Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wal-Mart - The Conspiracy Theory!

New Delhi, November 28, 2011
“NDA convener and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav and BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain
said the question of allowing Parliament to function does not arise till government withdraws the decision on FDI.”

“Anna Hazare has announced that he will go on a fast at Ramlila ground from December 27 to January 5 if the governmnet fails to pass the Lokpal Bill.”

“BJP today backed Anna Hazare's decision to go on fast next month if the government fails to pass the Lokpal Bill in this Parliament session, saying it stands firmly behind him for a strong anti-graft watchdog.”

These are three separate news splashed in the media the same day. And what an anomaly! On the one hand BJP, the main opposition party in the Parliament, is dead set to stall the winter session of the House, and in the next breath it declares to back Anna Hazare's decision to go on fast if the government fails to pass the Lokpal Bill in this session. And Anna Hazare announcing the same day to go on fast next month if the government fails to pass the Bill in this session – is it a coincident or behind the scenes Anna Team is conspiring with the Opposition to corner the Congress party? Time will tell, but for now seems obvious the way the three news came the same day. In any case, the common man in India is too intelligent to be taken for a ride and will see through their tactics sooner than they can imagine.

The Opposition argument that retailers will be ruined with Wal-Mart entering the retail business falls flat in front of the facts. Nowhere in the world such a thing has happened and the Indian retail sector, one of the largest in the world, is too strong to be adversely affected by a single store such as the Wal-Mart. Here is an example from the actual happening that demolishes all such doubts:

Alwar, not so big a city in Rajasthan, was all excitement when Big Bazar, the large department store chain announced their decision to open a branch there. The consumers could not wait to see this happening in their comparatively small town, but the retailers lost their sleep having nightmares of the big store swallowing their business overnight. But no such thing happened. Not even one out of the numerous already existing small retail stores had to close down because of the Big Bazar competition. Now, nearly five years after the Big Bazar entered the Alwar retail scene, all the retailers, Big and small are flourishing in this fast expanding city. The only difference is that the neighborhood retail store has to think twice before overcharging its customers because of the Big brother's presence in the city, for whom the consumer has obvious affection for its price-cutting ethos. As shoppers become increasingly focused on the price of everything they buy, Big Bazar continues to work even harder, helping customers and their families save money while providing their associates with opportunities to build skills, advance their careers, and make a difference in their communities. In short, Big Bazar has a positive effect on Alwar economy, stimulating growth, lowering prices and creating jobs. What Big Bazar has done in Alwar, so can Wal-Mart in big cities when it comes there.

With foreign direct investment (FDI) being allowed in multi-brand retail, the Indian retail scene is set for a dramatic makeover. In the past two decades, Indian consumers have experienced the best that sectors like telecom, IT have to offer - thanks to these sectors opening up. That cannot be said of the Indian retail sector. The gap between the Indian and the international retail experience is huge - a yawning gap. In fact, that gap is the widest in the developing world. The opening of retail for foreign investment will reduce it. In modern retail, when a consumer walks into a hypermarket and buys a pack of detergent, s/he makes a choice between 10 and 15 brands and then chooses one out of 400 packs. That's the starting point of the art and science of shoppers' choice in the modern retail world. Everything, from packaging to promotion to pricing, is designed to get the attention of the shopper. The art of merchandising is far more evolved. Displays are better, lighting in the hypermarkets are standardized and there are either sales promotion people who educate on which brands you should buy or a promotional video running in the background. If you are buying a food product, the chances are that you will get to sample it. Mall culture is the norm of the day, its good for consumers to window shop and then decide to buy. This is the global way of retailing and large stores like Wal-Mart are only a part of it, no more. Quite contrary to BJP's perception, such stores are a boon for the consumers, and certainly not the monsters that may destroy the livelihood of people, who currently are engaged in the wholesale or retail business. It is a false propaganda of the Opposition and a dangerous move in the wrong direction that would take the country backward, instead of contributing to its emergence as the next super economic power. And all this only to serve their own interest to wrest power from the ruling party by whatever dubious means they can adopt, even by conspiring with Anna Team to create chaos through Anna's threats to fast. But at the end of the day they will be severely disappointed as they are underestimating the intelligence of the people of India, who will surely understand that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the global economy for the consumer benefits and see Wal-Mart's staggering growth in the larger context of globalization. Both BJP and Anna Hazare also must already be aware of these realities of the modern world but prefer to keep their eyes closed in order to remain key players in the play: Wal-Mart – the conspiracy theory.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where Is Relegan Siddhi?

