DEMOCRACY COMES OF AGE
VICTORY FOR ALL
LESSONS FOR ALL
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
Post.9 Dated 28,Aug, 2011
Finally, the resolution was passed by the Indian Parliament – in a way, which was more than satisfying.It was heartening. After hearing all sides and all shades of arguments, the resolution was passed in a simple, beautiful manner.
Ø First, it was Unanimous. Not even by voice vote – but by thumping of desks, which was considered more than a Voice Vote. This it self is extremely heartening.
Ø There was a Day-long discussion. Sushma Swarajji, the leader of the Opposition made a brilliant speech. She drew attention to the deep pains in the hearts of – the opposition, the team Anna and the people in general. She outlined why the struggle came to such an impasse. Her advice – not to say anything which you will need to regret later – was particularly timely.
Ø Too many harsh words were spoken during this Andolan period – starting from the Fast of Swami Ram Dev. Too many undemocratic steps were also taken – to sully the images of the Andolan leaders. Let there not be a single such incident of violent silencing of democratic protests, in India, in future. This is a lesson that Political leaders must learn from this extremely peaceful Andolan. If such unsavoury incidents are repeated in future –it would mean, that democracy is yet to take roots in the minds and hearts of some of our Political leaders.
Ø The intemperate barrage of words was not limited to Political leaders. Some in Team Anna also were guilty of using them – and, in the final analysis, these words only stand out as the ugly side of the Andolan.
Ø The curious thing is – the politicians don’t remember what they themselves said and did in the ugliest possible manner but accuse the Andolan leaders of using bad language. The Andolan leaders remember what the Politicians said and did but not what their own members are saying. But to be fair to Andolan leaders, they only used a few harsh words – unlike Politicians who used bad words and Bad, unacceptable actions too – and usually they were the first to start this.
Ø The leader of Opposition says – The prime Minister is right. Follow what he says. Have you ever heard of this in India – or any other country? And – she was telling this to the Prime Minister’s own Ruling Party. I perfectly agree with her.
Ø This Prime Minister is one of the most honest, non-corruptible Prime Ministers India ever had – and for a long time, many in India were feeling that the people around him were advising more and listening less to this statesman PM.
Ø What set the tone earlier was of course the Prime Minister’s own appeal to Anna Hazare – to break his fast and apologizing for any thing wrong said about Anna. This was a brilliant piece of statesmanship.
Ø It was then, well responded to, by Anna Hazare – spontaneously apologizing for any pain caused to the Prime Minister.
Ø Forget about the lesser souls who do not know how to apologize for what wrongs they do. Hopefully, they too will learn the lessons.
Ø Arun Jaitley’s analysis was also Brilliant. He responded to the call of the nation – and showed that his party unequivocally stands for a strong Lok Pal, more or less on the lines of what Team Anna has drafted – with well-reasoned modifications here and there. What stands out in his speech is – there was no heat, but just Light alone.
Ø There were other very Good speeches from various Opposition and UPA leaders.
Ø As must be expected – there were dissenting and doubting voices on this legislation. Minister of planning Ashwini Kumar said, “If there is one issue on which there is complete unanimity, that issue is law making is the domain, and the exclusive domain, of both Houses of Parliament, and that law making cannot be effectuated under a banyan tree or a peepul tree, by scores of people sitting under it. The day we allow ourselves to regress into that kind of a coercive legislation, that would be the death knell of all that we have nurtured to create and consolidate us further.”
Ø A few more such doubts and dissenting voices were there. But, one needs to remember again and again, that Parliament failed to enact the law on Lok Pal for 42 agonizing years – during which the number of cases, the scale of corruption and its brazenness has grown phenomenally in our country.
Ø In the face of this monumental corruption – which was frustrating to the poor, to the middle classes, to the rich and every body in India – Can we say that Democracy is successful in India? It is ridiculous to compare ourselves with the theocratic countries adjacent to us in this respect and pride ourselves as better than them. Therefore, this Andolan was eminently justified.
Ø It is nobody’s case – that laws must be made outside Parliament and state legislative Assemblies. The simplest contextual question that arises then is – will the parties who say they are not against Lok Pal – bring Lok Ayukth in the states Governed by them at least? Please do bring the Lok Ayukth Law in your respective states – without the need for such Andolan. People are tired of corruption in the Police stations, Tahsildar offices, Panchayat Offices, RTO offices and other offices. People will salute you if you create an effective Lok Ayukth in each state. All those who swear by the poorest people must take the lead in this. But, if a state Government stubbornly refuses to have Lok Ayukth – and is indulging in naked corruption - what should people do? A peaceful Protest, which Parliament accepted as a democratic Right, will become justified against every such Government.
