Saturday, 27 August 2011

Anna Hazare Gets His Message Through

What a day! Do I need to say more? The parliament has unanimously resolved for in principal support of Anna Hazare’s three demands on Lokayukt in states, lower bureaucracy and citizens charter. The Lokpal movement had brought the citizens together in support of a corruption free India. This issue was raised predominantly by the urban population and some would say it was dominated by the middle class. I would say not the middle class necessarily but yes the more politically aware citizens were the majority in support of this movement. There were no truckloads filled audiences invited to Ramlila Maidan, the rallies also more or less had spontaneous support. For once people were out in large numbers for a constructive purpose.

Now one might argue that this wasn’t really a victory that “India Against Corruption” and the so called Team Anna were initially demanding. Their bill was never tabled in the parliament. But I for one had never believed that this was really the aim of Team Anna in the first place. It was never possible for the initial demand they were making to be accepted. The parliament was always going to be one to make laws. This was a demand raised in sheer sense of betrayal they had felt when the government’s version of Lokapal bill was revealed. It came to light then that the government is capable of being completely insensitive to public grievance on corruption. Possibly survival instincts of the supporters of corruption in the government had kicked in and they brought about a completely worthless legislation. Their aim in my view always was that the ruling party and ultimately the Parliament take the process of creating an anti-corruption ombudsman seriously. It was a proposal that had first come out in 1969, and had since been repeatedly discussed, but could never transform into a law. Anna has achieved that purpose. He has got his message through.

Over the years our politicians have conformed to the image of being both thick skinned and deaf. I would make an argument that before being corrupt, what they were corruptible and they are corrupt today because the special interest groups (read big businesses) have worked the system to their advantage. This is what causes the multi crore or rather multi lakhs of crores worth of scams that we come to hear about these days. So the politicians had two constituencies the vote banks(read rural poor and marginalized sections of society) and the super rich who would sponsor their political and personal lives. During Anna’s Lokpal movement they have become aware of a third constituency that of the politically aware citizens of our country who are concerned about the issues of governance faced by us, and they have finally responded.

Cutting across political lines they have accepted that corruption that has been troubling the nation for so long has reached a saturation point. By accepting Anna’s three demands they have shown that they are sensitive to genuine demands of the people. They have also shown that they can act with utmost maturity and conduct the proceedings of the house with dignity. This was a welcome sight. I would like to see more of these dignified debates in the parliament and not the walkouts and shouting and storming the well of the house that we witness all too often in the Parliament. I wish this does not become just a one of case but becomes a precedent on how the parliament should function on issues of national importance.

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