Lokpal No Pal Of Mine...

Were you pissed off too with the way our esteemed MP”s conducted themselves in the Parliament? The way they made a mockery of the Lokpal bill? Here’s what Cacofonix, my guest blogger has to say about this farce…

Courtesy HindustanTimes.com
Give Anna some credit.  At least he got everyone in Parliament to attend Parliament, that too over the holiday week when most Parliamentarians have other pressing matters to attend to, like checking out Kiwi cultivation techniques in Phuket or how Santa’s kinky helpers dress up in Sin City.  So, here we were, proud citizens of India, glued to our television sets, fitfully watching our tax money spent in mind-numbing debate on the subject of the Lokpal Bill.  If you had high-definition TV, you could even count the number of ear hairs flailing in the wind as Lalu held his ground, hurling insult at retired cops and retired truck drivers who are holding the nation to ransom.  Or you could measure to the nearest millimeter the extent of venom-hardened tartar that dentists have to scrape out from Sushma Swaraj’s defiant dentifrice.  

Through several days of incessant coverage of the proceedings in the upper and lower houses, of the debates on TV and of the dwindling crowds at Team Anna’s venues, we got educated at great length on the finer points of the Lokpal Bill.   Is it introduced under Article 252 or 253?  What about section 24 of the Bill?  Maybe clauses 63 through 97 should be struck off.  I loved the drama and marveled at how such debates provide our lawmakers and party spokespersons the opportunity to take the attention of 1.2 billion people away from the basic premise that started it all – to have an effective law against corruption.

I think there will be many who feel disappointed at the way in which Anna Hazare’s movement panned out.  I have not agreed with his ways, his views, and the undue haste with which the public at large built a halo around him.  But the immense upside I have always acknowledged is that he managed to galvanize the nation on the one topic that drags us down everyday – rampant corruption across all levels of the administration.  There were millions out there in the first wave because they liked the refreshing absence of insincere politicians from the podiums.  It was truly a people’s movement and it energized the youth.  There was palpable hope and a groundswell of public anger against this social evil.  The optimist in me hoped that all this will finally start to make life difficult for the corrupt, even if the Lokpal Bill may not see light of day.  However, by changing tack – from being an apolitical movement to an overly political one targeted against the Congress ‘because they did not bring an effective bill’ – Team Anna has no idea of the huge constituency they have lost and let down.  Even while tactically calling off his fast at MMRDA grounds, Anna’s final answer was ‘Congress’, when TV reporters pointed out that all political parties have played their part in operation Kill Bill.  

Dirty politics has won once again.  All that muck, dug up by minions of the ministries and unwitting investigative journalists, worked.  Kiran Bedi travelling coach while billing business class for her NGO.  From the view point of wrongdoing, this is a mere peccadillo when you compare Praful Patel and his ilk buying coach and travelling business class, misusing taxpayer money.  Just an instance of where the contrasts show and why Team Anna’s political naiveté will not let them succeed in the electoral playground.

My view has always been this.  We are a nation of law-breakers.  Bringing in another law will give us one more law to break or circumvent.   The most corrupt in our society have this abiding faith that ‘the law will take its own course’ – which generally translates to getting away with even murder, with the occasional inconvenience of a few days spent in lavish luxury in jail under medical supervision.  It was inane of us to think that a roomful of law makers will make a law that will go against their very grain.  Nine out of ten politicians want to get elected for the pelf and the power and the red beacon on their cars.  At the height of the Anna sympathy wave, Yeddyurappa was at his brazen worst, playing caste politics and dictating terms to his tulsi-washed central leadership and hanging on like a leech to his position of influence.  The BJP ended up merely putting someone to keep the chair warm while Yeddy figures out a way to come back.  Why did Anna not go hammer-and-tongs at the BJP for this mockery?

It isn’t the law, it is the system.  That’s what has to change.  The system has to make greasing palms irrelevant.  There are enough success stories in sunrise sectors that prove it can happen in our country.  So, it is our policies and procedures that have to become transparent, leveraging modern technology and ushering in e-governance, so that you and I can go about living in dignity.  In my view, we cannot let the Wrong happen first.  And then try to contain the consequences through law.  It is as hypocritical as Mayawati Behen first employing a gallery of rogues as her ministers, and then upholding her morality card by sacking two of them every day over the last ten days.    

