Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Lokpal Movement - Time to Chose Sides

The more I observe the events of the past week around Anna Hazare unfold the more I am convinced that the arguments being made about unconstitutionality of the movement, about wrongness of the method of protest and demands raised, about this being a middle class movement and not really a grass root movement of real India, about the parliament being supreme, about law making being delayed, about governance being affected, about a foreign government being involved and so, on seem to fall flat on their face.
Citizens of our country have lived with bad governance for too long. We have let corruption become a part of our DNA. We have for long time patiently tolerated corrupt administration. Some have renamed bribes as a convenience charge or a tip, some use it as means of getting ahead of competition, others call it compulsion. The government does not even use the term graft and calls it leakages. We have for too long eroded our conscience and have been too pragmatic in our lives to have allowed this monster to grow as big as it is today. It needs to be reaffirmed now that the time for taking sides is here.
Anna has galvanized the people of our nation for a just cause. There is a specific objective that people have this time, the leadership of this movement has the right credentials and there is a momentum in this movement which is unprecedented in recent history. It is time to choose sides. No longer can the political class hold on to unreasonable control of the public institutions of India. Every system works if the people who run the system make it work. But the political leadership has allowed our institutions to corrode and one wonders if this is what the founding fathers of our constitution would have envisaged for these institutions to function.
The three pillars of the constitution namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary are meant to remain independent and not encroach on each other’s function and independent they are but efficient they are not. All three pillars have been affected by institutional corruption and they have failed to correct themselves for several decades now. The most responsibility of governance lies with the executive branch but not only are they the most lacking, it appears they are also the ones who are most against a strong Lokpal. This public outcry today is to move the executive, to force them to bring a strong Lokpal bill to the parliament. They will resist but for how long is the question? Can they continue to ignore the public anger against corruption? Can they use arguments about process and procedures to deny people their right?
All processes and procedures, the parliament and the government are meant to serve the people. Can the same procedures be used to deny people what they deserve? One can disagree with many of the points in the Lokpal bill which “India Against Corruption” has brought forward. What was expected is not that the entire bill should have been accepted as is? What was expected is that an honest attempt should have been made to make a strong independent Lokpal. An honest attempt should have been made by the political class to clean them self.
This is time for them to act now. It is time for them to choose sides now. They have to decide whether they will continue to protect their corrupt brethren or will they for once realize that status quo is no longer acceptable to people. They have to choose sides now and reaffirm their loyalty to their electors. Once they are on the side of the right then they can debate on what is the best way to implement the right. But they have to choose the right now. The time to choose has come.

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