Home > How do you solve a problem like India? > The third flight path out of the Lokpal imbroglio
  1. August 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

    In true democratic spirit, India is just displaying a large number of divergent thoughts on an issue, analyzing it from different angles and agendas (the numerous links).

    As for Arudhati Roy’s stand (in another article), I think she is going all over – why did not AH protest on this or that, etc, etc. Each citizen is fully within their rights to take up a cause (or not take up any) which they are passionate about. Just because Anna camp did not make comments on Jharkand, or Sikkim, does not deny them democratic rights (the same ones that Arundhati Roy and all the other detractors themselves are using against both the Govt in various instances as well as in trashing Anna Hazare movement in this instance). Nandan Nilekani’s stand on “You are with us or against us” criticism also does not hold water, since that is what the Govt has been giving its citizens all these years (including thrusting UIDAI on all without a proper debate and consensus – it is not even debated in the parliament as a bill, but got started as an ordinance and has already spent a huge sum of money without parliamentary oversight); when a private citizen peacefully pressurizes the Govt, how come this becomes an issue? All these criticisms stem, IMHO, from multiple agendas that each proponent has, and not from the merits or demerits of the issue under debate.

    That said, I am not saying that Anna Hazare version of the bill is perfect (if one listens to Arvind Kejriwal, neither does he nor anyone in the Anna camp say that). The first draft was done and given to the Govt for a debate and public discourse in Dec last year, and the Govt did nothing about it for 4 months (this, after the same subject has been going in and out of the parliament for the past 40 years). It was only after the first agitation of Anna in April that the Govt constituted a joint drafting committee, which was a sham since the Govt created a water-down version of a bill that Aruna Roy, Anna Hazare and several other civil activists have unequivocally trashed.

    Coming to the question that people raise that only parliament can enact bills and not outsiders, the catch is that parliaments around the world have never shown responsibility when enacting bills where parliamentarians are the ones impacted (e.g. they give themselves huge pay raises without any discussions or multiple viewpoints or debates). When it is clear that in the current system of corruption, ultimately it is the politicians who are the biggest beneficiaries and hence are very interested in propagating the system (the reason a sub-registrar takes bribe, is that they need to shell out huge sums of money to the minister to get the plum postings that are close to their houses), then why is it difficult to understand that they have no interest in creating a strong Lokpal law that may indict the corrupt (meaning one of their brethren)? That is why civic activists are essential (i.e. common citizens need to share their views on what is essentially a disciplining system for errant rulers). It is unfortunate that there are dissensions among the activists, instead of working together in bettering what some group has already done. Why does Aruna Roy not make a public proposal to Anna to work with him, and better his Jan Lokpal by mixing her basket of measures, instead of taking a parallel path, and criticizing his initiative?

    While I don’t agree with the theatrics of fasting, such steps become necessary sometimes when nothing else works.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: