India: Social Media Powers Anti Corruption Bill Campaign

Corruption is a big issue in India and many love talking about the latest expose of government officials. However, there are actually a few people who do something significant to bring about a change.

On April 5, 2011 social activist Anna Hazare started a fast-unto-death campaign to demand an effective anti-corruption law and hundreds of thousands of Indians supported him. His India Against Corruption website listed support of more than one million people and counting.

Mukul Sharma at Kafila calls Anna Hazare one of India’s leading environmental warriors and provides a background on his life and his campaigns (also right to information campaigns).

Anna Hazare, Image courtesy Rajavaddhan, Wikipedia.

On the second day of Anna's fasting many commentators were drawing parallels of this protest with Tahrir Square, and other pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle-East. Prerna at I Love Life So I Explore posts some pictures of the protestors supporting Anna Hazre.

On Saturday morning (9 April, 2011) Anna Hazare broke his fast after over 90 hours, when the Indian government issued a gazette notification constituting a joint committee of ministers and civil society activists, including him, to draft an effective Lokpal Bill to combat corruption.

The anti-corruption law in question called Jan Lokpal Bill (zip file) requires that investigations into any case should be completed within a year and the trial should get over in the next one year so that a corrupt person goes to jail within two years of complaint and his/her ill-gotten wealth is confiscated.

A recent article in The Hindu analyzes how social media helped shape up and power the campaign of Anna Hazare. Facebook profile badges, cause applications, missed call campaigns and petitions etc were some of the forms of the campaign. On Twitter, the hashtags #janlokpal and #annahazare began to trend. YouTube shows up around 2,000 amateur video results on the campaign.

Before Anna broke his fast, Gaurav Mishra at Gauravonomics wondered whether Anna Hazre's campaign will ever tip into a social movement, because:

It seems that Hazare’s India Against Corruption campaign is attracting some serious support on the Indian social web. The Facebook page has more than 180000 likes, the Facebook event has more than 160000 attendees and #annahazare is trending on Twitter worldwide. The campaign’s Twitter account @janlokpal is also getting some traction. Overall, the campaign claims to have received 7 lakh calls in support at +91-22-61550789.

Twitter users are urging each other to go to Jantar Mantar in Delhi, Azad Maidan in Mumbai and Freedom Park in Bangalore to support Anna’s fast until death. India Against Corruption claims that protests have been organized at 400 locations around the world.

However, most people seem unsure about what they are supporting. The Congress-led UPA government has been embroiled in a series of high-profile corruption cases, but the BJP-led opposition hardly inspires confidence either.

Sick of government corruption, men sit and support Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death movement which has spread from city to city. Image by Devarshi Pathak. Copyright Demotix.

Amit Varma at India Uncut also questions the support for Anna Hazra:

I’m amused that most people supporting him haven’t read and understood the draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill, which Hazare has been fighting for. I’m appalled that they don’t understand that this bill does nothing to fight the root causes of corruption, and may instead add to the problem. And yes, I’d be astounded if they care about this bill or the man two weeks from now, when the fashion would have changed, yellows would be out, and purples would be, like, so in.

And Amit was right. The sad thing about this movement was that it died prematurely and cricket started to dominate social media again. Gaurav writes:

The campaign started getting traction on Wednesday, and peaked on Thursday. By Friday, netizens had moved on from corruption to cricket. IPL4 dominated the conversation and amusement about Lalit Modi’s support to Anna Hazare campaign reached trending topics on Twitter India. So, it’s a good thing that the government agreed to Anna’s demands on Friday night and Anna agreed to end his fast on Saturday morning. India’s heart might beat for Anna Hazare, but India’s heart still bleeds blue.

Saurabh Dhanuka is not convinced that Anna has brought social media revolution in India. Saurabh believes that corruption starts from ordinary people, the ones who were supporting him:

The real change cannot come into existence by bringing new laws, it will come when we attack the cause. This is the main point which the Indian status message revolution and Anna’s crusades missed it since the beginning.

Flawsophy also provides a hilarious reality check for the social media enthusiasts in a post titled “What Kind of Anna Hazare Supporter Were You?”

The movement died as soon as Anna Hazare broke his fast. Now, will the Lokpal Bill help reduce corruption? Amit Varma says that unless the government is stripped of some power and does away with the need for excessive licenses (for example, a hotelier needs 165 licenses) and regulations, the situation is not going to change:

Governments should exist to implement law and order, to protect our rights, and to provide basic services—nothing else. The more we move towards this ideal, the closer we come to rooting out corruption.


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  • Every single person in this system have to submits to the corruption including Anna Hazare, you can’t help it. Its root cause is the CASH money. More money you have more susceptible you become to corruption.
    BAN the CASH money bring in mandatory electronic money transaction having biomentric identity that can wipe out most corruption and crimes from the entire world.

