Jan Lokpal - Not a Magic Wand But a Ray of Hope
Today while I was tweeting, I came across @Aagan86’s RT of a blog post written by @Dibyabttb who is not in favour of the Lokpal Bill. @Dibyabttb’s points on "Why Lokpal wont vanish corruption' did make a point and I agree, to an extent, to what he says. But I would want to share my views on why I support Anna. I started writing to him, as a tweet but when I realized its going to be a looooooong tweet, on @19061980’s suggestion, I thought Ill rather post a blog. In no way is this post a counter to his post. I’m just putting my personal views in my blog, the base of which is his post.
I am no politician, no serious blog writer, not even a very current affair savvy person, but I have been following the Lokpal issue because its about eradicating corruption from our country which is a grave issue and it concerns me as a citizen of India.
I have been reading about people’s views on Lokpal. Lots in favour and few against it. I get many thoughts when I read people talking about “Why Lokpal is not the correct route to erase corruption from our country”, “I would rather not be Anna” by Arundhati, “Anna's protest is naive, simplistic” by Nilekani and then there are millions of anti-Anna, anti-Lokpal tweets from people who just want to stand apart from the crowd, to sound different, without any hard base. I have seen that on twitter. Lots.
I am pro-Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption. Having said that, I would also like to add that, I believe, Anna’s fight and the JanLokPal (JLP) Bill is not the best way to eradicate corruption from India but its acceptance is important.
I have read Nilekani’s interview and felt that his motive was to promote his service offerings more than to speak about the Hazare movement. Yes I agree to his point that Corruption lies in roots and we need a system to remove it from there but his whole argument was built on the fact that “Corruption cannot be removed the way Hazare is doing it, it’s in the system and that is exactly what our IT solution is offering. Automating system to remove corruption.” I felt, it was more of an advertisement than an argument because he mentions it so many times. Also his statement ‘I think we should respect our politicians and across the board I have tremendous respect for politicians.’ seems, to me, a business tantrum.
I have not much to say about Arundhati’s article. I thinks, she has missed the point. Habitual of making radical statements, her argument is on everything else but corruption in India. She talks about Irom Sharmila's fast, the villagers in Koodankulam protesting against the nuclear power plant. While I sympathise with both the cases, I would like to say that they are not related with corruption in India. They are protests against some incidents that have harmed them in some way whether it be killing of innocent people or against construction of a Nuclear Plant. She talks about issues that have been left out of Lokpal but let's be clear on the fact that Lokpal is a bill that targets removing corruption from India and not a solution to all the problems our country is facing. Corruption is one of the many problems that needs attention.
By just saying, 'Change the person inside you and corruption would be vanished' does not solve the problem. The attitude cannot be changed by a magic wand! It needs phases. And Jan Lokpal is the 1stphase.
Dibyabttb mentions that being pro-Anna is supposed to be 'cool' these days. As I see it today, it’s actually the other way round. When everybody is saying #iSupportAnna most of those (except few who actually have valid reasons for their stand) who say I DO NOT support Anna think they are 'different', whether they understand the whole issue or not. Such attitude reminds me of kids in their adolescence, when they want to stand against all the common things, "I don't like that movie, because everybody likes it." Zabardasti! It's a sign of immaturity.
Many anti-Anna's have suggested solutions to eradicate corruption from our country. ‘Why don’t Anna supporters stop taking and giving bribe themselves?’ Yes indeed that will work. But you think people will stop taking bribe and finding short cuts to success when it’s so much more convenient? You must, yourself have paid bribe to a traffic police, because the actual way is much more expensive and tougher. I have done that and I am sure that even if I promise to myself that I will never do it again, I would still do it when I have only 200 rupee in my wallet and I’m getting late for client meeting. Can you stop that? No. People will not change and neither will their views on taking the easy way. Unless, you have a punishment for them. If I know that I would be punished with 2 days of prison if I bribe the traffic police with bribe, I would be scared and will not pay him the bribe. Instead, I would have to submit my vehicle RC and collect it from the registration office in Old Delhi. I have once done that because I did not have cash at all.
