Aug 17, 2011

Think... before you 'Support Anna Hazare'

Over the last couple of days, it seems like everyone has decided to 'support Anna Hazare'. I find myself in a very small minority who do not want to support Anna Hazare. Let me explain why, and hope you will think this through as well.

What exactly is happening here? Anna wants his version of the Jan Lokpal Bill to be implemented. No problem so far. Anna wants to fast unto death in New Delhi if this doesn't happen. This is a problem. Fasting unto death is not permissible by law, because it effectively becomes suicide - which is not permitted by law.

Moreover, this method of protest is unconstitutional. I quote none other than BR Ambedkar here:

"If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us."

People are saying Anna is being denied his democratic right. That's Bullshit. He was never denied permission to protest - and that's all his democratic rights are.

He does NOT have a right to fast unto death. He also does not have unlimited rights to protest anywhere he wants, for any duration of time, and with any number of people. It is a free country, but freedom does not mean you have an unconditional right to do absolutely anything you please - you have to behave in a responsible manner. By refusing to comply with any conditions whatsoever, Anna is not trying to exercise rights that exist, he is simply breaking the law. It is especially ironical that he is breaking the law, to achieve the objective to getting his Jan Lokpal Bill being included in ... the law! This is sheer hypocrisy. And, everyone is supporting this?!

Anyway, let us ignore for a moment the fact that it is illegal, and consider the reality that most people want him to be allowed to carry on with his fast unconditionally. What happens then? The government either lets him die (which they can't, realistically), or submits to his demands about all aspects of the Lokpal Bill. What will this mean? The government - which is properly elected by the majority of the people of India through free, fair elections - will not have the final say when it comes to making laws. Law could be dictated - through blackmail - by any individual or group that seems to have 'popular support'.

This issue is not about the contents of the Bill. The issue is - who has decision-making authority? The government has a formal mandate from the People of India, and operates within the law. Anna Hazare does not draw his power from any formal, organized process, and is not accountable for his actions or their consequences to anyone, through any mechanism. Can he allowed to over-rule the government? Once the precedent is set, who is to say it will not happen again, or be misused? Do we really want to weaken the parliamentary system that is the very cornerstone of our democracy? Who takes responsibility for the consequences?

The media is calling the government's actions 'murder or democracy'. But actually it is Anna who is trying to subvert the democratic process. They are likening him to Gandhi. Gandhi fought for the freedom and dignity of all Indian people. Anna is only being stubborn about his version of the Bill. Gandhi was always willing to have constructive discussions with the Govt of the day. Anna is not - he just wants to dictate terms. Finally, Gandhi fought against foreign rule that was against the wishes of the Indian people. Anna is fighting a govt. elected by the people of India. Likening Anna to Gandhi is absolute nonsense.

I understand the people are frustrated and want to make a stand against corruption. But this has to be done in a proper, thought-out manner and will take a lot of time and concerted effort to achieve results. Taking to the streets shouting slogans in support of Hazare and his methods is NOT the solution.

Let's now consider the root cause of this whole thing - the Jan Lokpal Bill and the contentious issues. The myth being perpetrated is that a new institution, with the PM and MPs under it's ambit is going to be some sort of panacea against corruption. And getting the PM and MPs and the Judiciary included with the Lokpal's ambit is a cause great enough to court arrest and die for.

Horseshit. Corruption is not limited to a few hundred politicians. In a broad sense, it encompasses anyone doing something 'wrong' for personal gain. Anyone can be corrupt, and the truth is that most people are. To really reduce corruption - all of us need to have much stronger civic sense and value systems. In a country where most people don't respect queues, and votes can be purchased by offering a saree, a color TV, or some such little incentive - fighting over whether the Lokpal covers the PM and MPs is a matter of mistaken priorities.

Dealing with corruption, in any case, has never been about setting up institutions - it has been driven by the integrity of a few good men. TN Seshan did of lot of cleaning up of the electoral system. How many other election commissioners can you name? Santosh Hegde brought down a Chief Minister and took brought other ministers to the law. How many Lokayuktas - before or after him - in Karnataka or other states - can you name? Anna Hazare & India Against Corruption itself are not institutions, they're just people with integrity. Good people don't need designations to do good work. And designations or institutions don't guarantee good work either.

The CBI has - in the past - unearthed various scams and punished the guilty. The CVC - another authority - has in the recent past investigated the 2G scam, the Commonwealth Games and so on. Maybe having one more institution - the Lokpal - will help, but it is NOT a one-shot solution to the corruption problem. Unless it has the right people, it will become as ineffective as all other bodies.

Another major bone of contention is whether or not the Judiciary should be within the ambit of the Lokpal. And here I disagree with Anna - I feel it shouldn't. The Judiciary is - at least on paper - independent, impartial, and comprises men of the highest integrity - all the things that the Lokpal is supposed to be. Why, then, should we not trust them, and trust the Lokpal more? An independent judiciary is an imperative for any sovereign democracy. If we are going to be cynical about them too, why not the Lokpal then? Where do we draw the line? The challenge is ensuring that the existing bodies work the way they are supposed to. Creating new bodies is not the solution.

But then - I forgot - I don't have a right to disagree with Anna. He's on a fast unto death. Everyone must accept his Bill as is, or go flash yourself. Democracy, discussion et al be damned.

Lastly - I am going to question the man himself. Anna does not seem to have any faith in our institutions, and wants to use methods that are not permitted by the law. And his aim is to pass a law to create an institution. Am I the only one who sees the inherent contradiction here? Should we really pose so much faith in a man who own actions seem to be contradicting the very ideals he's ostensibly fighting for? He may be a good man, but is he qualified to do what he's trying to?

Also the TV channels are screaming themselves hoarse 'Why can't the govt. let a 70 year old man fast in peace?', portraying Anna as a harmless, innocent victim. Then they play the video message where he uses rhetoric such as 'second freedom struggle', and exhorts everyone to court arrest. This message is very provocative, and the fact that it was recorded well before his arrest, proves that there was a lot of planning & premeditation. Hardly consistent with the 'harmless, innocent, old man' image the media is trying to portray.

Sadly, people like Dr. Subramanyam Swamy, who do real good like taking the 2G case to court, receive little support from the media. Perhaps because Dr. Swamy - a Harvard professor who offers cold, hard logical arguments rather than the ill-considered, emotional rhetoric of Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev - simply doesn't sell with Indian TV audiences. The media would rather show you an interview with a teenage boy who's bunked school to join the 'support Anna movement' - because it resonates well with their story about how 'all of India is with Anna' - even though the kid isn't possibly qualified to understand all the complex issues involved here, and should really be told to go back and attend school. They won't tell you about Takhat Singh Ranawat - a batchmate of mine from IIT Madras, who joined the IFS and was one of the 5 officers on the Lokayukta team that prepared the report on illegal mining - because he's actually doing good work, and his story won't feed the emotional frenzy that gets TRPs like Anna does.

So, the next time you are asked to click a button, or go out and carry a candle to show your support for Anna Hazare, just think twice.

Response to most common comments etc.  in followup post here.

80 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. There is a word for what is happening - "Bhed chal". I don't think many even understand what Exactly they are fighting for.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must say, you make a genuine attempt...but sadly lack a sense of fact based sharp analysis to put it simply....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello there, I too could not agree more. Appreciate your reasoning and point of view. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. that's just the flip side of the entire rhetoric being staged, I understood & believe many would subscribe to your views...thx

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I definitely dont entirely agree with Anna's version of the bill.. but seriously.. you're just being ridiculous in your initial paragraphs... :)

    And as far as the bhed-chal comment is concerned.. you know how it is cool to be uncool these days?.. like you know.. the way people want to be ''different'' just to stand out of the crowd.. The kind of people who hate facebook BECAUSE everyone else is addicted to it. THAT is disgusting. :)..

