Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jumping jacks take centre stage

What on earth is happening, may I ask? What started with a noble effort to install an effective anti-corruption and grievance redressal system by the 15th Aug 2011 deadline, ended up in a fish market like ceremony, in which everyone including politicians, bureaucrats, aam-aadmi and spiritual leaders are resorting to the Satyagraha movement at the drop of a hat. Some leaders of course genuinely resort to Satyagraha, for bringing about a positive change for the betterment of the nation and her people. While some immature souls, misuse the fast-unto-death format of Satyagraha to fulfil their political and personal ambitions. And in the midst of all this mayhem, our leaders at the centre make the civil society’s cry look like a farce.

Without a wink of doubt, the man who was honoured by the highest civilian award (the Padma Bhushan), Anna Hazareji, is selflessly working towards introducing the Jan Lokpal bill and is fighting tooth-and-nail to lawfully also bring the Prime Minister and the higher judiciary under the ambit of the Jan Lokpal. But as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. The civil society’s protests for enactment of a strong Jan Lokpal bill, which took off with great gusto nationwide, lost its fizz with Yoga guru Ramdev Baba’s jumping-jack act on the Ramlila grounds. I still fail to understand how did a spiritual leader cum yoga guru even think of frog leaping to the fast-unto-death format to fight black money. Isn’t Babaji better off teaching the world some asanas and prayanam for healthy living? Well, I don’t have my doubts to that question...he certainly is the best!

Detractors would dispute saying that every individual in a democratic nation - whether a soldier or a yoga guru or for that matter you or me – has the right to protest, as long as it is for the benefit of the masses. But then, shouldn’t the person leading the movement also know the A B C of law making. You cannot be a drop-out there right.

India shining or India bleeding (corruption)?

Every citizen of this nation is riding on the hope of a better life that has been promised by the elected government. The common man is intelligent enough to understand that a populated developing country like India needs a lot of planning and infusion of funds to correct the loopholes in the system. And that, there is indeed no magic wand to give India this makeover. But then, how would the so-called promising central government who needs time and public taxes to allow this change to happen, explain the filth of corruption scams that it is entangled into. How long will the government hold a blank cheque on people’s income and spend it as and where they like.

“In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance.”- As said by Ayn Rand.

It’s true that citizens willingly and voluntarily pay their taxes to be able to see the betterment of the nation. But citizens also want to know how and where are their taxes being utilised. In order to spare public money from being pocketed by crooked bureaucrats, politicians, businessman, and alike, there is a need of a transparent system devoid of any government representation that will look at the functioning of the system from a third party perspective.

Domestic distractions
The central government which has been rocked by allegations of corruption is busy submitting dossiers in response to the umpteen numbers of investigation cases filed against its name. Of late these distractions have paralysed decision making and stalled development projects, leading to increased inflation and lower growth. The Jan Lokpal is one such instrument which will bring fear in the minds of corruption seekers (and givers), guaranteeing proper utilisation of public funds.

Finally, fast-unto-death is surely not the right path to put forward people’s demands to the centre. But what else can the people who are riddled with a new corruption scandal every single day do then? Do civilians silently look at these high profile corruption cases being exposed in front of their eyes or do they need to react to this before things go out of hand and the nation goes back in time. The people respect the Parliament house and are proud of the nation’s fantastic democracy. There are lot of expectations from the Parliament and this is the time the parliamentarians in the house pull up their socks and start work. And if they cannot really do the tough job of cleaning up the mess and starting anew, it is time they step down.

Post script:
These days, the rich and the famous are busy raising funds through unconventional means. To get snapped with the first lady, Mrs. Obama is charging a whopping $10k as fundraising for her husband’s re-election bid for presidency, while Wikileaks has auctioned a chance to lunch with Assange on eBay. So, don’t you think it’s a good idea to auction a chance to dine with Kalmadi or Rahul Gandhi, in order to restock the repository (in India) that has been drained by corrupt ministers. What an idea Sir ji!

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