Friday, October 29, 2010

Day with Arvind Kejriwal

Today was my day with Arvind. He is a social activist that I met in Los Angeles about three years back. Since then we have been in touch, irregularly. Initially he has hired an attorney to work along with him on RTI cases (India’s version of the Freedom of Information Act). The India Friends Association (IFA), based in the Los Angeles area, was helping to defray the cost of the attorney. I am a member of IFA and was in touch with the attorney on a regular basis.

Arvind held a press conference to denounce the poor investigation of corruption that occurred during the Commonwealth Games. He was joined by Kiran Bedi. She is well known personality in India. She has retired from police force. She was the highest ranking woman in the Indian Police. She was strongly against corruption which so irritated her superiors that they posted her to the infamous Delhi Tihar Jail as warden.  That is one of the least desirable positions in the Delhi Police. The jail was built for something like three hundred prisoners and now holds about three thousand. Prisoners get lost inside the jail. Even the jailers could not find them! There were stories of prisoners who were ordered released. But someone misplaced the order and the prisoner spent another five years in jail! (Please do not quote me on these conditions of jail since there may be a little embellishment here and there.) She took on the challenge and started reforming the jail. Soon she was getting accolades from the inmates, the press and the public. She had to be promoted. After her retirement she is busy in social work.

There were about a dozen reporters. I say that because I think that was the number of microphones on the table! There was a lot of excitement all around. New charges of mismanagement were leveled at the government and everybody seemed to agree that the government is trying to white wash the whole affair.

After the press conference, Arvind drove me home and we had a long and fruitful talk while we were stuck in traffic.

It was about 7:00 PM and I was thinking of skipping dinner. Suneeta called to say that her husband is going to drop off a pillow and some other stuff she had bought for me. She wondered if I had eaten. When I said no, she insisted on also sending me a home cooked dinner. Mahesh brought an old style “tiffin box” with four small cups, each holding some part of the dinner. It was delicious. For the first time since coming to Delhi, I went to bed at a decent hour.

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