Point 1: Parliament Supreme and therefore adopt Govt.’s version of the Lokpal Bill.
When a student gets a license to practice medicine through the award of an MBBS or MS or MD degree, he gets a license to serve people and not to kill them! Similarly when a citizen gets elected to Parliament, he gets the license to serve people of India and not to loot them or get them looted and get a share in the loot!
Wherefrom does the Parliament get its supremacy or power? The source of this is the people of the Nation. Fali Nariman, one of the top legal lights of India says: The ultimate supremacy is not with the Judiciary, not with the Parliament, not with the executive but with the Constitution. The Constitution itself says that the people of India have the ultimate power as the constitution itself starts with “ we, the people” much ahead of the word “Parliament”. So what is incumbent on any elected parliamentarian is to be in touch with people, and get a sense of their feel continuously over 5 years for which he is elected. Again getting elected does not and cannot mean that, once you get elected, you can do anything you want: in other words, getting elected and becoming a ruling party does not entitle one to transform a democracy to a 5 – year dictatorship. This is the blunder which Indira Gandhi did and learnt to her dismay and got for the Congress one of the worst defeats in its history, in the ensuing general election, as people did not want emergency. You, as a ruling party, cannot do what you want, against what people want, even in between elections. The power of the elected representatives comes with accountability – accountability to take care of the people for 5 years, and not themselves and their families for generations! Let us not forget that Indira Gandhi declared emergency the mid-night before Allahabad High Court was to dislodge her as MP and prime minister, thus she misused the power given to her by people for taking care of herself and her chair, against the people of India.
The present government in power is doing the same blunder, vis-à-vis Anna’s anti-corruption movement.
When Parliament itself is subservient to the people, parliamentarians are much more! Let no elected member forget, except at his own risk to continue in politics, that he is supposed to serve the people; he should not use his term to do disservice to them, and take care of himself and his family for generations to come. This is particularly true when quite a few politicians, including elected members of parliament are criminals and many more of them are corrupt! So parliament’s supremacy and, democracy and our hard-earned freedom is threatened by the elected members of today much more than by simple citizens like Anna Hazare and his anti corruption movement, as the present Government would want us to believe!
Party vs people:
In the process of our democracy evolving into a true, live democracy, putting the people on top of everything else, the next setback came when our politicians started thinking that obeying the party and its bosses is a higher priority than serving people, a concept that the president of a party is more “supreme” than the people of India. That is, our politicians thought that you must give plus to the party chief even if doing that means you are giving minus to people! Words such as Party High command were used with immunity. The High command can even over-rule people’s wishes! The High command selected the leader of the State legislators rather than the representatives, elected by the people, electing the leader of their choice! This almost became a norm of the day!! The people of India were observing their elected representatives meekly succumbing to the dictates of the High Command!
The same concept reached a stage whereby one individual came to be equated with India and the entire people of India. The slogan Indira is India was propagated so strongly that we remember this non-sensical statement even to-day with trepidation that no one, however great, will stoop to the level of equating one individual with this great country and its great people! The same led to a despair: Who after Nehru and who after Indira Gandhi? This is the biggest undermining of the caliber of the people of this great country. Shastri after Nehru and Vajpayee after Indira proved that the country is capable of churning out leaders of grit and caliber, equal to or greater than earlier leaders; these great leaders who followed, had their eyes and focus on the people rather than on their party only. This country can turn out leaders of caliber as easily as factories can churn out interchangeable parts of an automobile!
Even the Mahatma never thought so about himself. We never heard in his time or later that the Mahatma is India or India in Mahatma. Thank God his name did not rhyme with India! This is one point where Anna has striking similarities with the Mahatma. Though some people raised this slogan, his team members immediately clarified they themselves do not think so. Anna calls his movement people’s movement, and the success of this movement people’s success, not his, though the entire people of India call them Anna’s movement and Anna’s success. The mark of a true leader is his followers call him their leader but the leader himself thinks he is just one of them.
The parties started having the so-called spokespersons, a new class, which unfortunately started with the assumption that their role is only to protect whatever stand their party is taking – whether the stand is for or against the people! Now the stage has come that once a party spokesperson is called by any TV channel, the people switch off the TV, because they know what this person is going to say. In the meantime, these spokespersons went to such silly levels of defending their party and offending their opposition that they have lost all their individual credibility and their own political future is now at stake: examples: Digvijay singh, Manish Tiwari, Dr. Singhvi, Renuka Choudhury and also ministers like Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram so on. The credibility of people like Anthony, Pranab Mukherjee, who did not flank their intellectuality, technicality, knowledge of law and of Constitution, the procedure to be followed etc., have much more credibility with people- which is what matters ultimately. Even these people, sooner than later, may fall into the trap of Parliament supreme, party supreme syndrome.
