Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supporting Anna Hazare..? Why?

I have been following posts/opinions on Anna Hazare at FB, Blogs and other places. After reading a post from a friend of mine I thought it’s better to put my thoughts in place and come up with reasons why anyone should support Anna..:)

Before I go to my points, I want you to read this..

This was a post written by Amit Verma (whom I greatly admire for his opinions/articles) back in April and he had made very good points. Do i disagree with him on the points raised? Nope, they are perfectly valid and correct.. However, do i completely agree with him? Nope again..

There are certain aspects I beg to differ..

We are at a point where corruption is so deep rooted that something needs to be done.. Whatever that is.. Until a few months back, there was no avenue for anyone to fight back and now people have found it in Anna Hazare.. And that’s the difference..

Even though I wholeheartedly agree with "reforms" as a way to go, i have no freaking way to ensure that happens.. Now you tell me what a common man is supposed to do? Wait for next 30 years to see if anyone will start a fast on reforms and then support him? I believe inaction/no-action is worse than not trying at all..

So until there is someone out there who can take up the mantle of reforms, there is no way that will become the strategy to fight against corruption (My reasons on why i support him later).. And do you think people like Dr. Manmohan Singh doesn’t know about it? Sorry, he deserves more credit than that.. He knows but the lust for power (or whatever that makes him to continue to be PM) has made him to keep quiet.. If he had any semblance of Integrity left he would have resigned long time back..

Anyway coming back to the point, so where do 'I' go from here? Since i dont have anyone to support the right method, and since I don’t want to give up my 'lifestyle' and dedicate my life to fight corruption (this is why Sathyaghraha works – it’s a easier method than violent movement and one need not need too much capital for this kind of protest. People can relate, understand and support it without losing much) i will go ahead and support Anna on his fast, whom I credit for atleast shaking the system. This would definitely bring another powerhouse in place but then most regulatory bodies in this world can be considered as an "alternative powerhouse'. The question would then come whether it will be misused, now that I do not have an answer to... But unlike people who oppose Anna, I am optimistic about it and want to give it a try.. If it doesn’t work maybe 20 years (just an approx number) down the line people would do another Sathyaghraha to abolish it and bring in reforms..

But i am willing to give it a shot mainly because I don’t have any other option and i want to break the current shackles..What do you say to that? As an informed supporter i wish to give it a try..

Either way, i don’t want the bill to get passed in its current form.. It really doesn’t make any sense.. One more layer of bill which is not applicable to people at the top..?

You know how a organizations culture/character is built? Its ridiculous to say its just the employees who build the character...Because that’s totally wrong.. Its the character of the CEO/Leader who builds the culture in an organization... If he is lethargic and corrupt the rest will be the same.. If he is thinking out of the box and encourages entrepreneurial activity, then the organization will pick up that culture over a period of time.. Look around for any company and you will see what I mean.. So now that I have a bill that can potentially reduce the corruption at highest places then I think it might actually work.. Lets give it a shot, its better than not doing anything..

Lastly, people talk too lightly on him going fast or they take offense when this is compared to the next freedom struggle.. Please bear in mind that fasts have been a method of protest in India for many years and a lot of people go on fast on many issues (Telangana, Ganga cleansing etc).. But why is that in this case it has caused so much of a stir?!? That’s because people are fed up with what they are seeing and they want a change.. And Anna is giving them an avenue.. Without the support of the people this wouldn’t have become such a big issue (and of course not to discount our so call ‘media’)..

When Barrack Obama made all those speeches about 'Change' people thought another Jesus was born, but most see what he has done now apart from talking.. But you know what? they atleast tried and gave him a chance.. They are better because of that.. An inaction is worse than a wrong action is what i feel..

This bill may not lead us anywhere and it might even worsen it, but atleast we would have tried it rather than just ranting.. It’s a path/risk I am willing to take..


Sagar said...

With greatest regard for Anna Hazare, a pertinent question in my mind that seeks hard to be answered: "If everyone who is supporting Anna Hazare's cause (which accounts for the majority of us) is incorruptible, where then lies the problem?"

dilip said...

A perfect point you made.. Thats why they say clean your home first before you start cleaning the society.. I completely agree..

