The country has witnessed the brouhaha over Lokpal bill over the last few months.
Reaching a fever pitch, it finally ended yesterday with the civil society of India claiming victory.
But was it a victory? Yes and no.
I have two views and people would say I am running with the hare and hunting with the hounds!
But delve a little deeper and you would find the answer yourself.
There is a set of people who have criticized Anna's way of holding the parliament to ransom and also the Jan lokpal bill itself.
There is a huge chunk on the other side cheering the Jan lokpal. They outnumber the ratios with 1 : maybe a million.
Very eminent visionaries have questioned the creation of another law and also Anna's way.
Check out Nandan Nilekani's interview with Shekhar Gupta :
Now my take 1 :
While all this is right, while all this is intellectual, while all this is super looking on a paper in front of the standing committee, the supreme policy making body of the largest democracy of the world, it also should be understood and remembered that somewhere it is the government speaking.
Nandan, 4 years back, talked of a lacklusture government not providing support to the city infrastructure of Bangalore.
He talked of how he, as a part of a citizen charter took up various initiatives and how still work on the elevated expressway never went smoothly even after being in the running for years together.
Now, wasn't that flyover delay a concern of a citizen and this speech a view of the government?
With utmost respect for the reverence I have for him, I would like to ask him, one small question :
The example being talked about in the interview of Public Distribution System being faulty, is again just a very small example.
Yes, it is a problem, but not the only problem.
As a citizen of this country, I faced a problem in getting my passport issued, how is Aadhaar or any other scheme by the government going to help me?
Anna's talk of including lower bureaucracy may or may not help me, but certainly it will create the fear of law, certainly I would have an option to fallback on.
Today, the police verification guy demands money, when the passport comes, the postman demands money.
If I refuse to co-operate, then I am singled out by the entire system and bureaucracy and tortured till I comply.
Which step has the government taken in 60 years of independence to solve my problems?
This brings me to the title of this post.
Flood waters of Mumbai which ravaged the city again today.
Every damn year, the commercial capital is inundated as if it is some remote village.
Roads become rivers, trains stop, common men die.
I myself witnessed this in 2007 and came back home neck deep in the waters.
Read my harrowing experience of 2007 here.
Four years since, the government has promised to make Mumbai Shanghai, shared plans with the public about how the drainage is being overhauled, on paper.
Every year the floods come, the government makes promises and gets away with the India shining bonhomie.
In a way, Lokpal bill fiasco isn't just about the bill alone, it is a vent to the immense public anger, the release of the pent up energy, frustrated energy.
What systems are we talking about?
About systems which have not passed the Lokpal bill even 40 years since its first introduction?
Critics would slam me, citing that freewill ofthe parliament is being questioned.
What about the freewill of the 1000 million people?
Nobody is saying Lokpal is the panacea.
Yet it is a beginning.
Is it not time even after 60 years to get out of the mentality of pulling down the man who makes an attempt?
Who says Anna is the be all and end all.
All I say is that Anna has made a beginning, the bill will still go to the parliament, its not as if it becomes a law circumventing the parliament.
The lower bureaucracy works this way, it needs to be hauled up.
Even Nandan would agree, a software developer doesn't work without a team lead and a team lead doesn't work without a manager.
A police constable doesn't work without a sub inspector and a sub inspector doesn't work without an inspector.
If all this policing wasn't needed, then probably IT companies could do by hiring freshers alone and police could do by hiring constables alone.
Think about it!
Now take 2 :
By now, most of you would think I am a blind Anna supporter!
Yeah I am, not of Anna, but of the spirit.
A spirit of showing the government its place 60 years after it did so in 1947.
Was it needed?
Yes sir, it was.
When a Manish Tiwari who considers himself a hero of sorts makes bull statements without verifying facts and then comes out with a public apology to one old man, yes sir, it was needed.
When a Kapil Sibal, the eternal swagger man, is over ruled by the prime minister of the country in the parliament to show who is the boss, yes sir, it was needed.
When an ignorant Salman Khurshid, admits that government made 'errors in judgement' of public mood, yes sir, it was needed.
Ok, the other viewpoint.
Now, the merit of Lokpal on a standalone basis -
In the current shape, is it good enough?
No, it is not.
Most intellectuals will agree with me.
This is where the people like Nandan and other visionaries of our country need to sit down and bring changes to make it effective and give it teeth.
The question is not whether the lokpal agitation is justified.
Frankly, justified or not, the government is the proverbial servant and it needs to be in sync with public mood.
But yes, putting sense into the process and not going by the mob mentality is the government's prerogative.
They need to sit down, take the common man's draft and make it effective rather than questioning the intent of it.
Rather than dragging its feet on something which it should've taken a stand on 40 years back, it should gracefully play through it, not brush it under the carpet calling it trash.
What disgusts me is the fact that it took a nation-full of people to tell the government that it was sleeping.
It took a billion people to tell the intellectuals that they are 'just-an-elected-body'.
It took a billion people to tell them, it's been 2 weeks of fast now, you have no option, but to wake up!
Why does the common man have to leave his office, leave his food to wake this slumberous monster everytime?
I will still not say 'Main Anna Hazare hoon' but I would stand up and applaud the sense of belief he has given back to the spineless society of India.
Agar main vote dena jaanta hoon, toh le lena bhi jaanta hoon.
Sibal, Tiwari and Khurshid will not counter me on this.
What's new with me?
I feel i have grown up.. because these days i look down on the younger generation :)
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