India Against Corruption – Are We On The Right Track?

Posted on August 17, 2011 in Politics

By Arun Sharma:

I sit today watching the whole story uncover on the other side of the camera, about the episode of peaceful agitation launched by Anna Hazare, his arrest and then the agitation by the people of India. From outside of India, I see this as a mass movement just like the one that we had against extension of Reservation quota by Arjun Singh from the same UPA government. And ironically, I also see the same kind of resistance being offered by the government to accept the reasonable conditions of the people of India.

But at the same time, I really wonder whether the agitations going on across the nation are justified. I’ve been trying hard to understand the logic of the demands being made by Anna Hazare and his team. I’ve read and heard enough about Anna ji for last few years to know that he is a man of integrity and honesty, and I’m not questioning his intention of the fast by any means. At the same time, I’m also a citizen of India — the country that was seen growing by leaps and bounds, and then felt cheated when informed about the bugs that’ve eaten up everything and reduced it to a big heap of sand. As a responsible citizen, it’s my duty to ask questions to the ones holding the offices and who are accountable for what has been happening for years. But is this the right way or the only way to ask questions?

I have two major apprehensions about the current call for indefinite fast by ‘India Against Corruption’ and Team Anna. My first apprehension is about the demands of the fast. Is this agitation/fast all about bringing a bill in the parliament to be debated by the parliamentarians? If that’s the case then why can’t Team Anna liaise with one of the Opposition Party MPs and get his/her support to take the bill to the parliament? Our law has given this privilege to all the MPs and Varun Gandhi has expressed his interest to do the same. Why hasn’t this solution been discussed and debated upon? Why hasn’t BJP or any other party come forward all this time to propose a similar solution and prevented this crackdown?

Team Anna has also suggested that the Lokpal Law should have the Prime Minister and the judiciary under its purview. But has it been realized that the Lokpal will himself/herself will be a selected official or a bureaucrat whose independence and authority will again be questionable, just like what has happened with the judiciary? In that case, how will you keep a check on the Lokpal? Does the solution lie in bringing another law into act and not being able to implement it effectively? Or do we, the people of India, still have the power vested by one of the most sophisticated constitutions of the world, to act against corruption in India?

My second apprehension comes from the recent remarks and comments made by Team Anna and Anna ji himself while addressing the nation. Team Anna has urged the government officials to go on a mass leave in support of Anna Hazare and his fight against corruption. Wait, did I hear that correct? All through this time, I thought this fight was against the government agencies that’ve been corrupted to the core. But all of a sudden, the government officials are on the better side of the spectrum and the fight has just reduced to a fight with politicians. I strongly feel that by making comments like these, Team Anna has diluted the issue of fighting against corruption. I fail to understand why did Anna Hazare make a call to the students asking for ‘8 days for the nation’ when he had called for an ‘indefinite’ fast? Comments like these might prove to be fatal in this fight to do or die, especially when people have been counting the number of times the word corruption figured in PM’s Independence Day speech (16 times).

My opinion is strongly based on my discussions with some of the educated young people in India and my understanding of the discussions undertaken by every news channel round the clock. And all these discussions have strengthened my idea of an ideal India. The idea is to fight corruption in everyday life and not by burning candles at India Gate. The idea is not to give or accept a bribe, but to find ways of not giving bribe. The idea is to ask questions everyday and not go to jails to show solidarity. The idea is to change yourself to change the nation. The idea is to follow the law and implement the law, than just having the law.

I support India Against Corruption. I support a fight against corruption everyday and in every way. But I DO NOT support these protests.


The writer is a Senior writer at Youth Ki Awaaz and also blogs at Rise To The Occassion.