Monday, June 6, 2011

Nothing Civil About It!

Like most citizens in India, I have been closely watching the recent developments. The Anna Hazare movement and the Baba Ramdev fast have highlighted the fact that corruption and black money are large national issues. Let me say that at one level I am overjoyed by the sudden awakening and mass movement that this has generated, while I am equally concerned with this new brand of civil movement. Let me explain....

The Anna Hazare movement first .....In a democracy we have the right to agitate in order to get the government and our elected representatives to take note of an issue and act on it. We also have the right to call for like minded people to join in for a show of solidarity. We can also intensify the agitation to a level where it is inevitable for us to be taken note of. We can seek the government to give us assurances even in writing if required and reassess our stance at a later date. I am sure all of you agree.

Now for the part that I find difficult to digest. When the "civil society" insists that they have to be a part of the panel that frames the law, I wonder if we are  eroding the basic tenet of our constitution. We elect representatives to be legislators but suddenly some people are insisting that certain people from the civil society will play this role. What makes these people better than you or me? What kind of accountability do they have to the society at large? How are we sure that they don't have an agenda of their own? Putting pressure on our elected representatives and the government formed by them is one thing but lobbying to become a proxy legislator is another.

The Yoga Guru now... When a yoga teacher uses his wide network of students/ followers / disciples to launch a "satyagraha" to bring black money back into the country just weeks after the Anna Hazare movement we have to wonder about the timing. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the two sets of people had joined forces?

I don't really think the entire midnight eviction methodology was the right one in any way though. I can understand how the government may have begun to have palpitations and decided to take that risk. Now they are looking like desperate people and I am happy because it will only add fuel to the movement. The thing is that I would love to stand up, be heard and join a movement the opposes corruption and brings back black money but I don't agree completely with the current approaches. Does it matter?

Well, I am not just complaining about this without a suggestion. My plan is that we launch a nationwide campaign to agitate before our local MPs in their constituency. Put them on house arrest in their own homes so to speak until they undertake in writing that they will facilitate the passing of the Lokpal and Black Money bill in the next session of the parliament. It's not only the government that needs to be pressurized but our money hungry, no good bunch of liars who like to get elected through spurious means and call themselves parliamentarians. I did say right in the title that there is"nothing civil" about this post, didn't I?

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