The ox calling the donkey horned: Il bue che dà del cornuto all’asino
by Krishen Kak on 28 Apr 2011 14 Comments

An earlier essay on “the Hazare phenomenon” referred to the legal doctrine of clean hands.[1] This is easy to understand through the English idiom, ‘the pot calling the kettle black’. However, in these exciting times we need to be politically correct, so to describe the current anti-corruption goings-on, comprehension in Italian, our current national flavour, is a politically expedient resort![2]  


That earlier essay noted the dirty fingers of Anna Hazare’s company (specifically, Swami Agnivesh, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Mallika Sarabhai) that pointed them at others; a second essay showed that it is not just the fingers, but Kejriwal’s whole pointing hand that is dirty, and that the extremity of Hazare’s forelimb, too, is considerably smudged.[3]


-        “They are asking for transparency from us, but where is the transparency in their own deal?” - Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh.  

-        “Congress spokesman Manish Tewari asked civil society activists to do some soul searching as the people who want to give society moral yardstick need to measure themselves on those same yardsticks.” 

-        “The corrupt forces are targeting us” - Arvind Kejriwal.[4] 


People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.  This third essay in a series examining the double standards of ”the Hazare phenomenon” takes a further look at the horns of the “civil” ox that is name-calling the politician-donkey.  


Of Hazare and his fellow self-selected “civil society” representatives on the Lokpal joint drafting committee, the only one unscathed so far is Justice Hegde, querulous at the attacks on his colleagues but uncertain whether or not these colleagues are really clean. ‘Everything stinks,’ he said, referring to ‘the manner in which the vilification campaign first went against Hazare and then against the Bhushans’. Asked about his opinion on the Bhushans remaining on the panel after the allegations against them and the CD controversy, he said: ‘I leave it to them.’ There were two opinions on the genuineness of the CD. ‘Hence, it was difficult to comment,’ but “if the CD is true, then the matter is serious...”, though he is more concerned with the timing of the allegations than their veracity. 


Hegde flip-flopped with petulant threats of resigning from the committee, but ultimately allowed Hazare to decide for him; and since Hazare had already said Hegde should not resign, Hegde had a face-saving way of staying on. Not surprising really, since Hegde had equated the Jan Lokpal Bill with “the freedom struggle” and “the fall of Indira Gandhi”; so how could he miss being a founding father of this new constitution for a less-corrupt India – “I don’t want posterity to blame us for not doing the work” - a point UP Chief Minister Mayawati seized by demanding that if the Dalit BR Ambedkar could draft the Constitution of India, why had no Dalit been given a like opportunity for drafting this bill in the joint drafting committee.[5]   


Hazare protested his Gandhian innocence - “They have not even spared me, even though I have lived a simple life following on the path of truth. However, I am happy that despite all their efforts, the vested interests could not dig out anything of substance”, thus dismissing as unsubstantial the Justice P.B. Sawant Commission of Inquiry findings against him and his NGOs of corruption, illegalities and maladministration, his approval of public flogging as punishment in Ralegaon Siddhi, as well as a report that there are 11 criminal cases pending against him.[6]


Kejriwal’s Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) still, till 26 April 2011, does not acknowledge the existence of India Against Corruption whose Rs 82 lakhs it collected; Rs 32 lakhs was spent and the balance of Rs 50 lakhs pocketed. Curiously, while the “original draft of the Bill” was prepared by Kejriwal and his NGO Parivartan [7], the money raised from the public ostensibly to see it through is collected by Kejriwal’s NGO PCRF. 


That leaves Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan, the father-son legal duo, embroiled in allegations of bribery and property scams, who evade cooperating with a police investigation and themselves clear their own names of any wrongdoing - 


-        “Shanti Bhushan does investigation on his own saying I am clean. This is a new way of investigating charges” and “a new trend has started where the accused get their own cases investigated and give a clean chit. They got the CD examined by themselves and said that it was wrong. If this is the logic then A. Raja should have been given investigation of 2G” - Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh.

-        Kejriwal is laconic: “I don’t have to say anything on this... talk to Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan.”

-        Note the Agnivesh assumption that a White is ipso facto more reliable than a Brown - “It is surprising that CFSL report claims the CD is not doctored. American experts have confirmed tampering, so CFSL report cannot be trusted fully.”[8]


The Bhushans run a “Campaign for Judicial Accountability & Judicial Reforms” (CJAR) that “is a response of people’s movements, and all organizations and individuals working on public interest issues”. 