The above question is asked by Big B at the stunningly successful fifth season of KBC. And the options are: A – Iran, B – Pakistan, C – Malaysia, D – India.

The contestant on the Hot Seat weighs all the above options, one by one, keeping in mind the recently revealed remedy for alcohol addiction – public flogging – in Relegan Siddhi:


Alcohol consumption, under Islamic law, is automatically punishable by lashing. Carried out frequently in the tumultuous early days of the 1979 Islamic revolution, floggings have once more become a popular form of punishment, usually meted out on young people for consumption of drugs or alcohol. The following episode has been reported in Iranian and foreign media.

His face covered by a balaclava, an official brandishing a cane repeatedly lashes the back of a man found guilty of breaking Iran's morality laws. Two police officers hold the legs of 25-year-old Saeed Ghanbari and another his arms to ensure there is no escape from the punishment of 80 lashes handed down by a religious court. Traffic was brought to a halt in Qazvin, 90 miles west of the capital Tehran, as more than 1,000 men gathered behind barricades to watch the public flogging. Saeed Ghanbari receives 80 lashes for abusing alcohol. Some took pictures on mobile telephones, others climbed traffic lights for a better vantage point as Ghanbari was marched to the centre of the square under the watch of blue-uniformed guards carrying machine guns. A four foot long metal bench was taken from a police van and the convicted man was made to lie on it on his stomach, his fawn checked shirt pulled-up to his shoulders to expose his back and waist. One police officer held his hands together beneath the bench, two others gripped his legs to ensure there was little movement. Two police officers stood-by, their faces covered with balaclavas - each to administer 40 lashes. Both men then lashed Ghanbari, taking the cane back behind their heads to guarantee maximum impact, each stroke leaving a distinctive red mark and bruising on his back. Several wounds began to bleed. He had been convicted of abusing alcohol.

B – Pakistan

Soon after he took over, General Zia ul-Haq, who came to power in a military coup in 1977, arranged a big public flogging-show. The victims, who were charged for consuming alcohol, were all men, most of them middle-aged. They looked pale, and they shook with fear when the flogging began, but it had little effect on their captors.

The stage was built in a big open space where normally, children played football, cricket and hockey. It was an open platform, about fifteen feet high, and could be viewed from every corner of the huge ground. A wooden frame was fixed in the middle of the platform where every victim was to be tied, his hands and feet separately as on a cross. His face would be turned towards the stage where the policemen, the magistrate, and other important people were sitting; the press had special seats so that they could watch the flogging closely and report every detail. His hips, which would receive the whip, were to face the audience. A microphone was fixed on the frame, near where the victim's mouth was to be, so that everybody could hear him scream. The whipper was now ready to flog, all his muscles tightened and bulged. As those on the stage prepared for the flogging, thousands of people had already gathered to watch it. Some might have committed the same sin for which the fifteen victims were to be flogged: drinking alcohol. But they did not seem bothered. They were safe in doing whatever they did because they belonged to the so-called 'VIP' class where no law, religious or secular, applies.

Now the flogging was to start. The man with the stick indicated that he was ready. Two constables brought the convict on to the stage. He looked utterly helpless. He was not trembling. He did not even look afraid. He looked more like an animal about to be slaughtered and unable to understand what was happening to him. By now the crowd was completely silent. The constables lifted the man up on to the frame, and tied his hands and feet to the scaffolding: his face was turned towards the stage and his buttocks exposed to the crowd. Now all eyes were fixed on the whip-man who was fiercely slashing the air with his whip. The crowd was so quiet that the microphone picked up the slashing of the whip and carried it everywhere. The man on the scaffolding also heard the sound. He started trembling and then cried, very loudly. The loudspeakers carried his voice to the crowd and beyond, but nobody spoke a word.

Now a magistrate, also sitting on the stage, asked the whip-man to begin. He tested the whip for the last time, slowly hitting his left palm, and then came running, stopped a foot or two from the scaffolding and hit the victim with full force. The whip touched his skin, went into his flesh and came out again. The man shrieked in agony. Those sitting on the stage could see blood oozing from the wound. One, said the official counting the whips. The man was sobbing now which could be heard on the loudspeakers. The constable untied the man after the fifteenth lash and he fell on to the stage. They removed him on a stretcher and brought the next man.

C - Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An Islamic court in Malaysia has sentenced a Muslim woman to be flogged with a rattan cane for having a beer in a nightclub, a court official said. Rattan canes used in the punishment are made from palm plants common in tropical parts of Asia. They have been used for decades for corporal punishments in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The caning sentence is generally carried out by specially trained officials at prisons.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced to six lashes and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for consuming alcohol, said a Shariah High Court official who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to make public statements. Shukarno, a 32-year-old model, pleaded guilty in the court in eastern Pahang state to a charge of drinking beer when Islamic authorities raided a hotel nightclub in August 2008. Consuming alcohol is a religious offense in Malaysia only for Muslims, who make up nearly two-thirds of the population. Offenders are prosecuted in Shariah courts, which handle cases mainly related to family and moral issues for Muslims. The law provides for a three-year prison term and caning. Shukarno was the only Muslim caught in the raid at the Pahang nightclub. Malaysian clubs and lounges typically serve alcohol but are not legally required to check if customers are Muslim before serving them, so the hotel nightclub operators were not charged with any offense. The punishment "is aimed at making the accused repent and serves as a lesson to Muslims," the newspaper quoted Judge Abdul Rahman Yunus as saying.

D – India

Anna Hazare in a recent interview has said that people who drink alcohol should be served with three warnings and if they do not quit drinking habits then they should be beaten up and humiliated in public. Anna, a prominent leader in India's anti-corruption movement, practices nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Such a statement from Anna has lead to strong reactions from various sections of the society. While Anna Hazare had been working upon Prohibition of Alcohol earlier too, this time people have strongly reacted against his opinion. Questions are being raised whether he can act as a moral police within the democratic framework of India. People have also questioned whether a non-violent movement enthusiast like Anna can talk about beating up people.

Hazare's remark came in an interview with NDTV. Hazare recounted his way of going after drunkards when he spoke of how he got people in his native village in Maharashtra to give up drinking. If after drinking anybody creates trouble he would be simply warned thrice because he is "our man," Hazare said. "But even after warning him thrice if he again drinks then we will take him to a temple and he has to swear by god that he won't drink in future. And even after all this he drinks then we will tie him up to the electric pole in front of the temple and then beat him up so that he gets scared," Hazare said. Hazare justified his method, saying it would help drinkers get rid of a bad habit.

The 74-year-old Gandhian, known for his abhorrence to intoxicating substances, had earlier also kicked up a debate when he had issued a diktat in his native village in late 80s and early 90s to “flog people who consume alcohol.” Remembering this piece of knowledge worked as a cue to the contestant on the Hot Seat and he came up with the correct answer – D India.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bollywood Superstars' Bullfights!

Bollywood is a competitive platform where all the celebrities compete with each other through their movies. But never before this competition became personal and unhealthy till recent times when we often hear of many star fights and other tantrums. This emerging unfortunate trend was earlier limited to the few top leading ladies of Bollywood and was commonly called cat-fights, infamous examples being:

Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra: The two had a major mudslinging on KJO’s chat show on TV. While Kareena pointed fingers on Priyanka’s accent, the former beauty queen raised some eye brow by saying that no one in the industry took Kareena seriously.

Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor: When the actresses made their Bollywood debut; they were not exactly on talking terms with each other. After Deepika started dating Ranbir, Sonam who was earlier said to have been pretty comfortable with Ranbir, was very miffed.

Sonam Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: With Ash having been the face of L’Oreal for several years, the cosmetic brand also chose Sonam to represent a particular product under the brand name. At the Cannes Sonam, who was slated to walk the red carpet, was at the last moment denied the opportunity after Aishwarya put her foot down and expressed her displeasure in sharing the carpet.

Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee: Starting on as great buddies, the two lost ease somewhere down the line and started cold shouldering each other. While the two actors have acted in many films together, there has always been an unspoken war of words between them.

Kareena Kapoor and Bipasha Basu: Kareena‘s words will hardly be forgotten when the pale skinned actor dared to call Bipasha a ‘kali billi’. While filming for Ajnabi together, Bipasha made fun of Kareena’s outfits that led to the war of words.

Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra: The two ladies went on to win International beauty crowns the same year. Their rivalry goes back to the time when they made Bollywood debuts together. Apperently, Lara and Priyanka haven’t been talking to each other on the sets of Shahruk Khan’s latest film Don 2.

