It's not just the folks at Nokia who are perplexed this week -- I am sure it's most of us who have been trying to make a semblance of logical sense out of the wildly disparate viewpoints and stances that have been on display over the Great Anna Imbroglio -- aided and abetted by a flailing media machine, somehow resulting in bringing large chunks of urban India out onto the streets.
I'm sure that each and every person or group involved in this has their cogent and valid reasons for their respective stands, but to a concerned citizen some of it is hard to fathom.
An old Gandhian social reformer steadfastly lies dying in Delhi -- should we not be trying to save him first? Or is a "fast unto death" only successful if the person dies?
How can a government be utterly deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of its people, and yet sit comfortably in power?
Of those out clamouring to bring down the aforementioned government, how many will actually vote in the next elections?
Will a Bill actually end corruption in a country where people are willing to stampede in a temple, litter everywhere, drive without concern for anyone and not extend even basic human courtesy to others?
How come so many Communists are against a Bill that is by nature "Of the people, by the people and for the people"?
How come Arvind Kejriwal wants to have nothing to do with any political party, and yet wants the Bill passed in parliament?
Hey, these aren't complaints -- I'm totally for the Anti-corruption campaign; I don't pay bribes, I pay my taxes and I am furiously passionate about my country. But there are so many factors at play here which nobody seems to even want to consider. For instance, with a population as large as ours, implementation of even the most basic of laws becomes a well-nigh impossible task. I have met several really committed civil servants who, despite their best intentions, have absolutely no way of completely covering the area under their jurisdiction during their tenure.
There are so many parts of our country where women and children are denied their basic rights, not by law, but by hidebound mores and chauvinistic, retrograde practices. It's easy to say that corruption is at the root of the lack of infrastructure in this country, but thats a rather trite and incomplete definition employed, I feel, to suit the current flavour of the moment. These issues have been there forever -- many of us have been working to amend them for years -- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's YLTP programs have empowered hundreds of so-called "educated unemployed" rural youth to become change agents and create self-sustaining economies in some of the poorest regions of India. And yet it seems like but a drop in the ocean -- there are over 700,000 villages in our country, and most of them lack basic literacy, leave alone a proper education. Conspiracy theories abound, naming everyone from Macaulay to Manmohan Singh as the sole reason for this backwardness and poverty, but at the end of the day it's high time we square up and acknowledge that we must start imparting a wholesome, value-based education to each and every citizen, an aptitude-based system which would enable and empower them to choose academia, trade, entrepreneurship, artisanship or employment as the need or choice may be. Then alone can we hope to truly nurture "the world's greatest democracy" into a people that not only know how to groom and choose their leaders, but also hold the power to force them to step down if they do not deliver.
On a lighter note, for all we know, the Anna issue is but a launchpad for the Congress' premeditated retirement plan, a scenario where they make an apparently shamefaced exit and go into hibernation, ostensibly to lick their wounds, but in reality to finally take time off to enjoy some of the thousands of crores that they have set aside for just such a time!
Sent from my iPad2