When I thought Anna Hazare was on the edge of absurdity, there came the Government of India, swinging its bag of colloquy, diving into an arbitrary negotiation and ending the constitutional modus operandi. Kapil Sibal indulging into ‘talks’ with Hazare’s accomplices and struggling to find consensus goes on to prove how the ‘elected representatives’ of the government itself are no more a believer in the system of the law than the ‘outraged’ citizenry who have no idea what the Jan Lokpal Bill is all about (except that it meets anti-corruption demands, perhaps). Governance and public administration has never seen such shades of cringe worthy precedence; fitting in ease to be held ransom by a galore of activists and weakening the entire concept of central authority and legislature.
However, amidst all this inanity, it is to be noted that the necessity of stronger laws and modified institutions is a top priority. Stringent action towards the process of administrative bridling is an urgent concern. Corruption and lack of appropriate preventive measures are eating into a system which should have enough credibility to shoulder a nation of 1.2 billion. Albeit, baiting the proposition of self-governance and direct democracy is not going to solve the issue of corruption. It will, moreover, create unwanted lawlessness and land in the stagnancy of subordination. As is already observed – the civil society wanting Anna Hazare to be granted undeviated access and power in the Lokpal panel confirms the naïveté with which the ‘people power’ justifies the remedy of a crisis already causing much struggle in the bureaucratic chain.
Their demand is mostly inspired by the notion called ideological illusion. Trying to create a parallel between Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and that of inserting puritan reforms confirms the misguided principles with which the aam janta is led today.
The Greeks tried to create a pure democracy and the results were disastrous. The Athenians basically undermined the government organised under Hercules and set the stage for their own defeat and conquest in so doing. I can see the same process taking shape here in India and quite frankly it frightens me. The real problem is that many (or most) people think that India is a democracy when it isn’t. India is a democratically elected republic based upon law and the constitution. That’s a far cry from a democracy.
Lending sovereign ears to the civil society and holding accounts of liability is the foremost task of a reasonable government – a democratic republic – but not at the cost of annihilating the power structure and aligning with a subsidiary whose knowledge of the inside-system is as good as the ones outside it. As Shashi Tharoor replied to one of his twitter followers on the Anna Hazare brouhaha – “then elect different ones (political representatives). But till you do, elected MPs represent the people. It’s undemocratic for the unelected to impose their views.”
A democracy as deduced by the populace who, all for active activism aiming to infiltrate into a course called governance, are presuming that a majority decision will be fair. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who observed that Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. And mistakenly so, the entire concept of administration is falling apart courtesy footloose activist thriving largely on polity, a nation’s mass hodgepodging the very ideas of jingoism and rationality and the oblivious government shambling through its log of scams and unattended primacy.
Written for IBNLive