And the list gets longer and longer with new stars joining the league. However, the only plus point in this 'dirty picture' was that it only had female stars and the male actors were conspicuously missing from the cast. But the sequel has absolutely a different story to tell with male stars' bullfights dominating the action drama.

The study of Hindi cinema from early 1930s, when the first Indian 'talkie' was made, to date reveals that there are generally three superstars shining simultaneously at a given time – 1930s-40s: Ashok Kumar, Motilal and Surendra; 1950s-60s: Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand; 1970s-80s: Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan; 1990s-till date: the three Khans – Shahrukh, Salman and Amir. The superstars of the bygone decades were known for their decent, dignified and elegant behavior between each other and not to speak of bullfights, even discreet use of dirty words by one against the other star was unimaginable. Alas, this graceful relationship amongst rival stars is gone and become history. Now its not uncommon in Bollywood to see big stars slug it out, exchange heated arguments, develop cold relationships and use the media to vent their frustration in public (remember Vivek-Oberoi – Salman Khan spat over Aishwarya Rai). What we see is the most disgusting and disgraceful relationship emerging amongst male actors too, especially the superstars of today – Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan.

The Sallu-SRK rivalry has been going on for quite some time now. The friction between Shahrukh and Salman dates back to 2003 during the filming of Chalte Chalte which originally starred Aishwarya Rai; The duo got into a fight when Salman disrupted the shootings of Chalte Chalte to meet Aishwarya Rai (his girlfriend during those days), this resulted in Shahrukh replacing Aishwarya with Rani Mukherjee. The rivalry between the two Khans has been one of the most controversial news in Bollywood. Their rivalry attained nasty proportions when they even almost came to blows during a party. The two had a nasty exchange of verbal assaults in front of friends and fans. It happened when Salman threw a star studded birthday bash for girlfriend Katrina Kaif. Shah Rukh Khan attended the party with wife Gauri and Karan Johar. It is said that the ‘diplomatic attire’ of the two khans lost after a few drinks and they got in a serious exchange of verbal assaults. Friends intervened before they came to blows. The feud is still simmering between the two, though not so apparently.

The cold war between Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan shows no signs of thawing. This rivalry began way back in 1996 when SRK won the Filmfare award for his act in DDLJ. As King Khan was being crowned at the function, our chocolate boy vowed to never again attend award ceremonies. Why? Because Aamir felt he deserved to win the award for his role in Rangeela. Since then the two are well known for taking potshots at each other, especially when either of their films is up for release. Post Ra. One release, seems like Shah Rukh Khan – Aamir Khan rivalry has become even more dirty and has reached new heights with reports that alleged that Aamir Khan was keen on pulling Shahrukh Khan’s new film Ra.One down. This has made SRK totally miffed and upset.

The ugly fight amongst the three Khans, the male superstars of today, confirms the fact that after watching the ongoing cat-fights for so long amongst leading ladies of Bollywood, it's time for a long spell of Bollywood superstar' bullfights.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Superstars Turn Star-salesmen

New Delhi: In another one of his unique promotional strategies, superstar Shahrukh Khan is turning salesman on the small screen to sell merchandise from his upcoming film ''Ra.One''. The 45-year-old actor is all set to enter people's living rooms via TV as he showcases ''Ra.One'' merchandise on a special series on the virtual retail platform HomeShop18.

A Bollywood buff since its bygone era, reading the above news I was shocked and amused at the same time on the sea change advertising has gone through in the industry since the early years of Hindi cinema. Actually, producers never promoted their movies, much less the stars. Having finished the film, they had done their job, and now they just had to wait for the viewers' verdict. Advertising was entirely left to the distributors and exhibitors, who did it by putting billboards and posters of their forthcoming films on the city streets and the cinema halls where the film was to be released, apart from exhibiting some stills from the film in the lobby of the theaters. As time progressed, they started showing trailer of the film with the movie currently running. That was it as far as film promotion went. From the early decades of cinema I can recollect only two instances of exception when stars and producers did play a role in promotional effort:

The time was early 1940s when singer-actor Surendra's film Gharib was to be released. It was Surendra's first film after his near fatal accident during a film shooting which kept him hospitalized for over six months. The distributer, instead of showing the trailer of the film, showed an interesting 2-reeler short on how the hugely popular actor spent his time with doctors and nurses in the hospital and who all the celebrities and dignitaries were who came there to wish him speedy recovery and most interestingly, the postman carrying cartons full of his fan-mail to the hospital every day. It was, indeed, a unique way to profit by star's popularity to promote his film.

