Friday, April 08, 2011

Anna Hazare - Lokpal Bill and Beyond


Is the Centre capitulating under pressure or is it trying out tactics that would see the pressure on Lokpal Bill rescind?

Hope was all but lost. Then came along Anna Hazare! For a nation that has shown the world, the way forward with Non-violence, Anna Hazare was just the face that the youth were searching for. In a country where rampant corruption has been spreading its tentacles far, wide and deep, where the toiling section at the bottom of the hierarchy, grumbling middle class and the indifferent elite would get together only when Mumbai is bombed, the Taj is held to ransom or when Team India lifts the World Cup, it is moving to find people uniting for a common cause, under a leader who dares the bad guys with virtually nothing to lose!

Whenever the Lokpal Bill has been discussed, it has been shoved under the carpet under one pretext or the other for decades together. So, when the Jan Lokpal Bill was crafted by the civil society that has been growing increasingly impatient with the status quo tainted with corruption in various facets of public life, it was path breaking in its own right. It's as good as tossing the question straight in legislature's face: If you could not enact a bill for four decades in the face of burgeoning corruption that has taken giant proportions over the years since Independence, why shouldn't we draft one for you without charging a penny for our services?

The ruling class and the bureaucrats can only be expected to get jittery with the voice that has started resonating across India. And the reverberating force of the newly unified voice has already taken its first casualty, with Sharad Pawar deciding to go into oblivion with regard to GoM on Lokpal bill, rather than face the music and have his stained image tarnished further. That is more than convincing an evidence that when people speak as one, the public servants have to listen.

Image: Deccan Chronicle

With the Nation having sensed its lost identity, the question is, how far should the United Front of Anna Hazare, staunchly supported by other prominent faces like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan and Santosh Hegde, push this forward? The Government has been striking notes of conciliation, indicating the grave concern and the urgency underlying the thinking in the corridors of power. Is this a movement that has reached a critical mass, rocking the foundations and the core of the nerve centre of the politics of corruption? Is the Centre capitulating under pressure or is it trying out tactics that would see the pressure on Lokpal Bill rescind?

What this agitation would have reminded those who have been clinging to their chairs by their sheer lust for power than anything else, is that they are, ultimately, accountable for their actions. But there is more to this issue than what meets the naked eye. The breed that we have let grow all over the country is not something that can be corrected or eradicated with the stroke of a single bill or legislation. All said and done, they are the system, and they are the ones who would have to enact and enforce a draft of any kind that is legislated. What Anna Hazare has achieved with his agitation is something to reckon with, and the Government would not risk its stakes in such a tricky situation. However, let us be reminded that it takes strategy, than sheer force, to leverage the situation and engage the government in dialogue with the civil society. Anna Hazare and his team would have to use this opportunity to make the Government get into discussion mode with the people. Threat of action is more powerful than action itself. And tactical pressure has to be maintained over a period, constantly reminding the bureaucrats and the politicians that they have been elected by the people to serve the people. This is the time, not to go full throttle and all out for the jugular, but to check the pace and cruise along with measured control.

As has been rightly pointed out by Anna Hazare, he has to stay out of any position of responsibility and should remain a strategist, a consultant, and more importantly, a figurehead who would be perceived as a constant threat to those who are willing to cross the line. We have not reached the critical mass yet. But we do have sufficient force to start nudging the system in the right direction.

Related Posts:
Corruption in India, Lokpal Bill and Mahatma Gandhi
Anna Hazare, India against Corruption and the Political System: A New Beginning
Anna Hazare, Indians and the Political Class: A Reality Check


Krish said...

An interesting take on the 'Anna Hazare and Lokpal Bill' episode that I came across:

questnaveen said...

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