Thursday, April 21, 2011



ANNA HAZARE, the veteran Gandhian, has done well to focus the attention of the Nation, on the issue of Corruption and the need for passing a stringent Lok Pal Bill. Thanks to his and his associates’ efforts – the Lok pal bill drafting committee is now functioning.

But, let us be very frank that – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has responded quite quickly and sufficiently to the demand of Anna Hazare and his supporters, for formation of the drafting committee including five civil activists and five central Ministers.

But, corruption in India is too Big a phenomenon and too wide spread to be tackled by Anna Hazare and his small band of followers. When I say, small – I specifically compare them with the large numbers of powerful people involved in corruption – and therefore bound to be against the crusade against corruption.

Some of the corrupt people have a Big, vested interest in its continuance and will find many methods of throwing mud on the civil activists and their members in the committee.

Look at how, the RTI Activists are being attacked in recent past, in many parts of India and even being killed. How much seriousness is there in protecting these RTI Activists who are involved in exposing the corrupt people and corruption – right now? Many of them are already serious fighters against corruption.

Are we all sensitive enough to this basic problem? The RTI act will become totally ineffective – if these attacks on the RTI Activists continue unabated. Likewise, if the attacks, even if only verbal, legal and judicial, on the civil activists and Lok Pal drafting committee members do not stop, there will be serious hurdles in finalizing the Lok Pal Bill draft. This much is already clear.

Where RTI Act cannot succeed, because of violence against RTI Activists, is it possible that Lok Pal Act , will succeed, even after it is passed, against even more powerful people? It requires lot more co-operation from all sections of non-corrupt people. Just a small number of civil activists ,whose interests also do not always coincide, cannot be effective enforcers of the Act. What they are unable to do against RTI Act, can they do against Lok Pal act?

We have seen that happening earlier too.

Many times, it takes the Supreme court to come to the rescue of the affected persons. Some of these times, I don’t say, thank God. I say, thank the Supreme Court!

But, the sad fact is – legislatures are failing to take note of all these and come up with appropriate legislations and administrative actions,  to protect people’s rights fully.

Now, people say, on the experience of Dr.Vinayak Sen’s case and Supreme court Judgment – that the Law of sedition needs a re-look. I begin to feel, too many laws in India have not changed with times and needs and need thorough revision.

The Lok Pal Bill is no different – and is like a drop in the pond. But, of course, it is needed urgently.

We needed the RTI Act. And it came. Let us give the credit to not only the activists behind that – but also to Dr. Manmohan Singh’s team, for giving a good legislation to us. Let us also give due credit to all Opposition parties who voted overwhelmingly for the Act.

And, I say – the civil activists are failing precisely in this.

Recognize that Dr. Manmohan Singh, despite his all other coalition compulsions, which are real and cannot be brushed aside, is still moving ahead and has announced a clean committee from his side fast enough. Let us also recognize that the principal opposition Parties also said unequivocally that will support the Lok Pal Bill. I personally would have liked a committee with a few prominent opposition leaders too. It would have made the passage of the bill in Parliament that much easier, and the bill would have looked as a National Consensus from the beginning.

But, some of the civil activists – don’t want any such support, from some people elected by people of India with good majorities and sent to Parliament for the Purpose. This attitude divides the movement against corruption very badly – and creates unnecessary divisions against the Bill.

From the people’s side – a Kiran bedi, a NRN Murthy would have been great additions to the committee. Even now – they can be co-opted in some advisory capacity.

All those who want to fight against corruption, must enlist and take the help of all others too – in the fight against corruption. 99.9% of people, even those who are presently corrupt due to some compulsions, will willingly come out of  corruption, if the country provides an environment free of corruption. Less than 1% will be hard core in corruption. They only will need to be dealt with finally, harshly.

Look at what is happening in 2G scam. Industry leaders are also being put behind bars. In a corruption-filled environment, who were the persons who were frontrunners in corruption, and who were the ones who had to run along with others, just to secure their business too – is not clear at all.

When the ordinary man wants his Ration cards, Rations, registration of a plot of land, pass port verifications and so many other essential things of life, is he able to remain non-corrupting? He bows down before a system – for bare living and for a few simple essential purposes. Some times, it happens to a Business man too. The whole atmosphere is such. Even an honest Business man has to bow down before the corrupt system – to thrive and not just get left behind.

So, we first of all, need an atmosphere, which is reasonably free of corruption, and where the corrupt have some potent thing to be afraid of.

But, each of us have our other likes and dislikes – like some of us may be against naxalism, some against communalism, some against capitalism, some against this or that particular religion, some against this or that caste – and so on. These likes and dislikes are clearly dividing the fight against corruption. All the latest news about the committee members getting pitched against powerful opponents and getting totally distracted – is clearly disturbing the fight against corruption.

Please Put your likes and dislikes aside for the time being. They can come later.

Take all Support that comes by and do not spurn any  Support and any help - and ensure that a good, strong, potent Lok Pal bill becomes a reality in the next 4 months.

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