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Team Anna part of a conspiracy? Bah!

 

ADITI PRASAD | New Delhi, June 11, 2012 16:15
Tags : team anna | fight against corruption | vayalar ravi | magsaysay award | conspiracy against government |
 

There comes a time in life when people start hallucinating due to too much pressure. Perhaps the planetary conditions ensured something similar with Union Minister Vayalar Ravi's brain cells this Sunday. He came up with the most original one-liner ever on Team Anna's motivations behind the anti-corruption movement. “Team Anna is receiving funds from US companies and they are working to destabilize the country,” he said aloud at a public meeting.

So what “foreign funds” was he talking about? Well, the tick in his eye seems to be the fact that some key members of team Anna - Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal – have received the Ramon Magsaysay award, funded by American trusts. Since Mr Ravi did not elaborate on any other ''funding'' sources, I guess we can safely assume that his angst is against the cash rewards that Bedi and Kejriwal received individually as part of the awards administered by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York.

If Mr Ravi is right, the brains behind the American Fund must really be marveled at. They gave an award to Kiran Bedi in 1994; and then to Arvind Kejriwal in 2006, while their conspiracy to destabilize the Indian polity bore fruit only in 2012. Plotting and planning for two whole decades must have been a tedious affair. Devious really, but too slow for American taste buds, right?

Besides, I remember when Kiran Bedi received the Magsaysay award for her dynamic leadership and effective innovations in crime control and humane prison reform. I was in college (DU) at the time – and the lady had been invited to speak at a seminar on excellence in public life. Devoid of make-up, dressed in a half-sleeved shirt and plain trousers, I recall that Kiran Bedi had left the audience mighty impressed with the way she dressed, spoke and more pertinently – the conviction in her voice as she recounted her experiences in prison reforms.

But those were the 90s – when 'ideals' still had a place in our hearts. Today, that same Magsaysay Award is supposedly a part of an American conspiracy to destabilize the Indian economy, while Kiran Bedi has overnight turned anti-India conspirator from being an upright police woman who dared to challenge status-quo in the male dominated profession.

Following Mr. Ravi's logic then, perhaps Ms Sonia Gandhi should also ban social activist Aruna Roy from the high-powered National Advisory Council. After all Aruna Roy was a recipient of the Magsaysay award in 2000 for community leadership. Certainly she should not be privy to important decisions such as proposed land reforms or poverty alleviation schemes given the conspiracy aspersions cast on the Magsaysay Award. Or for that matter Mother Teresa, writer Mahasweta Devi, sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, cartoonist RK Laxman and dozens of other Indians who have brought home the honour over the last few decades.

Yes, I know, it is all beginning to sound a tad far-fetched and perhaps downright silly. But then, so is the presumption that Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal are America-sponsored evil-mongers out to stab pins into the very heart of Indian democracy.

I myself am not a great fan of how the anti-graft movement is being shaped or led. Team Anna must necessarily maintain greater distance from the saffron party. Plus, there are one too many personal attacks on individuals rather than a concern for implementing an anti-corruption legislation.

But calling the Anna movement an American conspiracy? Come on, let's stop hallucinating Mr. Ravi.

 
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
 
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017