In our political playgrounds, it is rajniti, or rather kutniti that rules – instead of Nyaya.  Political expediency and diplomatic chicanery – instead of Justice.  They could have spared us the agony and torture of all those Parliamentary debates, all those barbs hurled at civil society, all those pompous expressions of misplaced indignation, all those vacuous and puerile objections, if in the end all they wanted was to scuttle the Bill – with 187 amendments.  

Election season ushers in next month.  Care to vote?  What choices do we have? 

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  1. As usual,a post that grabs your eyeballs from start to finish.

    //extent of venom-hardened tartar that dentists have to scrape out from Sushma Swaraj’s defiant dentifrice.//--:D :D

  2. Heh....I found this farce amusing. For one complete year, we were treated to the enactment of an Orwellian comedy.
    The symphony of democracy played hard and reached the peak of it's crescendo....we played the fool while the Parliamentarians played the fiddle.

  3. A very good read and that is all we can do ... write once in a while, but all landing on the deaf and mute system which we proudly claim as the biggest democratic parliamentary (dysfunctional) system.Let us hope for a better tomorrow!

  4. I agree that its the system that will have to change but the question is will these politicians let it change???

  5. Well written.. thr's hardly anything which we can do..:(

  6. it was bound to happen .. now the question is Will ANNA ji speak agains the BJP also ..

    there is more than the eye can see, I wish the KHADI wearing Dramatics Experts come out in open now and STOP taking the common man for a ride ..

    God knows when mangoe man will realise their folly ..


  7. I agree, Anna team is doing a great service but they should prove that they are really NON POLITICAL by opposing corrupt politicians from other parties as well, not congress alone.

  8. anna team is doing a correct job
    for more humour

  9. Cocofonix / Purba,

    Absolute correct picture. And again very implementable and much needed suggestions to kill this evil. But who will do it? It is foolish to expect our esteemed politicians to cut the hand which is their lifeline, mostly.

    Take care

  10. That day Parliament proceeding on DD1 lasted more than Jodha Akbar on local channel. I was stunned. Cable operator was traumatized. Someday someone will get hurt if such long debates on holidays continues, I tell you.

  11. Agreed that the system has to change... but the powers that be block every attempt to change it. What can the little guys like us do?

  12. The subject chosen is sombre enough to buckle the most proficient writer. But the post moves gracefully ahead, analyzing the choreographed collapse of the Lokpal in that desecrated dome of democracy. There are rib-tickling, if cynical, wafts of humour with references to ‘the ear hairs flailing in the wind’ and ‘venom-hardened tartar’ of our chosen ones. But by the time you come to the end, you would have stared in the face of several hard-hitting facts.

    Personally, I was never overwhelmed by Anna’s steep rise or the recent downward dip in his flight. But I do agree with the fact that his stoic fasting has managed to turn megatons of spotlight on the cancer that is threatening to kill this nation. And I whole-heartedly agree with the conclusion that ‘we are a nation of law-breakers’. Lokpal will eventually be just one more law to break, circumvent, misinterpret and abuse.
    The post is unique in that unlike many others who merely mock, curse or spew vitriol and walk away, a credible solution to the problem is offered. Yes, transparency is the key. But for the moment, the journey ahead appears dismal, dark, dangerous and probably doomed anyway.

    Lastly, the answer to the final question is akin to what I would choose when faced with the option of death by guillotine or gallows. I believe I would prefer the guillotine over the gallows as I think the former will bring the darkness swiftly, by which I mean when faced with impossible choices it is best to choose the least painful one.

  13. Cacofonix....Dirty politics has won again but Anna has surely shaken the dirty politicians....The movement has created awareness and a fear of people among the neta log.Very well articulated.


  15. A great post Cacophonix. You make some very relevant points about people's movement, Anna's team's miscalculations and our expectations of our politicians. I also feel that going only after Congress is a wrong move. We, in Bangalore, know how pervert and pervasive BJP's corruption is or for that matter every single party and politician strives for the gaddi for the loot they can wreak to fill their coffers. Frankly, I don't have an answer as to how to curb this overpowering menace of corruption because somewhere corruption is so endemic, so acceptable that all of us are untouched by it.

