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.