Lokpal Bill Fiasco: Is It Time For Intervention?

Posted on June 26, 2011 in Politics at Play

By Srishti Chauhan:

Bagging the headlines of leading national dailies every day, there is indeed a lot in the Lokpal Bill drama that does not meet the eye. More than that is, however, the way this drama is unfolding.

Many people have talked about how this all is staged and how Baba Ramdev is another key player in this huge performance that is being delivered for the sake of the nearly 125 crore audience sitting rapt in attention. Personally, I have no doubts about this. Indeed, my experience of democracy and the ways of the world- and not to forget- the innumerable books leaking the inside story of power and position at high levels, have taught me enough for me to not be fooled by this stage show.

Baba Ramdev decided to fast unto death till his demands are met. Why? Precisely, because he knows his followers are such that they shall not let him die and in fact would be such a pain in the neck for the government that giving in to his demands would be an easier option. One question that pops up here is- should you be allowed to do such things only so that your demands are met? What is the guarantee that your demands are actually what the public demands? After all, by definition, democracy is government by the people, of the people and for the people.

Moreover, what guarantees that the decision proposed by this man is actually the best that India can take not only as a democracy but also as an economy? Banning Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes is probably the most impractical idea that has ever been conceived. Who shall be responsible if the implementation of this plan leads to bigger problems for the government? Not Baba Ramdev, surely. Will he accept his responsibility later? Or will he- as is more likely- suddenly turn apolitical?

Another fact that must be stated is that the last time I checked, Baba Ramdev was a yogi preaching the benefits of ‘kapalbharti’.

Since when did he develop such intense interest in politics? Don’t get me wrong- every person has the right to speak- and Baba Ramdev, being a citizen of the country should have an equal opportunity to do so. Yet, I fail to understand since when did making your voice be heard and making your opinion matter involve blackmailing the government into giving in to your impracticable demands without other parties having any say whatsoever?

Trust me, I have nothing against him. I, however, refuse to be a mere onlooker to the tragedy that all these people are hell bent on inflicting upon this country. On one side is the government- not ready to pass the Lokpal Bill for the fact that passing such a bill would lead to them losing their positions of ‘Babus’. And on the other side, so to say, is Baba Ramdev. Instead of adopting a legitimate path to discussion and peaceful protest, this man has followers who are caught with baseball bats and stocked stones and bricks while during a ‘peaceful’ protest.

Agreed- what the police did at the orders of the government in the middle of the night to the protesters is entirely erroneous. This is against the spirit of democracy. However, at the same time, we need to define a boundary for democratic means. Democracy certainly doesn’t mean anarchy where every person does as he wishes to. If this were true, we’d be back in the stone age probably!

This, moreover, does not end here. Apparently, the Baba has asked young people to join him so as to form an army which will enable him to ‘fight’ the government. What are we talking about here- overthrowing the government and having a minor civil war?

The thing that you should question yourselves about is the extent of democratic control over protests. When Delhi University teachers did not end their protest despite continual orders from the government, the government had to resort making it breach of order of the court. Should this method be adopted in the Lokpal Bill fiasco to prevent it from turning uglier? Should democratic control finally be exercised?

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