Now, few people say that even without a Lokpal bill we can have more stringent laws, an improved law system to erase corruption from our country. Agreed. But let's see since how long have we been talking about this? The reformation of our legal system is indeed a topic that has been in discussions ever since I was born. What actions have been taken? They say that actions SHOULD be taken. Yes we all know that. But what actually has been done? Nothing really. We must understand that Indians have a habit of taking the easy way out for everything. They need shortcuts to success. The 'other' ways of becoming rich and enjoying luxury. UP ki Behen ji, Mayawati, built a huge Bunglow for herself out of the stones, she was supposed to use for building parks in her state, the head of the CWG, Mr Kalmadi, used the money to fill his foreign bank account that he was supposed to use for improving the infrastructure of the capital. Why do you think such scams happen in our country? The answer is corrupt people. The tainted minds of the corrupt people. But why only our country? You think such people don’t exist in the developed countries? They do. So why don’t these scams happen in those states? It’s human nature to want more. But its also human nature to be scared of the consequences. The laws on which the systems stand there are so firm that common man thinks twice before taking any illegal action. Can somthing like that happen in our country? Ofcourse yes! But can the whole legal system be changed at one go? No. It shall happen in stages.
By just saying, 'Change the person inside you and corruption would be vanished' does not solve the problem. The attitude cannot be changed by a magic wand! It needs phases. And Jan Lokpal is the 1st phase. It’s an initiative taken by a 9th grade pass, common man who is fed up of listening to the discussions on ‘How to erase corruption from India’, on ‘How better and stricter rules will help India get rid of the disease’ on ‘How corruption lies beneath all of us and so and so measures can help us be free of it’. It’s high time we do something about it and not just have discussions. And Anna is doing just that. He is the face of the common man who is tired of paying taxes to the government for constructing the road where he still folds his legs on his motor cycle while crossing because its full of rain water, a man whose appraisal is only 5% but the rise in cost of dal that he eats daily is 7%, a man who does not get a place to park his car in Cannaught Place because the construction for CWG games is still going on after 10 months of the games closing ceremony.
As far as the content of the bill is concerned, there are arguments like 'What does Anna know about the legal system?'. Let us not ignore the fact that the IAC team is formed of many well read and educated people like Shanti Bhushan (Lawyer), Prashant Bhushan (Lawyer), Arvind Kejriwal (the former IRS officer), Santosh Hegde (the former Supreme Court Judge, Kiran Bedi (former IPS officer) among others, who understand the legal systems of India very well.
I am not saying that Jan Lokpal bill will solve all these problems at once. I am also not saying that the bill bill erase corruption from India completely. No, it cannot. Corruption is in the roots, it will take another 10, 20, may be 100 years to erase it complexly. If not the current generation, may be our next generation, or their next generation would be free from it.
The Lokpal bill stands against the ‘Hard Corruption’ - the bigger scams like 2G and CWG, where common man is not directly involved but its consequences directly involves him. Though the Lokpal Bill will affect the corrupt politicians, officers and authoritative personalities in a short duration its effect on common man will take some time. Because the affect will be top bottom. First the top and then the root because here, the roots grow when it sees that the top is growing. The JLP bill does have a scope of improvement but it surely is better than the government's version of it. Things happen gradually, and JLP is a start to that gradual change.
Let us not ignore that JanLokPal is the start of a process. The spark plug in the car. The "Om Shri Ganeshaye Namah" of an important procedure and the 'Shubharambh' of a series of change. Its not a magic wand, its just a step towards a corruption free India. Don't we all want that? If Lokpal bill is passed, we may not benefit from it today, because it will take time to take effect, but our generations-to-come surely would. Because unlike us, they from the very start would see that the punishment for taking the easy way out is not so easy as it used to be to their Grannys and Grand Pa’s.