Before I start off on my rant on this entire issue –
Read these links first –
a) What is the Jan LokPal bill about? – A brief (in my view, very simplistic explanation – don’t get too carried away)
b) Absolutely brilliant article by Pratap Bhanu Mehta – Of the few, by the few
c) Difference between the Draft Lokpal bill and the Jan Lokpal bill (did you ever know that there were actually two?) – Differences matter
d) Good read by Acorn (Nitin) – The politics of hunger strikes
e) A compelling and fascinating read of the issue by Retributions (Rohit Pradhan) – Importance of Constitutional morality
f) An alternate view (very good!) – Why are links b), c), d) wrong? by Deepak Iyer – Diving into the Anna Hazare debate
I don’t think I am as learned as the folks above to comment on the nuances of the Jan Lokpal bill. Nor am I trying to diss the entire movement against corruption here. Hear me out –
a) Jan Lokpal Bill+Anna Hazare’s fast – God sent opportunity for Congress. They just need to say – “Yes, we willl involve the civil society in drafting the bill”. They just need to say it (no timeframe,if you’ll notice). They’d just garner huge media support for being the government which listens to its people (and thereby garner votes in the coming assembly elections). Anybody seen through this ruse yet?
b) And Anna Hazare could have opted for a simpler approach than fasting. Dial Nira Radia. Anyway, I admire Anna Hazare for what he’s done but I want pile-ons like Chetan Bhagat on TV yesterday to shut the hell up. He says “What are we debating about? Let’s pass the Lok Pal bill already”. Dude – are you nuts? We live in a democracy and the emotions of the mob-like sentiment is not always right. The bill (v2.1 anyway. There have been 3 versions since yesterday) has a detail on the participants in this civil committee – they want ‘Nobel Laureats of Indian origin” on the committee. Those guys are not even answerable to the Indian public (and this body, by the way, is not answerable to anyone in India – not the judiciary, parliament or administration). I hear the argument ‘if not this, then what?’ To them my question is ‘After Anna Hazare, what?’ What if this group consists of Barkha dutt kind of ppl after Anna Hazare passes away. I don’t know – is this issue too complex – just to think of effect of effects?
c) Anyway, I personally think this ‘fast-unto-death’ amounts to blackmail (do this, or else).Anna Hazare is a man with high integrity. But what if someone else with public-face-integrity but machiavelli-behind-the-scenes does this? What if someone does a fast-unto-death for banning cigarettes/alcohol in the country? How would you react then?
d) And missed calls as a sign of protest? Really? It’s Dilbert-level-ridiculous. Anyway, my take is that the Congress will capitulate by tomorrow and accede to Anna Hazare’s demands of involving the civil society to draft the bill. Getting it passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – yeah, good luck with that. No problem – we can start another missed call and a email chain campaign. We are brilliant that way, no?
e) Chetan Bhagat simultaneously appeared on 3 different channels at the same time yesterday. Is it 2012 already? On one channel he says “How can we play IPL when Anna is fasting?” Well, how can anyone buy and read 5.someone or One night at call center when Anna is fasting. We’ve got a meme here I think. From #forSachin, we have moved on to #BecauseAnnaIsFasting
f) And now we have a ‘Jail Bharo’ andolan. Civil disobedience of the yore, if you remember. Excellent. We fight against the British. Now, we fight against our own politicians. Back then, the British left the country. Who should leave the country now? Maybe Congress will step down. BJP will come to power. So?
g) With the momentum with which this is moving, let’s just hope it doesn’t result in anarchy. Political orchestration of anarchy won’t take much time at all. However, the only positive (long term) that I see is the chance for political entrepreneurs who can promise deliver corruption-free government. Forget the Bottom of the Pyramid. We have a 500 mn middle class population willing to vote for anyone who can deliver a corrupt-free government.