Why am I not at Ramlila Maidan today?

 

Because I have a business to manage. I can’t leave my office, though I very much support Annaji’s anti-corruption crusade.

I’m sure situation for many of you would be the same. Even if you believe in the cause (who doesn’t?), you may still not find it easy to present yourself in person at the venue to protest. Yet, thousands (if not lakhs) are there to express their support. Some of them even got themselves arrested!

For a moment, just spare a thought for those who are now called ‘Team Anna’ – Annaji, Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and others. These people have been relentlessly working on trying to make the Jan Lokpal a reality. (By the way, there are several hundred other ‘invisible’ souls working with Team Anna). Where do they find the time? What’s their interest?

Strangely, these gentlemen have no vested interest. Barring perhaps: recognition you and I may give them for their efforts, and to be in spotlight, briefly. Most important, none of them stand to gain anything financially from such a bill. How many of us can actually do this?

What about the politicians? Why are they wasting so much debating something that’s a no-brainer? They just continue to posture around it. Because, they get paid to do just this. (Afterall, parliament is supreme.) Remember, an MP costs the country an average of Rs.3 crore per year.

No wonder so many of them are just wasting theirs and country’s time on the issue, prolonging action or decision. Especially, when it’s so obvious and sensible to just present the Jan Lokpal bill proposed by civil society in parliament and debate it over there. (If you’d like evidence for such thinking, just click this link to read how these very politicians brought the parliament to a standstill last year to get themselves 300% salary hike!).

Why is the media so interested in the issue and ongoing imbroglio between ‘Team Anna’ and Government? They  have sent an army of crew members to cover the event, across all possible locations? They are devoting almost the entire air time covering it, presenting every possible angle – left, right and center; today’s question; talking straight; or simply being devil’s advocate?

Why?

It’s their business, silly! In fact they are the ones who gain the most from it, especially if it drags on, and on, and on.  More eyeballs (or TRP), resulting in higher advertising revenue. The crew and reporters covering the events continue to earn their salaries while they also enjoy few minutes of fame.

In all this, if something happens to Anna Hazare – hospitalized he will be, but if he were to die or something, the whole        country may just erupt. Rajdeep Sardesai (CNN-IBN) just mentioned several people are ready to immolate themselves for the cause. In such a situation, who will bear the responsibility for the chaos? (The editorial in The Hindu – Aug 23, 2011- presents this perspective really very well. Please read)

Perhaps, that too may benefit politicians? As attention may now be diverted to chaos instead of corruption.

Tragic.

I fail to understand how such a thing could happen in a country led by one of the finest brains in the world – Dr Manmohan Singh.

3 Comments

  1. Vinod Lall said:

    I suppose you have read the “essay” on the subject by Arundhati Roy in the Hindu. Although she has not been rehabilited in the media or indeed public opinion, she does have a couple interesting points to make. The comments posted make equally interesting reading.

    With our without Anna (which incidentally means Big Brother), the current “revolution(?)” would have happened in any case.

    A situation can only get as bad as the people will allow it. Poison comes only where poison is welcome. Sooner or later the masses would have arisen to their folly.

    The question that needs to be asked is : Do we need a Big Brother watching over us?

    August 29, 2011
  2. Raj Bhatia said:

    Hi Mukesh! Thanks for writing your perspective. Good one. I agree something needs to done to stop sweeping allegations being made without evidence.

    I have two points to add:
    1. Despite a well-thought out constitution, a democratic parliamentary system, independent judiciary divorced from executive, CBI, CVC, etc., we haven’t been able to handle corruption. If we had, we’d not have seen corruption the magnitude we are seeing today. The current system has obviously proven to incapable of taking care of it. The situation is actually very bad, extremely drastic. In times like these, we need drastic measures. I agree the Jan Lok Pal bill is strong. At the same time I believe we need something as strong as this if we wish to correct our course.
    2. Why are politicians shy of debating the Jan Lokpal as is in the parliament? Let these honored parliamentarians debate it thread-bare, share their view and objections. It’s as simple as that.

    Raj

    August 25, 2011
  3. Mukesh Gupta said:

    Hi Raj,
    Well-balanced thoughts. Here is another perspective:
    One of the suggestions to root out corruption in the Jan Lok Pal Bill is to penalize a govt. officer by taking his salary and/or suspending/jailing him for his misconduct etc. All this is because supporter of the Jan Lok Pal bill do not trust the Govt. for its intent and honesty. Fair.

    If we ask the supporters to forego their salary if “Jan Lok Pal body” is not able to provide the evidence against the “corrupt official” in their court of law within a stipulated time (30 or 60 days). Will they agree? After all this body is not made up of corrupt politicians and Govt. officials but honest, elite, distinguished and talented individuals. I bet you will find very few or no takers.

    In our system there is no strong provision to heavily penalize those who make sweeping, sensational allegations on corruption to fuel controversy. Equally responsible are those who come out on the street just out of emotion. Media folks are the biggest culprit when they make comments like “people says, nation feels, many believe…etc.” and then level the allegation. These TV anchors will soon see their savings account depleting.

    Blaming others and making allegations is in our DNA. 5000 years ago it was the aam aadmi (a Dhobi) who pointed finger at Sita and said that she is not sacred after returning from Lanka. She had to take vanvaas. Poor Ram could not do anything. Fast Forward 5000 years, a Sardar is on the guillotine.

    Mukesh

    August 25, 2011

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