  16. Every Indian knew there was corruption in government but, to my mind, team Anna have done India and Indians a great service by explaining WHY individuals in the government got away with it. I believe IAC won’t give up. It would be a shame to waste the incredible energy of the past eight months. If you believe there is rampant corruption that affects the ordinary people of India, it is worth making the effort to remain visible, objecting to it, rather than being cynical and moving away. If you believe IAC’s attack on the Congress was politically motivated, challenge them directly. Don’t kill the anti-corruption aspect of the movement

  17. M am not a strong advocate of anna's methods and madness but yes we need to give this to the guy...he did galvanize the whole nation on the issue of corruption and the underlying seriousness of the issue...sadly it could not hold the initiall hoopla and the gr8 indian revolution fell flat as an apolitical intiative suddenly had political overtones!!gr8 post.......used to login blogger.com and always enjoyed reading your posts!keep up d gud work and happy new year lady...:)

  18. I think that democracy is self-healing..When democracy itself is effective there are no such laws reqd..but seeing how we have screwed up democracy itself!

  19. A perfectly argued and crafted post on the issue. The dwindling numbers in Mumbai are explained in India Today article which has revealed how the Maha govt had threatened arrested youth with being stuck with a criminal record for life. After that threat, which young person would come forward? If you have absolute power, you can get away with anything, but anything and challenge and crush anyone who dares to oppose you.

    But as KayEm says, keep the movement alive instead of sitting mum or being cynical with a 'I said so,' attitude.

  20. i awlays believe that things will change, it always has.but kudos to mr anna who atleast managed to get these MP's to debate.what happened later was beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

  21. @sharmila - I guess there is a dental connection somewhere
    @snow leopard - Nero would have liked your allusion
    @rahul - yes, India is described as a functional anarchy

  22. @purvi - many years ago, you had to go to agents, middlemen or touts if you wanted a train ticket without the inconvenience of sweating in a queue. Madhav Rao Scindia ushered in e-tickets and changed all that. That was a shift in our paradigm. Let us hope there will be more like him.
    @raghu - keep the subject alive
    @bikram - quaint one there on 'mango man'

  23. @ayyangar - if IAC rises consistently against corrupt election candidates, it will be yeoman service to our nation
    @jack - I suppose we could have influence groups take up issues in focus areas and force change. Some are going ahead and doing their bit in any case - like this enterprising gentleman of modest means in Bangalore who has set up a retail store sourcing directly from farmers, giving farmers a better price and eliminating the middleman. He didn't wait for FDI.
    @prateek - the next time, you can catch up with all 325 episodes or Mahabharat

  24. @umashankar - I blush my deepest purple at your compliments. Yes, the guillotine it is for us.
    @dark knight - keep the subject alive and confront it
    @alka - yes, Anna did manage to make them scurry for a while
    @dusk drizzle - yes, freedom above all else; laws are a hindrance

  25. @rachna - if darkness did not exist, how would we appreciate light? if the venal did not crawl the earth, how would we sing paeans to the angels?
    @KayEm - my apologies if I have inadvertently conveyed that I do not wish an anti-corruption movement to succeed. I have said that, regardless of the denouement of the Lokpal Bill, the IAC has created a groundswell
    @nivi - I will pass on your new year wishes to Purba

  26. @ana-treek - you know, maybe a generation later, there will be more people like us plunging into governance. Like Chhavi Rajawat going back to her village in Rajasthan.
    @zephyr - yes, let us all keep the subject alive. My cynicism was directed at the machinations, not the ideal of moral rectitude.
    @maniac.hunter - agree with you.

  27. Yes, like you said...the only good thing that perhaps came out of all this was the bringing together of the youth on such a mass scale of unity!

    alas they failed to mobilise it all and politics again prevailed over intentions and tensions!

    very crisp post!

  28. Team Anna wasn't tactful. People came, vented out their emotions and went home. To channelise them anna needed a strategy and the one they chose was disastrous. But politicians and their chutbhaiyyas galore, one can only watch and hope. Liked the piece a lot...

