Using System vs. Abusing System!

Lesson for Team Anna

The war against corruption and for good governance needs to be fought relentlessly. But how should one go about it? Mr. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev launched their respective movements. Both leaders went on indefinite fasts. Both leaders created drama, publicity and controversy. Public revulsion against corruption was at its peak when their movements were launched. Both leaders aroused great hope. Both leaders attracted enormous media attention. They brought thousands to the street. But at the end of it all what did either leader tangibly achieve?

In fact the antics of both leaders diverted attention from several ongoing corruption cases. Mr. Anna Hazare concentrated public attention on the suitable provisions required for a proposed Jan Lokpal Bill. Baba Ramdev focused on the unexceptionable demand that money illegally stashed abroad should be brought back into the country. Neither leader made the slightest headway in actually fighting corruption or achieving their respective goals. Both leaders were inspired by the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi. But Gandhi struggled for independence. He was fighting alien rule under laws made by an alien power. He was fighting the system, not reforming it. Today India is independent. It has its own Constitution and laws made by representatives elected by the people. Law is a weapon that can be used by citizens to redress grievances.    

Contrast the performance of Mr. Hazare and Baba Ramdev with what has been achieved by Mr. Subramaniam Swamy, Mr. Ram Jethmalani and Mr. Prashant Bhushan. Mr. Swamy by relentlessly pursuing corruption cases in courts has achieved much more than what Mr. Hazare could. Mr. Jethmalani by using the courts and parliament has done more to expose the government’s chicanery related to protecting those guilty of illegally depositing money abroad than what all the antics of Baba Ramdev could. Most significantly, Mr. Prashant Bhushan who expended considerable time and energy on Mr. Hazare’s movement with no visible success achieved a historic victory against corruption by following his vocation as a distinguished lawyer and getting a court verdict that cancelled 122 Spectrum licenses issued fraudulently by the government.

Members of Team Anna complain that the political class consists of unresponsive and corrupt leaders. Therefore laws and the system need to be changed in order to help people redress grievances. They are wrong. They are being escapist. If the political class is inadequate it should be replaced.

It is not the Constitution and laws that need to be replaced. In fact the Constitution needs to be followed much more rigorously than is being done. Laws need to be observed much more diligently than are being done. The Constitution offers opportunity to all citizens to elect the kind of rulers that they seek. If none such exist among politicians already in the field the Constitution provides to all citizens the freedom of expression and the freedom of association to form their own political party and replace through legitimate election those who rule them.

That is the one honest solution to the problems of bad governance and corruption that confront the nation. However that is the obvious option that members of Team Anna and others who seek to combat the current crisis refuse to seize. Are they being honest with themselves or are they simply rationalizing their lack of courage?    


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3364      Comments: 3

Comment There is another angle to view the outcomes:

Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare fought (and will fight) against the virtual system of corrupt. They do not have a system to fight form within.

For instance, Baba Ramdev can not go to supreme court and complain that there are Indian black monies stashed abroad and declare it illegal. Because the corrupt politicians have not created such a law using which someone can go to court to file a complaint.

Anna Hazare can no go to court and complain that there is no Lokpal so direct govt to create one.

Further, everyone knows the limitations of fighting within the system. Indeed Mr. Swamy and co. have done a great job, a great service to the country, hats off to them.

But, are their efforts going to bring a permanent change in positive direction ? I fear - NO. It is because the corrupt politicians are so corrupt and have corrupted all branches of democracy so much, that they will first find a escape rout and then create a law to legalize that escape rout.

It is only when Public routs out these corrupt politicians that a real change should be expected.

And notice what - Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare have done a great job in this direction. Their movements have created public awareness (although, media is trying hard to discount their efforts). Such a public awareness may bring a change through elections.

Had Lokpal came and if Black money gets declared illegal and their holders are publicly names, it will further do the same - compel public to throw out corrupts (rather, ultra corrupts first, as everyone is corrupt but what is needed is to remove corrupt+anti-national first and immediately in national interest).

Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare are needed to do what they did and even in more effective way.

Gandhian tactic 'Anshan' was followed in independent India for a few decades post independence - all for good causes and within the system. It is recently rediscovered.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
05-Feb-2012 14:17 PM

Comment Please note that Dr. Swamy, Sw. Ramdev and , to a lesser extent, Anna, complement each other.
Dr. Swamy has said very clearly that the grassroots movement of Sw. Ramdev concerning swadeshi, re-writing and popularizing correct Indian history, exposing the havoc wrought by MNCs in healthcare,medicine, food etc, is critical for the overall movement in Indian culture, tradition and pride.
Therefore, Dr. Swami's success in the courts is because of the social pressure directly exerted by Sw. Ramdev. and Anna. Please note that Ram Jethmalani attended and praised the efforts of Sw. Ramdev.
The major thorn in the rotten, criminal UPA is Sw. Ramdev because (1) he is genuine (2) he has his own vast resources (3) he has a vast, ever growing audience (4) he is incredibly tenacious (5) he has his own direct sources of research and information. (6) He doesn't have/ doesn't need a coterie like Anna to prop him up.

04-Feb-2012 04:53 AM

Comment Sir, courage is a rare commodity in today's materialistic and permissive society, even among the Supreme Court/High Court judges. We got the judgement you referred to because today the Supreme Court is headed by a very upright and courageous judge. So the moral of the story is as enunciated in the Geeta "Yat yat aacharatey shreshtah, tat tat eva itarah janah" meaning that the aam aadmi or the people at the lower levels follow the examples set by the people at high positions.Today's leaders cannot punish the corrupt because they themselves are morally compromised.

04-Feb-2012 03:15 AM

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.