Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Will you stand up and be counted?

Those with a vested interest in the status quo are trying every trick in the book to discredit the India Against Corruption movement. First, the principles were attacked. The movement is aimed at weakening and subverting Indian democracy, those leading the movement are contemptuous of the democratic processes and institutions, a fast-unto-death is no better than blackmail -----these and many other allegations were hurled by the so called intellectual class with a rapidity and ferocity that was quite stunning.

Simultaneously, there was an attempt to misconstrue the provisions of the draft Jan Lokpal bill, and to project the Jan Lokpal as a "supercop" which would have no oversight and would become a centre of unrivalled power and therefore a menace to democracy.

That all these arguments looked attractive but were false, baseless and factually incorrect soon became evident. It took only a  few right thinking people to present the facts in the right light for the hollowness of these arguments to be exposed. 

Then came the vicious attacks on the members of the Joint Drafting Committee. No attacks on the Government nominees, mind you, who no doubt are pure as the driven snow ! The targets of the vilification campaign were the representatives of civil society, as if they needed to be purged of even the hint of wrong doing before they could aspire to draft a law. Having vitiated the atmosphere, those responsible for all the venom then stepped forward and said rather sanctimoniously that the drafting of the LokPal bill was of the utmost importance and no controversy would be allowed to shift attention from the task at hand!

Now comes an attempt to confound matters by raising the bogey of the apparent conflict between the LokPal bill and the Judicial Accountability bill. It has suddenly been discovered by some politicians and highly respected former members of the higher judiciary that  judges need not be brought within the ambit of the LokPal. They say  the oversight mechanism proposed to be created through the Judicial Accountability bill will also be responsible for penalising corruption in the judiciary. I have only one question to ask those who have suddenly realised that the Judicial Accountability bill needs to be attended to on priority. Why was total silence being maintained so far? Was it because there was a hope that the people's movement against corruption would be prodded along to an untimely demise so that there would neither be the need for institutionalising the LokPal nor any urgency about putting in place an oversight mechanism for the judiciary?

The Joint Drafting Committe has met only once so far, a preliminary meeting where no substantive discussion took place probably. Between then and the second meeting on May 2nd, a fusillade has been let loose.More is yet to come, undoubtedly, from those whose conscience sleeps, whose love for the country is dead, who think and act for no one except their own selfish interest. Are we going to succumb, or will we brave the attack out and continue undaunted till the bill gets drafted, introduced and passed?

Will each one of us  step forward and be counted? Or will we continue to remain pre occupied with work and leisure, with earning more and spending more, with not a moment to spare for this our land? Will we pause for a moment, step back from the whirlwind of activity that engulfs us, and think about this country's future? A country ridden by corruption, where poverty, illiteracy, environmental degradation and deprivation of fundamental rights to some sections of society co - exist with untold wealth and privilige. Is this the legacy we wish our children to inherit? To build our futures, we plan meticulously, act assiduously, dream fondly. Are our futures not tied to the country's future? Can you and I live meaningful lives when chaos surrounds us?

Step forward, be counted in the people's movement against corruption. Sign up on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/IndiACor ) to express your support, visit the website ( http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/index.html ), make a call ( 02261550789 ), volunteer. Read the draft Lok Pal bill, discuss it, make suggestions. This is an unprecedented moment when citizens have an opportunity to directly participate in the making of a law that will have direct and immediate impact on their lives.  Act !

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