The next degeneration came when a party in power took the opposition party as the focus: Watering down, criticizing the opposition, defeating the opposition whether in the floor of the House or outside became much more critically important than serving the people of the country. Even if the opposition is making a point purely to give plus to people, the ultimate source of power for both the opposition and the ruling party, the point was knocked out by such silly attacks on opposition, stooping down to personal allegations, citing silly technical and procedural points, both not having any relevance even to the issue being discussed. This matured into vindictive politics: Whether a politician does good or bad for people, instead of trying to find out from people, assuming that the opposition can do only bad to people! ( see what is happening to Anna’s anti-corruption movement). The common man, we, the people, were watching all this tamasha, watching even now this tamasha with reference to Anna. Victimization and humiliation of personalities of the civil society, vindictive attacks by all possible govt. controlled agencies on them, became a regularly used tool, thinking that the great common man of India will be fooled by the eloquence and the intellect of the people doing such things.
See what the government has done to date to Anna’s movement:
The Govt. ignores the first fast, loses, people of India go by what Anna says.
The congress party puts all its spokespersons and several of the ministers and ministries and institutions under its control on the job of personal witch- hunting of members of civil society, including Anna himself. After people listened to both sides, they decided to back Anna team and not the versions of the Congress party spokespersons, ministers and the so-called investigative agencies under Govt. control.
They even tried to divide and rule, the age-old British policy, Anna’s team, but this policy thoroughly flopped since nobody, in Anna’s team, had a personal agenda – which every politician in this country has!
The second time when Anna started his fast, the govt. thinks they can do the same thing that they did with Ramdev and arrest Anna. People of India across the world rose in protest, Govt. meekly puts the blame on the police commissioner of Delhi, ( Is this not undermining the institution meant to maintain law and order? The same people who say Anna’s team is undermining Parliament are undermining the law maintaining institution ). Mr Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram quote the scriptures to support the Govt. action and within hours of their speech, release Anna Hazare and this time putting the onus on the Magistrate!
Again the mindless people in the Govt. thought Anna will quietly leave the Jail where he was detained along with Kani Mozhi and A Raja, ( See the mindless choice of location, again!) heaving a sigh of relief that he has been released and his release will give Govt. the much needed breather! How naïve and mindless- once again!
Finally Anna leaves once the same mindless Govt, gives in to practically all conditions of Anna’s team.
Even Anna’s team is surprised at the response from the people.
In the meantime, the insensitive and totally blind govt. continues to prove that the Anna version of the anti-corruption bill is draconian, a demon that is a threat to Indian democracy etc. but they all fail to move the citizen of this great country. People from other walks of life come into the TV channels and put forward arguments against Anna’s method but not the goal of Anna’s movement! Their arguments are perceived by people as not having any content or substance. These people gave the impression that they may be motivated by Govt. to present such views. Like Mr Khairnar sent his image rocketing down by his appearance on Times Now and trying to tell that Anna himself has no locus-standi for fighting corruption! Can Mr Khainar suggest anyone better including himself?
Then there is what is called the third draft of the anti-corruption bill advanced by another set of people. Where were these people all these years and months? Do they feel they have missed the bus in serving the people, and now at least should get something out of what Anna has done by coming out with another draft? But see the awful timing, or lack of sense of timing, of the third draft: This is after Anna’s team categorically says it will accept only its draft.
But the people of India proved that they are wiser, may not be more intelligent, than such pseudo-intellectual, powerful and arrogant individuals. Examples:
Example 1: In spite of the vilification campaign against Modi, he won with a thumping majority and became again the chief minister of Gujarat, because the people of Gujarat, wanted him only. Just prior to the election where he got re-elected as the CM, part of BJP left BJP ( a kind of a revolt the senior most BJP politicians of the state, Mr Keshubhai Patel fielding his own selected candidates, many of whom were ex-MLA’s, Mr Modi was forced to field novices as his candidates, opposite to Kehubhai’s), the Congress party using vindictiveness (as has become usual now a days with this party, sadly) as a strategy, piled case upon case and propaganda upon propaganda on Modi and yet Modi came to power with a thumping majority. Also the Congress which made a propaganda with the aim of making Modi a political untouchable became practically extinct in Gujarat as proven by not just the assembly election results but also the panchayat elections in which 23 out of 25 went to Modi, and the congress chief of State had to quit, owning responsibility for the absolutely shameful defeat in the rural areas as well, which the Congress believes is its fortress.
