Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anti Corruption and Anti Hazare

A couple of friends posted the following on FB, and I couldn’t agree more. Exactly my sentiments on the issue currently broadcasted on national television 24/7.

1. I'm anti-corruption.
2. I'm anti-Anna Hazare.
3. Hazare is a sanctimonious right-wing tyrant so cloaked in his own virtue that he believes he is above the law.
4. The law is frequently an ass.
5. Nevertheless, the law is frequently our only hope.
6. Better the elected asses than the dictatorial unelected.
7. The government is playing into Hazare's hands with its idiocy.
8. Yes, these views can be held simultaneously.

No denying the fact that corruption has assumed epic proportions in our country (India) and if nothing is done now to contain the contamination, we will never be able to redeem ourselves.
And, no denying the fact that Anna Hazare is a genuine social activist with the most noblest of intentions – his clean image and spotless career do provide an ideal anti-corruption voice.

However, we cannot deny the fact that we are living in a country, which is led by democratically elected representatives under a constitution that dictates law and civil behavior. Yes, it has loop holes and it is misused and misinterpreted, and hardly implemented in the right scenarios – yet that is our only hope. Because law enforcement is weak, you and I cannot proclaim ourselves to be the highest judiciary to whom all should abide.

Many argue that peaceful protests are within the peripheries of our civil rights – yes, provided they are done responsibly. While I agree that confining Anna Hazare to Tihar Jail was a knee jerk extreme reaction, protesting that Anna knows it all - is also not right.

How does fasting help the cause against corruption? The first time Anna went on fast – everybody sat up. It was a bold step to awaken the collective consciousness of a billion people – I will not argue with how many support and how many don’t. Of course, all of us are frustrated with the current state of affairs, and at this time a person like Anna Hazare does emerge as a larger than life hero. Though I was skeptic of where this would take us, as long as the government was forced to take a more serious look at the lok pal bill and implement it, I thought I’ll keep my cynicism in check.

But once the awareness has been created, media attention has been focused and the government has been trying to implement (so what if only a rudimentary form of) the bill, I feel Anna and his supporters should have proactively facilitated the process. In a democracy, nobody gets everything that they want – there is compromise – so many times even on the rightful demands. You tell me, is it not better that we start somewhere and take it from there, rather than fight as to where the start point should lie?

We are simple going overboard now. I am not for or against any political party – the party in power is behaving like any party would and the opposition is behaving like any opposition would – I do not attribute any morals to their words or beliefs.
It is the common people who are seldom affected by the changing power reigns that I feel are let down in all this. Who decides the righteousness of the independent body of the jan lok pal bill. Anna? In a country, where religion and technology, money and power, all are dictated by the electoral vote bank supposedly, define “independent” for me, please.

And, for god’s sake, don’t bring Gandhi into the equation. Gandhi adopted satyagraha as a means of protest against a forcefully constituted foreign government that made rules only to oppress the people of this land for their selfish interests. He was not fighting against a democratically elected government, which has been elected by us.
If we cannot find the right people to vote for, and we who consider ourselves right don’t stand for elections, please justify the success of this ideal independent body to form the jan lok pal bill.

Holding a government to ransom by fasting in today’s times is blackmailing the rule book of law and subverting the fundamentals of democracy –– My way or the highway is hardly a done deal – Means is as important as the end. That is why Gandhi fasted and Anna should not.

[Image source: www.firstpost.com]

21 comments:

  1. I agree with what you wrote.
    Most of the people supporting have no clue what Lokpal bill is about.
    Only they know is that it is some Antil corruption and wants it to be passed.

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  2. I don't support anyone band i don't believe that this will bring any change to our country. May be for a year but it will all come back to where we have started.

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  3. as i wrote in another blog , what happened was probably according to law ..
    we indians usualy behave like that we go after one eyes wide SHUT.. only to be made a fool in later years ..

    I dont trust the khadi wearing people at all and I still beleive all the khadi wearing need to be shot ..

    About this lok pal bill getting passed well lets see what changes it DOES bring when it finally comes up, although i am sure something will not change ...

    I do wish things change but as they say or as Bhagat singh Sardar said that to wake up a sleeping Govt a Big sound needs to be made .. I am awaiting that sound ..


    Bikram's

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  4. I apologize for peeping into your blog but I reached here through a link on one of my FB friend's status.

    I am writing this because I dis-agree to a typical NDTV 24X7 coverage type blog write up that I read here.

