Toronto: 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,
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)