    ReplyDelete
  7. I dont know what your frame of mind was when you wrote that the government was elected through free and fair process. Well, on papers, Yes. Actually, No. And none of us can deny it.

    Next, quoting BR Ambedakar is irrelevant in today's time when the total amount lost in scams exceeds GDP of some small countries. I would have liked BR to be alive today; he would have happily taken his statement back. He definitely did not expect the 'democracy' to reach a point where corruption would be as rampant as it is now.

    Agreed that he cannot protest the way he likes. So, the government will decide how should he protest? The very institution against which he is standing? And for God's sake, 22 conditions for protest? This person has a history of non-violence. Spare a moment of thought before you make definitive generalised statements.

    Lastly, I have not stood up/signed/called to support Anna anywhere. But if it comes to rights of individual who is reasonable, I will be the first person to stand up.

    ReplyDelete
  8. bravo.!!! Mr. Hazare went a littl too much wen he said "second freedom struggle"..!!! Just like you said,, a bill is not a one time solution..it is the basic value system that should change...the people,,the society..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Stupid article. Better delete it before you get tonnes of bad scolding from the people.

    Are the politicians following the laws and rules? Bastards steal the money of poor indian people? Why do Anna Hazare need to follow the laws??

    We can break laws for a good cause. You close your mouth and sit quiet.

    ReplyDelete
  10. haha subramanian swamy and hard, cold logical arguments?? read this http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/analysis_how-to-wipe-out-islamic-terror_1566203-all it was written by him last month

    ReplyDelete
  11. Its nice to put together a controversial article and get loads of airplay.
    As far as or Parliament is concerned, due you really think it is elected by the mandate of the majority? We are not questioning the institution that our law makers put in place, the moot question is the integrity of the institutions and the people who make them. The Lokpal bill is one way of questioning it. And just because an organisation created by the civic society is spearheading the movement, doesn't make it illegal or questionable. The Anna movement is really a freedom struggle. Don't you think our society has been held to ransom by power and it being constantly misused? Is legitimate freedom just from a foreign country, not from corruption, errant rulers for whom the country has no meaning. Really think hard!

    ReplyDelete
  12. A very good article and I agree with all your points.. A suggestion though.. For all his academic achievements Dr. Subramaniam Swamy is a raving communal seperatist. His venomous article in DNA was shocking to read.. An article with such clarity of thought and excellent arguments would be much better without quoting his achievements..

    ReplyDelete
  13. The government is fairly elected alryt ... But all they do is steal and steal and steal n they develop their homes rather than this country ... And even wen ur going against the law in doing such things they arent allowing jan lokepal ... The bill they are gonna take to the parliamentary session is a jokepal which is utter waste ... And once they take tht bill to the session it cant be amended and presented again ... The government ppl are very cunning n wen u go by the law nothing will happen

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with you as most of the people.. the only thing i would say is Anna is now seem to be taking undue advantage of his popularity.. hope our fellow citizens realize this soon..

    ReplyDelete
  15. To all those people who think that the views expressed in this blog are not right... please view one session of the Prliament on the Lok Sabha Channel. Yesterday the the home minister explained the govt stand on the topic and there's nothing different in what they state, the problem comes when people view a new's channel instead of the parliament and see the totally bent statements to create "breaking news".
    I don't know the person who has written this blog but the views are excellent. No one(including the parliament) disagrees with "a lokpal bill" but nevertheless its not right to say that it should be "anna's lokpal bill". No one has elected him and given the write to him and his pals to make laws in this country. If it is a freedom struggle, equating it to what Bapu did, I'm guessing the idea is to overthrow the govt, same as what Bapu intended to do, and at that time & context, sans doubt it made sense!
    Try holding a rock concert in your city and ask for permission to use a ground, probably you'll discover exactly the same rules imposed on Anna for his protest. That is a police & district magistrate's matter and they have all the rights to impose them.
    Thousands of people gathered all over to support Anna, is it possible to have a small opinion poll on how many of those "cool & socially responsible" citizens have paid/received bride instead of going to the govt office to spend 2-3 hrs and get their work done? I guess everyone know's there will be a handful left to support Mr. Hazare. We all choose convenience over effort and we are going all guns blazing against the people who have benefitted out of our choice!
    I, like everyone else, support the cause of killing currption, but let's not insult the same democracy which has given us the right to write this blog and debate on it.
    What is the difference between Anna saying, I'm fasting for 30 days or saying "do as I say or I'll kill myself"!!!

    Imagine, given the history of our country, I hope not, but in this fast if something happens to Anna, can you imagine the civil unrest and violence which will follow, is it wrong if the Police thinks on these lines?

    ReplyDelete
  16. First of all the root cause is corruption, not the Lokpal Bill. I hope we got that straight. You have categorically debunked the Anna Hazare movement. But your post is incomplete. What better solution do you offer to weed out corruption?

    When you criticize something, you are obliged to suggest an alternative to it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. He he
    Funny Article
    Very common strategy of getting attention for short term.
    Seems like you have your own methodological approach to solve the problem. Then go an try it. Or tell us what it is. Every point is useless.
    Dude, all this looks like just last minute 'GLOBE' for assignment.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for your comments, people. I notice some common themes, which I will address in another post later today. In the meantime, I'm responding to some unique comments:

    @Kunzu, Dheep, Puneet, Megha, Zhao, Nitin, Shashwat: Thanks for your feedback:)

    @ak: Wow, you have judged me - not just the post - in one sweeping statement, without offering a shred of reason or explanation. So much for the importance of 'fact based sharp analysis'. If you want to be taken seriously at all, pl elaborate.

    @Nikita: I'm not entirely certain what point you're trying to make, but I suspect it falls under the theme 'you're just trying to be different and draw attention'. If so, please see my next post later today. If your point is something else, please explain.

    @Double S:
    1. I don't think you have any right to comment on my frame of mind. This doesn't need to become personal - lets stick to the issues.
    2. Are you suggesting the govt. can be ignored or over-ruled by anyone because you don't entirely trust the electoral process? This kind of thinking is not just unproductive, it is dangerous, and I will touch on it again in my next post. Also, please read Dr. Ambedkar's statement - it will apply as long as we are a constitutional democracy.

    @Svenska:
    1. Why should I delete my post, or 'close my mouth and sit quiet'? Is Anna Hazare the only one who has freedom of expression?
    2. 'Why do Anna need to follow the laws?' I will answer that at length next time. But I'd like you to think about it yourself. If people start asking this question, I fear for the future of civilized society as we know it...

    @Shilpi and madurey: I'm going to club your responses - along with Double S's - under the theme 'Let's ignore or over-rule the govt. & the police, coz we don't believe in the electoral democratic process and the existing anyway.' I hope you realize that is the gist of what you're saying. Full response later

    @phreakv6, also Zhao, to an extent: why did u assume that I hadn't read Dr Swamy's article? Have you read it? Have you objectively thought about what he's saying, or just swallowed the media or pseudo-secular leaders' rhetoric about Dr. Swamy being a nutty communalist? I will explain my support of Dr Swamy later. Meanwhile, I'd like to direct you to read one of my older posts, after one of the many Mumbai blasts, which contains my own views on the subject: Un-jihad.

    @GP: all your points fall under the common themes, which I will address soon

    @@bhi: Someone is breaking the law, and being unreasonable. Thousands of people have taken to the streets supporting him in a mass movement. I feel this is wrong, and I'm posting my views on my blog. I have no idea what part of all this you find funny, or how you can dismiss all this as 'globe'. If and when you're prepared for a serious discussion, we'll talk again.

