image1 image2 image3


A Cleaner Country

Shri Anna Hazare will be in town (Namma Bengaluru) tomorrow. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he was the one who undertook a fast back in April to get the Jan Lokpal Bill considered by the parliament. Since then, his popularity has increased like twitter-feed the day after Osama Bin Laden was killed, and he has gathered a huge following. Now, the sad part is, there are still a plenty of people who do not appreciate what this man has done and an equally good number (perhaps much bigger?) who live in ignorance. His fight is against corruption. He wants a cleaner set of politicians, bureaucrats; well, let's just say he wants a cleaner country in terms of corruption. So do all his followers. Or so they claim!

Let me digress a bit here and ask you something. How many of you keep your houses clean? I'm sure a good many of you will say you do keep your houses clean. Now, do you keep your house clean all the time or do you do a bit of tidying up when you're expecting guests? As far as I have observed, a lot of people tidy up when they're expecting guests. Why? To show the guests that our house is clean. Once they're gone, the house returns to its usual self where there are things strewn around and unsorted.
A lot of high-profile people have been arrested in the last couple of weeks in corruption related cases. This is similar to the keeping-your-house-clean case that I have described above. The government is only acting when our scrutiny is upon them. Once we are deluded (just like the guests) that things are under control, the old regime comes back out. We cannot possibly have our focus on the issue all the time, we have our lives to live! So we appoint the Lokpal to do that job for us. At this point, you must be thinking, 'don't we already have someone to do this watching job for us already? Lok Ayukta? CBI? The police? The army?'. Well, the problem with them is that they need permission from politicians before they can prosecute 'people-in-power'. The people who we're electing to power are not exactly righteous, saintly guys who would do the right thing by granting that permission when necessary. Half the people that contest elections (and win too) have several criminal cases pending against them. If you're still not sure about the need for a Lokpal, God save our country for having you as our citizen!
The need for Lokpal itself hasn't been contested. It is the powers that it may get that seems to irk people. The most popular question seems to be 'How can you guarantee that the Lokpal itself will not be corrupt?'. The answer is simple. I can't. Nobody can. But just weigh the two sides. On the one hand, you have politicians with criminal background wielding their power over the CBI and the like, while on the other, you have a Lokpal who is selected after a thorough scrutiny of his background and his services to the country. Agreed, there's 50:50 chance he might be corrupt. But when the current system has failed completely, a 50% chance for success seems a tremendous improvement to me.
Leaving the larger Lokpal issue aside, there have been plenty of people who have asked me if I'd rather have my vehicle seized than pay a bribe to the traffic inspector, and situations along similar lines. To this, I say, it is your duty to obey the rules in the first place. If you break them, you you deserve to be punished (and have your vehicle seized). The traffic officer is just an opportunist who milks the situation. You're more corrupt for offering the bribe (lesser punishment) and then say there is no way around it. There certainly is a way around it and that is to obey the law. Now, you counter me saying 'Some cops just cook up something and ask for money even when I've done nothing wrong'. I say, 'My friend, if someone slaps you, will you stand there and take it? Be a man and fight back! Complain about the officer that does that to you'. Now you say, 'Nobody will listen to me. They're all together. They will not take my word over the officer's'. So I say, 'That, my friend, is why we need an independent authority like the Lokpal to address our grievances'.
I'm not sure if the group 'India Against Corruption' just lost hope in the individuals of our country about their capability of leading clean lives or they just want a country that is clean to the 'guests', but having a Lokpal will definitely go some way in getting there. But remember that a house that is always clean needs no tidying up, ever; just like a country that is always clean doesn't need an Anna Hazare or a Lokpal.

Share your opinion on this.

Share this: