament? What is the experience in democracies around the world? Can India as a democracy be an exception?!

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Tired of Democracy?

by  GAIL OMVEDT

Why are such masses of people (apparently: in our village some came out for a morcha organized by the Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti) following Anna Hazare, when it is now clear that his Lokpal is an authoritarian, centralized and undemocratically pushed proposal?

Several articles, including those by Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy, have made this clear by now. I can find only one point to disagree with in the otherwise excellent article by Arundhati: that, like the Maoists, the Jan Lokpal Bill seeks the overthrow of the state. It does not. The movement wants to keep the state, in an even more centralized form, but replace its current rulers with a new set. And Ranjit Hoskote’s comment that “Anna Hazare’s agitation is not a triumph of democracy [but] a triumph of demagoguery” deserves to be remembered. The increasingly authoritarian, even fascist forms of activities are disturbing even many of its supporters.

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