We Indians are not really known for good memory when it comes to our social responsibilities, civic sense and tolerance to rampant corruption committed by powers-that-be. But the way, people from all walks of life kept pouring in at social activist, Anna Hazare’s fast unto death campaign at Jantar-Mantar, one could smell winds of change. The movement that ended this morning after 97 hours fast of the renowned social reformer spread to many parts of the country. I, myself, witnessed it yesterday. The movement had all the essential ingredients including candle-lit vigils, street plays, singing and dancing, and other usual trappings of moral indignation and fervor. It was almost reminiscent of a festive air around Jantar-Mantar.
Though, when the announcement of Mr Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death against rising corruption came few days back, not many expected it to gather such gargantuan momentum. Going by the inept reaction of government as evident from its unpreparedness and initial reactions coming from spokespersons, it was definitely a comprehensive victory for protestors. It would not be wrong on my part to call this campaign a blackmail tactic but perhaps, that was the only resort left to Indians fed up with one scam after another. Haven’t we exhausted all other options? Moral coercing can do wonders, sometimes!
For once, I was tempted to remember “Peepli Live” because of the presence of hundreds of television cameras and anchors. People kept scrambling and clapping. The intensity could be felt. Now that government has agreed to form a joint panel for Lokpal bill, I wonder, if this movement and its success is a sign of things to come or just a flash in the pan? Indian is definitely not Egypt or Tunisia or Yemen simply because we are a working democracy and we ourselves have selected most of these morons to rule over us. Since the time CWG scam broke out, we have literally lived through a corruption season. One skeleton after another kept tumbling out of the closet and yet the man considered as an epitome of honesty and integrity, instead of rising to the occasion and lead from the front, kept hiding behind the ‘pallu’ of our very own Greta Garbo. We are being held hostage by a culture of corruption but our spineless PM kept citing compulsions of coalition politics as prime culprit.
I am not really sure, whether Lokpal bill drafting process will really serve its purpose. Agreed, we will have some reputed civil names in the committee but it will require plenty of will on part of government and opposition to pass the revamped version of the bill. Additionally, some critics are not really convinced about Hazare’s attempt to influence the working of a democratically elected government. As Karan Bedi rightly pointed out in TOI, “if someone has a problem with corruption, report politicians to the police, file a PIL or better still, don’t elect them.” But try telling these things to people of Baramati and you will get a resounding slap. Yes, this is a noble goal but what’s the guarantee that Anna Hazare will be able to draft a perfect bill aimed at rooting out corruption from our system? Even Arvind Kejriwal agrees to that and rightly terms the entire 97 hours as a small step towards the bigger objective.
It will be foolish to assume that a Lok Pal will ensure the elimination of corruption immediately by striking fear in the hearts of the corrupt. Make no mistakes about it as that is not going to happen. There will be effect, certainly and hopefully, administrative and political corruption will burrow down a bit. But all in all, for our own sake, this just can’t be a one-off movement. We, the people need to keep hammering on regular interval. The movement must not stop and should try to include more and more people in its reach. Above all, I hope, we get rid of our ‘indifferent attitude’!