Lokpal bill – time for tempering it?

June 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm (Uncategorized)

India is one of the most corrupted nations where the evil runs right from the top to the bottom in every level and in every face of life. Almost any dealing with the government – whether to get a drivers license or a business permit requires some level of bribing. So, it is no wonder that the society feels strongly about this and anti-graft movements have sprung. The latest of these is the Anna Hazare’s fast last month and Yogi Ramdev’s fasting that’s going on right now. The activists have demanded that they have right to prosecute judges, Prime Minister and host of other top level officials.

I would love corruption to end as much as any other Indian, but this Lokpal issue is getting into a dangerous ground. If this group of self-selected individuals can exert control over Supreme Court and the politicians that we have elected & have direct control of (through elections every 5 years), how do we make sure it does not become an oligarchy by itself?  And the Lopal activists have question to answer to indian public – what have they done to change Indian corruption through existing instituitions?

I trust Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and other people that are now involved in the movement and who will be a part of the initial LokPal council. But, what is the guarantee that these will not be replaced by corrupt & autocratic bureacrats in a decade? And when that happens as a citizen what control can I have over these nobles & aristocrats?

For all its faults I love the Indian democracy. It has an awesome constitution and carefully built checks and balances. That’s why unlike other nations in Asia, we never descended into a dictatorship. We are able to bring people clean hands Abdul Kalam, Vajpayee and Lal Bagadur Shastri to the top – and I firmly believe even current PM is a lot less corrupt than the ground level politicians. And none of them seriously posed threat to Indian constitution for more than 2 years. And I trust Supreme Court and RBI more than the bureaucrats who will represent Lokpal.

So, we dont need any top level solutions. Rather it should be bottom up. We should take lessons from the greatest soul who walked this ground – Mahatma Gandhi. He built a movement from the bottom most rung of the society unlike the other congress politicians who loved to just talk and broker deals.

I would suggest the Lokpal activists to try bottom up solutions. Why not let us create corruption free zones (say one village at a time), corruption-free sectors (say Passport office) and corruption free times (say one day every week) and slowly start expanding the circle?






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