    ReplyDelete
  19. nice one! wish everyone who make a desperate attempt on disapproving this post could actually do some original reasoning on their part!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree with you, specially about change having to be gradual, but all-encompassing. We have to turn ourselves in an ethical people, and be strong enough about it that some of us will step forward to become leaders. We like to think we do our civic duty, but it generally only stretches to stating that 'our country is going to the dogs'!
    The govt of India IS an elected body. Votes are purchased, yes, but how many of us 'educated' folk have actually voted in the past few years? I've heard all kinds of excuses - "cant take time off of work", "My Voters id still has my last address listed", and best of all "what's the point, they're all thieves anyway". There are thieves in politics because honest men and women hesitate to step forward.
    Bangalore, for all it's political posturing had a dismal turnout at the last elections whereas rural Karnataka showed twice the enthusiasm. Plenty of people seem to find time for Anna, though!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Could agree more... thought I was in the minority too with the activism all around....

    ReplyDelete
  22. yr views are well taken on Anna's right to fast unto death and his adamant nature undermining democracy itself. but i do not agree that institutions are not necessary and judiciary cannot be included. i also believe that creating good civic sense and value systems is important as u also rightly pointed. further, generating 'respect for those abiding with laws' and with fast judicial system will go a long way in making honest citizens.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I completely agree with the fact that Anna cant hold the government to ransom by fasting unto death and making sure that his version of the bill is implemented. That is the one thing that makes me uncomfortable about this whole episode.

    On the flip side, there are several positives -
    1. You talked about the fact that change should happen at the grass root level, where people should have civic sense and value system. I think this movement will make people sit back and change to an extent
    2. The issue has made the government realise that there is strong mandate against corruption and there could be platforms (even is flawed), which could pull the support away from the government. That as well, could bring some accountability to the system
    3. You talked about constitutional v/s unconstitutional - Yes, we can debate the demerits of corruption and file PIL's, etc. But, no one listens. Not for the CWG scam, not at the local Jal board office when you have to get a water connection. This method, even though extreme, made people stand up and take notice

    I was watching one of the debates and an interesting point came up. Everyone is saying that Anna is not elected and does not have the authority to push his version of the lok pal bill. Being a democracy , the authority lies with the people and a potential solution could be a referendum to test if people support what he is saying.

    Again, I do not agree with his method. It is akin to blackmail and that makes me uncomfortable. But isnt this serving the purpose - channelise public's outrage and making sure the governement listens.

    ReplyDelete
  24. lokpal bill may nt b a one step solution but atleast its a step towards a corruption free nation....

    I dont agree wid u when u say that Anna is breaking the law...the govt who is imposing so many restrictions on the protest in the name of law...is bcause they r terrified where all this is ultimately going...which frankly no one knows 2da...

    Nd u r supporting this govt..do u think it has been doing its part "as per the law" ...!!!! we all know that the answer is "no"

    just bcause the public has elected the govt. to ensure law enforcement and other duties they cannot b held above law!! just bcause sum1 has been given the responsibility to make law ...he cannot b held above it!! and hence its fair to include the PM, the judiciary etc in the ambit of the Janlokpal bil

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cannot help smiling looking at this post. A lot of things said, a lot less understood and I feel a lot of generalization done. Generalization is best form of "preemptive" (heard that word before) defense. But I do realize that everyone is free to voice their opinion and so this post exists :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Few questions.

    1) How do you know that Anna is stubborn. Did you see the video recordings of discussions between Anna and Govt representatives.

    2) You are quoting individuals (Seshan, Hegde) who arose because of the system/institution. What Anna is fighting is for the better system/institution hoping that there will be more Seshans and Hegdes. There needs to be a start somewhere.

    3) You take any type of corruption. It will all lead finally to politicians and judiciary. Each person is going to blame someone who is 1 up in their hierarchy. The final person is invariably a politician or a judge. You can relate with any examples right from a policeman, R.T.O , businessman etc. So blaming common man is of no use.

    4. Quoting constitution is good(for politicians) not for citizens. Things have only gone bad. To prevent that from going worse(like Egypt) you need better laws. If forcing a strong lokpal bill to do your duties amounts to subverting parliament, then quoting constitution to hide behind ones duties amounts to subverting constitution.

    5. Instead of arguing what Anna is doing is right/wrong, why dont you argue what is wrong in Jan Lokpal Bill. Why none of the politicians dare to do that. They only say its their rights to choose the clause. But never say what is wrong in Anna's demands.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "He does NOT have a right to fast unto death. He also does not have unlimited rights to protest anywhere he wants, for any duration of time, and with any number of people. It is a free country, but freedom does not mean you have an unconditional right to do absolutely anything you please - you have to behave in a responsible manner. By refusing to comply with any conditions whatsoever, Anna is not trying to exercise rights that exist, he is simply breaking the law. It is especially ironical that he is breaking the law, to achieve the objective to getting his Jan Lokpal Bill being included in ... the law! This is sheer hypocrisy. And, everyone is supporting this?!"

    Why is the above applied selectively. Anna never said he wanted to fast in a national highway. Anna never said that i will bring 1000's of ppl. He merely said if ppl come out in thousands in support of his Lokpal bill or fight against corruption why stop that. Wont the same govt then say that, see Anna has got only support of 5000 odd people. He wants to prove that he has much more support than that and wants to take his version of bill to larger audience. Is there anything wrong.

    Has there been any conditions in the past to any such political protests in the pasts. Why target Anna alone.

    Anna was arrested even before he broke any law. His protest is also to protest the stupid conditions laid down by the delhi police.

    If Anna can be arrested, why not R.Gandhi on the same pretext for violating 144 in U.P a few days ago. Can you answer on behalf of Rahul Gandhi.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I believe the argument that "When Anna be allowed to die and the govt will be held responsible" is not the right one.

    Most hunger protest starts as indefinite protest. Its the responsibility of the Govt to persuade the protester to give up the protest of if they do not oblige, forcefully feed them after checking their health status.

    That is what happened to T.R.S chief in Telengana, or Iron Sharmila in Manipur. A sadhu fasting for Ganga river was allowed to die by this same Govt.

    If you think the above is stupid, the i am sorry then I believe you dont understand the right to protest in democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well articulated but many wrong facts (e.g. It is not fast unto death) and wrong analysis seems to have been drawn from bookish knowledge (probably from civics books read in school).

    ReplyDelete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Smoochy, I have replied to your post in a post of mine. Please do read it before you write the follow up post

    http://wheredoiblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/dear-smoochy.html

    ReplyDelete
  32. Finally someone thinks like I do...... We are corrupt to our core and blame others.....

    ReplyDelete
  33. I agree with most of what you said, except, Anna wanted to fast "indefinitely" and not unto death, second, under no circumstance should he have been arrested at home at 7 in the morning and not been put in Tihar either.

    That apart, the jan lok pal is only a small and if you ask me a rather impossible solution to corruption in India, we need electoral reforms to start with, a test or qualification mandate to vote and stand for elections, we also need to ensure better enforcement of our existing anti-corruption laws.

    I dont support Anna on the jan lok pal but I do support him on his right to protest as an individual.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I completely agree with what you say. I too am from the select few who think that what is going on is wrong.
    In-fact it motivated me to start a blog altogether. You may be interested in what I have written on my part.
    http://saneindian.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. i would like to see how subramanian swamy's bigoted diatribe became hard, cold logical argument that is very democratic and becoming. please explain

    ReplyDelete
  36. man you are in minority & you gonna be..as you dont know what the real problem is..please read this

    http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/extraordinaryissue/entry/the-battle-has-just-begun

    I hope it opens your eye & plz ask why this is happening?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Followup posted here.