    1. Anna Hazare and his supporters didn't blackmail or held the government on ransom, they were talking and were co-operating in the drafting of the bill, till the government decided to completely dis-regard what civil society members had to say and decided to go ahead with their version of the bill which only and only covers Class 1 officers i.e. barring the lower ranked clerks, babus, the judiciary, the MPs, the Prime minister and so many others out of the bill and no CBI action on current cases, only the New ones which will come under the purview of Lokpal thus appointed. So what should they have done, sit and wait to how so ever un-reasonable the government was going to be???

    2.I agree we are the biggest democracy and all we can say and write is only because this is a democracy, but don't you think it stops there?? We all just wait till the day we come become victims of the corruption in some form or the another and just keep knocking at the doors of these Bureaucrats and these "Democratically" elected statesmen.

    3. I agree we should definitely try and contest or vote for the correct, well I tried to go through the websites of all the major parties of our country and none had a section on how one can come and join these parties, what could be the steps taken by the individuals to Join them, no wonder these parties are run like a family Business. And do you think in this so called Democracy, one who doesn't get elected or contests election should not have a voice?

    4. Your point that we should at least have started, this bill has been pending for drafting since, I don't know how many years and session after session of parliament this bill sees no light, leave alone the later amendments to the bill once it has been passed and made a law.

    5.Class action, the one that we see here means a lot, because it just goes to show that the people have a voice and those elected should not consider themselves kings, we all have seen what class action can do in Egypt and Libya.

    6. I agree fasting can be an ancient method of protest but how does the government listen otherwise?? Maybe in future we would have some innovative methods of protest which might ring a bell in the government's ears.

    7. Today government has stopped Anna, tomorrow they will stop somebody else and this will go on against any one who wants to protest against the government. There was no need to deploy 144 on Jantar Mantar when the earlier protests and the one on Rajghat was peaceful. The government was just afraid of the class action.

    8. Last and the most important, your post doesn't talk about any action on part of the people of the Nation who are as much responsible for the corruption as are the people in the power of exercising this level of corruption. So we have to vow ourselves to get rid of all the ills of our society and this Bill can only be one more step in that direction, for which already the procedures are laid down in our "Democracy". I am sure the existing laws are sufficient and new law would not add much value before the people be the change they want to be and see.

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  5. Thank you everyone for writing in!

    @Annonymous: I am so glad you peeped in and elucidated your point of view - which I take. I agree the blog post doesn;t do justice to all aspects...the heartening fact remains that both of us have the bigger picture in mind :)

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  6. Glad you let an anonymous post.
    Viewpoint 1: When the government becomes them, then what they do cannot be questioned.

    Viewpoint 2: When your RTI Activist is shot dead, is it not crass act to say we are different from Libya? Libyan society needs to destroy its evils, Indian democratic society also needs to destroy its evils.

    And when one asks lets see what will lok pal bill bring, my dear friend, that's the sign, what you believe is what you see. And unless we challenge our belief, we wont get the much desired relief.

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  7. bribe-i-have-neverAugust 18, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    I just realized, linking to that website (http://www.ipaidabribe.com/) was not a trick to divert traffic. It was just to highlight a contrast. Yes so far I have never bribed, even if it meant having to wait for days and asserting my right.

    I just fear, that the site might reinforce a belief that the whole nation does it, so even let me do it.

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  8. hey thanks for the clarification and your viewpoints - am all for jan lok pal bill - seriously - absolute power scares me - i do not want another alternate power center - we have had enough of them!

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  9. Yuvika Chaube In essence: It is "do as I say, or I will kill myself", so is fundamentally no different from someone standing on the ledge of a tall building and threatening to jump unless their demands are met. In Anna's hands, the weapon of fasting unto death has mostly been used for the right reasons. But do you know that nation-wide prohibition of alcohol is (or at least used to be until a few years back) one of his causes? If you like your occasional drink, how will you feel if his next fast is for prohibition?

    I am not saying it will be. Hazare has so far used the fasting tactic only for important issues. But imagining your own response to someone fasting unto death or killing himself demanding prohibition, or a Ram temple, or a book ban will demonstrate the ethical problems with the tactic itself. It amounts to blackmail. Blackmail in a just cause is still blackmail.

    Arti Khanna Do you think the govt cares what happens to Anna?It is the mass movement he has generated that has frightened the powerful and the influential.And people are not fools...they know a just cause when they see one...why did people support Gandhi?coz he was ready to die for them and had no vested interests...Anna's call is reminiscent of the same spirit.

