Naysayers had their say as well as the optimists. Doubters have their way as do the doers. Attention seekers did their duty religiously as did the faceless crowed. Through all these pangs of ifs & buts, us and them, masses and classes, plain and double speak, genuine and guile, has come out the mutually agreed conditional commitment from parliament to legislate a strong and comprehensive Lokpal.
Process of deliberating on various drafts, taking views from myriad sections of society and institutions, discussing and debating in the parliament and cooking the final piece of draft to be passed as legislation will certainly take a minimum possible time. Let’s wait till such time.
Apart from its pristine goal of a strong and apt anti-corruption bill, these thirteen days of mass uprising has its many takes that augur well for the country long sleeping after LNJP. Then, it was the call of total revolution that swept the country and youth. It was only befitting to the democratic roots of that movement that it didn’t get bloody but at the same time did face the most undemocratic and heinous act of emergency to serve the whims of an individual duly maddened by the ill advises of the coterie.
This time we have another such movement with solitary ambition of uprooting corruption from the masses in general and classes in particular. And the protest this time is one in the list of many such battles to be fought in the near future, one-by-one. Did it achieve its goal? No, till we have legislation in hand and yes for we have taken the first right step towards it.
Critics and the government alike made a lot of hullabaloo about the sense and futility of this agitation. Like, this bill will not end corruption, this agitation is undermining the supreme pillar of democracy and this agitation is going to set a dangerous precedence against the parliamentary democracy of the country, illegality of non-elected citizenry to prevail upon elected members of parliament and blah-blah….
You have so many rules and laws to restore smooth functioning of the society and its activities. How many of them have been 100% successful? Therefore, don’t you make new rules and amend the existing ones? If yes, tell me why? A sensible answer to this question does justify genesis of a strong and autonomous JLP which was under incubation for more than 40 years and that would provides for checks on another 2G/CWG/Adarsha/Defence/Cash for Votes et al. The existing mechanisms that are being held in high esteem so as to press on the futility of the JLP, have not delivered. It is but for another such strong provision called “Right to Information” bill that these scams came to fore.
As for parliamentary supremacy, why only parliament? It is just one of the four institutions viz. judiciary, legislative, executive and journalistic fraternity that works to serve the provisions of the constitution which is only supreme and which is only for the people and by the people.
People don’t elect representatives to rule them but serve them. They have to listen to and reflect the call of the citizenry they represent. Such supremacy they are demanding is tantamount to bestowing the sovereignty onto these elected representatives. Our forefathers could see this anarchy coming sometimes down the line and hence only they did subject the legislatives to perpetual elections and corrections. This call for parliamentary supremacy does not stand scrutiny of constitution at all!
There have been attempts to paint this movement as one undermining the parliament. That is because of the terms put forth by Anna and the team was taken as authoritarian. Dear all, a man in public life crusading for and with support of 120 million people of this country can not be authoritarian, undemocratic or otherwise. In the hindsight, it is this dictation of terms that forced the government to come to senses and route the strong anti-corruption clauses for the perusal of the parliament. But for this pressure, they would not have introduced the JLP draft for parliamentary consideration. So where is the question of undermining of the parliament when the agitators were pressing for the same constitutional procedures?
Nothing in democracy is as sacrosanct as the legitimate calls of its people. And the people this time have given call against the rampant corruption they are subjected to in all walks of life. This pity of life has only been silver lined by the scams of mammoth proportions that are not by any one else but the very custodians of our ‘parliamentary democracy’. How on earth this call against corruption be construed as a dangerous precedence shadowing parliamentary democracy? This is not any other separatist call against the state, not a demand on communalistic lines, not a sectarian movement against the national fabric of the country. This is a call that touches each and every citizen of this country and in same proportion.
It is the steadfast resolve of the team against corruption that must have led the government to obfuscate and hide its lack of probity in the garb of the hoax of dangerous precedence. In the end there were no takers of this hoax but the very parliamentarians many among whom have credentials that speak against them.
Therefore, the first take is that this movement has certainly made a slit in the hegemony of this political class that has eclipsed the inclusive growth of the nation since independence. No other time than during electioneering that they have reached out to people, promised them the world even if cosmetically. This time, they have got the taste of people power. And we must hope them to mean it.
Secondly, this agitation has made the parliamentarians debate an issue without gimmickry and politicking. When was it last when we heard this congregation doing its prime duty with mindful debate on issues of the state sans politics? They have to mend their ways and agitations like this will keep pushing them to do their duties.
Thirdly, this movement having successive parlays, hip-hops and various stands taken by stakeholders have put everyone in spot. This movement has brought to fore the thinking and sincerity of individuals and parties. All of them need introspection and correction in line with the things that are due to come in a sense this people’s movement has got to rebound in the time to come.
If at all the corruption has to be weeded out from our country and the society, each and every individual has to commit oneself against corruption. Else, this bill will meet the fate like any other instrument that the state has. This commentary not withstanding, JLP is a must. But it calls for every citizen in its limited capacity to fight this evil and not live it any more. With this awakening among masses, doors to clean civic life and prosperity that is shackled and doomed to date shall open gradually and we will get what is long due to us. That is when we can meaningfully say ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’.