Loko-Phobia!

There are for and against opinions on both sides of the Lokpalic Divide. Some like it hot, some like it cold and others not at all. Preferences are subjective and situational. Are you the-Effected or the-Affected? We always love to hit hard but try to soften the blows coming at us.

Let’s visit the situation room of those Effected by the Big-Bill. The room is full of grim looking individuals who look as if their vacation is over. Incidently, the crowd has politicians from all hue and color. At the back-end, politicians do not like beign identified with ideologies or agenda. They all have one Mantra. Make hay while luck shines.

To become a politician is not easy. To stop a politician is also not easy. At the highest level, politicians are adept to steal a Cloud from a Thunder. Commoners can keep thundering while the Cloud drops profitable rain on political turfs.

Today is a bit different. Their bales of hay is threatened. They are all in a huddle. Hell hath no fury like politicians cornered. They are brainstorming how to Kill-the-Bill or Bell-the-Bill. Politicians have escape routes from all known threats. They build that into their Bills. Now the Big-Bill is not “Their Bill”.

For Lokpal to beat the odds and come out trumps will be a mind-game. Jan Lokpal has challenged the skill-set of our politicians. The strength of the opposition indicates the level of destruction this bill can bring. Jan Lokpal is drafted with range and depth. It encroaches all levels. It’s like a fully loaded smart phone. Lokpal might not exercise all its options, still it has the potential to do so. And what possesses potential can go kinetic anyday.

Politicians are only Dwar-Pals (Gate Keepers). They want Lokpal to skim the surface. Because, below the Political Level, there are innumerable institutions, a plethora of entrenched bureaucracy. A kind of Inner-World. It’s like Termites forming complex networks which can beat Western Union Money Transfer. You see, most of the fight in political circles is to safe-guard this pipe-line. Once breached, everyone has to surface.

I can see the onset of a new fear called Loko-Phobia – Fear of Lokpal. It will affect not only the politicians but also our behemoth bureaucracy. In fact, Lokpal will affect bureaucracy more than the politicians. A veteran politician leaves no fingerprints. The same cannot be said of our babus who play with paper. And Lokpalis are expert with paper.

Lokpal will suffer a difficult birth of a problem child. It’s not a premature birth but a complex delivery of a mother already near menopause. Our neglected system has developed plaque. To cure we require drilling to its depth. Simple brushing won’t help.

Lokpal and Gandhi

This has happened before. Started by Gandhi, followed by Martin Luther King, Lech Wałęsa and Nelson Mendela. The means adopted were similar, Non-conformance through Non-Violence.

I had written on Lokpal when the crusade had started. Now I feel to re-visit the theme.

We will start with someone who started it all. No it’s not Gandhi. It is Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). He published an Essay – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. This crisp piece has radical thoughts backed by some logic. Gandhi was impressed and he wrote a synopsis in his Newspaper “The Indian Opinion” and started his own Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930.

We are quick to jump here and add that – well, the British were Foreign Powers. Agreed, we had the rights to reject British Laws. But, did we reject British Laws? Till date our Justice System are descendent from the British. Or are we missing the point.

Gandhi, a lawyer himself, knew that the law must prevail but not unjust laws. Now, who is supposed to decide if the Laws are Just or Un-Just. A common fervor flowing in this country today is – the Parliament must decide. Yes, The Parliament must decide. Even Gandhi would agree. Because Gandhi did this. How? Let me explain.

Gandhi’s focus was Independence – Self Rule. And he used every “trick in the political trade” to achieve that aim. His “Civil Disobedience” was more towards rallying his crowd. Gandhi did many more things to arouse mass support. He made “Salt”, burnt “laundry”, went on “Crash Dieting”. Also he cleaned “latrines” and roamed around “half naked”.

Imagine you are living in Gandhi’s times and you see Gandhi doing all of these tamashas. Won’t you think he is crazy. I would. But, finally we got what we (He) wanted – Independence. The word (He) in parentheses is important. Gandhi kept his intentions within parentheses.

Gandhi, through his crusades, was actually targeting the British Parliament and influencing their Poll Arithmetic. Gandhi made many good friends but his best friend were the British Electorate. Slowly and subtly, Gandhi was influencing the area which mattered most. Such is the beauty of this Person.

Winston Churcill, the hero of the Second World war and the “enemy” of Indian Independence, was wiped out of power in the General Election just after the War. The New British Government introduced the The Indian Independence Bill in the Parliament which soon became an Act. And Gandhi had the last laugh, so to say.

So, Parliament is supreme. But it does not imply that we, who are outside, do not have any handle to control the events within. Gandhi showed us that if the activities disturbs the Poll Arithmetic, then it’s a precursor to change. Now, the question is – Can Anna do it?

If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.  ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849