Example 2: A CPM member of Parliament from Kerala, who said that following Modi’s development policy will help the people of Kerala (in other words gave plus to the people), was suspended by the CPM. In the next elections he fought against the CPM and won! I hope the same thing does not happen to Mr Praaveen aron Singh, a congress MP who has sent Anna team’s Jan Lok Pal bill to the standing committee!
Example 3: The degree to which DMK was rejected by the people of Tamil Nadu, and the extent of victory of AIDMK, surprised every one. The TV channel HT’s post-election survey predicting DMK coming back to power, went so wrong as to make everyone lose the little faith they already had in any post-poll surveys. Jayalalitha, during the last two years of her rule, turned her focus to the people and people focus worked.
Other examples: Nitish Kumar of Bihar and Gogoi of Assam are standing examples of the ultimate power of people in a democracy. As these people belong to different political parties, what can prove better that the people of India have started looking at individuals rather than parties- which is a very good sign for Indian democracy. These people came back to power –based only on one achievement – what they did to people, and everything else against them, including money power, corruption, false charges after false charges, powerful opposition parties, all failed, proving once again the obvious that in a democracy only the power of the people works.
Thus looking at people as the ultimate supreme authority and not the parliament seems to be the key for success. Also people as the ultimate supreme authority is good for the people at large and for the Nation as a whole.
2. Anna’s movement is destabilizing the country and the democratic institutions of the country.
A Congress spokesperson suggested the other day, that because USA came out with a supporting statement, there is something more than what meets the eye! The party immediately distanced itself with this statement, but of late the Congress strategy looks like: say something that the party wants to say through one of its numerous spokespersons and then, looking at the response, distance itself from the statement. This seems to be the latest tactic from the pseudo- intellectuals running the party today. USA itself clarified its statement, telling it is routine for them to support people movement for their rights anywhere in the world. But then USA supported strongly the nuclear agreement of India which was spearheaded by the Congress PM. Can we say the same thing that, in this agreement there is more than what meets the eye? CPM quit the coalition on the issue but still nothing happened to the government. This is because the people wanted that agreement and they did not raise a whisker on the agreement. Why the same Government is dilly-dallying on the most burning issue namely corruption of the people? Once people are with you, your Government cannot certainly fall. The same government which was certain that the govt. was doing good to the people of India on the nuclear issue and did handle the issue all so quickly, is resorting to all kinds of delay tactics for years when the issue is to fight against corruption? Why the govt. feels helpless and wants to have the support of one of the most corrupt of all parties namely the DMK, and dilly dallies? When the people support, the parties that are responsible for fall of such a government, even if the govt. actually falls, will be wiped out by the same people. Support from unexpected sources including the opposition, in its own interest, will ensure that such a govt. which is giving plus to the people, just does not fall, because if they make such a govt. fall, they know that they have to sit in opposition for ever, at best.
How can solving quickly the most burning current problem of the people at large destabilize the country?
Regarding democratic institutions getting destabilized: it is again based on the wrong notion that these institutions and their current occupants, are more supreme than the people who give the power to these institutions. I will like to quote again only Fali Nariman: “The ultimate supremacy is not with the Judiciary, not with the Parliament, not with the executive but with the Constitution. The Constitution itself says that the people of India have the ultimate power as it starts with “ we, the people” much ahead of the word Parliament”. And as we observed earlier, parliament’s supremacy and, democracy and our hard-earned freedom is threatened by the elected members of today much more than by simple citizens like Anna Hazare and his anti corruption movement, as the present Government would want us to believe! This means that 2G, CWG and the scores of other scams will not weaken our institutions and the country! Putting such parliamentarians under check through a strong Lok Pal bill is far better than letting them scot-free, as has been the case for 64 years of our independence. Thus all democratic institutions will get strengthened and not weakened by Anna’s movement.
