Sunday, 5 June 2011

Breaking Babaji's Fast

The government, as represented by its ministers, has found an unusual method of creating a popular opposition--by not doing its job. The civil society agitations that have been in the news would have never occured had the government done its job--by controlling A. Raja and Suresh Kalmadi, making them accountable for their actions in office even as they worked on the rollout of the 2G spectrum and Commonwealth Games respectively. By not controlling these men, and then by refusing to react positively to the suggestion to bring black money stashed abroad back into India, the government gives the impression that, if not hand in glove with the corrupt, it is not exactly an administration that believes in punishing the guilty.
And then of course, there is the Lokpal Bill, which is necessary, to ensure that our legislators and bureaucrats remember they are accountable to the people. It appears that when in office, they tend to forget--they then act in the interests of their party, their castes, their family, their community, perhaps their constituents and states, but certainly not for "we, the people". And yes, the PM and the Chief Justice of India should be under its jurisdiction. The police force in each state, and the CBI in particular, should no longer be under the purview of the state or central governments--we have seen how everything to do with the police, from their recruitment to the cases they investigate, tends to get politicized or used to make populist points. It's now a given that, if a regional party makes a pact with the party at the centre to support its government in parliament, the various corruption and criminal cases registered against it by the CBI will be dropped. Our cops, from the constable to those working for the CBI, need to be armed and trained to deal with a wide variety of law and order problems--Maoist and fundamentalist terror; the activities of criminal networks in India and the various criminal acts committed by individuals, whether for personal gain or for the satisfaction of sociopathic desires. However, they are poorly paid and barely looked after by their political masters, who use them as goon squads to crush their opponents.
Baba Ramdev is only one man, as is Anna Hazare--as were Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. However, they are not alone--they voice the rage of the people against an elected government that has not been doing its job, either of managing its ministers (the compulsions of coalition government be damned!) or of preventing the siphoning off of public money whilst undertaking public works to glorify the nation. I am sure Dr. Manmohan Singh is an honest man (and so are they all, all honest men) but can they now stop behaving like a bunch of ostriches with their heads in the sand? It took many months and a loud outry against his non-performance to get Kalmadi and his corhorts into CBI custody, and again, it took a media storm to get Raja and Kanimozhi where they are today. So can this government not understand that the people are heartily sick of their excuses? We want a government that is honest, neither casteist nor communal and prepared to act swiftly to defend the people of this country, whether against terrorist threats, crime networks, corrupt netas or babus and piracy. Government spokespersons keep talking about how fast the economy is growing--but it is of no use to the aam aadmi, whom this government claims to represent, if the fruits of this growth are devoured by a corrupt elite. So get moving on the Lokpal Bill; get ready to stand up and be counted.

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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