Thursday, August 18, 2011


The recent protests across the country regarding the Jan Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare's fast have been amusing for me, to say the least. I'm not in favour of either the government nor am I a rabid anti-Anna man, but the sensationalism and hype surrounding the issue has peeved me in no small way.
The focus of the entire issue is on corruption, and yet no one has bothered to ask the single most pertinent issue which ought to have been guiding the entire movement - is the Lokpal Bill an instrument which will actually cure the malady of corruption that afflicts not only our country, but several other countries across the entire world? Most people automatically assume it will, even though when pressed for their rationale behind such statement fail to provide suitable logic for their strong assertions.
The point is that this movement, although viewed as pan-Indian, is primarily one which has been spearheaded by the upper and middle class citizens of India. The objection I have to this is that these are the very people who, when they want something done and do not want to wait for the full process to be completed, will have no qualms about greasing the palms of crooked officials in order to ensure that no strenuous checks are carried out on what they do. These are the same people who, when stopped by a law enforcement officer, have no problems with declaring "Don't you know who I am?" in order to escape probity for their transgressions of the law. And yet, they somehow believe that without changing the attitudes of society, the Lokpal Bill is a miracle drug that will remove the malaise of corruption from the nation.
After all, the Lokpal Bill targets the bribe takers...not the bribe givers. It targets the poorly paid administration officials, who with a view towards securing their life post-retirement, have no hesitations in favouring those who can afford to throw away hefty sums to secure their activities. After all, who cares if welfare schemes are being cut into by a government obsessed with "liberalisation" in an economy where the benefits of regulation are being belatedly realised. At the end of the day, corruption is a bad thing, as everyone knows, and corrupt officials must be punished...why bother the unfortunate rich people who bribe their way out of trouble? How dare the less privileged officials succumb to the temptation of securing their future? How dare they try to rise above their station?
In the midst of all the fuss about Anna Hazare's fast, the vast majority of mainland Indians care little or nothing about a woman who continues to fast as protest against the atrocities committed on her people. If Irom Sharmila's cause attracted even a quarter of the attention showered on Anna, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act would not be in force in the North East right now! But then again, the blinkered populace, easily taken in by hype and sensationalism, doesn't even consider the North East as a proper part of the country. The only time they actually even bother with that area is if there is talk of secession. As long it doesn't affect people who belong to a particular part of the country and a particular class of society - public interest be damned!
And therefore, I don't wish to protest for Anna. If I am to protest, it will be for a cause which has significance and meaning, not a mere excuse in the name of doing something for the common good. So, if you want to protest, go ahead...just don't ask me to give a damn!

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