The RTI Story: Power to the People
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137 pages

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The RTI Story: Power to the People is the story of a campaign that evolved into a genuine and vibrant people’s movement. Culled from the voices of people, often such stories only feed into the research of scholars, largely unacknowledged and forgotten. The dominant narrative is always from the perspective of the ruler and single individuals. One had hoped that democracy would set it right. But the people who are the primary contributors to the discourse always remain on the fringes. Written by Aruna Roy with the MKSS collective, this book is for everyone who asks questions, seeks answers to fight corruption and injustice and challenges arbitrary power. It is a celebration of commitment laced with humour, the struggle, the songs, the theatres of protest, long spells on the street and drafting a peoples’ law.



Publié par
Date de parution 31 mai 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9788193704912
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

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Aruna Roy resigned from the IAS in 1975 to work with peasants and workers in rural Rajasthan. In 1990 she helped co-found the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). The MKSS struggles in the mid-90s for wages and other rights gave birth to the now celebrated Right to Information movement. Aruna continues to be a part of many democratic struggles and campaigns.
This book is a collective history that tells the story of how ordinary people can come together and prevail against great odds, to make democracy more meaningful.
OTHER LOTUS TITLES Ajit Bhattacharjea Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah: Tragic Hero of Kashmir Anil Dharker Icons: Men & Women Who Shaped Today’s India Aitzaz Ahsan The Indus Saga: The Making of Pakistan Ajay Mansingh Firaq Gorakhpuri: The Poet of Pain & Ecstasy Alam Srinivas & T.R. Vivek IPL: The Inside Story Alam Srinivas Women of Vision: Nine Business Leaders in Conversation Amarinder Singh The Last Sunset: The Rise & Fall of the Lahore Durbar Ashis Ray Laid to Rest: The Controversy of Subhas Chandra Bose’s Death Bertil Falk Feroze: The Forgotten Gandhi Hamish Mcdonald Ambani & Sons Ian H. Magedera Indian Videshinis: European Women in India Kunal Purandare Ramakant Achrekar: A Biography Lucy Peck Agra: The Architectural Heritage Lucy Peck Delhi a Thousand Years of Building: An INTACH-Roli Guide Madan Gopal My Life and Times: Munshi Premchand M.J. Akbar Byline M.J. Akbar Blood Brothers: A Family Saga Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo The Sinking of INS Khukri: What Happened in 1971 Madhu Trehan Tehelka as Metaphor Manish Pachouly The Sheena Bora Case Moin Mir Surat: Fall of A Port Rise of A Prince Defeat of the East India Company in the House Of Commons Monisha Rajesh Around India in 80 Trains Noorul Hasan Meena Kumari: The Poet Peter Church Added Value: The Life Stories of Indian Business Leaders Peter Church Profiles in Enterprise: Inspiring Stories of Indian Business Leaders Prateep K. Lahiri A Tide in the Affairs of Men: A Public Servant Remembers Rajika Bhandari The Raj on the Move: Story of the Dak Bungalow Ralph Russell The Famous Ghalib: The Sound of my Moving Pen R.V. Smith Delhi: Unknown Tales of a City Salman Akthar The Book of Emotions Sharmishta Gooptu Bengali Cinema: An Other Nation Shrabani Basu Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan Shahrayar Khan Bhopal Connections: Vignettes of Royal Rule S. Hussain Zaidi Dongri to Dubai Sunil Raman & Rohit Aggarwal Delhi Durbar: 1911 The Complete Story Thomas Weber Going Native: Gandhi’s Relationship with Western Women Thomas Weber Gandhi at First Sight Vappala Balachandran A Life In Shadow: The Secret Story of ACN Nambiar – A Forgotten Anti-Colonial Warrior Vir Sanghvi Men of Steel: India’s Business Leaders in Candid Conversation
FORTHCOMING TITLES Rahul Bedi The Last Word: Obituaries of 100 Indian who Led Unusual Lives

