Monday, June 6, 2011

Is The Government Anti Anti-Corruption?

My first reaction to Baba Ramdev's fast was not favorable. I felt that these movements are better done cohesively and not in fragments with every group giving out a different charter of demands to the government. Anna Hazare had done enough to bring every one's attention to the issue and they are now in the process of making the Lok Pal Bill. So the first question that comes to everyone is why another movement with similar demands? Why this saffron tinge to the whole affair? If it is about the corrupt and the non-corrupt let it be white and black?

The government has been trying every trick in the book to stall, thwart these anti-corruption movements. By arresting Baba Ramdev they have made him a martyr now and have shown clearly that they are not willing to listen to anything on this anti-corruption issue. The equation then works like this - if I am anti anti-corruption, then it means that I am pro-corruption! And pro-corruption is anti-national. It is time the government made moves to show that it is anti-corruption too and not just anti anti-corruption movements.

The people want an anti-corruption bill, accountability. This is the popular sentiment. But when you go with it to the government, it stalls, it stops, it talks in different tongues, it spreads malicious rumours, it maligns the people who ask, it sets the IT Department on the ones who ask, the police. What does it indicate? That it is not interested in this anti-corruption business. It will deal with it the way it wants, when it wants, because its existence, as with all other parties, depends on corruption. That is the sad truth. Elections cannot be fought on honest and upright agendas. Elections are fought on money and muscle power. Losing elections means losing power. Losing power means losing everything!

It is surprising why there should be so much debate about whether the PM and the CJI or whoever should be under the LokPal Bill. Why not? What makes them exempt? History is rife with stories of corrupt PMs and Heads of State all over the world so why should these two be absolved? Why should there be such a debate about it all?

Reminds me of the Sub Inspector in the local Police Station and his fantastic question - so what do you want me to do? The government is asking the same question but since it cannot verbalise it, is showing it through its reluctance. The message is simple. Do not protest about anti-corruption. If you protest we will trick you. We will beat you. We will arrest you.

One would think that the primary duty of the government would be to come out with a listening ear, a strategy to tackle this issue, instead of firefighting with the many issues that have arisen because of this core issue - corruption. From 2G to CWG, every scam that the government is fighting is because of this very corruption. So it might be easier for it to deal with corruption in a straightforward manner than through all these Machiavellian methods. Heard of the devil and the deep sea? This is exactly what it is.

Anna Hazare will fight against this wall but how much energy does he have? How long will he sustain this movement alone? Who will take it forward if he is indisposed? And so we wait, for younger, clearer, braver, nobler, upright heads to lead us forward. But where are they? And what are they saying?

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