Facebook revolution but Indian style

By Frank-Jürgen Richter

Web Newswire, March 31, 2012

Global economy is in tatters and things are not looking better. Facebook revolution (aka Jasmine revolution or twitter revolution) has brought down anarchical governments worldwide. Whether its Tunisia, Egypt or Libya, the underlying reasons to the revolutions has been more or less economic.

Global economic slowdown, coupled with factors such as rising food prices, have caused massive unrest across the globe. According to FAO, the number of hungry people across the world is close to 1 billion. International Labour Organisation predicts over 203 million unemployed persons in 2011, up 26% from 2007.

Much many previous revolutions that were peasant led, revolutions in the past one year were led by a more cosmopolitan audience. Leaders and participants in the protests were educated people, who were actively using Social Media such as Facebook and twitter to share their opinion and rally others.

India also saw Facebook revolution with a widespread support of the younger generation. The nation is reeling under high inflation and rising food prices. The trigger point of the movement were allegations of organised scams in government, which allegedly had support of many politicians. The magnitude of scams was very high. For example, the estimate of 2G Spectrum Scam was over USD 39 billion.

India is world’s largest democracy. The government is chosen by a nation of more than a billion people. Thankfully, India believed in democracy and the protest methods were democratic. The protests were inspired by Gandhian philosophy and there were no reports of violence by the protestors. Unlike other countries, there were also no major crackdowns by the government.

People rallied around few select civil society crusaders such as Anna Hazare (ex-foot soldier), Arvind Kejriwal (ex-bureaucrat) and Kiran Bedi (ex-senior police officer) who followed aggressive but completely peaceful methods. The figurehead of the movement was Anna Hazare, who sat on a hunger strike till citizens were listened. Bollywood actors, industrialists, small & medium enterprises, and others supported the movement. Bulk of the support came through social media.

Indians acted very responsibly and the government listened. Now, there is a growing support both inside and outside the government for making a new legislation for a stronger action against organised corruption. Indian government swiftly took action against the figureheads behind corruption and several powerful ministers are currently imprisoned.

The world was dreading the protests in India. The two economies that are still fairly strong in the current global economic environment are India and China. Instability in India would be catastrophic for the global economy.

India again showed the way to the world for Facebook revolution. Indians believed in democratic values and protested peacefully. The government, in turn, listened and acted upon the wishes of the people. The world soon will reel under global economic crisis. Governments across the world need to be geared up and be ready for facing criticism. Unlike previous economic slowdowns, this time the common man will have trouble in putting bread on the table.

Almost every country across the world was coming up with deficit budgets. They are dependent largely upon financing a large portion of their financial requirements through artificial means. In the current scenario, there are very few options to fund these deficits. None of the countries with the recent revolution have been able to instantly give better lives to people. In this economic scenario, there’s a very little to gain by a violent revolution.

It will be in interest of both government and people if the next Facebook revolution is Indian style.

Frank-Jürgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, an independent international organisation committed to enacting visions for a sustainable future. Horasis hosts the annual Global India Business Meeting.