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  10. I am sure you know these facts:

    1. When was Lokpal bill introduced?
    Answer: 1968.
    It passed Lok Sabha in 1969, did not get through in Rajya Sabha.

    2. Was it corrected then? Amendments made?
    Answer: Yes. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008 but none of them passed.

    3. Who made amendments to it and why was it made in first place?
    Answer: A former justice of the Supreme Court of India, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court and people like Kiran Bedi who have been in power for years and they have seen loop holes of the system.

    The bill's supporters consider existing laws too weak, full of contradictions and insufficiently empowered to combat corruption.
    - Do we not have corruption problem?

    All I would say is everyone has absolute constitutional right to form strong opinions for or against a motion. But please do good research on whether you understand what you are supporting or opposing - that ways you'd know what you are supporting or opposing, and yes there are a lot of 'silent' supporters who do not know what they are supporting, they just like the honest man who has given face to this movement.

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  11. Thank you for the word of advice _ I write only what I strongly believe in and understand. Nobody's knowledge is absolute. Though your tone towards the end of your comment showed more of spite and self righteousness, I'd still sya I appreciate you having left your view point.
    I am against
    a. The absolute power being demanded for the independent civil body and
    b. The means of fasting

    Nothing else.
    "All I would say is everyone has absolute constitutional right to form strong opinions for or against a motion. But please read what you are commenting on very carefully to understand the writer's intent - neither the writer nor the reader is perfect - make allowances for benefit of doubt rather than question the understanding of the writing." Thanks!

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  12. I completely agree, I did not read through the whole blog to understand the intent.

    My opinion towards fasting - as a standalone act are inline with yours, though context is very important, like you picked reference of Gita, There are several statements in Gita that if you take out of context, become very questionable.
    I completely agree to your point a. absolute power to independent civil body - it must not, and would never, happen.

    I lost interest in rest of the blog pretty much after I formed a strong emotional opinion against this blog after reading the words - 'I am anti-Anna Hazare'
    and so I completely accept being spiteful, definitely not posing to be self-righteous.

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  13. And whoever said he or she is Anti-Anna Hazare does not know anything about him, his vested interests and his selflessness - it needs no introduction!

    I disagree at with so many people, with somethings in this blog, something govt does, aur corrupt politicians, I do not think I have ever formed such a strong opinion against an individual to say 'I am Anti-Manmohan' or 'I am Anti-Sonia'
    may be you understand the direction of my sentiment now.
    I can not agree with anyone who is 'Anti-Anna' - NOT EVEN govt is 'Anti-Anna Hazare' even those who opposes his methods have the due respect in place. Sorry if my explanation is coming out to be too harsh.

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  14. Phew! That's was an interesting read. The post and the comments.I don't know what to say Yuvika.

    A Govt. or a bill cannot change corruption. People who are fighting today.. not all of them are spotless as Anna. Corruption started maybe because someone was willing to push in some extra bucks. People can work around any law any system. In India- they can.

    Nice post. Good read. :)

    Have a good week ahead.

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  15. Taksh Sood Cudnt have agreed more !

    Amit Pandey Oh my God..!!!!!
    R u married to a politician......?
    :-)

    Yuvika Chaube Oh my god, what made u say that?

    Amit Pandey Yuvika......only politicians hv the reasons to be anti Anna today n u r nt one i kno.......so thout probably u got married to one.....!!!!!
    If smone doesnt believe in his ways n means i wd say he does nt believe in democracy.......its like doubting the basic essence of it.
    My apologies if i hv hurt u.

    Yuvika Chaube valid points but fasting is not the solution - is that the only means to put pressure on the govt.? and how democratic is it for us to believe that one independent body can help us from all our miseries - who will take responsibility for that? while i believe in the larger premise of anna hazare's intent - but this demand to agree to every small and big statute of his wont work - it will only delay things further - again my opinion - democracy entitles you to yours :D

    Amit Pandey Yuvika......how many times hv u exercised ur democratic right n power of VOTING....?
    Answer dat n u'll hv the reply......
    Point is dat in democracy der cn be only 2 ways to register ur anguish.....either Vote or peaceful Protest.
    So if u do nt vote den at least protest.....unless u r absolutely fine wid the present scenario prevailing in d country !!!!!

    Yuvika Chaube i voted! and peaceful protest and post tweets and FB updates on supporting Anna is not going to bail us out of the current situation too! we need to move within the purview of law to use it against the people who misuse it - i still believe that a working version of the bill shud be implemented rather than waiting for the ideal one to be drafted and passed. let's make a start somewhere!

