Dr. Kalam’s Comment on Jan Lokpal Bill is Grounded in Reality

Posted on May 6, 2012 in Politics at Play

By Astitwa:

Dr. Kalam’s recent remarks regarding the famous Jan Lokpal Bill has been received with mixed reactions from different quarters of the society. The media again went frenzy to grab attention and highlighted it with sensational headlines. “Lokpal will only fill jails, APJ Abdul Kalam says” was the headline published by the TOI. While such headlines not only misguided several readers from what our former President actually wanted to say, they also set the wrong platform for controversy on the missile man of India. Those who read the entire story will surely appreciate the lessons Dr. Kalam gave to the children. There have been several interpretations of the statement given by Kalam, most of which are inclined to prove that Dr Kalam is pro-Congress, he is an UPA agent and he doesn’t want a strong law against corruption.

At the background of all this, we must consider several points. Firstly, Dr. Kalam was not addressing a scholarly and intelligent audience aware of the nuisances of the laws and Lokpal. He was dealing with school kids and he was wise enough to talk to them in simple language, explaining to them the pragmatic and long-term approach to weed out corruption from a social system. Yes, it might have sounded to most of us like a typical Moral Science lesson, but what do any of us have to say to kids, if we are to make this country better? Be the change you want to be – if we can’t follow this lesson and teach them to the kids, future change is impossible and even a Jan Lokpal bill won’t be able do anything about it.

Secondly, Dr. Kalam did not anywhere say that he opposes the Jan Lokpal bill completely. He is just sceptical of the bill’s efficacy. He is not entirely wrong in his analysis that a Jan Lokpal bill will fill jails. Even senior advocates and legal experts have frequently argued that monitoring the massive 55 lakh government workers, right from the peon to the Prime Minister will create a parallel bureaucracy in itself, which may turn out to be nothing less than the Frankenstein monster. Moreover, we must not forget that the people recruited to execute the Jan Lok bill will be chosen from among us. Who can guarantee that they won’t be corrupt or they may never adopt malicious ways?

Thirdly, we must not forget that India is a democratic country where we have the right to choose our own leader. Our political leaders haven’t been elected by some magic wand. It is we who have voted for them. So, if they are corrupt, it is our fault that we chose wrong candidates. Despite all this, still in our country, a significant fraction of educated citizen shies away from casting their votes. It is assumed that only poor people need to vote so that they can get better facilities from aspiring leaders. This collective amnesia of educated India on voting must end soon. Choose your leader. Vote for them. We keep shouting for corruption-free India and we rarely vote. This is what is ridiculous.

Fourthly, the prominent leader Bangaru Laxman has been convicted recently, which is a good sign for the judiciary. In India, still there are lakhs of pending court cases. Shouldn’t we campaign to make our judiciary faster, effective and more robust? There are already many laws to put corrupt politicians behind the bars. A more accountable judiciary would be far beneficial for India in the current situation.

It is indeed true that no one can be completely against or for Jan Lokpal bill. Hence, we need to analyze everything with a sense of responsibility. Of the many roads to free India against corruption, Jank Lokpal is just one of them and we should not create unnecessary furore over it. The first road to change starts from YOU. Unless YOU don’t start your journey, you should not expect a corruption-free India. That is what Dr. Kalam said to the children. Change begins from an individual.

Youth Ki Awaaz

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Dear Mr Astitwa, it is time that we start using our mind and stop following the preachings of our leaders, who have brought us to this mess.  You can not justify on behalf of what Mr Kalam has said. You are also very wrong in making statements that present laws an judiciary is sufficient to deter the corrupt people. Our judiciary and politicians hav failed us completely.We have examples of other nations who have adopted hard measures and have become far better and corruption is almost rooted out. It is just ridiculous to say that there are 55 lakh people who need to be be controlled. Most of the guys will get on the right track just by hearing that new rules are implemented and when some important corrupt people are put behind bars. It is time that people like Kalam should put his support behind JLPB and not keep on obliging congress, rest of his life for making him president .


    why people like you always blame everything for congress? I am not saying congress is with lokpal but the whole political class is against it … Either you don’t see political class as a whole or you are a supporter of BJP who are themselves to blame for many scandals in the country. and if you don’t want to support the idea of strengthening your judiciary then there is no point having it…I am in favor of having lokpal but you must always have a look at pros or cons of everything you are introducing to make public servants accountable which can back fire to haunt us. 