    @BigDeal!: Thanks for that comment. My favorite :)

    Everyone pointing out that the fast is 'indefinite', and not 'unto death' - is there a real difference? Are you suggesting he will NOT die even if he fasts ad infinitum? Given the way the legend of Anna is growing, I guess I could believe this too.

    @phreakv6: Sorry, couldn't cover Swamy in the followup post. Anyway, I don't think you're concerned with his anti-corruption record, but with his communal views. That's really a separate discussion which we will have later.

    @Aish: I have read your post. It is extremely lop-sided not just in content but even in approach - most of it dedicated to provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill that you favor keenly and almost unconditionally, and simply assuming the worst about everybody & everything else, such as the government & the judiciary.
    My core problem is with someone challenging the rule of law - something you haven't addressed at all. Your counter-argument is that 'in my opinion, the 6 conditions go against the spirit of freedom to protest'. This is simply not good enough to justify someone defying Delhi Police.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @LifeOfMi: No one can deny that a lot of good has come out of this whole situation. But ends cannot be used to justify the means being adopted by Anna. Once you start compromising on principles such as the rule of law and parliamentary democracy - there might be some benefits, but in the long-term its a downward spiral to a scary place.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I didn't really bothered to read article after first few lines. for several reason.

    1) There has been lot of attempt to arrange the neutral body to make a final Lok Pal bill which were dramatically failed by the goverment

    2) Yes, Ann's way are different but, what government is doing ? for last one year about it? nothing. Shall we wait forever for something to happen? Am glad his "illegal" methods are least for good.

    3) About quote of Mr. Ambedkar. I do respect the man, however, like it or not those law were made by British Authorities. We simply cluttered them to suit us. So, it makes sense why you need all that legal routes even to do peaceful protest.

    4) Talking of democracy and law , no law would permit to capture a peaceful protester right from the home. Even before he/she begins it.

    5) He is not alone , yes he is an initiator but, this bill is not formed by him alone. He has got well respected people from legal and, Police force with him as well. I don't agree those people would blindly support Anna for sake for fame and popularity.

    My dear friend, you should think little more before trying to be different here. The one who s**t scared is government. Because , the bill will put 80% or more number of parliament members behind the bar, thus they are using all system loop-holes and legal excuse.

    Remember, it is a same congress, who's founder ,Mahatma Gandhiji used same tactics against the British Raj for the Right things. His measure were equally "illegal" under same sections as of what applies to Anna.

    Now, don't say we didn't elected British where as we elected , Congress. How i see it is, Gandhiji for for the right and, so the Anna and his group.

    I would like to add, everything is fair, as long as it is a right thing to do and, right way to get things done were attempted and patience were tested to their limit before, taking alternate path.

    As i say "You have to be bit crazy up in the head , to achieve the goal" . Anna is bit crazy up in head for right kind of goal.

    Jai Hind!
    Dhaval Vadgama

    ReplyDelete
  40. @Dhaval: I almost deleted your comment, because - if evaluated objectively and rationally - it is simply nonsense. Also, it is obvious you haven't bothered reading or understanding my posts - so I don't believe you have any right to preach here. But I'm letting it stand, only because I believe in freedom of speech and open debate, even if some people can't use these wisely.

    Your points (1) & (2) - which world are you in? Laws are made by Parliament, an elected body, and not by 'neutral bodies'. The 'neutral bodies' were duly consulted , and the govt has prepared a version of the Lokpal Bill. So what you're saying is factually just plain wrong.

    (3) Ambedkar's comments refer to the Constitution - and I am offended that you think it can be dismissed as 'made by the British'. Need I remind you that Anna is also fighting for the creation of a law? You simply cannot ignore the law in the process.

    (4) You are simply not qualified to judge the legality of this. I don't believe you know the law better than the Delhi Police or the magistrate involved.

    (5) It is not about how good the bill is and who drafted it. It is about unconstitutional means being used to coerce the govt - which is unacceptable.

    The rest of what you say is simply baseless rhetoric. I cannot logically argue with that.

    ReplyDelete
  41. OK first. Whos being arrogant here, the govt or the civil society? The drafting commmittee was supposed to form the bill, then if two versions were there what was forwarded to the parliament? - the governments version? Permission to protest is a birth right as a free indian and that has been denied to Anna. Does a political rally get restricted to 5000 people with 50 parking slots? Team Anna is open to talks. On popular perception, they have already dropped the demand for including judiciary under the ambit of lokpal, ok with PM being kept out of lokpal as long as PMO and decisions taken are under the ambit. All Anna is asking for a free n fair process to elect the 11 member lokpal which the government wants to be govt appointed. Team Anna wants provisions to protect whistle blowers; Read the government version- It says for wrong complainants the punishment is 2 years while punishment for a proven case of corruption is 1 year. Is this a fair process?

    Ok then lets talk about the process of complaints itself, The Government version says you have got to complain about any officer as a whistleblower to Your own superior officer who inturn should forward it to his superior officer. This is again a blatant problem for whistleblowers. You are talking of corruption and which officer is gonna forward a complaint against himself.

    Next point of contention is the people under Lokpal. The government bill keeps out MPs-Team Anna is ok with keeping conduct of MPs inside parliament out of the bill wheras every file they sign must be part of the perview? whats wrong?

    Tell me one good reason why you dont support any of the views expressed in my point of view.

    And by the way, Anna is not fasting unto death, he has self corrected and said he will fast till he can but killing himself by fasting is illegal and hence he wont do so.!!! and hence the fast is for 15 days now.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I agree, if Jan lokpal bill has to be passed between the government and team Anna hazare, then whats the use of parliament. Lets bring it down.

    I would seriously ask Kiran Bedi, would she have left a person to die due to fasting (which is a crime) if she was in office.

    I am all for a corruption free India, but not another LE agency. Who will watch the watch dog?

    Gandhi said "be the change you want to be". Lets change our very own habits first, lets be a little more civic. Things will fall in place.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Lopsided, you said :) Smiling again!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I do agree that there are a lot of points in the jan lokpal which are ridiculous..being a govt official I understand the intricacies involved in the procedures involved in a system.Corruption is based on values of an individual and having too many checkpoints in a system doesnt necessarily ensure a corruption free environment.Although, bringing out a bill of some kind will surely ensure more vigilence and awareness in ppl and a sense of fear in the minds of officials.Hence I appreciate not the rallies,the movement but the raising concern in public and a certain kind of restlessness due to which the Govt's a** is on fire which was not the case till now.That is why saying that the large crowd on streets is a sheer waste of time is not acceptable to me.

    Further there are 02 other points I beg to differ on :
    1)The "elected" Govt when simply fails in its basic duties what options are we left with besides protesting against it.May be casting vote to no party must be included in the next election as we are always left to choose a least corrupt party!
    2)I dnt think there is any constitutional way left to raise the voice as such seeing the amount of delay and the large number of scams this Govt has seen.Its high time it must take necessary bold decicions.

    Thus "not supporting Anna Hazare" is nothing to be cool about because the agenda here is finding a way out against corruption and he is doin at least sumthin for it and not just simply bloggin away.He has left the Govt to ponder..

    ReplyDelete
  45. Well I won't go into what's right or wrong, for that matter who is right and who is wrong. I see Government opposing Anna. If I were in Government I would have formed a all-party, people-inclusive committee to suggest reforms in existing laws, empowering law enforcement agencies with powers, not allow meddling by politicians into judicial or investigative agencies etc. Address the issues in current system rather than looking into forming a parallel judiciary system (Jan Lok Pal) which eventually will not bae able to do anything on it's own.

