For the Skeptics

Here I am again. I have been well and truly bitten by that pesky insect, Scriptus Muscula, commonly referred to as the writing bug.

This post is intended mainly for opponents of the Lokpal Bill drafted by Team Anna. First of all, I need to clarify – your concerns about a committee of unelected individuals wielding the power to initiate proceedings against (potentially) elected representatives are certainly valid. In the words of the Roman poet Juvenal made famous by Dan Brown, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?“, meaning – “Who will guard the guards?” And I will admit that if the Lokpal is infiltrated by people with political leanings one way or another, all hell could break loose. Just thinking about such a scenario scares me.

However, these hazards notwithstanding, I feel we need to push for the Lokpal Bill to be passed at all costs, if for one reason only – to show the government that the people are not willing to take things lying down any more. The Congress can argue on technicalities all they like, but they can’t hide. Their current draft of the bill insults the intelligence of the Indian. In fact, I have to admire the audacity of whoever came up with it.

Of course, as I always make it a habit to point out, the Lokpal Committee is not a machine that functions effectively once it is installed. It is only as good as the people who constitute it, and for that reason the selection procedure is absolutely vital. When I saw that five out of ten members in the selection committee were to be from the ruling establishment, I didn’t bother reading further. It becomes less Jokepal and more “I wasn’t born yesterday, pal.”

Secondly, as I was pointing out in a friend’s post on Facebook, what the country desperately needs is ACTION. Quick question – how many of you wear seat belts or helmets when you drive? If you do, good on ya mate, of course, but those of you who don’t will most probably shrug it off and say there’s practically no chance that you’ll meet with an accident. Yet you know that accidents happen every day. People die. But somehow, the feeling that accidents happen only to “other people” persists.

Now if a close friend were to be seriously injured in an accident, I’m sure it’d make you follow safety measures much more seriously. Just like you never imagined it would happen to you, you never imagined it would happen to your friend either, only to a random faceless person. You realise your folly now.

That’s what we need. You cannot hope that by simply providing for stringent punishments like a decade in prison, people will be deterred from leading corrupt lives. Being thrown in jail is similar to a road accident in that respect – you just don’t imagine it could happen to you, even though you disregard the law utterly.

Politicians and bureaucrats will continue to offer and receive bribes with impunity, until they are made to realise that they might well be the next face in the newspaper, being escorted to Tihar Jail. This will happen only if members of their fraternity, people they knew for so long and had never conceived would be in such a plight, are made examples of. That is already underway, thankfully, with A. Raja and Suresh Kalmadi being the first in what I hope will be a long line. We need to move swiftly and ruthlessly, bringing home the reality to all levels of the bureaucracy.

And finally, for those who are trying to throw a spanner in the works by raising question marks about Anna Hazare’s character – get a life. Yes, Wikipedia says he punished villagers excessively for alcoholism. No, that is not relevant here. I’d like to see how many of you could go without your mobile phones for a day, let alone food. And it’s for no selfish motives whatsoever. Instead of trying to pull out random incidents from the past to satisfy your insignificant self that Anna Hazare is also capable of doing wrong, appreciate the fact that a man is actually rising above his own interests and undergoing so much personal inconvenience for a cause he believes in, for the betterment of the entire nation. I’ll understand if you aren’t convinced by the terms of the Lokpal Bill, but have respect for Anna. You have no business passing judgement on someone who can be so selfless.

I know I haven’t talked much about the actual Lokpal Bill, but that’s best left to Wisetongue and I want to avoid feeding the readers wrong information. I try to analyse politics and give it a sort of human nature-y critique. I don’t know how well it works, but I do know that politics is what politicians do, and politicians are humans. May seem naive. I’d like to know your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you for reading!

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Posted on August 17, 2011, in Everything Else. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. exactly ! you are more articulate than me, sir.

  2. Awesome post!
    More than the argument of action, the skeptics need to weigh against different options rather than tearing apart the jan lokball bill or the methods of protest. No system/ law is completely perfect. There will always be trade-off. The alternate options to jan lokball is government’s lokpal or no lokpal. If there is no lokpal, the corruption continues and will grow even bigger. Not just one insitution, many from lower bureaucracy to PMO will indulge in it. Government’s lokpal is even worse with their clauses clearly discouraging any attempt by a person to file a complaint. Not only is there no protection, there is fine and imprisonment (2 years) if the complainant is found to be wrong. This is worse than the current system. In case of jan lokpal, yes, there is a case of the members being corrupt themselves. But the idea should be to find adequate ways to make it an effective self regulating institute and not presenting a bill like government’s lokpal.

  3. Brilliantly Put !

    Exactly what I would have wanted to say…

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