Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where do I stand on the Lokpal issue a week after?

A week is a long time in politics, but a very short time to take a considered stand on an issue as important as the Lokpal issue. While I was expecting a confrontation between Government and Anna Hazare, I never expected seasoned political figures in Government to blunder so badly as they have done so. Well I can only say that this is the result of making a technocrat with a CEO approach, the Prime Minister of a nation. While we feel comfortable having an honest, sincere, hard working qualified man as PM, we cannot feel inspired by his leadership. In fact, today more than ever before in his career, Dr. ManMohan Singh's deficiencies as a leader have shown up. At the end of the day the buck stops at his desk and he must take responsibility for the series of errors of the UPA2 government.
However, the governments' loss has been team Anna's gain and a predominantly middle-class, urban movement has transformed into one that has captured the imagination and mood of the nation. 24/7 news channels have brought the movements into our drawing rooms, but have also inspired the average Indian to join in the various demonstrations and dharnas across the length and breadth of this nation. Historically, we seem to draw comparisons between this movement and the JP movement of '77 or even our freedom struggle.
My instinct and emotions tell me to come out on the streets and add to the fervor and excitement and become part of this historical revolution. However, I am not there on the streets of Mumbai as I am feeling uncomfortable with the utterances of Anna Hazare and his team. Setting unreasonable deadlines, and his coming across as a simpleton, not able to grasp the complexities of law and law making, refusal to be more self critical are the main weaknesses of the team Anna campaign. The juxtaposition of Gandhi on the stage is also a matter of discomfort to me. Gandhiji was always very careful about the issue, he took up and was completely well informed and aware of intricate details of the issue he took up. His attention to detail and most careful attention to the means adopted was indeed exemplary and worthy of emulation by anybody aspiring to lead any such movement. He considered his adversary as a misguided friend and even at the worst of times never used intemperate language or set unrealistic deadlines. His most important quality was his ability to be brutally self critical, and accept his mistakes and correct his course, when the people and his own conscience led him to the truth. Also. I still feel that team Anna must give the Government an opportunity to correct its course and initiate a debate on this issue and its wider ramifications, in a time bound manner. Speaking for myself, I will try my level best to be the change I desire to see in my country. Cleansing myself, not giving a bribe and obeying the rule of law as a dharmic duty are somethings that I hope to do consistently, before I feel like becoming active part of this campaign.
I still maintain that notwithstanding my reservations, that Mr. Anna and his team deserve praise and appreciation for doing things rather than just mere talk and empty rhetoric. With the help of this foolish incompetent government, today the nation can hope that we will in all probability be able to get a Lokpal, after over four decades of waiting.
Time will tell weather I have made a correct choice in not coming out on the streets of Mumbai or done a disservice and injustice to a great man, a phenomenon called Anna Hazare.
Dr Vispi Jokhi

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