    ReplyDelete
  46. "When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods."
    - Do you truly and honestly believe that there are such constitutional methods for achieving these within a reasonable frame of time without taking an unconstitutional path? Justice delayed is justice denied and justice has always been delayed if not denied since independence.

    What you don't realise is that Anna is not the change we seek, he is a catalyst- bringing people together to rally against a corrupt system. You may say fasting unto death is unconstitutional. Well, if we can't fight wrong with right, fighting wrong with 'not-so-wrong' is a better option than being mute spectators, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  47. could not have agreed more on this.. and indeed u can find me in that minority list.... its blown out or proportion, and is definitely useless. ppl cannot resort to such measures of hampering the very constitution of india..
    if i may, will be sharing this blog post...

    ReplyDelete
  48. Logically, your argument has so many holes in it. We should trust people of integrity yet disregard someone like Anna. Gandhiji's fast unto death was justified for the liberty of India, yet Hazare's fast is suicidal and anti-constitutional. When people with no guns, try to bring about social change, they have very few means available to them to get the government to come to the negotiating table. Hazare used this tactic successfully to push the RTI act in Maharashtra, which was later modeled by the central government. He is using one tried and tested tactic to get an intransigent government to listen to an unarmed people. I think we should pay heed.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Aish: Despite your smugness, I will explain what I mean when I call your post lop-sided.
    When I express my views, I do not start with a bias towards Anna or the Govt. I try and analyze the issue rationally, and base my arguments on PRINCIPLES - such as the rule of law, the sanctity of the parliamentary process, the independence of the judiciary etc. - and as long as you accept these principles, most of the conclusions are irrefutable. I may not agree with the system entirely or like it, but I will respect in while it is in place, and behave in a disciplined manner, not arbitrarily.
    You, on the other hand, seem to support the Jan Lokpal Bill unconditionally and unquestioningly. For example, have you considered the practical aspects of setting up a body that covers ALL government officials? Wherever there is doubt, you give the benefit to JLPB - this can't be called fair.
    More significantly, your 'arguments' are mostly not based on principles, but on opinions and perceptions. E.g., you defend Anna's actions/methods by simply saying that you feel the conditions imposed were unreasonable. This is not enough to justify defying the police. You want the judiciary included in JLPB because of a perception that it also a corrupt system and you feel cynical about it. This is not enough to compromise the principle of independent Judiciary, especially in favor of an as-yet-unproven entity like the JLPB. You also seem to be questioning the legitimacy of the govt when you mention they have 28% vote share, and the free-ness and fairness of the electoral process. So, are you suggesting the government can be ignored or over-ruled, on this basis? You are allowed to have your misgivings about the system, but that doesn't justify disregarding it! If people start breaking rules or ignoring the system, and doing whatever they feel is right, it is called anarchy.

    Keep in mind - I am not against a Lokpal Bill, and not even against every provision in the JPLB draft, and not a fan of the govt. I also want to be part of the people's movement against corruption. But I cannot support a leader whose methods (some, at least) I consider anarchist and at odds with my civic sense & value system.

    ReplyDelete
  50. :D Dr Subramanyam Swamy.. the communal politician. His hate speech appeared in media few days back. Read the hate speech to see how good a man he is. here is the link to Dr Subramanyam Swamy's good "hate speech". Guess subramnyam swamy dreams of a hindu nation..
    http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/analysis_how-to-wipe-out-islamic-terror_1566203-all

    And oh... btw, here is where the good Dr Subramnyam Swamy backs Anna Hazare..
    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_subramaniam-swamy-backs-hazare_1529718

    ReplyDelete
  51. A few more general comments:

    1. A few people had pointed out that Anna's fast was 'indefinite', not 'unto death'. You said he was only fighting for his Bill to be presented in Parliament and would respect their decision. Hence, you said, he was not acting in an unconstitutional manner.
    His statement today has clarified both issues. He will fast until parliament PASSES his bill, is ready to fast UNTO DEATH if it comes to that. So, you were wrong.

    2. This discussion is not really about specific aspects about the Jan Lokpal Bill - I actually agree with a lot of those. So, don't bother raising or explaining the validity of specific points of the Bill.
    My opposition - and a lot of other people's - is to the unconstitutional methods being used, and the law of the land, and basic principles of parliamentary democracy being challenged. A lot of us WANT to be part of the people's movement against corruption - but not if it goes in such a direction and crosses these lines. Understand that, and respond constructively. Let's try and find ways that don't create such dissonance.

    3. People who feel things are so bad and hopeless that the constitution should be ignored and revolutionary methods adopted - stop being so senti & ridiculous and blowing things so far out of proportion. The fact that we're having this discussion on blogger is proof that we're not in a situation that necessitates bloody revolution. Go spend a week in Pakistan or Libya. Maybe that'll teach you to appreciate some of the good in our country & our system - things you've clearly lost sight of.

    ReplyDelete
  52. In addition to comments over the good Dr Subramyam Swamy.. I disagree with your following points.

    "When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods"

    This is on the assumption that all is well and constitutional methods are open. But is that the case so? Nopes.
    Executive, Administration, Judiciary and 4th estate... all show a breakdown of the system. So the ideal condition as Ambedkar says does not prevail.

    We have a huge region of NE India where unconstitutional AFSPA is enforced. And rights of the lands is taken away from the tribals. When it comes to NE, both Anna's tribe and the tribe with alternate view have remained silent..continue to remain silent. And Irom sharmila continues to fast for the 11th year.

    Under such circumstances Anna has the right to fast on to death as much as gandhi had, or even what Irom Sharmila has (I am pretty sure Irom is invisible to most people here). If Anna is blackmailing, then Gandhi blackmailed the british too. And Irom, nobody cares to talk about, though her fast is definitely due to constitutional means being shut, it fails to go beyond the denial of the mainstream Indian psyche that has been brought up with high dosages of parliament being supreme, and other national symbols.

    Parliament is just one of the many aspects of democracy, and not completely democracy by itself. The elected representatives were to follow the basic tenet - "by the people, for the people, of the people". But that basic tenet is forgotten, and it swings towards "by the people, of the elected representatives, and for the elected representatives."

    Power does corrupt many.

    Everyone has the right to have their own opinion in this democracy. You have as much right to have your opinion as much as Anna has his right. I will not agree with your views, but I will die to defend your right to express your opinion.

    And here... You says you are the minority and supporters of Anna are in majority. Now what does democracy tilt towards... towards majority or minority?

    Every breakdown of system has led to revolution. Some bloody, some peaceful. Reformation never arises without a change in the status quo. Here, the 'majority population' that you speak about are the ones who are displaying faith and optimism towards an idea. It isn't about Anna. It is about an idea about tackling corruption. Anna is just the visible face.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Contd..
    The government - which is properly elected by the majority of the people of India through free, fair elections - will not have the final say when it comes to making laws. Law could be dictated - through blackmail - by any individual or group that seems to have 'popular support'.


    free and fair? Do we really need evidences on how elections are fought and won.

    blackmail by any individual of group that seems to have popular support. I think you forget that his country gained independence through what you call as 'blackmail with popular support'. What is democracy where power isn't with the popular support?


    Anna Hazare does not draw his power from any formal, organized process, and is not accountable for his actions or their consequences to anyone, through any mechanism. Can he allowed to over-rule the government?

    Anna is not over-ruling the government. It is the popular support that is having a difference of opinion with the government. I find it amusing how you conveniently use and discard "popular support" in your paragraphs.

    gandhi was always willing to have constructive discussions with the Govt of the day. Anna is not - he just wants to dictate terms. Finally, Gandhi fought against foreign rule that was against the wishes of the Indian people. Anna is fighting a govt. elected by the people of India.