  • prism

    The right to information holds as much importance in the lives of the poor as it does for the general public and professionals. Yet, many Indians remain passive spectators in the process of electing governments.
    Arvind Kejriwal, an Indian social activist and crusader for greater transparency in government uses the Right to Information Act to equip individual citizens with the power to question their government.
    So let us join with Arvind Kejriwal and wipe out corruption from our country.
    To watch his interview online visit cultureunplugged


    It is very simple to crub corruption but it is very hard to unite among ourselves, what we are just now is not enough to fight against corruption and so we need to understand how our strength increases against corruption movement. i have a simple idea if u like say yes or say no.

    at any costs give let say 25000 rupees jobs to all classes and masses of india that should be the agenda of anti corruption movement as it is not private jobs but we have to ask government jobs in all sectors like agriculture, accounts,finance,military,police,irrigation,roads and transportation,government hotels,government parks,government toilets,government multiplexes,government industries,government companies,government refinereis,etc many government offices total whole indians should get at least minimum salary of rs 25000/- is a fixed setup by government and others who are more skilled will get more salaries in government department across india so what will happen is first strock of this message will take up maximum amount of taxes to be used for beggers,poors,middleclass and also rich class to get jobs at this rates.

    next give government houses not to some but to all across india so other money which is going to swiss banks will be stopped and it will be used in for those who dont have houses or who are houseless.

    next is give food to all by government hotels on subsidies rates so to whole classes and masses with quality so what only netajis are getting re1 tea or some 10 rs dosa or any snax at parliament is bound to be given to any poors or beggers or rich or middle class so whatever government taxes will be used in these all expenses and then government will also manage to get taxes from whole of indians to get more access amount for getting infrastructural development so security and infrastrue development will be another aspect needs to be taken care of and any businessmen wants to give bribe to government in place of that he is suppose to give good amount of jobs to peoples of india for masses and classes irrespective of caste and creed or religion and so then let him use the government resources for free. so such things will make united whole indian public in the anti corruption movement of annaji and money for all and houses for all and development for all not for some class or rich class and poor becomes poorer and middle class only pays taxes and rich class evade taxes is not allowable, all classes and masses have to pay taxes against government jobs are given at good rates and they can prove their work in government and private as well to get more benefits and development and profits.


    Jan lokpal bill needs to have also this point for all classes should get good amount of jobs by government either they can manage the expenses or not is another issue but first is jobs needs to be given to all and then government needs to findout how they can pay to all and what types of taxes they can impose on all and how they can be safe from inflation and prise rise and how all masses and classes irrespective of class and creed and religion all indians get good money and they can make assets and save money in banks and also can be happy with family just beggers are roaming here and there and poors are working hard to fill is stomach and middle classes are paying taxes and trying to match the total expenses of family and hardly they can save somethings due to prise rise and inflation and taxes and so rich class gets more richer as they evade taxes in crores and they pay bribe to officer and it finishes and so they earn more and evade the taxes so middles class also some are evading and u cant ask taxes from poor classs or beggers yet on sales of every products they are also paying taxes inspite they are not having much money with them so it is like they must get money who are jobless and who are houselesss must get houses from government and those who are earning very good must pay good taxes and those who are earning medium must pay medium taxes and accordingly taxes systems needs to be kept and also government jobs to be given will make whole indians prosperous against that this things they do they need not to do corruption as they can also rise their own salaries and benefits up to high extent to run governments so no corruption is needed only taxes should be divided properly and let all indians must take part in working of whole of india so production will be high and taxes collection will be high and ultimately everything is fine and netajis will get without corrutpion whatever they want as we will be ready to let them have crores of rupees as their salaries we have no problem to them. without corruption they take a legal good fees for their work we are ready to pay but we need 100% security,100% development 100% jobs to whole indians and immunity from prise rise and inflation and let development get good and let every jobseekers put their efforts in indian economy and let make it big and earn big so no corruption is needed atall only what netajis were getting thru bad technics will now get it legally that is a very great way of making india peaceful and happy and also what netajis wants they are bound to get and we have no problems, so what we need as civil societies members that netajis consider and what netajis wants in money teerms we will consider and impose tax on whole of india and not on some but all and jobs also to all and house also to all and food also to all and medicines also to all and help also to all and take money from these all support and production and whatever salaries netajis wants to keep let them keep for themselves and enjoy both sidesand finish the fighit of corruption to end.

  • […] India: Social Media Powers Anti Corruption Bill Campaign ( We invite all bloggers to send in their views on Jan Lokpal Bill to chaikadai[at]gmail[dot]com. […]

  • It takes a 71 year old social activist to declare “fast unto death” to demand a strong anti-corruption law — that this country indeed needs more than anything and sooner than ever before… the whole nation, especially the youth of India, then stands by him… and that shakes up the otherwise slumber government, at last, to realize its need!

    India Against Corruption movement has gained a momentum like never before… an unprecedented level of support from Indians across the globe has transformed this movement into yet another “freedom fight” for India – freedom from corruption! And now is the time, precisely — nothing but — to stick to this fight, together!

  • […] April this year Global Voices reported how Social Media was being used in India to power the civil society's push for a proposed […]

  • […] April this year Global Voices reported how social media was being used in India to power civil society’s push for a proposed […]

  • Ln M.W. Faruque

    Dear Sirs,
    With effect from 26th March-1st April,2012, the corruption prevention Committee(CPC) will gather to observe “Durnity Protirodh week”(Corruption Prevention Week) and to protest against the rampant corruption that has engulfed our systems and our Nation. We want to demonstrate solidarity in our fight against corruption.

    In defiance and solidarity,
    Ln.M.W. Faruque, Chairman,CPC.

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