India needs ‘freedom movement’ to root out corruption: Dosanjh

February 11th, 2011 - 12:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Feb 11 (IANS) Top Indo-Canadian leader Ujjal Dosanjh has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling for a “third freedom movement” to liberate India from corruption. He joins eminent Indians, including Wipro chief Azim Premji, who last month drew the prime minister’s attention to the widening ‘governance deficit’ in an open letter.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh Thursday, Dosanjh said: “As an Indian abroad, it has always troubled me that India paid scant attention to the growing menace and tentacles of corruption, so much so that Indians now top the list of those with the largest amounts of black money stashed away in foreign countries.”

Not happy with the prime minister’s decision to appoint a group of ministers to look “into all measures, legal and administrative, to tackle this menace”, the former Canadian health minister said laws and institutions will never be able to root out the deeply entrenched culture of corruption in India.

What is needed is a radical change in Indian mindset and values, he said.

How can these institutions deliver when their running, staffing, judgments and political decision-making are controlled the same people “whose values and ethics have brought us to where we are today?” he asked.

“Without a radical change in ethics, values and behaviour of Indians, legal or other changes will bear little fruit,” said Dosanjh who made history in February 2000 by becoming the first coloured person to get elected as premier of a province (British Columbia) in Canada.

Asking the prime minister to lead “a movement to liberate India from corruption”, he said: “This would be the third freedom movement in India (the first in 1857, the second that culminated in independence in 1947), a movement that would make new Indians out of old.”

Referring to his idol Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a new Indian who would “epitomise honesty, integrity, ethics, compassion, justice and equality”, Dosanjh lamented: “I believe his dream of that new Indian continues to elude India. In fact, that dream may be much farther from being realised than it was during his time. A movement for freedom from corruption in India to radically change the values and ethics of India can stem that regression.”

Urging the prime minister to seize ‘a rare moment’ in Indian history, he said: “I would urge you and others of all political parties… in fact all Indians to really begin that movement for freedom from corruption now, by starting and leading the process of changing the ethics, values and behaviour of the citizens of India. The movement should involve all Indians… from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Amritsar to Arunachal”.

Dosanjh, whose freedom-fighter father spent eight years in jails, said he cannot sever his “interminable attachment to India” and was ready to help his ancestral land win its “third freedom movement”.

The copies of the letter have also been sent to President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, opposition leader L.K. Advani and other top national and regional leaders.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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