    Again.. here you mention only Anna. Anna is just the visible symbol of this popular movement. If Anna didn't have popular support he would have died like Swami Nigmanand (anybody here care about Swami Nigmanand). "Constructive discussion".. good point. Are you forgetting the fact that the Lokpal bill has been waiting to be passed since 40 years. There is tolerance level for patience. 40 years is a longtime for many to wait.

    Again, it isn't Anna fighting a govt elected by the people. It is the people who are fighting it, as the govt has failed. Can anyone say that govt's actions against tribals, people in the NE are with the wishes of these people? Can anyone say evictions of villagers from their sustainable habitats are with the wishes of these people? Greed... it has fucked the nation.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Contd..
    The myth being perpetrated is that a new institution, with the PM and MPs under it's ambit is going to be some sort of panacea against corruption. And getting the PM and MPs and the Judiciary included with the Lokpal's ambit is a cause great enough to court arrest and die for.

    Santosh Hegde himself said that Lokpal bill will not end corruption. Nobody said that it will end corruption. It is hoped to curtail it to some extent. Janlokpal bill is an experiment, like any other bill which has been passed in this country. Nobody knows with certainty what will be the end results of any bill passed by any parliament in any corner of the world.

    Horseshit. Corruption is not limited to a few hundred politicians. In a broad sense, it encompasses anyone doing something 'wrong' for personal gain. Anyone can be corrupt, and the truth is that most people are. To really reduce corruption - all of us need to have much stronger civic sense and value systems. In a country where most people don't respect queues, and votes can be purchased by offering a saree, a color TV, or some such little incentive - fighting over whether the Lokpal covers the PM and MPs is a matter of mistaken priorities.

    Finally! you speak that votes can be purchased by offering a saree, a color TV or some little incentive... wonder where did you forget this point when you quoted the great ambedkar or when you wrote about supremacy of the parliament.

    Well, of course, corruption is spread across social spectrum. Corrupt of certain class of the society enjoy protection. Lokpal is hoped to address this class which enjoys protection.


    They won't tell you about Takhat Singh Ranawat - a batchmate of mine from IIT Madras, who joined the IFS and was one of the 5 officers on the Lokayukta team that prepared the report on illegal mining

    Nobody says that no good work has ever been done by being in the system. Never forget, Lokyukta, with whom Takhat Singh Ranawat worked with, is also demanding for a janlokpal bill, even after doing this good work within the system. Why? There must be a valid reason on why the good man of the system too is joining this "blackmail" which enjoys popular support. Ever asked Takhat singh why Dr Former Lokayukta is also asking for janlokpal bill?

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Nishant: Thanks for spending time and effort explaining your views - it is sincerely appreciated. My responses below

    1. I don't know why everyone assumes I haven't ready Dr Swamy's article, and I would disagree with it if I did. Neither assumption is true. I personally believe most people don't have the intelligence and objectivity to understand & appreciate Dr Swamy's thinking because it isn't conventional, and label it 'wrong'. He has a Muslim son-in-law. Most of the hypocrites who call him a raving communalist and call themselves secular wouldn't marry a family member into the Muslim community. Think about that.

    2. Whatever his views on religion, it doesn't dilute his anti-corruption record. And Dr Swamy hasn't taken the easy way out that activists do. He is part of the system. He fights elections. He takes his cases to the courts. He tries to be a part of the solution, not just someone who makes noise about problems and relies on TV support to rile up unproductive hysteria. Sadly, people don't respect that. They prefer the anarchist methods of Anna.

    3. Whether or not your points about Irom and the govt's actions in that case are valid - has no bearing on whether or not one should support Anna. Lets not confuse the issues.

    4. To you and anyone who claims that the 'system' has broken down so badly that the constitutional principles can be compromised and revolutionary methods adopted - I say 'stop the bullshit hyperbole'. The situation in our country is not so bad that we need a breakdown of law & order or the parliamentary democratic process. Not at a time when the economy is growing faster than ever before, while the world is in recession. Don't get so carried away with the prevailing sentiment that you lose perspective. If you do, go spend a week in Pakistan or Libya. It'll make you appreciate the things you're demeaning.

    Also bear in mind - corruption has always existed, and some measures indicate it has actually reduced a bit in recent years. The reason the public is getting so senti about it & supporting the call for a Lokpal - not a new idea - is the amount of visibility corruption has received, with scams being unearthed & so many corrupt politicians in high offices are being brought to be book. Ironically, people are getting worked up about the issue as it is actually being addressed! This is not to say we don't need a Lokpal, or a movement against corruption. But let's please not get carried away and start crossing lines.

    Contd...

    ReplyDelete
  56. @Nishant: Part 2

    5. Anna was denied his right to express himself, Anna is using the same methods Gandhi did, Anna is not blackmailing the govt - all these arguments are wrong. Please see my followup post

    6. Anna is only the face of the movement - This is one thing I'm happy you raised. I'm with the majority against corruption, and I believe in the causes. My chief problem is in supporting Anna's leadership because I don't agree with his methods. If we can separate the two, I don't think there'll be much disagreement left.

    7. The govt has failed, the elections are not free and fair... I'm sorry - I don't have the patience left to explain this point in detail again. You may not be happy with the govt. or may disagree with some of their actions. You may rightly say we need electoral reform. But then you need to work to change the system through the proper processes and it'll take time. While it exists, it must be given due respect and we must behave responsibly. You can't disregard it and act arbitrarily as and when you please.

    8. Regarding 'popular support' - my stance is clear and consistent - it is not sufficient justification for doing something that is wrong. Show me where I have contradicted this and how.

    9. You last comment - I don't really see how your arguments counter mine - in fact they seem to support each other (except in one place).
    I think you've assumed I don't want a Lokpal. Let me clarify - I do.
    I'm just saying the expectations should be realistic - and you seem to be saying more or less the same thing.
    The one diff is about the electoral process and the sanctity of parliament - I've already spoken about this in an earlier point.

    ReplyDelete
  57. if what anna does is wrong then suggest a method which will not compromise the essence of the proposed lokpal and also be achieved in near future(atleast in the so called "people elected govt.")... and Gandhi wasn't always willing to go for talks with the govt.

    ReplyDelete
  58. >> I don't know why everyone assumes I haven't ready Dr Swamy's article, and I would disagree with it if I did. Neither assumption is true. I personally believe most people don't have the intelligence and objectivity to understand & appreciate Dr Swamy's thinking because it isn't conventional, and label it 'wrong'. He has a Muslim son-in-law. Most of the hypocrites who call him a raving communalist and call themselves secular wouldn't marry a family member into the Muslim community. Think about that.

    Instead of pointing out the democratic, lawful, constitutional, objectiveness of swamy's theory, you are personally attacking ones who don't subscribe to his (and probably your) view as lacking intelligence and objectivity?

    You tried to brush it off first up as swallowing media and 'pseudo-secular leaders' rhetoric' and lacking self-thinking and now claim they are hypocrites and they wouldn't marry a muslim. Do you see the number of assumptions and personal attacks you are making instead of doing a 'cold, hard logic' analysis on why swamy's theory is not anarchic (the exact same thing you seem to have a problem with)?

