Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why should we choose to be blindfolded by strangers adorning the garb of virtue???

Ok Mr. V. S achuthanandan- trust me your cause to stand in favour of ban on endosulfan is good. But I think it's more of a gimmick.
Afterall, did you not ask for an all party delegation from Kerala to visit the Stockholm convention in geneva? Im sorry, but i did not realize that a picnic was on the cards. While we are at it- why dont you tell us your choice of world class airlines, hotel and the menu???
Also you expect me to believe that you care for the victims of endosulfan even when once upon a time you passed lewd remarks against major unnikrishnan and his family? Ah well, i should not be overtly critical here. Right? You might say that those poor people who were the victims of endosulfan didnt bring it on themselves whereas the major attracted danger by entering the service. RIGHT???Not to forget- did you organise an exhibition of paintings as a prelude to your program? yeah well maybe thats a great way to raise money rather than knowledge about the perils of the substance.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

We the people of india

It all began three days back for me; my landlady was fervently watching the news channel so that it could propel her anxious self to new levels of frenzy. As I entered the fourth floor apartment located in "town", Mumbai I found myself asking her, "What is it today aunty, what will you be filling me in with?"


The splendor and spark in her eyes were hard to dismiss.

"What is it? Please tell me about it."

My Landlady filled me in with the current situation, about the rejection of the Lok Pal Bills and the magnificence of the Man called Anna. All I could gather on my part was his slogan of anti-corruption (of course).

As easy as it is for me to enquire about the current position of the country and the news surrounding us, is the fact that my appetite for it is quenched quite easily. By the time I came back from work the next evening, I was greeted by umpteen status messages, posts and videos of Anna Hazare. Most of them dealing with who he is and a cursory line or two about corruption and his hunger strike.

I watched the video which gave a glimpse of his life and his determination. Mid way I found myself becoming smug andquitting it to resume my studies.

News, views and commotion ruled yesterday's morning for me. It seemed there was only one man the nation wanted to discuss and support. That was when I felt I needed to devote myself to the study of the cause.

Having been informed that the Grand Old Man wanted to introduce a Draft Bill in the Parliament which would be contemplated upon by the citizenry and the Govt. Officials in equal ratio; I felt it legitimate for someone to Demand the same; and up went a status message from my corner of the world about how it was constitutional for Dear Anna to be clearabout his rights even though some clauses (as contested by the Govt.) in his draft are unconstitutional.

Once again, the evening came and in walked my landlady with a pamphlet, a poster and a batch, one saying, "I support Anna" and the other saying, "We want money back from the Swiss Bank Accounts."

It was the pamphlet handed over to me which propelled me to contemplate whether I really supported the demands of the Manwho was pushing India to re-unite after the much hyped about World Cup of 2011.

Among the varied clauses which my eye pondered upon, I found three eye catching demands, which seemed quite absurd to me:

The LokPal Committee will be allowed to take action suomoto;
The CBI would work in conjugation with the Committee and both of them would act as an investigative agency for the cases which come before the Committee; The Committee would have police powers.
The Committee along with its Chairman would act as a judge and be free to decide the cases which come before it.

As a student of Law, I have had the opportunity to not only know what our Constitution gives to us but why it gives me the rights in a manner which is guaranteed by it. For instance, one of the fundamentals of our Constitution is that the basic structure of Our Government would be such that "We give to ourselves" a Government where there is a clear distribution of power. The three organs of the entire system are so distinctly situate that the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary have an independent standing and are not influenced by each other.

To take it a step further, the police and the CBI are independent bodies who carry out investigations with a liberate authority.

Not that I do not agree that India's political scene is grim, not that I say that corruption is not the order of the day, but there is a different perspective that I like to stick up to when it comes to the LOKPAL Bill. Here are a few thoughts which I shared with my friends, colleagues and facebook acquaintances.

Friend: "Don't you think that the Government needs to say yes to LOKPAL, the powers and the duties can be chalked out later?"

I: "Certain aspects of the Draft will have an impact on the state machinery. Making the existent structure a parallel to what is proposed. To throw the constitution out of the window is not logical; If what Anna is proposing is from a Bird's eye view-correct but needs amendment (on a closer look) then even thought I appreciate his willingness to take a stand, I essentially don't think his view point is agreeable.

To bring about anti-corruption measures with the kind of support he is enjoying, I think that he could have entered the process in a fair and square manner rather than whining over it and calling it Gandhigiri. After all, it is not the Brits whomwe are fighting against. This is something which we have bestowed upon ourselves; a democracy."

Friend: "But then, is it that easy to enter politics, especially if everyone around you is driven by corruption?"

I: "I agree that it isn't easy at all to enter politics in the first place-be it for the corrupt or the not-so-corrupt. But if what you say is correct and all the people who are a part of the current system are (all) corrupt then it seems that the corrupt are more driven than the people who demand anti-corruption.At least the corrupt are doing something to help themselves in helping their own case of making money."

Acquaintance: "Don't you see it? We have given to ourselves a system which is easily ridiculed at the hands of the merciless and which is driving our economy and our nation towards doom. Isn't it high time?"

I: "The basic crux of the problem is whether there is a problem with the way the system is modeled or the way in which we allow it to be worked upon. If distribution of powers could not check corruption then would the handing over of all the powers to one single body be an answer to the problems of the nation? Are the supporters hinting that we should move from democracy to autocracy which on the outset is yelling about anti-corruption? Do we need a Nazi way of rule which is different from the Nazi way of rule only by way of it yelling from rooftops about claiming to be a people's king?"

Colleague1: "Why is it wrong to support the introduction of a Draft which will be deliberated upon before becoming law?

I: "For a thing to be supported, one should start from the grass roots. The problem with the likes of you is that you would choose a political party first and expect to see its show of party principals once the party is ruling the roost.

For me, I would rather evaluate what the party commands and then decide whether it is liable to be accepted by me. Only once that is done, would I go about supporting them."

Colleague2: "I don't even understand the fresco behind the whole debate. I'm least bothered, in the end it's all the same."

I: "Most of the people who are supporting the cause are devoted to your way of thinking most of the time. Interestingly, they are irritated with the current scenario but when it comes to taking action they are so smug with their daily life that their priority shifts to better things in life such as whether they have enough milk in their refrigerator. Out of all these people who are in active support of anti-corruption, how many have done at least3 of the things listed below?

Cast their vote
Stood up for/ been on hunger strike/ or actively supported the NO VOTE OPTION
Taken part/attended/ actively understood what is said in the political rallies of different parties and raised a query when the party did not live up to its promises
Filed an RTI application (not to forget that the RTI is their beloved Anna's gift to the nation)
Lodged a complaint against injustice at any level"

From my understanding of the entire scenario, I do not see the need to change the workings of a government; I need to see a change in the way the people take action. I want them to lodge a complaint and raise their voice at every small instance of injustice and not take out candle vigils/ processions/ protests/hunger fasts only once the situation has already been blown out of proportion.

In the past 40 years or so ever since the first lokpal bill wasintroduced, two generations have spent their youth and middle age on the soil of India, but have failed to not only decrease the levels of corruption but to keep it in check; what does that have to say about the kind of smugness that we enjoy in our daily lives?