Lately, there has been a huge hue and cry over corruption. No wait. I mean, a huge hue and cry AGAINST corruption. As if someone shook us from an age old slumber. The point is people have started talking about it instead of just being privy. We’ve got to start somewhere, right? Of course, we are not entirely against it. After all, it’s a way of life here. Not a place in this country is untouched by this menace. Everyone is equally responsible as it’s a walk-in party. In such scenario, having a voice matters. And that’s where Anna Hazare chips in. He has a clean-cut image and is a staunch Gandhian. His call to the nation to rise up and fight against corruption is centered on the introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill. As of now, he’s on a hunger strike and won’t budge until the govt meets his (read: our) demands.
It sounds like a bit unusual for India, doesn’t it? Straight out of an inspirational movie! Well, it’s a sign of things to come. Whatever unfolds in the coming days is going to be an interesting episode of our post-independence history. On the funnier side, people are getting caught up in the brouhaha. They are frantically forwarding mails and SMSes supporting Hazare, liking Facebook pages dedicated to the *cause* and tweeting incessantly. Now, there is nothing wrong with feeling revolutionary once in a while. As one can sense, the Middle-Eastern rebellion is in the air and masses are bound to be lured by its call. Better stand up for something than not do nothing at all. Fair enough. Can’t debate with such pragmatism. But the trouble doesn’t lie in the passing of that hopeful Bill. It lies somewhere else.
If you think about it, corruption is just a stupid idea. Like most other things, it begins and ends with you. The ferocity with which it is practiced depends on the scale of power one holds. It’s like a business, not barter. All the parties involved are fully aware of the reach of their action as well as the consequences of their inaction. The purported Bill will certainly help in bringing the more powerful party to question. It’s more like obstructing the bigger cog wheel of an engine. You stop it and the smaller cogs don’t exist anymore. For the time being, that’s the logic. And that’s precisely also the reason why it’s garnering such lethargy from the corrupt idiots we elected all the way to the Parliament.
Now, the question arises: Will this Bill bring a round about change in our daily functioning and eradicate corruption once and for all? The answer is simple: No. Remember the Right to Information Act? Does every Indian make the best possible use of it? Or, is every Indian even aware of the kind of reach it vests in them? Or the number of RTI activists who were murdered thanks to their altruistic whistleblowing? Exactly. That’s what I’m trying to put forward here. These are basic doubts that have to be part of the anti-corruption Bill curriculum, too. The fact remains that Bills, legislation and eventual laws do very little to change an ugly picture like ours.
The onus falls squarely on the society. The kind of principle an offspring is imparted with is what makes a difference in the long run. Virtues like honesty, punctuality and humanity should be the cornerstone of change. Yes, we should be glad that citizenry is at top gear with people gathering and emulating Hazare’s fasting methods. That’s a good omen for a society which has nurtured selfish individuals for years now. Perhaps we’ll have our own version of Egypt or Tunisia soon. But then, corrupt babus are pretty keen on carrying forward the tradition of failure, without fail. So we’ve got to create a barricade against them. If you don’t indulge in the payment or reception of bribe, you’ve done your part. That’s that.
Speaking for myself, I'm trying to connect the dots between my hesitancy in standing up against corruption and a noble old man's insistence on fighting with hunger. Hopefully, I shall get somewhere someday.