Ø Sri Pranab Mukherjee doubts if Lok Pal bill alone can eradicate corruption. He is right. Lok Pal Bill alone cannot eradicate corruption. It is like the CEC Post. It did not matter much till Shri T.N.Seshan became the CEC. Till then – CEC post was more a bureaucratic, ornamental Post of less consequence. But, T.N. Seshan put some semblance of democracy and order into a chaotic system that existed till then, despite the CEC Act. Suddenly, booth capturing started disappearing. Fraudulent voting came down. Cash-for-votes was coming down. Election expenses of Candidates were subjected to Greater scrutiny. Surely, Mr.Seshan brought greater democracy into Elections by his fearless actions. There were big critics of him – among Politicians then also – as there are of Anna now. So, now – is the time, to select good, strong Lok Pal and Lok Ayukths – who can cleanse the system of its corrupt practices significantly, though not totally. The person matters most – once the powers and system are on hand.All said - Sri Pranab Mukherjee's speech was also laced with good, effective arguments.
Ø Do we need such Peaceful Protests in future? Surely, Yes. But, Governments should stop their vindictive, undemocratic, silencing actions against such peaceful protests. In other words, peaceful, public Protests against Government inactions and wrong doings – must become the order of the day, for a healthy, vibrant Democracy. There is nothing wrong in it. Likewise, the Peaceful Protestors must stick to issues – without using harsh words and extreme actions against any Individuals.
Ø What are the other lessons that India must learn from this Historic Andolan? There are some sections who expressed that they had no due representation in the Andolan. In such Andolans – Every one must go and involve - and become a part of it. As simple as that. Aamir Khan went. Shah Rukh Khan went. Shabana Azmi went. They were all most welcome. Likewise – Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and many other spiritualists went and supported. I supported – not physically but through my blogs. Whoever does not want corruption – can support in whatever way they want and can.
Ø Not only Anna – but many others were fasting during the Andolan. Their names are not so well known. But their sincerity to the cause is equally praise worthy – we must salute them all.
Ø What is the flip side of the Andolan? It remained loosely organized from beginning to end. Perhaps, it was its very nature. People who felt deeply for the cause, just came together – and Anna lent his support. Nothing more of a clear organizational structure could evolve. This seems to have given some heart burning to some people – which happens. It is now necessary to evolve a clear organizational structure for future use.
Ø The Media – at least some of the sections of Media – were strident in their support to the cause. Many in the Media were high lighting the Pluses and Minuses of the Andolan, of the UPA Government, of the Opposition and of the cause very well; though huge, one sided reporting also was there in some sections. The Media support was a great factor – in the success of this Andolan. I think, Team Anna needs to be grateful to the media.
Ø Some sections of Media did not know how to handle this juggernaut of the Anna and team Anna Phenomenon. I would suggest – please recognize every worthy Public cause – and support the cause, and its crusaders - even if you need to highlight some lacunae in handling it.
Ø Please remember – there will be a crusade for any worthy cause – only if there is a sincere, motivated crusader. If you de- motivate the crusader, the cause will die along with him. If there is no Fighter, there is no fight.
Ø The opposition played its role, initially very passively – and then very Positively. A very welcome step indeed.
Ø Is there any one crucial factor that needs some more reflection? It is nothing but the flip flops of UPA Government. Easily, very simply – it could have stolen the whole lime light from all others – from Anna, from Team Anna, from media and from Opposition – It only needed to show deep sympathy for the cause and support for the crusaders and seek their comments on every clause. Then, seek Opposition view on it. President Obama is doing it daily in many ways. Why can’t we do it in India? Public cause crusaders are not Enemies. They should be treated as friends. Some People in Media felt, Jawaharlal Nehru would have done it – on the very first day.
Ø Well, at the end – the Prime Minister remains high in the esteem of the People of India. So does Anna, the public cause crusader. So does the media. And, that is what matters. I am sure – UPA Government will come up quickly with an effective Lok Pal Bill – overcoming all obstacles it sees on the way. If it does – it will still be able to steal the show from all the rest. Today’s passing of the Resolution itself – needs congratulations for the Government. It is a victory for all. It is a victory for India. There is no defeat for any one. Democracy is coming of age in India – and will fly high – if we all learn the needed lessons from this victory.
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