    ReplyDelete
  59. @phreakv6: Yes, Swamy's theory is not be entirely secular etc. - but I don't see why that is a problem. He's entitled to his views, and all he's done is expressed them in a manner he is entitled to. He hasn't forced anyone to accept his views. He hasn't unilaterally or unlawfully acted on those views. He's not called for masses to court arrest, skip school/college or riled up hysteria for a 'second freedom struggle'. While he operates within the system, fights elections, and uses constitutional means to try and bring about whatever changes he believes are right, I don't see how you can fault him. You may not agree with his views, but there is nothing anarchic about his actions. And if his views are wrong or unpopular - he won't get anywhere. He ACCEPTS that.
    Let's also be clear - my opposition is not to all of Anna's ideas or goals - it is to his methods. In my original post, I never asked anyone to endorse Swamy's theory about Hinduism, but appreciate the manner in which he goes about things, specifically fighting corruption.

    Regarding the things I said about most people not supporting his views lacking intelligence and objectivity - that was a response to people who brought his religious views into a discussion where they didn't belong, and provoked me by assuming I was either ignorant of those views, or couldn't possibly agree with them. When people say things like that, I have a right to respond in kind, as I see fit - and I stand by what I said. The fact is most people just dismiss Swamy's views because he's been labeled a raving communalist by the pseudo-secular sections & media. It is these sections that I called hypocrites, and I have a right to respond to their rhetoric with my own - about how most of them can't match Swamy's credential of having a Muslim family member.
    Coming to 'most people' - they actually don't evaluate his views objectively, without bias, and offer specific counter-arguments if they disagree. If you don't believe me, just ask around and verify this for yourself.
    It is also a fact that most people actually lack the intelligence or knowledge to argue with Dr Swamy about how Islamic terror operates globally & in India, the history of religion & communities in India, and what counter-measures could be adopted. He's an expert who does research. You may not agree with all his conclusions, but you can't say 'most people' know better than him.

    ReplyDelete
  60. You did this to be flooded by comments or you are just plain stupid. In Either case you ARE stupid!! I have so many counter arguments that i could write a blog about it. Anyhow i dont see the point in it. After all people like kapil sibal do exist.

    ReplyDelete
  61. @ a5sized40sheets: I already have responded to such comments in point 7 in my followup post, even though slanderous idiots like you don't even deserve as much.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF PERSONAL COMMENTS. NO ONE HAS ANY RIGHT TO COMMENT ON ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL, ESP THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ME. ANY PERSONAL COMMENTS OR NAME-CALLING SHALL NOT BE TOLERATED HENCEFORTH, AND I WILL DELETE SUCH COMMENTS.
    Talk about the issue. If you have any original ideas or thoughts and a vocabulary, express them. If you can't do that - don't comment.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Also - the discussion shall only go in in a civilized manner. If anyone uses bad language or is rude, I WILL DELETE THOSE COMMENTS ALSO.
    People who can't behave themselves and show basic courtesy to other people or their views, do not have a right to comment on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  64. @Smoochy

    I realise that I don't have the right to say this (seeing as I don't know you at all) but I think it has to be said. The reason most people seem to be irked with your responses is because you seem to be masking a lot of arrogance under the guise of logic and objectivity. Of course, as you rightly pointed out, I can't really make that judgement call but it might be a good time for a little introspection.

    Now, coming to the issue at hand, I agree with you in the most superficial sense. I do realise that the Jan Lokpal bill is not the answer for the corruption problem and I do agree that Anna's methods are not conventionally right. But there are some holes in your thinking and I'll try to explain them to you as logically as possible.

    If tomorrow, I stage an indefinite fast for passing a bill that allows underage drinking, then I am going to be the only protester there. Not because, I am acting against the government, but because it is a crappy issue. The reason Anna has a million followers is because so many people believe that corruption is a cause to die for.

    So, the way I see it, there are two labels. One label has about 200 Indians in it and is called the Parliment. The other label has over a million Indians in it and is called Hazare's followers. So, in a perverse way, democracy is not disturbed. In a twisted way Anna's methods are not attacking democracy, because democracy is supporting the majority. In a broad sense, it is as simple as that.

    Of course, I know your argument for that is that we should adopt a constitutional methodology in retaliation and not take to the streets. Yes, i know that we elected the current government and it is unlawful to go against that dynamic. But people make mistakes. Get used to it. If there were a law that said the reigning government could be overthrown immediately if the people were not happy with it, then there would not be so much fuss. Sadly, there is no such law.

    The people are not going to be patient. Period. Why should they? If we give corruption a chance, then in a matter of months, the politicians in charge could rip us off billions more. No sane person is going to sit by and let that pass, even if it is the constitutionally right move.

    I suppose, despite all your logic and objectivity, it all comes down to a matter of preference. I may agree with it and you may not. That doesn't mean it is wrong. Because fundamentally, in a democracy, there are no right answers. There are only popular answers.

    I hope I was able to steer the topic towards a more sensible discussion. Just offering my two cents.

    P.S: I do not advocate underage drinking. I just used that as an example to illustrate my point.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Before being confused over the lokpal bill or Anna Hazare being right or wrong or etc, etc...One question still stands...If not Anna Hazare, would you/I alone have started to think about a solution to this corruption???? So, if not Anna Hazare, then it will be nobody else....We could have just learnt about a new scam every another day...

    ReplyDelete
  66. First and foremost a logical and a well written article.

    The fact that people are willing to blindly believe whatever the news channels are broadcasting is disturbing.

    The lokpal bill( be it the anna or the govt version) is not a magic pill that will weed out corruption.

    What we have to analyse is "What next". A parallel institution that will watch over the entire spectrum of govt employees will eventually become corrupt. It might be a great institution now but given time it will become hand in glove with all the corrupt officials. Absolute power only breeds absolute corruption.

    As an individual fighting against corruption anna is fighting for a noble cause that everyone supports. But his methods are unconstitutional. A previous comment said "The politicians dont follow the law, why should anna". Isnt this what we are tying to prevent.

    The quote that is this the second freedom struggle is absurd. We are free to pay bribes to get our work done the easy way. We have the freedom to elect a corrupt person into office. We have more personal freedom that in any other country in the world. We are simply abusing that freedom.

    Greater personal integrity is a solution. Yet we look up to an institution to enforce this. There are thousands who are queuing up on the streets to support anna against corruption but there are many in those thousands who paid bribes to the cops against traffic violations that very day. Protest to support a bill that will watch the government and prevent corruption is meaningless unless we as citizens stop bribing to get things done the easy way.

    ReplyDelete
  67. First of all time changes everything. So with time laws also needs amendments, it was 1947 when the laws were made, its 2011, 64 years after independence and its but obvious it needs to be modified for the betterment of the country and not an individual. I would like to ask why should we pay more for something which we can actually get at a very less price, I would like to ask "Why the inflation rates are high in INDIA compared to rest of the world?" 10-15 years ago petrol costs were Rs.25/ltr and its incresing day by day, WHY? if the costs changes why can't we amend the laws too? Its high time that we pay a lot of money that we have earned through hard work. Why the people in the parliament does not have to pay taxes and there monthly salaries are around 80k? Again When a minister is about to give a visit to a city the roads are cleaned WHY? Why can't he be shown the actual state of the city instead of changing the condition of the city just for a day? The traffic comes to a halt when his car passes the roads? Why he has more security than any other person on this planet? He is a GOVERNMENT SERVENT and we have appointed him to do our work, but if he is misusing his position and powers and when the so called "COMMON MAN" needs his help they never listen and just try to be a lot of busy doing nothing about the poor person, who only hopes to get some sort of help from him which is just not up to the mark. They remember about the people only during the time of ELECTIONS and then forget. A park at some place is shut down suddenly and some statue is erected there, colleges renamed, WHY? They never think about the country but only about themselves, there also must be some people who must be doing good but then they are stopped, IF these people come out and declare the situations can change but the matter of fact is THEY ARE ALL SCARED and FEAR. I can go on and on and on.....

    ReplyDelete
  68. I think this guy is congress agent...