The second example was the enthusiastic participation of film industry's all time super showman, Raj Kapoor, in promoting pictures produced by him in 50s, 60s and 70s, the Golden era of Hindi Cinema. He made it a point not only to be personally present at the premier of his films in prominent cities, particularly Delhi, his most favorite, but also to address the audience on salient features of his film. Later, some other stars and producers followed suite and would appear in theaters on the premier night.

That was then, now it is entirely a different scenario. Bollywood is going through a crazy trend of promotional era where the stars are beating each other in the race to promote their respective films. They have to adopt new and interactive ways to promote their films. Star's promotion of movies is a must today, as much as his good performance in it. Most of the time they are under the producer's pressure to do uncommon things to promote their movies. If one is doing it, then another has to do it as well because it becomes an expectation for the audience to watch such things. Superstar Aamir Khan travelled across the country in disguise, Shahid Kapoor and Genelia D'Souza spent a night together in a car, Amitabh Bachchan read news on a TV channel, while actress Neha Dhupia threw condoms at a college crowd – all this to publicize their films. After these unusual activities were successful in creating a positive buzz around the films, it has now triggered a new race for fresh and more aggressive marketing methods. Shahid Kapoor reportedly turned weather forecaster for a day to promote his film Mausam. Amitabh Bachchan turned guest principal of colleges across the countries for Aarakshan. Mallika Sherawat made jalebis to promote the song Jalebi bai for Double Dhamaal. Ekta Kapoor promoted naughty threesome parties during the promotions of Ragini MMS. Ranbir Kapoor milked cows to promote Rockstar. Tusshar Kapoor turned bootlegger and earned money from selling books on the streets for the promotion of Shor In The City.

In earlier times the stars used to do their bit sincerely and were never part of promoting the films. These days the actors are begging the audience to watch film and doing cheap publicity like distributing money, dancing on the popular television shows and shamelessly doing any and every action to promote their future films. And with the importance given to marketing and promotions, no one’s blaming them. From tattoos to haircuts, merchandise to trips to the most interior areas of India, actors and actresses are leaving no stone unturned to publicize their film well before it releases. Who says only films can be entertaining? The antics and promotion gimmicks used by film stars to promote their flicks has become even more amusing and entertaining. It is all for box office and the magic Friday when film actually releases. Wonder does this really pay? The answer maybe yes, the hike they create rakes in huge opening weekend returns. And this is all that matters and makes everyone happy if the superstars turn star- salesmen.

And this is very serious business. Since 70 percent of the earnings typically come within the first week of the movie’s release, marketing virtually shapes the film’s destiny, says producer Riteish Sadhwani of Excel Productions.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Anna Hazare's Tea Party

It is a well known fact that India's entertainment world, whether it is Bollywood moviemakers or the producers of TV reality shows , owes much of its success to copying, or as they like to call it 'taking inspiration from', the original works created and crafted in the West, especially Hollywood, USA. It seems, taking a cue from them, Anna Hazare and his Team have adopted the same formula to produce media's most favorite political drama ever staged. It has the same script, same characters and the same characteristics as Tea Party, an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative. The two movements not only had a very similar start but also the same aim and objectives - to discredit the ruling parties in their respective countries. Striking similarities in the two movements prove the point that Anna Hazare's Civil Society is the Indian version of the Tea Party in USA:

