, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI opines that corruption cannot be uprooted just by passing some draconian law. It requires restricting society on the firm foundation of belief in God and accountability to Him.
That the social activist, Mr. Anna Hazare, has, after five days, broken his fast-unto-death on April 10, is no news. The news is the eyebrow-raising capitulation on the part of the Congress-led UPA dispensation. Why the arrogant ate the crow in undue haste is a different story.
Amidst wild jubilation at Jantar Mantar, punctuated with the noise of counch-shells, the rejoicing crowd heard their leader happily announcing the contents of the gazette notification, which sets up a 10-member committee to re-draft a stronger anti-corruption Bill. By Aug 15, 2011, the Bill has to become an Act. Otherwise face the second struggle for independence, starting from the Red Fort, warned the RSS-backed Mr. Hazare.
It might be information to you that behind the scenes it was the Saffron fraternity which had been busy in this game for the last one year. The question that cannot be ignored is why the Saffron dispensation did not act to erase off corruption from various walks of life during its tenure? It was these frustrated elements that were working incessantly. The knowledgeable sources assert that they used Mr. Hazare to the hilt. They knew his worth as a Gandhian. To the schemers, that was the only effective tool to discredit and bring down the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre.
Before proceeding further, let us ask the nation: Is the basic cause of corruption in the country a weaker law that the crusaders are calling for a stringent one? Are they dead sure that a draconian law would transform the dacoits into monks, saints and sages? Has it ever happened in history?
What we know is that the rise and fall of the nations has nothing or very little to do with this prescription.
The political commentators have described the proposed anti-corruption measure as a Probity Bill also. At the risk of digression for a while, we feel, probity or honesty is, doubtless, the Prime Minister’s forte. It is assuredly his strong point. Nobody, including his motivated arch critics, concedes his thorough gentlemanliness. It is his most prized possession. Higher qualities of head and heart are, no doubt, praiseworthy in a private individual. But the case of a Head of the Government is, and has to be, somewhat different, more so because the demands of effective governance do not, as a rule, accommodate anything resembling with inaction.
The crisis situations in public affairs demand stern steps. Crises do not brook any quarter to softness, the natural by-product of probity. The people who elect the incumbent expect concrete results, not hesitation in bruising finer sensibilities of the over-sensitive.
Nobody shall shed a tear if a noble-hearted police commissioner allows a cheat to deprive him of his diamond ring in broad-day light.
The real problem of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh appears to be his utter inability to draw a line between his individual and political life. Umpteen scams took place under his very nose but he preferred to give the impression to the public he knew nothing about them at all. When cornered by the irate opposition, his low-tone reply was he was not told by the persons concerned. Each and every alert citizen refuses to buy this less-than-responsible argument. The Prime Minister is accountable for whatever his comrades-in-arm do. His present position is that of a honest skipper of a tainted team.
The controversy over the Lok Pal Bill is not new. It did not arise in 2011. Since 1968, this Bill, is being regularly presented in Parliament – so far eight times – to find the House being dissolved before it could be taken up. Who, if not the Prime Minister, is to be charged with unforgivable lousiness in this regard? And, by the way, would Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, mind explaining to the nation what prevented him from taking the bull by the horns when he was head of the government?
There appears to be an element of truth in the popular assumption that the privileged high-ups have perhaps never been hurt by any form of corruption. Have they ever paid bribe for the pushing up of the file concerning them? Have they ever felt compelled to purchase a train ticket from a tout? Have they any idea about the extra-money that a head clerk of DDA or NDMC demands for the correction of a clerical mistake? Definitely not!
It was utter helplessness vis-à-vis the existing norms of the system that gravitated the people towards Mr. Anna Hazare and the fact that he was very cleverly rather cunningly being used by a formidable section of our society, which does not believe in fairness. The 71-year old school dropout brought the lazy administration to its knees just in four days.
The citizens’ feelings can be understood from the fact that 4.4 million tweets have, from 8,26,000 unique users across 79 cities in just three days, responded to Hazare’s fast unto death. This response was from the people between 36 and 45 years. The rest were above 46.
The logic of Hazare was simple: During the last 40 years how many politicians, IAS and IPS officers have been jailed for corruption?
Add to it, we add, the principal minority’s grievances: How many killers of Muslims in the post-1947 communal riots have been hanged? Why the recommendations of the enquiry commissions, which looked into the said riots, are not, and have not been implemented by the Central and State Governments?
What compelled the over-confident dispensation was public disgust bordering on hate against the status quo and lasses-faire as a policy. Public mood was revolting and knew nothing about the saffron scheme which was in top gear against the Congress. The popular anger proved to be un-digestible to New Delhi in the backdrop of the oncoming elections. It was unnerving.
Price rise, broken roads, unclean water, and tripping tube lights added fuel to the fire. The thinking sections in the Congress disapproved of the wooden response by the high-ups. The Defence Minister Mr. Moily was visibly restive on the subject.
Without identifying the sharks there also was the fear of hijacking the Hazare movement by the opportunists, who usually have nothing to do with probity in public life. But the alert sections of society took note of the incessant sounds of the counches in the street jubilation of the victory of Mr. Hazare which, in fact, is the victory of Saffron.
As regards the thesis that stronger and stringent laws can transform cheats into sages is a fallacy of first order which deserves outright rejection. The history stands testimony to the fact that firm belief in Allah and the fear of accountability on the Day of Judgement alone can check human deviations.