It is Now or Never. . .
Why were only Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal among the few singled out, for violating prohibitory orders, near the Prime Minister's residence? This singling out factor of a few individuals betrays a democratic system. If Section -144 was violated then many must have transgressed the laws. Picking and choosing a few people only is a proof of abject violation of the spirit of democracy or for that matter secularism. While the sessions judge had every right to say that he was only going by the laws of the land and by these laws those arrested can be granted bail, there were other people subverting the laws of the land.Simply choosing a select people who have been responsible for the tirade against corruption smacks of undemocratic, biased and even autocratic high handedness.
It’s a pity that even when we profess democracy in one breath in the country we also violate it in the most unbecoming manner. The movement against corruption in the country went to dizzy heights and although I do not agree with the way it was done and its maverick style I do believe that in democracy every individual has a right to speak on any issue of relevance to the society. In this case, it was anti-graft. Corruption as we know is malafide in every country and in this case, India is no exception. But corruption is so inviolate in this land that it is difficult to point out who exactly is corrupt. Even a poor man, a man with economic wants can be corrupt.
Ashish Nandy's recent statements which caused such uproar, regarding corruption among the minorities has to be seen in this context. Corruption in India is not only top down but also bottoms up! It is a vicious cycle that has eaten not only the vitals of the country, but it is perverse and inherent in the very soul and innards of the socio-political system. It is ironically difficult to get rid of and takes the shape of not only monetary forms but also emerges in things such as favourtism and nepotism as Nandy rightly pointed out. So when there is mass appeal and hysteria against it certain questions emerge, questions which are at once complex. But when leaders come to the fore front to show solidarity with an appeal which is actually of the masses, trying to coerce them or even placate them will not only not help but also make matters worse.
The arrest of these two leaders is effrontery to say the least. It is also crushing a democratic monolith, which simply put is that we will not tolerate any criticism or any protests. These are only treated as law and order problems and this is the danger. Recently the protests against the gang rape all over the country is a case in point where a democratic movement was not only attempted to be hushed up but also attempted to be crushed in a vitrolic manner, if the comments of a Member Of Parliament are anything to go by?
So my question is and I revert to it. Why only Kejriwal and Bhushan? Are they criminals? Are all the people who have protested against the murderous riot of corruption criminals? Our systems of justice and politics must answer this. It is now or never.
I reiterate that it is true that corruption is a much more vast issue than people cheating people for pecuniary benefits. But it has been embedded so strong in societies and people that it has become a national malaise. So is corruption in other avatars. Recently, illicit appointments of school teachers have been made in various states of the country. This is undoubtedly corruption but under handed corruption such as appointing favourites to posts and promotions is equally corrupt.
This however, leads to a vicious cycle. It is now or never.
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Ananya S Guha
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