Team Anna - A critique's view
I have not , so far , blogged my opinion about any major national issue that's been in the news . I always wanted my blog to stay politically correct !
But this issue of corruption , how to fight it , who should fight it and the lokpal bill and everything associated to it has become a matter of a great number of national debates . Kisan Baburao Hazare , the man known by the name Anna Hazare and his method of protest and the sheer number of people supporting him , and his recent confrontations with the government . All , initially appealed to me . Someone has decided to take it upon himself to clean up the mess that corruption has created and the people of the country were rightfully putting their might
behind him . I was behind him too .
That , however , has changed.
The media calls them Team Anna : Kisan Baburao Hazare , Arvind Kejhriwal , Kiran Bedi ,Prashanth and Shanthi Bhushan .
They took up the issue of a certain bill that was waiting to be passed for a very very long time . The Lokpal Bill . To set up an authority to look into allegations of corruption against government officials . The government agreed to table the lokpal bill . But Team Anna claimed , probably rightly so , that the government draft was inept , toothless , and outright useless in tackling corruption . They demanded that a joint commitee be created with members of civil society and government to draft an effective lokpal bill . 9 meetings later 34 out of 40 suggestions put forth by team Anna were accepted . Since I am no expert , I'll reserve comment on the rights and wrongs.
By now Team Anna has a large following . Thousands of Indians , fed up with the menace of corruption , came out on the street in support of Anna Hazare . Most of them , like me , with no knowledge of the fine details of the lokpal bill . All , just happy that the fight against corruption , now had a face . Anna Hazare . The second Mahatma Gandhi . The modern day freedom fighter . The man leading India's "Second War for freedom " . But what Anna was crusading for now was , the acceptance of his draft bill and his alone . He and his supporters forgot one very important rule of democracy . It's a country of 1.2 Billion , you simply can't assume that all of them agree with everything you do ! There were other NGOs , social activists trying to bring their version of the lokpal to the government much before Team Anna . Their opinion is as valuable as Anna's . He , his team and his supporters have not thought about that . Is that fair ? Is that democracy ? Is a hue and cry in the name of a protest in public more democratic in anyway than a silent opinion expressed directly to the government ? No .
The bill was then , tabled in the parliament . The parliament inturn , as is procedure , sent the draft to a standing commitee of the parliament . That is where it stands . That is where the matter should end .
It did'nt . Kisan Baburao Hazare declared that if the Bill was not passed by the parliament by the 15th of August , he would go on a fast unto death .
Seriously ? I can understand setting deadlines for issuing passports and ration cards . But for parliament to pass a bill ? A serious bill ! It has to be discussed . It has to be framed and it has to be passed . The parliament also , incase everyone forgot , has to discuss a whole host of other issues . Price rise for example . And as if all that work was not enough , there was a debate in parliament about Anna Hazare .
Everyone has an opinion on this sudden outburst of public emotion . I have one as well . I am certain not everyone agrees with me .
Is there a solution that can effectively end corruption ? Absolutely ! Is the Lokpal bill or the Jan Lokpal bill that solution ? Well , not really .
What is the solution then? More on that next time !