N.S.Venkataraman for BeyondHeadlines
There is considerable concern and anger about the prevailing level of corruption in India at every level. However, the fact remains that resistance to corruption is abysmally low. It appears that many citizens in the country are having a role either as a bribe giver or a bribe taker willingly or unwillingly at one time or the other. Very rarely we come across instances of people refusing to be part of corruption process and who would be willing to make the necessary sacrifices or undergo the sufferings in standing up to the demand of the corrupt forces. There may be some people who show such great qualities to resist corruption but they are rarely highlighted by the media and in any case they seem to be miniscule segment of the population.
It is sad that Anna Hazare’s anti corruption movement lost its steam after its promising start. Anna Hazare’s movement failed to take off mainly due to the excessive stress on Lokpal Bill , while many people concerned about corruption thought that the existing laws are adequate and what is required is the need to build very strong anti corruption sentiments amongst people at every level. Efforts should have been addressed to reform the minds and hearts of the people of the country, so that anyone found to be involved in corrupt dealings would be looked upon by the society like a drunkard or a molestor. Further, Anna Hazare’a movement had several participants or supporters who themselves are suspected to be involved in corruption and tax evasion at one time or the other. In the circumstances, the movement did not take off and this fate for the movement was predicted by several people earlier.
Certainly , Indian voters would reject those who resort to lawlessness in the name of fighting for the law. People would certainly expect that those who fight against the law breakers should be lawful. A hate movement practiced by Kejriwal is no substitute for a constructive anti corruption movement. All said and done, the average Indian citizen is always able to read in between the lines and distinguish between the good and the bad. This is the reason that many governments have been changed after the elections , showing the maturity of the average voter in showing the door to the dishonest rulers.
While tapering of Anna Hazare’s movement is a sad development, many today think that the tapering of Kejriwal’s present hate movement would be good and positive development for the country. . Wild allegations made during the street protests giving no scope for scrutiny by due process of law will only contribute to make the scenario more murky , creating a free for all situation.
Today, Kejriwal is getting huge visual media attention , due to his demonstrative form of protests. Obviously, for privately owned visual media today, the focus is on scenes of demonstration, violence, shooting, rape and molestation and Kejriwal’s method suits them well. Kejriwal and his associates will be doing a big mistake , if they would think that huge media publicity would take them forward , which is unlikely. Kejrwal’s selective targeting of some people whom he considers to be corrupt will lose its “charm” for the media , when he would do it too frequently, just like Anna Hazare’s fast lost its ”charm” when it was repeated too frequently.
The chances of anti corruption movement succeeding in India would become really great ,if the campaign against corruption would be carried out in a sustained manner, utilizing the due process of law and encouraging the common man at every level to resist corruption and urging the people to utilize Right to Information Act much more. Those individuals and institutions who resist corruption should be applauded and highlighted in every possible way. The country desperately needs constructive anti corruption movement and only such constructive protests supported by well investigated and logical arguments and resorting to the due process of law, would stand the test of time.
A few hundreds of people joining the protest along with Kejriwal can only result in making lot of noise without results and in the process causing. confusion and exasperation amongst the people who want to fight against corruption. Such methods of making vague charges in public will make a mockery of law and regulations. It is possible that someone may bring out equally vague corrupt charges against those activists , who cannot then complain.
People recognize that there are corrupt forces not only amongst the politicians, bureaucrats and government employees but also in private establishments big and small and amongst the non-governmental organizations and social activists. Kejriwal’s protests would do more harm than good to the anti corruption movement in the country by shifting the focus to select individuals giving to suspicion that he is settling scores for whatever reasons. On the other hand, the anti corruption movement would become credible if it would be targeted against all corrupt people irrespective of the positions and parties they belong to.
Mahatma Gandhi said that a man of truth should also be a man of care. Kejriwal and his associates should also be transparent and clearly explain in the public domain as to how his demonstrations are funded and everyone knows that without lakhs of rupees of “investment”, such demonstrations can not be organized in India today.
It would be appropriate if Kejriwal would constitute a scrutiny committee of eminent retired judges to whom his day today income expenditure statements should be presented and which should also be in the public domain.
(N.S.Venkataraman is a Chemical Engineer from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu and Director of Nandini Consultancy Centre. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)