    Arti Khanna In a country starved of a statesman,Anna Hazare is a ray of hope...his method is Gandhian,no doubt...and history is testimony to the fact that the Gandhian pattern of politics worked! This govt just dilly dallies...Look at their policy on terrorism... In spite of evidence this govt. has failed to take any action against Kasab till date...its time people took things in their hand...

    Yuvika Chaube while i agree with you largely, my problem with the absolutism demanded of the bill remains - I want to know that who will guarantee the righteousness of these "people" whom we are planning to rely on so completely - this independent body that should be outside the purview of courts, cops and justice and should impartially treat and punish corruption - this in itself is an ideal that is waiting to fail! here's another take worth reading:
    http://in.news.yahoo.com/blogs/opinions/where-anna-hazare-gets-wrong-20110413-224657-743.html

    Yuvika Chaube A more balanced read is also this: http://gauravsabnis.blogspot.com/2011/04/on-anna-hazare-and-fasting.html

    Yuvika Chaube And what I would totally agree to here; http://www.indianexpress.com/news/of-the-few-by-the-few/772773/0

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  16. Yuvika Chaube Salute to Anna's spirit but if the people are intelligent enough to realize a just cause where are they when sincere independent candidate fail to get the majority - anna supporters are the complacent educated middle class who dont even bother to go thru the details of anna's demands but just support him cos he seems right at the moment - and this support apart from a few thousands assembling here and there is limited to facebook likes and status updates. nobody is doubtin anna's intentions - we are skeptic of the ease of corruption that comes with absolute power that anna wants for the jan lok pal bill

    Arti Khanna and that is why it is so important for the population to be literate coz at the end of the day it is the unlettered who decde the fate of this country

    Yuvika Chaube yes look at the big picture - i swear that's the message i agree in too! (hoisting the white flag now - good night :))

    Yuvika Chaube and don't fast (pls)

    Sudha Subramanian While I agree with most of what you've written, that Anna cannot hold a govt to ransom and that his ideals are in place, maybe the methods are wrong; I feel that the people of India are so sick and tired of listening to promises and excuses and the indefinite rule of the Gandhi family as well as the opposition party 2 terms ago, they are willing to listen to anyone with a possible solution to the problem. And I dont mean that Anna and his team as just 'anyone'. Just saying that everyone, including Anna's team really wants a change for the good.

    Karthikeyan Muthukumarasamy interesting conversation. my 2 cents... "the end justifies the means" is a bhagvad gita concept. krishna advised arjuna to lie to drona that his son is dead. pure blatant lie suggested by God. but, He later explains the whole reasoning behind his philosophy. with the larger perspective in mind, i think we must stop crying about means, as long as we are convinced about the ends. and for sure, situation in the country today, is no better than the kurukshetra era.
    having said that, is Anna another Krishna. we know Anna has his own minimal hidden agenda behind all this drama. but, it is wise for this nation to use him as a catalyst, and create a bigger mass movement, much bigger and nobler than what Anna himself envisaged. lets be practical, there are no blacks or whites here, its all different shades of grey and we need to choose the most acceptable shade. Anna looks like one...

    Yuvika Chaube Sudha: Agree with you!

    Yuvika Chaube MK: That's a very valid point - i am just hoping that Anna and team also try to have a more practical start point in terms of the bill - i just dont want his means to become an excuse for the govt to delay the bill

    Ankita Aggarwal That all the intellectuals including us have risen to take note of the contents of the jan lokpal bill is success of the "blackmailing" done by anna today. With news headlines changing every hour, anything less than that could not have generated so much of interest and enthusiasm amongst Indians, who are atleast united today against the cause, leaving behind their daily commitments. There is no disputing the fact that anna's version of the bill has lot of scope of improvement, including hiring of the lokpal bench and around administrative issues, but it is important to let know that the sleeping nation does know how to wake up and everything can not be taken for granted all the time by vested interests. I am positive that the bill draft itself will go through iterations and will look healthier than what it is today.

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  17. Great post....

    Me too an anti hazzare team member.

    Now i realised that we need to create a community of anti hazzare protestors..

    (sorry,,i'm not good at english,so there may have mistakes.)

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  18. Totally of the same view point as you. Loved your thoughts and how you put them!

    This is why I like the highlights! I can see the posts I missed!

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I appreciate you taking out the time to share your valuable opinions! They mean a lot!

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