Clean Sweep

A Reform Party Takes On Corruption In India

A few nights ago, I met an old friend in a coffee shop in New Delhi. Stephane is a French architect who has lived and worked in India for the past fifteen years. “It’s really strange in India right now, don’t you find?” he asked me. “I’ve never seen it like this. All my friends are depressed. No one has any hope. I’ve never been in a country where people were so oblivious to the concept of a common good, where they are so short-sighted, so ready to cut corners for the sake of an easier, cheaper way to do things.”

That week I had been staying at the home of my close friends Deepa and Prashant Bhushan, and the mood there was anything but depressed. In fact, I had never seen the family so optimistic. The Bhushans are a well-known family in India, a family of lawyers. Shanti Bhushan, Prashant’s father, was Law Minister during the Janta Party’s government in the late 1970s. Earlier, in 1975, he had successfully prosecuted Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for her unfair electoral practices. The courts invalidated her election. Prashant himself is well known for his tireless efforts in public-interest litigation.

Lately he has been involved in the India Against Corruption movement, which has formed the ...

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About the Author

Jo McGowan, a Commonweal columnist, writes from Deradoon, India.