Gone are the days when you typed ‘anna’ and google welcomed you with a sexy picture of an aging tennis star. Instead you now find a smiling old man in his white attire. Call him Gandhi or his Frankenstein, love him or hate him, but Anna fever has struck the subcontinent. It’s been long since the world has seen a mass agitation without a drop of blood spilled, without a single stone thrown. Gandhigiri is still alive.
First time in my life I was welcomed in the metro with the slogan ‘Vande Mataram’. A group of around ten villagers from Gurgaon, all above 50yrs, were chanting the slogan and there was no doubt that they were going to the Ramleela Ground. There was a policeman standing beside me, he looked at them and slowly uttered, “Jao jao, desh ki bhala karo”. A protest that was once confined to the urban middle class youth, has gained ground.
Don’t be amazed by people around you claiming that he (and even she) is Anna. Anna has cloned majority of Indians like Smith of Matrix. Anna now comes in all shapes and sizes. You might ask at this point if I am cloned as well, well no I am lucky to be still SUB. But I do support India against corruption, whose poster child is the innocent face of Anna. I have been in Jantar Mantar last time (click here for my experience), and I have been to Ram Leela this time. That does not mean that I am in favor of the Jan Lokpal Bill as it is now. I don’t want a selected institution that is stronger than the elected government. But Team Anna is not telling the government to pass the bill as it is. Remember, during negotiation you never put your best bet forward; you have to add that extra space for negotiations. Moreover, for the first time the public can directly participate in making a law. If you think the present Jan Lokpal is flawed why don’t you give your suggestion here?
Some people might argue that the way of the protest, rather blackmailing the government, isn’t democratic. Non-violence isn’t blackmailing and other methods have been tried and failed. The Lokpal bill was first introduced by Shanti Bhushan in 1968 and passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969. But it did not get through in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. Subsequent versions were re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008, but none of them passed (source: wiki). Something had to be done. This time the method of protest stroke cord with the frustrated mass, the internet and media acted as a catalyst.
If I am not Anna, if I am not for the present Lokpal, then why am I supporting the movement? The answer is that I am against the government’s version of the bill. Following is the reason (ref) why I don’t like the government’s version.
1] As per government’s version of Lokpal, if a citizen complaints against a govt officer’s corruption to Lokpal…
· - Govt officer can file a Cross Complaint directly to the Special Court without Preliminary Enquiry that whether complain was frivolous
· - Govt officer given free advocate while the Citizen has to defend himself
· - If complain proved frivolous citizen gets minimum 2 years jail
· - If corruption of Govt officer proved –gets minimum 6 months jail
Do you think any ordinary citizen will raise his/her voice against corruption with this bill?
2] CORRUPTION by PM can be investigated, under Prevention of Corruption Act. Govt wants investigations to be done by CBI which comes directly under him, rather than independent Lokpal. Who is going to fire their boss? I will love to, but will I?
3] Government wants it to be included in Judicial Accountability Bill (JAB). In JAB permission to enquire against a judge will be given by a Three member committee, Two judges & a retd. Chief justice of the SAME court). History has shown that judges always favor their own clan. Are you in favor of such a bill?
Yes, we should also fight corruption at individual level, but no one is a born corrupt. The system forces a person to become corrupt. The same person, when (s)he goes abroad where there is a better system, follows the rules. People followed the traffic rule during the CWG when there was a strict system in place. Individual change won’t come overnight. We need a better system that will slowly change the society for a better future. Corruption cannot be totally erased as long as inequality exists. But it can be reduced, and with the present condition of our country, we can reduce it drastically. Anna or not, let’s do our bit as well.
You can find the same post as my guest post in The INK of the Mighty INDIAN PEN.