    Dear Swisssomp, thank you for your valuable comment on this article.

    “It is time that we start using our mind and stop following the preachings of our leaders, who have brought us to this mess”- it is indeed a brilliant statement from you and it must be followed religiously. Even I have said the same in my article when I have raised the voting issue. We should indeed use our minds to VOTE for the right people. That alone is a potent tool to eliminate many threats. But as you must be aware of, we rarely vote to our full capacities but the situation is improving and we can hope for a better dawn.

    I surely can’t justify JLPB on sayings of Dr. Kalam and that I have stated clearly in the concluding lines which reads- “It is indeed true that no one can be completely against or for Jan
    Lokpal bill. Hence, we need to analyze everything with a sense of
    responsibility.”. I was just analyzing the possible issues a JLPB can create and I found Dr. Kalam’s comment quite realistic. Also, we can’t rate Dr. Kalam on the same scale like the corrupt political leaders you’re talking about. The nation is aware of the integrity and probity of Dr. Kalam. It is indeed unfortunate that certain media sections have knowingly or unknowingly related Dr. Kalam’s comment to him being a pro-Congress. As you said, Dr. Kalam is “obliging Congress, rest of his life for making him President”. As you must be aware, Pranab Mukherjee is all set to become India’s president and there was no politics on name of Dr. Kalam. How can we judge the political ambitions of our brilliant scientist and a man of values, on his one statement? It is beyond my understanding.

    The tone of the article doesn’t anywhere reflects that India doesn’t NEED stronger laws like Jan Lokpal. It was just presenting the issues and challenges. I surely agree to your statement that we can’t let go JLPB if we have to manage 55 lakh people. You’re right. But my motto in stating this statement was that WE will have to invest heavily in manpower and infrastructure along with a monitoring system to even monitor the JLPB. It would indeed be a herculean task. That was all I wanted to highlight. This doesn’t meant that India doesn’t need a stronger law to prevent corrupt people.

    I don’t agree to your statement that judiciary and current laws are inefficient to stop corruption and prosecute corrupt people. Mind you, it is not the absence of laws, it is the robust and honest application of laws that is causing all the mess. So, as I said, we need a transparent judiciary to empower it. Once it becomes powerful, we will surely see prosecutions at an increased rate. It is not that powerful people haven’t been to jail. We have seen elite members of the mighty Karunanidhi family and even several central government ministers in jail, in the recent years. Yes, it will take more time for better justice but it is way too ahead to say that our judiciary is inefficient. Just because leaders and politicians have failed us, it doesn’t mean that the systems they represent are useless. And, how easily we all are sharing that Dr. Kalam said so because he wants presidential chair. 

    Keep reading and commenting.


Dear Vikas, thank you for your valuable comments. Even I’m not against Jan Lokpal bill. I was just highlighting some issues that it can create. And, of course, I totally agree with you that only after looking at the pros and cons of the Jan Lokpal Bill, we must take any further step. While Jan Lokpal Bill will surely be a strong law, we must ensure it doesn’t backfire us, as stated by you. And, as I stated in the article, by implementing the laws that already exist in our judiciary, we can make it more stronger and robust. I will again say that our laws are not insufficient, it is the governance and functioning that causes harm to the system. Before we step to make a huge government machinery like JLPB, we should surely make our basic judiciary stronger and more accountable. Thank You and keep reading. :)

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