  29. change is the only thing that is constant ...

    we all talk .. we say a lot and we watch the play ..

    we talk about changing the system .. we forget we are the system, till the time we won't change none will change ..

    we don't need 1 anna to change the entire system , what we need is anna in each one of us to be the real system ..

    as i said ... change is the only thing that's constant .. governments will change system will change but we people will never change .. we will just talk and repent and cry!!!

    no offense meant !

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Yes, it's the system that has to change, and I wonder whether it would ever change.

    Missed a few of your recent posts due to my long Christmas vacation. Will read them all soon.

    Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year. May each day of this year be special and bring along many reasons to celebrate.

  32. there is a reason why you have over 1.2 lakh page views.. everytime you blog, your thoughts are well worded, well paced, and neatly streamlined to a conclusion. truly remarkable.
    n about lokpal, i am sure a lot of people feel the same way,including me; but your lawyerly way of putting the argument across wins hands down. kudos.

  33. What choices do we have?---is an apt conclusion. Yes, that is the basic tragedy. Either Congress alliance or BJP alliance. This situation must go. Alternative forces must emerge from people with alternative policies, not the third alternative with Lalus and Jayaas, who are equally corrupt and anti-people. It it such a too big a wish to be a reality?

  34. @suruchi of the exclamation marks - our angry young men and women will make our future better
    @manu - in a way, Anna's illness gives the team some breathing time to rethink strategy
    @rahul - no offence taken; if each of us strive, we can change bits of the system at a time
    @joshi, manan guju - i am a guest blogger
    @kadaparaghu - stopping criminals from getting elected is something we could try, by mobilising opinion and courage

  35. Hey Joshi...Hope you had a good one. Wishing you and your family a fulfilling new year.

    Manan...Thank you so much for the appreciation but this was a guest post by Cacofonix :)

  36. Purba, now I know what you meant by goodwill + guest post! You know how to do justice with your readers. I loved this post so much.

    We are a nation of law-breakers. Bringing in another law will give us one more law to break or circumvent. //

    This is what I have been trying to say through my posts as well however was ridiculed :D may be I didn't know how to articulate it with a neutral tone.

    Apologies for being so late on this post and thank you for introducing me to a brilliant blogger.

    Happy 2012 <3

  37. Cacofonix, please do share your blog link, I couldn't find one on your blogger profile.


  38. The gibberish debate with no effective conclusion is the order of the day. Anna is now in a dilemma which party to support. The ball in which he induced the kinetics has been jammed in logjam of De(mock)eracy...
    Well written, as usual..

  39. Hard hitting post and kudos to writer for that. The undercurrents I felt was that of an pessimist - that nothing can change the sordid slate of politics and politicians.
    Laws have a place for there own and preventive mechanisms and barriers their own.
    Rs 100 fine for jumping the signal will never change people behavior much though we all cry hoarse that its 'we' where corruption has to stop. A Rs 5000 equivalent fine in cities like Singapore & Dubai makes indians equally compliant.
    Having said that, there can never be an argument against your points of Anna loosing the equity plot of being non political.. their strategists got the trade offs wrong.
    That e-governance and transparent mechanisms will go long way in improving health of delivery of state is without doubt, but in the same spirit - will the benefactors bring changes which hit their position and means.
    On closing note, while you could argue that the drama played through the year by Anna and the politicans was wasteful, I would like to rather look at positive aspect of a far more involved and aware citizen and an opposition who gets thrashed because it inducts a tainted politician. Had we cried as much but for the year went by. Thats the gain in my humble opinion.

  40. @chintan: Glad you liked the post. I am rather infrequent when it comes to putting my rants on paper, not that I do not have a sunny side. Purba obliges me as her guest blogger, so feel free to trawl her blog to see my occasional piece.

    @amitaverse: Yes, De(mock)racy is an apt coinage

    @mayank: I have immense faith in our young to make the country better for future generations. Yes, the movement brought many people together. And, for a few weeks, the political class was outmanoeuvred. A larger number of pressure groups could be effective going forward, each focused in one area.

  41. Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to understand so much approximately this,like you wrote the guide in it or something.I believe that you can do with some % to force the message house a little bit,however other than that,this is magnificent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.
    love sms

  42. We need to change the system in order to have a better solution but the problem is will the politicians allow it? When they are in the position, corruption is always there priority.

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