Thursday, August 25, 2011

To be or not to be...

... pro Anna Hazare - no longer seems to a question for the majority of the people in the country , if the TOI is to be believed.

It is true that corruption has become so widespread in India that, at times, it seems impossible that it shall ever be routed out. It is appreciable that Anna, along with other eminent personalities such as Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal , is trying to curb this social evil.

The govt draft of the lokpal bill is truly one that instals a dummy ombudsman whose hands are tied behind his back. This bill can't be surely accepted. Hence, revision is essential; but, holding the govt to ransom by threatening to fast till the bill was passed in its current version is anti-democratic for sure. Gandhiji did it with the oppressive British regime but here we are using the same weapon against our own elected representatives. It is the "My way or the highway" kind of a stand and such an obstinate outlook is not going to be of any use. When Sri Hazare started the fast, it was called indefinite and was clearly told be different from a fast-unto-death. Even Kiran Bedi clarified in the press that he shall fast only as long as his health permits. So, what is it if not a form of blackmail, if today statements are made saying that the Govt is responsible if anything happens to Anna?

The govt did mess up very badly -first with all the scams; second, with denying Anna and his supporters the right for peaceful protests a la the British Raj. The very number of people coming out to support Team Anna shows that the middle class has had enough with bribery and corruption and looks upon Anna as a messiah who'll save them from this hell. My concern here is that how many people know what exactly they are protesting for apart from the key words "Anna hazare, jan Lok Pal and Anti-corruption". Do they know the pluses and the drawbacks of the govt bill and the Jan lok pal bill?? Do they know both sides of the debate or are they merely caught up in the frenzy? Are they under the misconception that the Jan Lok Pal bill will save them from the routine "20 rs extra , madam" that the auto wallah asks? That it will be a magic wand that will instantly erase corruption from all walks of the society? Have they truly thought about the powers that Team Anna wants the Jan lok pal to be given and whether there could be any backlash of creating such a powerful body? Would it end up being like a second CPAB (of SG) that has right to detain a person without trial?

Also, a large crowd of youth, high on adrenaline is a dangerous weapon. The mob literally is elevating Anna to a God status and seems unwilling to think of him as a normal human being who could also have some flaws. There are schools who are sending students - small children - to witness what is being called the second freedom struggle. Today a person also set himself ablaze at Delhi. Most Anna supporters I know follow the "With us or against us" kind of point of view ; expecting the public to have a binary view. Many are not open to thinking that the Team Anna draft of the Lok Pal bill is just one of the several alternatives , including the one drafted by RTI activist Aruna Roy. If one has problems with the methodology being employed by Anna Hazare, the person is promptly dubbed as a Congress supporter, or a un-patriotic person by fanatic Anna supporters.

Finally, Anna
said "agree to our demands or step down" - and, one might be justified in saying so when the govt has failed them on all fronts. Fine, the govt steps down, what next? There are going to be elections at taxpayers cost - where we only get to choose between Worse and Worst. Will anybody from Team Anna contest the elections and promise to give us a better govt? Given the widespread support the movement has gained in India, and, as Kiran Bedi said "India is Anna and Anna is India", they are sure to win the elections and we might truly get better governance. With BJP messing up at the State level, and Congress screwing up big time at the Centre ; it might not even make sense to go vote in the next elections if we don't have better options!!!

I always feel hypocritical when I bitch about existing govts because, I know, that I would not want to touch politics with a ten-foot long pole. So, while all Anna supporters are busy making a villain out of the Govt, is anybody willing to shoulder the responsibility of trying to please the majority in a country with a population of more than a billion?

[P.S. I am not trying to defame Anna Hazare or his supporters. I am against corruption and would want a good anti-corruption squad. I am just not ok with the deadlines being issued, holding the govt to ransom and the effort to enforce a certain version of the bill without considering the alternatives. Just because I do not support Team Anna and their movement in entirety, I am not a corrupt politician or a person who does not love her country. Just clarifying matters before people start gunning me down for my views!]


Sadhana said...

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why - I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell

Substitute Doctor Fell with JanLokpal and do not like with like and you can capture the current mood :)

jb said...

At the rally I attended, people seemed more excited about posing for pictures. So I suppose part of it happens to be 'follow the herd' and 'my chance to be part of something important'. I wonder how many carefully weigh the pros and cons. Honestly, I'm ignorant myself.

Bastet said...

@Akka, haa haa :)
@ JB, thanks for being so honest!

Unknown said...

hi, You are spot on. Fasting unto death is a blackmail, plain and simple.