Its 1 am on a Monday Morning & I am sitting on my bed typing a blog on how India should deal with anti-corruption. Will this post re-write Indian history, certainly not; Will 25 people read this blog, highly probable if I go by my traffic trend. Two things are sure. I’ll be extremely unpopular for my strong views & yes… I’ll be late for work tomorrow! Anyway, let me get through my insomniac emotions with the same element optimism that the guy who jumped from the 50 floor had while crossing the balcony in the 1st floor; “So far so good”.
Jack Dorsey & Mark Zuckerberg announced their affiliate marketing awards for those who brought in highest volumes of traffic into their sites. And the award goes to …. this gentleman called Anna Hazare. For those who still don’t know who Hazare is, see his video resume presented in the form of testimonials from his old friends. Oops! Did Bedi, Baba & Swamy do their research well ?
“When the social power is used irresponsibly, or to subvert the constitutional authority, it is hardly distinguishable from terror.” – A blogger whose name I don’t remember”
A friend of mine screamed at me earlier this evening, “How could you not support Anna? Don’t you want to end corruption? Walk his talk with a lit candle in your hands, hit the road with flags & join his glucose & electrol only diet for 14 days.” (Oops, my bad, hunger strike I mean.) I said “yes, but will it solve corruption?” And he was quick to reply “Yes. Every politician in this country is corrupt. The constitution has crashed. Jan Lokpal Bill will put every corrupt politician (every one of them!) behind bars.” I said “Wow that’s a plan! But there’s a problem, if every politician is put behind bars who will then run India”. And he instantaneously replied, “Lokpal”. And I left saying “Amen to India”.
Yes, we need to end corruption, but is the current form of Lokpal the way to go? Not really & I’ll make an attempt with an intention to make you think; take your time & choose your stand.
Myth 1: Anti-corruption starts with Politics.
Most people today feel corruption is a political problem & distance themselves from it. Is it not as much a people problem as much as it is a legislative problem? Did Scotty beam these politicians into parliment up from Vulcan? Or were they air dropped from Pakistan? Arent they the so called chosen representatives of the people? These politicians probably grew up in the same city as you & your parents did. Who allowed them to be corrupt? Is it because they were born with a genetic disorder? So is the solution to do away with them or fix the way way we elect our leaders? Debatable.
Reality 1: Anti-corruption starts with people
Myth 2: if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. At least let’s start here.
Well that adage is good but not when someone is questioning the foundation of this nation. Its democracy that put India past all the hurdles she has faced in the last 65 odd years. It’s the democracy that has made her the fastest growing economy. Yes, it’s the same democracy which allowed the Raja’s & Suresh Kalmadi’s of the world. It’s the same democracy that allowed the killing of innocent Hindu’s & Muslims by political forces. But it still worked. We’ve progressed. Give democracy some credit. corruption doesn’t mean we given into a form of dictatorship where India’s Klu Klux Clan will decide what’s the best way to run the government.
Reality 2: Dictatorship is not the answer to a democracy’s problems.
Myth 3: Anti Corruption Starts from the top.
Roughly 70% of India has no clue about 2G. What matters to them are not policy issues, but that last mile corruption that takes away their share of what NREGA promises. So is the solution to kill NREGA or to start from the foundation. You decide. Corruption to a lower stratum of the society is not politics but the hardships they face on a daily basis; its poverty that at times forces people to commit crimes. It’s the sheer lack of empathy among the public offices & private super powers who steal from the pockets of the poorest of the poor. A law which has waited for 40 years, better be holistic and not piece meal.
Reality 3: India needs grass root level reform. Better education, reforms need to reach the people.
Myth 4: Lokpal is the starting point of reforms.
The solution to India’s problems especially around corruption lies in economic reforms. Why do we not find cops as smart in India as we them abroad? Is it because of a strong ombudsman? What is required are wide-spread reforms cleaning up the Police & the judiciary and a strengthening of the RTI act. The same friend who calls Lokpal a great start now, once said NREGA is all rubbish. Well my friend, policy can’t help if the last mile doesn’t exist. Blissfully Mr. Hazare & his ilk have decided to be oblivious to the other dimensions of corruption and focus only on top & the public sector for the hunger strike. So how can reforms happen? Cast your vote. Yes democracy is a painfully slow process. – but isn’t that how a democracy is meant to work. Just look at what happened in Tamil Nadu. An 85% voting ensured the corrupt government was replaced. It’s a different story that the replacements don’t have a great track record.
Reality 4: Lokpal is not reform but stops at being a second watch dog of the judiciary & the police.
Myth 5: Anna’s army is not power backed.
It’s the cause that’s gathering the mass: Heard of & Irom Chanu Sharmila? The lady has been on a fast for 10 years – forcefully being injected with proteins & nutrients. Shambhu Dutta, who’s probably more Gandhian than Anna, hit the roads asking for the rejection of election candidates with criminal background. Why didn’t we see the same people movement? Was it the lack of reality in their appeals or the lack of power backing? This movement has just used the failure of the current government & the backing of the opposition forces and not to forget the hype hungry media to manipulate people . This movement would have just died if it were to be started a year back or one year later.
Reality 5: Anna is power monger & backed up every anarchical force in this country today
Myth 6: Civil disobedience is the way forward.
What happened recently in the middle-eastern countries have given a new thought process to many Indians. India isn’t a Egypt. Let me borrow the words of Dr. B R Amedkar’s; this whole hunger strike movement manipulates people’s frustration around the recent scams & inflation. It’s a mockery of the judiciary of this country.
Reality : Civil disobedience is the enemy of democracy & myopic in nature
“…we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.” Ambedkar was speaking in the Constituent Assembly.
Myth 7: This is our second freedom struggle.
Oh please. Let’s not embarrass ourselves. Whom are seeking freedom from ? Whom are we fighting against? Some colonial power? The reality is that we need freedom are our own fellow citizens Indians who delightfully continue to be corrupt happily passing the blame to the ministers. Are you ready to corruption free? Are we really to pay our taxes? Are we ready to stop bribing? If you want the world to be a better place, take a look at yourself & make the change.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”– John 8:7 (The Holy Bible)
Reality 7: If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself & make the change.
In closing, a colleague looked at me this morning & said “Vimal you are going overboard”. Democracy is when everyone expresses their opinions, Anna-ism is when one says I am right & you are wrong. Thankfully I believe in democracy & decided not to fast until he said I am right & he was wrong.
God Bless India!