June 22, 2011


Kiran Bedi: India social activist crusades against corruption

Internationally renowned social activist Kiran Bedi who brought reform to India's prisons and police service is now confronting the "cobra of corruption" in her home country.

"Of every 100 rupees collected by the government, only 16 go to the common man. I want to raise this to 90 and put the money back into our infrastructure – schools, universities, roads and bridges," said Bedi, who gave a public lecture June 19 while at Emory to keynote the second Conference on Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding. "If we fix this, India will become a provider, lender, giver to the world."

Bedi, who retired in 2007 as the first and highest ranking woman in the Indian Police Service, said corruption in India is an "aberration." She offered proof by outlining the country's strengths – including a right-to-information law sparked the anti-corruption movement, which has culminated in a reformed anti-graft ombudsman legislation, known as the Lokpal bill, that comes to a vote in parliament in July.

Showing video clips of citizen protests she'd captured on her BlackBerry and other news clips, Bedi recounted highlights of the movement to strengthen the anti-graft bill from its original weaker inception.

She called upon the Glenn Memorial audience of primarily non-resident Indians to join the anti-corruption movement by "bombarding the ministers offices" with demands to vote for the reformist version of the bill.

"Tune into Indian television and watch the India parliament debate the law. Link yourself, pit yourself, against Indian corruption. The future depends on what you do today," she said.

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