Now that it’s almost certain that the Lokpal bill will be passed by Parliament, people are gradually realizing that sanity and not frenzy should guide the making of a good law to curb corruption. It is slowly dawning on people that it’s not a shortage of laws in the country which has given rise to so much corruption; it is the inefficiency of execution that has been the reason. To that extent, another law.....no matter how good in design.....will not automatically give corruption a kick in the butt. What we need is effective non-corruptible people; people like Anna Hazare who are willing to make sacrifices; that’s the real solution.....not just another act. Also, Anupam Kher presents us a great opportunity to prove that we are ready to apply the laws to one and all....no matter how famous or powerful they are.
But first the drafting of the bill. Now that the euphoria is ebbing a bit, newspapers are starting to feel confident about putting out little cautionary stories. It’s still too early for them to make these comments on the front page.....anyone who says anything wrong at this point could be lynched in public and the papers don’t want to appear to be on the wrong side of people. But on the inside pages, a few stories are already starting to appear. One such story in TOI today on page 2 “Emotion cant write the law” in which activist Nayana Kathpalia says “Emotion cannot write law. For instance, how can you make the Lokpal the lord of all he surveys, and vest such extreme power in one or two individuals even though the joint committee consists of eminent people. Your permission or mine was not sought for this change. We are a parliamentary democracy whose laws must fit within the constitutional framework”. Further Supreme Court advocate Meenakshi Lekhi “wonders at the wisdom of nominating certain members of the inner circle to the joint committee that will debate the Bill. Most of all, she believes
already has enough laws to tackle corruption, it is the will to implement these that is absent”. Aah ha! Wisdom dawns on people. India
I had expressed my anger over film stars and directors trying to grab center stage in Anna Hazare’s struggle. Farah Khan was allowed to get on stage with him during his fast. Why? Her ilk is one of the biggest beneficiaries of corruption. Remember the recent IT raids on Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif? Or take Anupam Kher’s case. The actor hogged footage on prime time TV and got taken in by the frenzied feelings prevailing on the streets and in the studios. “Throw out the constitution”, he said in one insane moment. Wow!
Anupam Kher’s case also points out why I am a little worried about real change happening in
. Instead of putting him on trial straightaway because of his remark, prominent people are saying that it was the heat of the moment that got to him and we should let it pass. This “let it pass” attitude when it comes to influential people is one of the root causes for corruption also. The rules are the same for all; but the implementation is different for influential people. Which way will people vote on this issue? Do Anna Hazare’s followers want Anupam Kher to be condoned or spared? If they want him spared, they will lose moral authority. If they want his penalized, certain influential sections of society will already start trying to kill the bill. India
Mark my words. Corruption exists because of all of us people. Especially the middle-class and the well-offs. We excuse our own corruption by pointing our fingers at those who are ready targets. The politicians and the babus. Of course, they are corrupt, and how we should clean up corruption is something I have covered in yesterday’s post. But how will you tell the Anupam Kher’s of the world not to do things like they have been doing for the last 50 years or more? How will you tell the 300 million strong middleclass who have benefited from the corruption (at the cost of the poor) for so many years? When the Lokpal’s spotlight turns on them, will they support the Bill. Or did they always wanted the bill the point solely at the politicians and babus? In the initial years, the Lokpal may well direct its energies towards politicians and babus, but sooner or later, they will be forced to look at probity in civil life. How much will we support the bill then?
Anupam Kher’s is just a great opportunity for us to show which side we are on. Let’s show that we mean what we say. That he must first and foremost apologize. That he must be tried within one year and put in jail within two (if found guilty) like the Lokpal bill suggests. Let’s not protect him just because he is a famous actor. And let’s not forget.....a few good men did manage to put Shiney Ahuja in jail in spite of all his efforts to escape. Let many good men make sure Anupam Kher is not spared either. Only then can we say that we are sure about cleaning society.
The real truth is that people want the Lokpal bill only to focus on politicians and babus. “Leave us out” is there in the subtext. But Anna Hazare cannot allow this. Remember Mahatma Gandhi fought as much against the ills of our society as he did against the British. Anna Hazare must do the same now. Further, he must ensure that frenzy is not permitted in the drafting of the bill. The Constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of government and that must be protected at all costs. Parliament must be the most powerful body because it’s the only body made up of elected people who we, the common people, can punish every 5 years. I have confidence in Anna Hazare. But I am not so sure about his frenzied supporters (all of us)....