Anna Hazare broke his 12-day fast
Aug 28 amid great jubilation at the Ramlila Maidan and elsewhere
in the country. Most of the media and some of his associates
called it a major victory for fighting corruption while others
termed it a shallow one and a circus with no promise of a strong
Jan Lokpal Bill in sight. The truth lies somewhere in between.
Anna's fast brought into forefront the public anger against
corruption - long known but simmering below the surface. It also
allowed youth to be a part of a national movement -something they
had not done before.
But a sad aspect was the capitulation of a weak and inept
governing leadership and its confused response to Hazare's
movement, which, fuelled by media frenzy, was able to dictate and
force some sort of action from parliament.
This may open up a Pandora's Box and similar agitations may force
other issues to be passed in hurry in parliament.
The first casualty of corruption is governance. In a democracy,
due diligence and debate in parliament is the only way to bring in
changes and new laws. Because of lack of governance, parliament
has ceased to function in a sensible way and hence the anger and
frustration of the people and Team Anna.
I feel corruption cannot be stopped only by making harsher laws.
There are already enough laws provided they are implemented
properly. A better way is for each to look inwards to reduce
greed, which is also creating an unsustainable lifestyle. Most
Indians aspire to have a Western lifestyle.
We should reduce our greed by becoming spiritual and follow the
maxim of "simple living and high thinking".
The basis of greed is desire, which manifests itself in lust, aim,
ambition, control, and goal. But the driving force is the same -
power, fame and money. One of the outcomes of desire is
possession. We feel a need to possess whatever we desire -- a
person, object or idea.
Unfulfilled desires lead to frustration and a need to be more
possessive. This leads to more control and greed which is the
major cause of corruption.
But desire is a useful and necessary emotion. It allows us to
achieve something and be active. What we need to do is to satiate
or channel our desires.
A powerful processor or the mind can get its desires fulfilled
quite easily without physically possessing the objects of desire
as it can effectively evaluate all choices and resolve issues
regarding consumptive lifestyle. For example, we can wear only one
shirt and one pant at a time - so what is the need to have 100
shirts and pants?
A powerful mind can resolve such issues and help us lead a
sustainable lifestyle. But a weaker brain needs to possess a lot
more things for fulfilment of desires and this leads to greed.
When one concentrates on a single thought regularly and
continuously for a long time, it helps in producing a powerful
mind and is the essence of yoga. Such a mind makes us sensitive
and humble, changes our priorities and helps us in focussing on
getting happiness through mental peace rather than material needs.
It also reduces our insecurities and gives us a feeling of
calmness, well- being and happiness.
Human beings' insecurity comes when they have nothing to do. "An
empty mind is the devil's workshop" is an old saying. Activities
such as hoarding of wealth and material goods are the result of a
shallow mind driven by fear complex of losing out or not having
A powerful and sensitive mind also becomes empathetic and gives
rise to the desire to give back something to society and help less
fortunate fellow beings.
Creation of a powerful mind should start from childhood when the
brain power is at its peak. We should consciously create in our
children the desire to read to cultivate the habit of imagination,
thinking and contemplation. A small step for a corruption-less
society therefore should start with schools.
Though everyone needs to reduce greed, the corporate world has a
bigger responsibility. Today they are considered as fuelling
corruption by colluding with politicians in land grabbing, shady
deals and parking of their ill-gotten wealth abroad.
With its resources and wealth, the corporate world can create
conditions for jobs generation and improving quality of life of
I therefore feel that when all of us become internally secure and
reduce our greed, then we can give something back to society and
lay the foundation of a sustainable and corruption-less India.
Anil Rajvanshi is a
scientist and director of the non-profit Nimbkar Agricultural
Research Institute, Maharashtra. He can be contacted at