There is this argument by our government that Anna’s movement will set a wrong precedent, in that a group of people may blackmail the parliament or prime minister through a movement such as Anna’s, to get anything done by govt. This is the argument coming from people who are intellectuals and professionals- particularly lawyers – who seem to be obsessed with precedence, because of the nature of their profession! Do these people honestly think that an issue, unless it is a burning issue left unresolved for years by powers that be, because leaving the issue unresolved serves their own purpose, can awoke a response like the one Anna’s movement has done - huge, massive, across the country, without any boundaries of caste, creed, religion, language, party affiliation and most of all, completely non-violent? Even the same issue, viz., corruption did not arouse as much a response for Ramdevji when he was arrested, as the arrest of Anna. Why? All the above factors combined with yet another very powerful factor namely simplicity of the individual leading the movement and almost a fakir, economically. If all of these are present in any other issue, a movement like Anna’s sets a right and not a wrong precedent. So how many such precedences can occur in future, realistically speaking? The precedent issue is only in the minds of a few people who do not want to solve the problem of people or who do not understand the power of the combination of above factors in moving the people. And when people move as a mass, spontaneously and in a non-violent way, no power on earth can blunt it, leave alone stop it. It is far more wise to sort out the problem, even by succumbing to the “arm-twisting” or “black-mailing” as may be called by pseudo- and arm-chair intellectuals, who are in the hunt for excuses for not going ahead and doing something about the issue in question, who use their intellect to postpone the solution by giving so many different intellectual, technical and procedural excuses and who say this is destabilizing the democratic institutions in the country.
Leader vs non-leader:
A mass leader takes up an issue for fight, which is affecting the vast majority of masses in the country, not just any issue. We have not had one like Mahatma Gandhi after him, since independence: Just now it is Anna Hazare who has picked up an issue that affects daily vast majority of people in the country.
How do you find whether you have taken up an issue that affects the vast majority of the country? By the response from the masses. The response has two dimensions, one quantitative and the other qualitative.
The quantitative aspect represents the no. of people protesting: There was no issue in post-independent India which has had the no. of people protesting as in the issue of corruption. This means the issue of corruption touches every day life of vast majority of people. The logic that 5 people of civil society do not represent the people of India is an escapism and shows complete lack of sensitivity and blindness to the problem faced by Indians for so long. This separates the masses from the people who are making such statements. A sample does represent the whole within certain confidence limits, this is the scientific sampling principle that is followed by many disciplines to prove or disprove something or to get a trend. And the sample is visibly larger than most surveys in any field of investigation. The geographic spread from which the response comes is also an indicator of the quantity dimension of the response, in the sense the issue is not confined to any narrow locality or region.
The qualitative aspect represents spontaneity, emotional and not just rational, out of proportion response to a rational mind, across the country, without any boundaries of region, caste, creed, religion, language, party affiliation and most of all, completely non-violent. Even the same issue, viz., corruption did not arouse as much a response for Ramdevji when he was arrested, as the arrest of Anna. Why? All the above factors combined with yet another very powerful factor namely simplicity of the individual leading the movement and almost a fakir, economically. If all of these are present in the response to any other issue, we say the issue is qualitatively a mass-issue, an issue that touches the daily life of the majority of people.
When quantitatively and qualitatively, the response from the people satisfies the above parameters, we have to understand the issue is the most burning current issue of the people. Those who cannot perceive this, are blind intellectually and emotionally. They forget they are there to serve the people first and any other thing next. The simile is a house on fire: That is not the time when you plan (for 3 months minimum!) how to put out the fire! The fire is not going to wait but only will spread far and wide, making putting out the fire impossible, when you are ready to put out the fire! An issue which has raised such a quantitative and qualitative response just cannot wait: Remember Nero? No amount of technical, procedural, logical explanations, as to why solution of the such an issue will take 3 to 4 months will help! People who ask for time in such a situation are non-leaders, to say the least. The ruling party, all its spokespersons, all ministers and parliamentarians who are asking for time to solve the problem and justifying it because of parliamentary procedures etc. are missing the point of effective leadership. The time is NOW- to pull up the socks, tighten their belts and make it happen fastest. When there is a will, there is a way! The current attitude only proves the point that there is no will to fight corruption. In such a situation, mother-hood statements coming from the PM- like how we want a strong Lok pal bill, how we disagree only with the method of going about etc. as also statements from the standing committee chairman, Mr Singvi, that it will take only 3 months to see the passage of the bill in the parliament etc. sound totally hollow and there are no takers for these. And when people move as a mass, spontaneously and in a non-violent way, no power on earth can blunt it, leave alone stop it. To sort out the problem quickly is far more wise, even by succumbing to the “arm-twisting” or “black-mailing” as may be called by pseudo- and arm-chair intellectuals, who are in the hunt for excuses for not going ahead and doing something about the issue in question, who use their intellect to postpone the solution by giving so many different intellectual, technical and procedural excuses for justifying their continued inaction.