But having said that its a chicken and egg problem.. The solution has to come from somewhere and sometimes everywhere.. In order for corruption to stop an example has to be set at the top.. And simultaneously people should make an effort not to circumvent the rules at whatever instant..

Do you think Singapore doesnt have rules and regulations? One has to take permissions for everything here.. But then its so streamlined and methodical that there is no place for corruption..

I really believe all this hangama is doing something good.. I believe the next time we are in a situation where a bribe can simplify matters, we will really think about whether its the right thing to do.. We might still go ahead with a bribe but atleast one will start feeling guilty about it (having talked about stopping corruption so much).. I feel in the end all these matters for making a change that might take us a year or 20 years.. But this is needed.. Thats where i was coming from..

Sagar said...

Agree with your points. It is creating an unprecedented awareness. Earlier people took pride in seeking bribes, in future they may not stop seeking them, but they will at least do it surreptitiously.

Another pertinent question here: Why is the Satyagraha so symbolic about fasting and switching off lights? Why is it not a Satyagraha where all of us pledge not to seek or pay bribes, and to expose those who seek them? One shot two birds I would say - awareness ka awareness, the purpose is served too. And once you choke the supply lines, wherefrom will the 'top' get its black money from?

dilip said...

Yes, that makes sense..
The only thing i disagree is the last line.. Most of the BIG scams lately have been on things like CWG, 2G licensing or on projects that govt/MLAs can take kick-back on.. In these cases there is no big supply line that comes from the common-people.. These start and end at high levels.. I understand we have to pay for it in the end, but that wont be in a form of a bribe.. So it helps to curb things at the top along with the other suggestions you made..

Sagar said...

Let me explain my view.

The ocean does not get created by itself. It is the drops that make it. The supply lines invariably start small, but when aggregated they take the proportions of a 2G / CWG.

To pay a million kickback at the top of the food chain, one has to collect a conservative 1.2 million (pocketing at least 0.2) from the next level, which makes it 1 lakh from 12 people. These 12 people in turn collect a 1000 each from another 120 people, and so it goes. Now how does one manage the unaccounted 1000, by means of bribes, tax evasion (both direct and indirect), fudged bills, unaccounted cash receipts. If each of us decides not to be party in such transactions, where will the top of the chain get its unaccounted million from?

It is like Multi Level Marketing. The ones at the top make most of the money, but the entire money comes from subscribing more people at the bottom of the pyramid. If people at the bottom refuse to get subscribed, will the business model survive?

Top-down is probably good for a corporate entity, or a monarchy. In a democracy, while it is quite logical that the top sets an example, we should not forget that the top is nothing but a representative of what exists at the bottom. If there are weaknesses to be exploited, be it regional, religion, caste or corruption, there will be people willing to exploit. If not the present govt., then the next, or possibly another East India Company that exploits the fissures in the society. You can start at the top, but the fabric of the society surely needs to be changed for any change to be meaningful. That is where societies like Germany and Singapore score, as far as corruption is considered - bribing is anathema to their psyche.

Just my two cents.

dilip said...

Cool.. I agree..
But how does this supply chain work in case of scams like 2G, Bofors etc?
That was my point..

Sagar said...

Obviously I am not an expert on the subject, else I probably would be sitting somewhere in Delhi (possibly in Tihar) operating my swiss accounts. :-)

It works by aggregation, the same principle that it flows into the coffers of swiss banks. The unaccounted money I make over the years (in benami property, cash, gold reserves, goodwill, investments into unscrupulous companies) is what I have in hand to offer to fund an election or to get a favourable deal. Once I have achieved my purpose, I can find ways of replenshing what I gave away. Its a parallel economy, so to speak. Why would anyone pay for 2G or Bofors out of their pockets? It is the last node of the food chain that pays for it unaccounted, either foregoing their regular earnings or from the irregular earnings they collect.

For example, the CBI charge against YSR is that he forced people to buy shares in his son's company at a jacked up premium, to provide them state land at a cheap price. How would these investors make good their investments?

Why do I feel like Baba Ramdev now, with my knowledge of economics? :-D

dilip said...

lol.. i like the humor in your explanation..:)

Srinivas Guntupalli said...

Loved it. I agree with every line of it.