Its patrons include Admiral Tahiliani (Chairman, Transparency International India), Arundhati Roy, Babu Mathew (Country Director, Action Aid India) and Shanti Bhushan himself. 


Its working committee has Prashant Bhushan as convener, and includes Arvind Kejriwal and Indu Prakash Singh (presumably the one who is a close associate of ActionAid and Harsh Mander). Its endorsers include Action Aid International-India, (Shabnam Hashmi’s) Anhad, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India Social Institute, Manushi, (Aruna Roy’s) Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, (Kejriwal’s) Parivartan, (Kejriwal’s) Public Cause Research Foundation, Save The Children-UK, Transparency International India, and Vision Foundation.


The Bhushans and their Campaign for Judicial Accountability demand “asset declaration of judges,” but do not consider it necessary likewise to disclose their Campaign’s assets/ sources of funds. [9] A websearch throws up a number of “vision foundations” with slightly differing names, so which one endorses the Bhushan NGO is not clear. However, of particular interest in our context is Kiran Bedi’s India Vision Foundation – and it should be of even greater interest to the swadeshi Baba Ramdev with his Bharat Swabhiman Andolan. 


Bedi’s NGO has a long list of names to which it expresses “gratitude” and an even longer list of names of donors. The two lists are notable for the support extended by foreign governments (the British and Australian High Commissions, the Dutch Embassy),  foreign corporates or their Indian collaborations and Indian corporates (including Microsoft Ltd, the notorious Lehman Brothers, Bharti Walmart Ltd, Coca Cola India Inc., Pepsico Ltd, Procter and Gamble, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Infosys Technologies Ltd, Fortis Hospital, Hotel Taj Palace, JK Group of Companies), Indian PSUs (Indian Oil Corporation), a number of elite Indian private schools, foreign and Indian NGOs (including Concern India Foundation, Duncan Charitable Trust, Infosys Foundation, Open Hands Switzerland, Span Foundation, Rotary International, American Women Association, Central Social Welfare Board, Charities Aid Foundation, Family Vision Foundation, and the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation) and individuals such as Mark Sainsbury, Soli Sorabjee, Naseerudin Shah and Madhu Trehan. 


Again, like the Kejriwal NGOs and the Bhushan NGO, Bedi’s NGO is opaque about its accounts. Bedi’s NGO lists its donors but not the amount they donated; it solicits funds from the public, but gives no information of its own accounts. 


Prashant Bhushan is on record suggesting that both Hazare and Kejriwal have “a lack of complete understanding of the whole problem of corruption” and pointing out that “the existing laws on corruption are not a problem. The only thing missing is that they do not allow the apportioning of the loss to the exchequer among the accused and recover it from them”.  Justice Hegde is on record pointing out that “more than corruption it’s the maladministration in the system which needs to be rectified”.[10]


Subramanian Swamy opines ‘there was no need for a new law to fight corruption. What is needed is determination... ” [11]


Rahul Gandhi describes the Indian system as “rotten”. [12] His family has been at the helm of this system for 51-odd of the 63 years of free India. During all that time, what have they done to enforce anti-corruption measures? A Lokpal bill has been pending at the Centre for 42 years - of these years, how many have had Nehru-Gandhis at the helm? His mother has been at the system’s helm for the last seven or so years. What has she done to enforce the anti-corruption laws? Instead, the government she and her select “civil society” activists “advise” is widely perceived to be the most corrupt government in free India’s history.    


Baba Ramdev has steadily and successfully been generating mass awareness against (particularly, black money) corruption. Subramanian Swamy has made public his letter to the Prime Minister seeking sanction for Sonia Gandhi’s prosecution for corruption. He has detailed its colossal extent. He is in the forefront of enforcing existing laws through the judicial route. The Supreme Court asks the UPA government “What the hell is going on in this country?” and “Are you sleeping?... Why is the government not disclosing names of others who had stashed [away] money in foreign banks?”   


Why not, indeed? Ask the person described as the gangotri, the source of corruption [13].