On both the counts of quantitative and qualitative response Anna has proved that he has the innate knack of picking up the right issue at the right time, that only a mass leader has.
All isms in the world rose when the above conditions for an issue were satisfied; the same isms, including communism, fell out of favour with the people when even one parameters out of above became no more valid.
The Government to-date has done nothing except stalling the tabling of the bill in Parliament, taking recourse exclusively to the silly, technical, procedural issues even after seeing that the common man across India wants to take up this bill on a top-priority, urgent basis in Parliament!
I read an article by Ms. Arundhati Roy in today’s Hindu ( 22-08-11).The entire article is just a verbal diarrhea! Why communism failed and fell like a pack of cards across the East – European Nations? Why it fell flat in West Bengal? What they have to say about the arms and ammunition excavated from so many places in West Bengal after they lost power after a 20-year tenure? Is it something like bullet if you do not vote CPM, something similar to cash for vote? She complains about the TV channels focusing on Anna. Good channels know that they are serving the people of this country and how can they keep quiet when such a mass, spontaneous movement is going on? So when you take up the right issue to fight for, you need not have to call the press, they will be there! All the points raised by Ms Arundhati Roy her article in the Hindu are answered because one or the other of the above factors cease to exist any more. The various issues for which people are fasting, that Arundhati Roy so meticulously lists, do not have one or the other of the above factors and therefore they have not touched the chord that the issue of corruption has struck. The issues should not be what an individual like Arundhati Roy thinks should be the issues, but what people think is the issue.
All these people fail to perceive what can be called a revolution of the type that Anna has unleashed and has become the mass-leader of the Nation after only Mahatma Gandhi.
Other objections by people to Anna’s movement:
“Anna dictates to govt and particularly on deadlines”- 42 years of inaction by every body concerned – all political parties, civil societies, NGO’s etc . they should magnanimously accept their failure to pick the most burning problem of people.
“ Parliamentary procedures have to be followed”-Procedures are meant to help institutions function and not to delay delivery of justice to people or solve people’s most burning current problem.
Impact of Anna’s movement on Indian democracy:
- People are supreme in any democracy, not the Parliament, not the Judiciary nor the Executive.
- Getting elected and becoming a ruling party does not entitle you to transform a democracy to a 5 – year dictatorship. Any elected representative is to be in touch with people, and get a sense of their feel continuously over 5 years for which he is elected, and not go them once in 5 years to get votes only.
- No party, however great and whatever its history, is greater than the people of India; no individual is India and India is not certainly just one individual, however great.
- People of India have of late proved that they are wiser than most of the politicians, who think the people can be taken for granted and fooled once they are in power: The usual clichés such as the USA, RSS, BJP, communal elements, religious considerations are behind any popular movement even in between elections, have no effect on the people any more.
- When an issue raises a huge, massive, spontaneous, emotional response across the country, without any boundaries of caste, creed, religion, language, party affiliation, region and most of all, completely non-violent, led by a simple person who has no axe to grind, the ruling party should recognize this as a mass movement and respond as if the country is in fire rather than finding technical, procedural, logical reasons for delaying the solution of the issue. What is needed to be exercised is leadership and not any professional ( legal or economic) expertise. Probably the Indian citizen is learning that it is not enough if he has a world-famous economist as his PM, famous advocates in the cabinet and the ruling party. What is better is to have a leader of the masses who moves fast and get the needed expertise from the best in the country, to solve the most burning current issue of the masses fast, rather than he himself possessing the required expertise!
Because of the above factors, Anna’s movement is not setting a wrong precedent as the ruling party would want us to believe, but a right one. The greatest achievement of Anna’s movement is questioning the arrogance of the elected representatives and inaction on the issues faced by masses even between two consecutive elections.
So the Indian democracy gets more mature, more vibrant, more responsive, at the same time being the world’s largest democracy. For this singular achievement, Anna deserves the highest award that this Nation can offer to any of its citizens, as thanks giving.