Thursday, August 16, 2012

Waging war against corruption is no sin or crime

Waging war against corruption is no sin or crime
Going by the manner in which government administration in the country functions, it looks when India got independence 65 years ago, the only change it underwent was the colour from white to brown. The body, heart, mind and mentality remained the same as that of the alien government.
When Congress was founded in 1885, it was an elite social club to bother about only the social problems facing the country. In the course of time it came to demand freedom. Society and nation are the institutions intertwined and complementary to each other, inseparable like the Siamese twins. The problems of the society are the problems of the nation and vice versa. That is why when the Congress put forward the demand for freedom from the British yoke it was as much a social demand as was it a national one. Instinct to freedom ingrained in every individual is that of the society and the nation.  The British rulers then dismissed the demand as a ‘political’ issue with which, it initially claimed, the common man of the country had nothing to do. For them the demand was politically motivated and those at the helm of affairs had been fascinated by the loaves and fishes of power.
In a way the apprehensions the British expressed and the insinuations they made have now come true in post-British independent India. Congressmen today claim the electoral support of the people as a matter of right in return for the sacrifices made by their leaders and Nehru-Gandhi family.
Like freedom, prices, inflation, corruption, poverty, unemployment, education, Kashmir issue, border dispute with China and every matter concerning a vast multitude of the population is as much a social problem as is it a national one. The same have to be addressed by those in power. These issues have nothing to do with politics except that a solution to all these problems lies in the hands of the administration which is, incidentally, run by members of political party/parties voted into power by the society.
Therefore, any issue raised or demand made concerning any of the problems facing the country cannot be a political one. In other words, any solution to a national problem struck by an administration run by politicians cannot be political but national alone because it concerns, affects and benefits the whole nation. At the same time, failure of a government run by politicians to solve a social or national problem is the failure of the politicians at the helm of office. The curse of untouchability, sati, widow remarriage, child marriage etc. were social problems raised by leaders of the society and eradicated through administrative measures and legal enactments supplemented with the support of the society.
Therefore, the manner in which the present UPA government reacted to the two social movements of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev against corruption and black money during the last about two years was reminiscent of the way the then British government dealt with the freedom movement. It tried to defeat the movement not on the strength of people’s support but by shooting sharp and hitting it hard with administrative highhandedness, coercion, terror, divide and rule policy and even, at times, trying to enter into a dialogue. When they failed, they tried to run down the movements with oft-repeated niche of being “politically motivated”. It misused the institutions of police and legal system, by instituting cases against them personally, their family members or dear ones and misusing administrative machinery, police and law enforcing agencies.
That exactly is what the UPA is indulging in against both Anna Hazare,  Baba Ramdev, their trusts and associates. The moment these gentlemen raised a cry against corruption and black money, instead of taking corruption and black money issues by the horn, it aimed all its guns of administrative agencies, police, income tax department, enforcement directorate and what not at them to dig out cases against them.
During the last over eight years when UPA has been in power, it has never failed to take a vow to wage a relentless war against corruption. But innumerable corruption cases, scams and scandals have given a lie to its vows. It has refused to order independent and impartial inquiries against the individual ministers complained against to instill a sense of confidence in the government. On the contrary, it has presented itself before the people as a great chivalrous warrior against those who were fighting corruption.
Economic crises and rise in prices and inflation has been attributed to the phenomenon of rising corruption. According to The Economic Times (December 3, 2011) India dropped 11 places to figure at 95 in transparency and corruption index. It is UPA’s failure to act in right earnest against the demon of corruption and black money stashed in foreign banks running into lakhs of crores of rupees that generated a vacuum which the likes of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have come to fill It would be expecting too much if the UPA itself prefers to sit idle on these burning issues and if anybody startles it from its slumber, cry hoarse and foul.  It is a natural phenomenon that others would come to fill the space left vacant by any government. Had there been no corruption and no black money stashed in Swiss banks who would have lent its ears to the likes of Anna and Ramdev? Glossing over the plight of the people because of corruption, black money, rising prices and inflation is a sin and a matter of shame  
Corruption and black money are social and national issues. It is a campaign no individual, no organization and no political party can afford to oppose, not even the Congress. Therefore, it was but natural that political parties should try to appear on the right side on the issue. No individual or organization, however social and non-political could win its fight against corruption and black money without political support because ultimately it is the political parties which have to clinch the issue in the legislatures and administration run by them.
Surprisingly, when on August 13, BJP and other NDA leaders, as also TDP, Biju Janta Dal, joined the stage with Baba Ramdev and even BSP and SP supporting the UPA from outside extended their support to him, instead of siding with the cause against corruption, the Congress came out with an oft-repeated charge that the movement is ‘politically motivated’ and its organizers had political ambitions.
What a hypocrisy that it was no politics when last year in 2011 the UPA directed its five senior cabinet ministers to receive Baba Ramdev and hold discussions with him at the airport itself to persuade him not to fast at Ramlila Maindan, Delhi. Again it was no politics when last year a group of ministers was made to sit with Anna Hazare and his team for framing a Jan Lokpal Bill. But when political parties barring Congress shared the dais with Baba Ramdev, it gives the stink of politics to Congress.
If in 1971 late Mrs. Indira Gandhi could make gharibi hatao (remove poverty) the political and election plank of Congress it is an act of piety for it though it did not become a sin for Congress when it failed to come up to its promise and poverty remains there even after 40 years. But when political parties displayed their solidarity with a non-political individual and organization in fight against corruption, it looked a great sin for Congress. For the present dispensation, it looks, not fighting corruption at the administrative and political level is a pious act but joining hands with those fighting corruption is a sin.
Fighting for independence was a noble cause with everybody irrespective of one’s caste, creed and sex joining it. Not everybody at that time was a Congressman or went by Congress ideology. At that time those leading the fight accepted support from anybody, everybody without a question. Even within Congress there were different groups. But their differences were in approach to achieve it; everybody’s goal was one: to oust the British to usher in freedom. In the same manner everybody, every political party included, should join hands contributing their mite in the fight for independence from the curses of corruption and black money.  
If tomorrow the heroes of the present movement against corruption and black money receive an overwhelming support from the people and win elections that can be no sin. People have prized such fighters for common causes at the hustings. After all the present generation of Congress men and others are even now milking the sacrifices of their great grand elders for their fight against the British at that time. Votes are sought in the name of Nehru-Gandhi even today. If Congress men can do it as a pious matter of right, how can it be a sin tomorrow in the case of the valiant fighters against corruption? Just as the intransigence of the British made heroes of Congress men, so will that of the Congress-led UPA spring up heroes among those who are today fighting against corruption and black money.

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