Anna Hazare suddenly emerges as the new mahatma. Hazare & co. explicitly reject the indigenous symbolism of our rashtra as Bharat Mata, but  have no difficulty deifying a White foreigner as Mother Sonia, even though Hazare himself had said that “`Remote control-se gadbadi hote hain’ - that is, ‘remote control causes problems’. No seer is needed to say that Anna had hinted at only Sonia Gandhi as the problematic remote control.”[14] 


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has Dr Kaushik Basu as Chief Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The Chief Economic Adviser wants a certain class of bribes legalised by the Government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivers to civil servants a homily against corruption. Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh reminds the Indian people that Sonia Gandhi supported the Hazare campaign and “it was she who had directed the Central government to initiate discussions with members of civil society”.[15]


Hazare soon learned he needed to communicate with Mother Sonia and her nominees, not with Prime Minister Singh: “If Sonia orders (the government) our remaining demands will be met.” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is generally ignored by Hazare & co. Even as Digvijay Singh and other senior Congress leaders raised questions about the integrity of the “civil society” members of the joint drafting committee, Mother Sonia made cooing noises, and she and Hazare (and Agnivesh) affirmed they are on the same wavelength.[16]


The India Against Corruption (IAC) website itself illustrates in lurid detail the career in corruption of India’s Mother of Corruption. Mallika Sarabhai threatened that “if Annaji is siding with someone who is indulging in corruption, we cannot be sitting with him on the same bench,” but is silent at the shameless hypocrisy of “those who are campaigning against corruption call Sonia Gandhi corrupt; but Anna Hazare invites her to fight corruption!”[17] 


Self-selected “civil society” activists vs. duly elected political representatives? Whom do the former represent? “I am responsible for myself only”, says Hazare. So it is not surprising that under that “civil” veneer they affect, there are deep rifts of ego and ambition. 


Prashant Bhushan informs us that for Hazare he thinks “it is important and advisable for him to have with him a team of people who have more competence in political understanding and a vision of other major political issues facing the country”. Meaning whom?  


Mother Sonia’s NAC-selected “civil society” activists express reservations about the Hazare draft bill. Aruna Roy calls it “a Frankenstein’s monster that will devour all of us”. Including her?


Mother Sonia’s party activist Digvijay Singh suggests nominating to the drafting committee Mother Sonia’s NAC-selected “civil society” activists Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander in place of Hazare-selected ones because “they have more credibility than others”. Which then lowers even more the credibility of the others![18] 


Knowing that Anna Hazare and Sonia Gandhi acknowledge they are on the same wavelength, should we be surprised that the joint drafting committee is composed only of Hazare’s chosen company on one hand, and Sonia’s chosen ministers on another? Should we be surprised that, even while these oxen claim theirs is “a national movement”, they pointedly exclude from the “nation” the major opposition party to Sonia Gandhi’s party, and pointedly exclude any connection to the faith of the majority of the people of the “nation”?


That this so-called “national movement” is in fact a strongly politically biased one is evident from the statements on record of Hazare & co. Justice Hegde is the Karnataka Lokayukta - funded by the Karnataka State exchequer. Is it legitimate, is it ethical that, while still Lokayukta, Justice Hegde is an active participant in a politically-biased process? Has this not compromised his neutrality as Lokayukta? Should he not first have resigned as Lokayukta before joining the hitherto-secret deliberations at the National Advisory Committee and now the Hazare-driven drafting committee?


For all the decades the Nehru-Gandhis have ruled our country, they have sabotaged all efforts that would bring them under an anti-corruption scanner. A Jan Lokpal who is police-prosecutor-judge-in-one-with-no-appeal is a threat to the Nehru-Gandhis and their kind.   


Observe the drama. It is quite evident that the self-selected “civil society representatives” are at variance with one another and what they want, except to control the reins of power without being elected to hold them. This they can do through the Jan Lokpal as proposed by them. They are trying to subvert parliamentary democracy by imposing not a dharmic but an abrahamic ombudsman over the “nation”. 


What do Mother Sonia and Anna Hazare have in common? The same goal - holding and exercising power abrahamically: “a belief system, where the people following…consider it their natural duty to obey, and the exercising person thinks it a natural right to rule”.[19]


Mother Sonia has the legitimacy of popular representation through our parliamentary democracy, but the checks and balances within the same parliamentary democracy checked her ambition to exercise that power overtly. So she manoeuvres strategic alliances with our kaaley angrez - and a Dalit activist recognizes this for what it is – “There is an attempt to bring in rajtantra (feudal/royal rule) in the garb of loktantra (democracy). The Jan Lokpal bill is an eye-wash, as after 63 years of democracy, India would see a dictator in the form of Jan Lokpal with infinite powers.”[20]


Mother Sonia nominated as representing her within the system a prime minister who has never won a popular election and has no political base – he lies even about his domicile - and so can never be a threat to her ambitions and those of her children. And she created over him an “advisory council” of “civil society” activists who she knows and they know cannot win a popular election and so, within our parliamentary democracy, can never be a threat to her ambitions and the ambitions of her children.  


