Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lokpal movement: Some questions and what do I think are the answers

Never before on Independence Day had a government felt as uncomfortable as it did on 15th Aug this year. And no- it was not an external force who they were worried about but its own people. Certain Anna Hazare has captured the nation's imagination and people were more than eager to listen to what he said than what Prime Minister had to declare. And to be fair to people, we have not heard much from him in recent months either. The country was rocked by corruption of huge magnitude one after another. It was attacked twice by terrorists across the border; still India did not hear a forceful voice from the top. And whenever he spoke, it lacked empathy, vigour, inspiration or sense of urgency.


Why has this movement caught public imagination?

India has moved miles in recent years. It is now a poised to become a global force. And this surge is led by normal people. Unlike China, government here did not do much or lead this movement. Only thing that they have done is to slow the progress by red tapes. Can India afford to enter into the big league with its 3rd class administrative system? The answer is NO. Therefore, it is natural that people would revolt against it. Frustrations from all these years stuffed inside had to explode and it has happened.


What right do people have to raise voice? After all they are the one who pays bribe.

Most people do not like corruption, they do not voluntary enter into this. The system forces them. Many Indians go abroad and work there. Have we heard many instances where in they tried to bribe a police officer, jumped red light or indulged into any corrupt activity? It is a proof of the fact that people are not corrupt but the system is...


But people like to take shortcuts. That's the inherent nature of Indians. How would Lokpal help in that? A law is not effective unless people follow them.

If people do not go by the rules, it is the duty of fellow citizens to find and complain to Lokpal that Mr. X has violated the law and Officer Y has not taken action...  Lokpal would take action then. That's how discipline can be brought into the society. If section of Lokpal does not act, they should also be trailed. A separate body might be required to keep a watchful eye on them.


It is not practical to prosecute or investigate 39 lakh central government employees or 2 crore state government employees. Lokpal would be overloaded.

There are two parts of the argument. (1) if we consider all 2 crores or majority of them are in corrupt practices, then it is an admission of a very serious issue and only strengthen the case of a very strong lokpal. (2) even if large part of bureaucracy are corrupt, the moment some of them would start getting punished, it would act as a deterrent and automatically the volume of corruption would reduce, therefore, large number would not remain an issue any more.


This movement is against parliamentary democracy and the method is not right. It is like blackmail.

We can either wait for the right methodology to be framed or fight back with whatever we have now. When the house is on fire, we don't wait to find a right methodology; we just put the fire off - by whatever way.

Lokpal is not the answer to everything. But- we have to start from some place. We have good laws- but enforcing authorities are flawed. They have all been taken over by corrupt people

I think govt should be happy that it is going on a peaceful and non-violent way. There is huge frustration amongst people against corruption. Anna Hazare is just channelising it to make an effective body to tackle the issue. If govt doesn't realise that- the frustration can and definitely would at some point, come out violently and that would be neither good for the country nor for the democracy.


There are so many issues, illiteracy, people dying of poverty, low quality standard of life, poor infrastructure farmers committing suicides...etc… Why are not you taking these up?

I agree there are 100s of pressing issues. And the combination of all of them is so huge that we think the situation is hopeless. And we think- nothing can be changed. We say, "is desh ka kuchh nahi ho sakta"...


BUT- we need to start something. If we do not act at all- it is not going to improve. Anna Hazare has started it. I believe this is not the end of it- once people realise that things can be changed and they need not be accept or get punished for their honesty, things would start rolling for better. When we attempt to solve a puzzle, the moment one piece falls in place, others start looking brighter. In a complex knot when you take one strand out, suddenly all others start looking simpler.


This movement should start after all the people become honest.

If we wait for 100% people to become honest in a dishonest and polluted environment, then the wait can be eternal. And by that time, corrupt people would take away everything and there would be nothing to protect (Already 50% of GDP is claimed to be stashed as black money in foreign banks). To take a leaf out of a popular movie (Life in a Metro)- We can not wait for all traffic signals to turn green before we take our cars out. 


If people are not happy about the government and MPs, why did they vote for them? They should take part in democratic process more actively and not criticize.

Do we have an option while voting? Till the time EC starts "none of the above" option- I am either forced to vote one of the crooks or abstain. In either way, we lose and corrupts win.

Moreover many people vote for the party and not for individual. Why do political parties give tickets to corrupt people? I have voted in all possibilities. Do I still feel empowered? Have my aspirations been met by government? I guess not.


Would end this post with this dialogue from Rang de Basanti. "Zindagi jine ke do tarekke hote hain..ek jo ho raha hai hone do..bardasht karte jao..aur dusra ..Zimedaari uthao use badlne ki !!"

1 comment:

Srini said...

Interesting thoughts. If you look at various government agencies that we deal with and compare them to countries where corruption is non existent two things come out clearly - Salary levels of government employees and the standard processes adopted for most of the activities.

Probably we need to address them to move towards corruption free india. Can't expect a policeman who earns less than 12,000 per month not to look for some extra money to survive.