    Around 1.76Lac cr in 2G, then CWG and now the inquiry in K.G. Basin is still going on, which is estimated to be a bigger scam than 2G. So what your article means I don't know.

    Please study complete details before you write .

    Never saw you commenting before when these scams were brought in public.

    ReplyDelete
  69. bakwaas....its all easy to say....breaking the laws...govt elected by ppl....blah....wat anna is doing is the only right way to do it...they deserve dis only!

    ReplyDelete
  70. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  71. @Ashwin: Thanks for putting time and effort into your comment. I mean this sincerely.

    I will not respond to the first (personal) part of your comment.

    Your underage drinking analogy is interesting, but on deeper examination, one would find it to be irrelevant. In that case, the cause is basically not any good, and therefore nobody will support it - but my argument is not about the cause, only about methods. And a good cause doesn't mean any methods used to pursue it become valid. For example, population control could be a good cause, but it would not make methods like forced sterilization (or castration!) valid, would it?

    The next argument is popular support. This, again, is not enough. Even Hitler had 'popular support'. Closer home, the Babri demolition, Godhra riots - all had a fair amount of 'popular support' at those places and times, and you could've said 'in a perverse way, democracy is not disturbed'...

    I'm not saying the current situation is as bad as those I've outlined above - I'm just trying to illustrate the dangers of people disregarding established principles and acting arbitrarily. Once the precedent is set, it can easily be misused. Which is why sticking to constitutional methodology is non-negotiable, even for good causes, even if it may not be convenient in the short term.

    Then you go on to claim that this govt is a mistake and "If there were a law that said the reigning government could be overthrown immediately if the people were not happy with it, then there would not be so much fuss". Firstly, this is conjecture, and even if it were true, it does not allow anyone to circumvent or overrule the govt. Moreover it may not even be true! Watch this. http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/175239/scams-price-rise-upa-would-still-win-polls-today.html

    Next, you say that we can't wait and let corruption go on. But it's not like the additional clauses in Anna's version of the Lokpal Bill are going to eradicate corruption. Corruption is a MUCH wider phenomenon than even the Jan Lokpal Bill covers. E.g., MOST people - including those supporting Anna - produce false rent receipts to claim higher HRA and evade tax every year. This reflects a corrupt mindset, and Lokpal isn't going to change it.

    If past experience is anything to go by - having strong laws and law enforcement agencies achieves little when it comes to essentially social problems like corruption. Think female foeticide.
    The fact is that no amount of legislation or punitive mechanism is going to solve a problem, unless its ROOT CAUSES are addressed. Sadly, in this whole 'movement' - or in any of the versions of the Lokpal Bill, nobody has even tried to examine the causes of corruption or find ways to fix those.
    So, I think the importance being attached to this Bill and the expectations from it are WAY beyond realistic. People are really getting carried away, and I feel that the weakening of the parliamentary democratic process will be too high a price to pay for all this.
    But as you said - and I agree - we are all entitled to our own opinions. In my post, I just said I don't support Anna, offered my reasons, and just urged people to think about some questions/concerns before they chose a side. I understand the majority still don't agree with me - and I respect that. But sadly, I've found that a lot of people can't even tolerate - let alone respect - a view different from their own, or bother with being reasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I don't know what your saying is right or wrong or will this change the meaning of democracy, but I know at this moment it is need of all the people to have a law which punishes the corrupt.The reason for increase in corruption is that we don't have any law which the corrupt people fears.

    I know it a big disadvantage of democracy that the process of implementation is slow.At the same time it should not take so long for a govt which is in power for more than 8 years and has seen so many scams, to pass a strong anti corruption bill.

    "yeh toh aisa hua ki hamane elect ki hui govt ya toh dar ke mare bill pass nahi karna chahti(ho sakta hai bill ane ke baad sare ke sare tihar mein ho) ya to innhe bill ka importance nahi pata hai isiliye inhe laat marke ke jagana padta raha hai".

    ReplyDelete
  73. I don't know what your saying is right or wrong or will this change the meaning of democracy, but I know at this moment it is need of all the people to have a law which punishes the corrupt.The reason for increase in corruption is that we don't have any law which the corrupt people fears.

    I know it a big disadvantage of democracy that the process of implementation is slow.At the same time it should not take so long for a govt which is in power for more than 8 years and has seen so many scams, to pass a strong anti corruption bill.

    "yeh toh aisa hua ki hamane elect ki hui govt ya toh dar ke mare bill pass nahi karna chahti(ho sakta hai bill ane ke baad sare ke sare tihar mein ho) ya to innhe bill ka importance nahi pata hai isiliye inhe laat marke ke jagana padta raha hai".

    ReplyDelete
  74. @Dha: I agree with one point - Anna has catalyzed a mass movement that has shaken up the establishment - which is good. But not the rest of what you're saying. All these scams have been unearthed and been in the news well before Anna took the stage. Everyone was already thinking about the problem and looking for solutions. Anna's popularity is the result of the public sentiment - not the other way round. The public sentiment would have found a voice - there would've been someone else if not him. I don't believe we'd all have gone on suffering scam after scam if not for Anna, and I don't think Anna is going to completely solve the problem either. There's more on this in the followup post I've published.

    @iceherosubzero: I agree with a lot of what you're saying. But the fact of the matter is - most of the things you're complaining about are not going to change even with a great Lokpal.

    @Gautam Sid: Thanks for the positive feedback :)

    ReplyDelete
  75. @Chetan: You're right about one thing only - "what your article means I don't know."
    And after reading your absurd comments, I don't see any point in trying to explain - the ideas and issues being discussed here are clearly beyond your understanding.

    @abc: That may be your opinion, and you're entitled to it. There's no logic in your statement, though - so I can't really argue with it. That should be fine - as you don't seem to care for a debate anyway.

    @nikzview: I deleted your comment because it was personal, offensive, and added absolutely zero value to the discussion. Don't bother commenting again - I don't think you're capable of adding any value to the discussion and you lack basic courtesy. I'm not interested in anything you might have to say, and can't imagine anyone else being either.

    @sanam: Thanks for expressing your opinion. You're entitled to it and I can respect that, though I don't quite agree. My reasons are outlined in the second half of my earlier comment directed at Ashwin. Please read and think about it, if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  76. @Smoochy

    You know, on second thought, you don't seem arrogant at all. Simply a bit too headstrong in bringing your point across :)

    I have to agree with you on almost all counts. Your logical arguments have effectively nullified my intuitive ones. But there lies the problem. Most of the country comes from my school of thought. They don't believe in rationalizing the movement. They simply want answers and they want it quick. Hence, all the drama.

    I particularly liked how you extrapolated the theme of popular support by likening it to Hitler's regime and the Babri riots. To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone can move millions of Indians towards something which adversely affects the country. Not even Anna. That is why I don't think of such a precedent as particularly lethal to democracy.

    I believe your final defense was about how corruption can only be solved by addressing the root problems. You've got my support for that statement. But it is easy to just say that. What is corruption's root cause? Greed! Now how are you going to eradicate greed? I've got no clue. Have you got a plan?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Its seems that u r a strong believer of constitational approch. but we have seen in past what all politicians have did. only misleading the country, corruption, unethics. All these are not written in democratic constitution. Hence to fight these problems u will see a solution which is also not written in constitution...so SIMPLE....TIT FOR TAT......

    ReplyDelete
  78. @ashwin and @smoochy,

    its graet to follow both your cmments. I am a non supporter of anna and a supporter of the cause. Although the article was a little satirical, it still makes sense. i wish people would read the comments that follow to get a better understanding, instead of attacking you personally( @smoochy) ... Great piece of writing.

    ReplyDelete