There remained, therefore, no check on her venality and one humongous scam after another blew up in the de jure prime minister’s face. A raggle-taggle of “civil society” activists chose to exploit this to their own professional advantage - and the de facto prime minister saw the make-up of her carefully-constructed Indian mukhota begin to run.         .


She (or her handlers) moved fast. Recall Wikileaks assessment of Sonia Gandhi - “Despite her carefully erected Indian persona, her basic Italian personality is clearly evident in her mannerisms, speech and interests.”[21] Remember that it is Italy that has added “machiavellian” to our vocabulary. Her NAC “civil society” activists threw chaff at the “civil society” activists outside her NAC. Her political activists threw dung at the “civil society” activists outside her NAC. The outside ones snarled and threw chaff and dung back at her political activists, but not at her “civil society” activists. But none of them threw anything at her! The Congress party symbol is quite aptly the hand. Mother Sonia’s one hand had dung thrown at these civil society tamashagars, her other hand wiped it off!


The media and the twitterati who fancied they were bringing about a revolution through a nautanki five-day fast-unto-death have moved onto other media-marketed events and, ups or downs, Mother Sonia has reasserted herself as the corrupt system’s sutradhari


There is a very simple test for the bona fides of Hazare & co. Let their IAC, in keeping with its stated identification of corruption on its website, demand the prime minister give sanction to Dr Subramanian Swamy to prosecute Sonia Gandhi, as per Dr Swamy’s April 15 communication to him. This must be the Gandhian standard to which Hazare & co. should be held.[22]


There is a second standard too. Hazare & co. are very vocal about the irrelevance of the “vilification of / smear campaign against” them to their participation in the bill-drafting process; that their own honesty and morality is unquestionable and that, in any case, the allegations against them should and will not be allowed to derail the drafting process. 


Note the gross double standard. They aim only at public officials, not at themselves. If they are as determined to root out corruption as they assert, such determination must extend to corruption involving all public resources. They must bring within the ambit of their Jan Lokpal bill corruption by any entity that receives from the public exchequer any assistance - cash or kind, including salary, allowance, grant, subsidy and land at discounted value.


NGOs, however defined, as long as they are recipients of public largesse, must be included, starting with the National Advisory Council. Why are they excluding their own kind from the purview of the Jan Lokpal? 


Finally, it is well to remember that oxen are sterile and that donkeys are hard kickers. Indian society awaits with interest the outcome of the “civil” one baiting the “political” other. 




[expanded and updated from

2. The Korean “the chaff-stained dog disparages the dung-stained dog” or the Japanese “eye wax laughing at the snot” are more descriptively accurate! There are other colourful versions too -


4. ; ;

5. ; ; ; ; ; ;   

6. ;; ; ;


8. ; ; ; ; 

9. ; ; ; ; ; .  Arundhati Roy features at ; the notorious foreign NGO ActionAid features at and Kejriwal’s Parivartan at . Kejriwal’s PCRF has been analysed in the earlier essays in this series.  Anhad features at , the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in Appendix 11 of Vigil’s “NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds” (Chennai, 2007).  For Aruna Roy, see   

10. ;

11. ;

“If we can somehow manage to punish some of our guilty, we can win the war on corruption… the Criminal Procedure Code, the Evidence Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as the existing legal architecture is more than sufficient to punish the guilty. What we lack is political will. How will the Lok Pal deal with this fundamental issue?” - MR Venkatesh,


13. ;!-Bench-prods-ED-on-black-money.html ; ; ;   

14. Mother Sonia, e.g., as in a regular advertisement by Congress legislator H  Vasanthakumar in association with Reliance Digital, Videocon, Airtel, and BSNL IPTV among others, see The Hindu (Delhi), April 19, 2011, p.2 ; Mother Sonia is also a mahatma, a buddha and a saint, see ; S Gurumurthy,  

15. ; P Sainath, ; 

16. ; ;

17. S Gurumurthy, ; ; see also S Gurumurthy,

18. ; ; ; ;  Mander’s credibility is the central focus at ;

Roy’s at

19. Mukul Sharma,

20. ; ; ; ; KD Mourya at ; ;

R Ashlesha draws the connection to the abrahamic mentality – ; see also


22. Sutradhari and the Gandhian standard are taken from S Kalyanaraman, webgroup email, April 20, 2011.


The author is a retired civil servant and co-editor of “NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry” (Chennai: Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2007)

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