This digital edition published in 2018
First published in 2018 by
The Lotus Collection
An Imprint of Roli Books Pvt. Ltd
M-75, Greater Kailash- II Market
New Delhi 110 048
Phone: ++91 (011) 40682000
Copyright © Aruna Roy, 2018
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, print reproduction, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Roli Books. Any unauthorized distribution of this e-book may be considered a direct infringement of copyright and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
eISBN: 978-81-937049-1-2
All rights reserved.
This e-book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated, without the publisher’s prior consent, in any form or cover other than that in which it is published.
This narrative is dedicated to the many who have paid with their lives, for combating corruption and the arbitrary use of power, by claiming the right to know.
This book is a tribute to the large collective, from whose action, determination, memory and records a narrative has emerged. The stories, anecdotes and the common sense of its logic in the pages to come, including the many edited out – which remain anonymous for the time being, because of prosaic things like word limits and the number of pages – are its real authors. We are mere scribes.
Devdungri: The Beginning
Sohangarh and the Struggle for Land
The Concept and Birth of the MKSS
The First Hunger Strike, 1990
The Bhim Minimum Wages Sammelan
The Second Hunger Strike, 1991 – A Watershed
Exposing the Myth of the Free and Open Market
Articulating the Demand for Transparency
MKSS and Public Hearings
Political Promises and Accountability
Hamara Paisa Hamara Hisab : Beawar and Jaipur Dharnas, 1996
The Formation of the NCPRI and the Making of the Law
The Process and the Campaign Travel: The Public Hearings
The Rajasthan Divisional Dharnas
The Dharna in Jaipur: May–August, 1997
NCPRI and the State Laws
The Second Set of Jan Sunwais
The Rajasthan State Act – An Intermediate Success
The Challenge of Elections
The Public Hearings in Umarwas
Janawad Jan Sunwai
Government Enquiry Endorses Janawad Public Hearings
NCPRI Convention, Beawar 2001
Post-Janawad and the Response of the Government of Rajasthan
Jan Niti Abhiyan
Freedom of Information Bill, 2002
Friends and Colleagues in Delhi
Second NCPRI, 2004
RTI Law 2005 and the NAC
RTI Amendments, 2006
In Conclusion
The Beawar Declaration
The Freedom of Information Bill, 2000
To know is to understand. To understand is to be at peace or – embattled.
To be in ignorance is to stay in the dark. To be in the dark is to stagnate, a condition which the human mind is not meant to be in. Knowledge is fuel, intelligence is energy. The two together, knowledge and intelligence, fuel and energy, race with time, keep step with every condition, every change, every challenge around it. In this talent, or skill, lies the human being’s faculty for survival, for progress and happiness.
For an individual to be in ignorance is to let her or his intelligence run to seed. It is to let the human potential in herself or himself to atrophy. Worse, it is to imperil others dependent on the individual. If such be the dire result of an individual’s ignorance, what of a collectivity of people, a whole peoplehood? For a citizenry to remain in the dark about its selfhood is to forfeit its collective destiny to slavery – the slavery of unknowing.
The struggle for our freedom came from a many-faceted struggle but, chiefly from a struggle against ignorance – of the slavery that British rule meant. Books like Dadabhai Naoroji’s Poverty and Un-British Rule and Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and several journals like Gandhi’s own Harijan and Young India , Tilak’s Kesari (Marathi), Gokhale’s Mahratta (English), Aurobindo’s Bande Mataram (Bangla), Maulana Azad’s Al Hilal (Urdu), Subramania Bharati’s Vijaya and Bala Bharati (both Tamil) and Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi’s Pratap (Hindi), among others, lifted the veil of India’s unknowing of its political and social bondage. Our leaders were, thus, our teachers, leading us from ignorance to intelligence, from indolence to action, from apathy to energy. And, ultimately, from slavery to freedom.
India’s independence moved us out of the valley of political thraldom and stood us, face to face, overnight, with the realities of our own multiple ills, our enervations and injustices, and the vice-like grip of several hegemonisms which two persons above all others recognized all too well – Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Even in the few months that were given to him after 15 August 1947, Gandhi strove, tirelessly, sleeplessly, to make provincial governments and the new central government accountable for assuring human rights to riot victims, especially women, getting administrations to provide shelter and supply minimum rations and clothing to the dispossessed. Seeing men, women and children who had left or been driven out of their homes in Delhi unprotected from the rain and the winter’s cold, Gandhi advised the administration on where and to whom blankets needed to be given and if raincoats were hard to find, to provide them stacks of newspapers to spread on the ground so that the women and children among them would not have to lie on the bare and wet earth. All this nudging of the administration he did as an ‘ordinary citizen’.
Babasaheb’s detailed and far-seeing crafting of fundamental rights guaranteeing our rights and privileges as citizens in the constitution and provisions in it for the accounting and audit of public funds were designed to open up our newly won freedom to public view, public experiencing. They were to save us from ourselves, help our lungs take in a new breath of our newly free air. The Constitution did not make these rights absolute or un-bridled but it did clothe them with what, speaking in the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1948, Dr. Ambedkar called ‘Constitutional morality’. This was a new and novel concept. The authorities of the state, he said, were empowered but their

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