Anna Hazare demanded for formation of a joint committee for appointment of Jan Lokpal (People Ombudsman). Government has agreed to the demand and made a notification forming a committee for deciding the Lokpal Bill. And people of this ‘unfortunate’ country have started celebration to the extent as if corruption is eradicated from the country. As if all dishonest politicians and bureaucrats are punished. Are we really so innocent or are we fools? People of this country have always, from ancient times, waited for some superman to come and remove all the evils. (Our ancient epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat have also same stories where the “ bechhari-janata(poor people)” was saved from all the evils by some “heros” like Ram and Krushn). Perhaps they have seen their ‘suparman’ in Anna. Poor folk.
The history of independent India has witnessed that such independent entities have not performed well. CBI, EC(election commission) and VC (vigilance commission) are examples of such authorities. These institutions are given immense powers and independence (at least on paper) to perform without any fear or interference of governments. But the track record of these authorities is far from satisfactory.
CBI, the highest investigating agency has always remain a handy tool for the ruling party to use against the opposition or for own benefits. The working of CBI has always remained doubtful because in many cases the flow of investigation kept changing with the change of power in the center. Bofors is one of the best examples of such so called investigations.
Election commission is such another entity having vast powers. However, during sixty years of its existence, only during the tenure of Sh Sheshan, electoral reforms have taken place. People were made aware of rules and regulations need to be followed by the contestants. But after Sh Sheshan has gone, no further reform took place. Not a single politician has been given exemplary punishment for breach of election regulations.
Until the Tomas issue came out, very few have heard anything about the Vigilance Commission(VC). The reason is this institution has done nothing remarkable ever. Looking to the magnitude of corruption in the country, perhaps this authority has maximum opportunity to show its performance. But this authority has just past its tenure and enjoyed facilities available at the cost of the money of the exchequers.
The basic reason of total failure of such agencies is that the posting of top-brass of these agencies is still in the hand of the government, directly or indirectly. Due care is always taken by the authority to put ‘right’ person at right place in such agencies. Mostly the persons retired from government jobs, and have track-record ‘suitable’ to the ruling party, are placed in such agencies. (Thomas was just befitting the post of CVC for this government.) For such persons the hefty pay-packet and other perks are extra benefits in addition to the pensions. They just pass their tenure peacefully without annoying their ‘aakaas(masters)’ in power to ensure extension or such another posting. No question of performance comes at all. This system need to be changed. (Our constitution does not allow to express anything against the President of India, otherwise lot can be said about election(!) of some of our presidents, also.)
In light of this situation, appointment of a Lokpal will not make much difference. On one hand some of the demands of Anna Hazare are not fair and tenable. His demand for giving full authorities to the Lokpal for receiving complaints, investigating and punishing the culprit is dangerous if fell in hand of some unscrupulous person. Remember, the Lokpal will be a human being after all and that too appointed by the ruling government. Process may whatever be, our experience is that the ruling party in this country can influence any posting, appointment and even election. On the other hand, again the person posted on this post will ensure that he/she get another term or another such assignment from the government for a peaceful and prosperous retired life. This will definitely affect the performance of the Lokpal.
It is not that nothing can be done to remove corruption from this country. But for that every one should have to start from the scratch. Gandhijee has said “Be The Change You Want To See”. How many of us have got a driving license without paying bribe or using influence? We pay donations to get admissions in any good school, teaching our children that this the way of getting work done. We are not ready to follow even simple traffic rules made for our own safety, leave alone thinking about the safety of others. Instead of asking for our rights, we always trying to find out short cuts to get our work done. We elect criminals and send them in parliaments and then blame the system. No Lokpal can do anything unless we are ready to fight against the corrupt and dishonest politicians/bureaucrats. Instead of searching ‘super/spiderman’ in Anna or some other person, it is better to be a ‘man’ ourselves. If most of us, if not everyone, will become a man/woman and fight for his/her lawful rights as a human being, we do not need any Lokpal.
Unfortunately the situation is totally different. Economic crime has become a status symbol. The definition of good character is reduced to sexual relations only. ( Refer to Loose Character.... in this Blog). Instead of social boycott of corrupt politicians, this lot gets more and more supporters. If we want to remove corruption, the simple way is to stop giving bribe. If most of us will refuse to give bribe, the person asking for bribe will have to change his/her mentality. Instead of voting for any party, we need to cast our vote in favour of the least culprit available in the list. A coalition of honest persons is far better then an absolute majority of criminals in parliament. If we do so, the political parties will have to rethink about selecting their candidates.
So don’t wait for Lokpal or any other ‘superman’. Such heroes exist in stories and movies only. In real life you are the hero/heroine of your life. Prove it.