Tea Party:
Tea Party protesters filled the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall at the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009, to announce their arrival on the political scene. The theme of the Boston Tea Party, an iconic event of American history, has been used in the 2009 Tea Party movement that emerged in USA through a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. Tea Party protests have invoked themes, images and slogans similar to those used during the pre-revolutionary period in American history. The 'tea' in Tea Party has been used as an acronym standing for Taxed Enough Already. But at its core, the Tea Party movement is rife with contradiction, incoherence and a willful contempt for facts or reason. Consider the Tea Party movement, whose foremost demand of a president, who in his first month passed one of the biggest tax cuts ever, is for tax cuts. On July 14, 2010, a Tea Party group in Iowa removed a billboard comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin after receiving sharp criticism from other tea party leaders. The entire tea party movement may not be racist, but there definitely are elements in the movement that have displayed racist posters of President Barack Obama, spit at black congressmen and used veiled language to warn that “our way of life” is threatened by our first black president. Some of the Tea Party followers are fanning the flames created by a group that wants to take down the president and “wants the president to fail”. There is ample evidence that certain elements within the tea party movement have been tied to white extremist elements. Pictures from some tea party rallies show racist and anti-Semitic images. Essentially, it is a new face of the same old right-wing, reactionary forces that have long been working to turn America into a more religious, racist and militaristic country. The Tea Party's most noted national figures include Republican politicians and the movement's supporters have tended to endorse Republican candidates. The movement is not a new political group, but simply a re-branding of traditional Republican candidates and policies. One of the best guides to the Tea Party movement is that a member of the movement is essentially someone who would've earlier identified as a Republican but now calls himself an independent despite being a conservative and voting pretty much exclusively for Republicans. In other words, they are Republicans under another name. The movement's main agenda is to restore power to the Republican Party which lost it badly to the Democrats during the last elections when for the first time a Black was nominated by the party and elected as president in the country.

Civil Society:
Almost 5,000 people from all walks of life gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on April 4, 2011 to show their support for social activist Anna Hazare who began his anti-corruption campaign announcing hunger strike unto death. Political pundits have always been suspicious that embattled BJP was closely affiliated with the Tea Party movement. It has now been confirmed that the Anna Hazare-led so-called ‘second freedom struggle’—as some sections of the media have mistakenly chosen to call it—has close links with the RSS. From conceptualizing this media-propelled movement to successfully organizing it, the RSS, it appears, played a key role in it. The movement was heavily based on the support and assistance of the RSS. Members of the so-called ‘Team Anna’ may or may not concede this but the RSS has itself officially acknowledged this fact. The massive crowds that poured out onto the streets to participate in the movement was, to very a large extent, the handiwork of Hindutva organizations. It is now evident that not only did the RSS mobilize crowds in support of Anna Hazare’s movement but that it even prepared the movement’s very roadmap. The decision to launch a campaign against corruption was taken by the RSS at its All-India leaders meeting in Karnataka in March 2011, and it was only after that, in April and then in August, that Anna Hazare sat on a fast against corruption. Interestingly, a top RSS leader, the late HV Seshadri, even wrote a book on Anna Hazare’s so-called ‘model village of Ralegan Shiddi, which he hailed as supposedly heralding the arrival of Ram Rajya! When the BJP recently failed in its attempt to topple the government, it suddenly remembered its favourite hero Anna Hazare, and, accordingly, so it seems, Hindutva forces decided to achieve their objective by creating this movement ostensibly against corruption. For this purpose, activists of the RSS’s students’ wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, floated an outfit called ‘Youth Against Corruption’. At the same time, Arvind Kejriwal, who was running an organization called Parivartan, got together with flag-bearers of ‘soft Hindutva’, men like Baba Ramdev, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and other such religious leaders, and established a group that called itself ‘India Against Corruption’. It seems that both these organizations, with very similar-sounding names, were established in accordance with the RSS’s plan of unleashing a countrywide agitation ostensibly against corruption. Sushma Swaraj, the senior BJP leader made it very clear during a debate in Lok Sabha that RSS is very much a part of India Against Corruption, the body under whose banner Anna Hazare is agitating for a strong Lokpal Bill. Swaraj emphasized on the fact that even though there is no secret pact between Anna Hazare camp and the RSS but the Hindutva organization is officially mobilizing support through Youth against Corruption, an arm of the RSS student wing, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad. RSS is using this movement to make BJP backdoor entry to power. They want to mobilise people against congress. This movement has become anti congress rather than anti corruption, as was very clear during the recently held by-election in Hissar, and Anna Hazare's declaration to work for the defeat of Congress Party in the forthcoming elections in five states next year.

The civil society movement and the issue of corruption have been weakened with the recent turn of events. Had it not been for the bad name earned by some of the Team members because of their financial bungling, Anna Hazare would have eagerly grabbed the opportunity to copy another political drama - “Occupy Wall Street” - the current hot favorite in USA, and we would have by now seen the emergence of “Occupy Dalal Street” or whatever name and place Anna would have preferred. The Civil Society needs to re-establish the movement and work for a society where people in a real fashion enjoy the corruption-free space in the country. The burden of responsibility therefore lies more on Anna Hazare to make the movement immune from those people and political parties which are abusing his popularity to grab power and let them not make the movement look like Anna Hazare's Tea Party.