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We wrote history: Sidharth Mishra

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Anna Hazare has ended his fast. The euphoria around the civil society-led agitation would subside by the time this issue of InvestCare Leisure reaches your hands. It's time to sit back and mull over the 12 days of agitation that we Alargely witnessed on our television sets. The readers of Leisure are no ordinary people; they in their own way contribute to the prosperity of the nation. We have all these years prospered in a democracy, which is ever evolutionary.

The question which the Anna Hazare agitation has put before us is whether it was another level of democracy or we are moving towards anarchy. This question kept coming back to me ever after Hazare held his first fast in the national Capital in April 2011. As president of Centre for Reforms, Development and Justice, I wanted an exhaustive discussion on the matter as another agitation by civil society was staring in our face.

Help came from InvestCare Foundation. The young and dynamic duo of Ajit Sinha and Ajit Mishra agreed to collaborate in our initiative even before I had completed my presentation before them. This was the beginning of writing history. Some of the major players who contributed towards the creation of the “Sense of Parliament”, which was subsequently conveyed to Hazare leading to the end of his fast, participated in our National Symposium on “Rise of civil society: Participative Democracy or Anarchist Dictatorship”.

At least three of our participants Arun Jaitley, Sandeep Dikshit and Kiran Bedi were instrumental in making the civil society and parliament reach a consensus in the matter. Though not directly involved Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's constructive engagement of the civil society too bore fruits. Dikshit was the Chief Guest at the seminar. Heavyweights from media like Chandan Mitra of The Pioneer and Alok Mehta of Nai Duniya too came out with scholastic assertions.

The points of view of the bureaucracy was put forth by Sh S Venkatanarayanan and Ms Reva Nayyar, both have served as secretary to government of India. The academia was in full strength with presence of professors from DelhiUniversity, JNU, Jamia, IIPA and Indian Council of World Affairs. There were also a large number of students of journalism and political science from Maharaja Agrasen College of Delhi University.

But the discussion was made meaningful with the participation of the corporate entities courtesy InvestCare Foundation. They gave a totally different perspective and immensely contributed in making the discussion holistic. The sense of our seminar too was supremacy of Parliament, a view which has now found acceptance among all. We would submit the proceedings of the seminar to the Standing Committee to take our view also into account before finalsing the draft of Lokpal Bill. (Our guest editor is a senior journalist and president Centre for Reforms, Development and Justice)

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