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India's Corruption Problem

Anna Hazare and India's Democracy

Courtesy Reuters

Late August is not customarily a time when India's aggrieved and long-suffering citizens gather in New Delhi's public parks to express their disenchantment with the government in office. The near incessant monsoon rains, the fetid humidity, and the enervating heat combine to dampen any desire to participate in mass protests. Yet the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is now bracing for a 15-day protest, including a fast, in the heart of the nation's capital.

At the center of this outpouring of popular sentiment are certain features of an anticorruption bill currently under discussion in the Indian parliament. The protesters and their principal leader, Kisan Baburao Hazare, an ascetic former army officer popularly known as Anna ("elder brother" in Hindi) Hazare, insist that the government's version of the bill is toothless. More specifically, they argue that any legislation must include both the office of the

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