Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lokpal For Dummies Like You and Me

Is Lok Pal is necessary to fight corruption?
Yes we need one. That the conduct of a large number of officials as per our Constitution is not governed by anyone at all, especially the elected government is appalling in itself. Every democratic set up has to ensure its people transparency in the governance process. The example of free economies with less government is fraught with serious flaws of thinking. The United States is perhaps the freest economy, and yet on the Transparency International's index why does it not sit on the top? To think that this country does not deserve what our founding fathers promised (remember Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1960s) is fallacy. Moreover, our Constitution, when it gave powers to a host of elected representatives, did not define the scope of their conduct and what would be considered Unparliamentary. Current criminal laws already allow investigations; however, they require sanction of prosecution. The requirement thus is of a body that can investigate and at least recommend action of serving officials, if not prosecute them. Parliament owes us this law as it was promised from the floor of the Parliament.

Will Reform 2.0 Work?
This argument has been bandied about by the people who support greater liberalization of the Indian economy, citing how that is the only way corruption can go away. No free economy has been able to do away with corruption. In fact, the so-called liberalization is being rolled back in most countries as the effects of these 'reforms' have been felt strongly on the economy (think Greece). Reforms does not imply the reform of governance process in any way. Policy framing in telecom, the so-called 'success' story of India is for all to see. The kind of yo-yoing and the kind of parody that has played out subsequently is nothing less than a farce. Take the case of the cable TV phenomenon. Who controls most of the media in Tamil Nadu? Answering that question reveals just what is wrong with the idea of reforms as is proposed by armchair intellectuals. Instead of governance reforms we talk about economic reforms to just create more avenues of crony capitalistic ideals to spread over, where only a certain set of people set to benefit, while the masses set to suffer.

Doesn’t Anna Hazare have the right to fast until death?
This country allows anyone to fast and hold protests as long as they are not disruptive and seditious in nature. For people who keep advocating free speech of the 'secessionists' and others who challenge the idea of India, here is a man who has raised an issue that unites India and brought it to the forefront. Why then is there any scope for not allowing this to happen. It is the paralysis of governance in India that has led to this situation, where unless someone fasts or someone picks up a stone or fires a gun the State does not listen to people.

Am I saying Anna Hazare's Bill is right?
Of course I am not saying that the bill is right. But then the government did not leave any scope to discuss the merits or demerits for anyone to discuss. Eventually it was 'my way or the highway' that the government position enunciated. Instead of creating such a big machinery, smaller set of authorities in addition to strengthening of existing authorities may be the answer, but for greater discussion, the government has to present the appropriate bill, as anyone who sees Parliamentary debates recently would vouch. If the government could be put to stake for a Nuclear Bill that has done nothing for us, why not for a stronger ombudsman?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lamha

इंतज़ार का तो बस लम्हा  भर ही गुज़रा  है
न जाने क्यों लगता है सदियाँ  गुज़र गयी हैं
मिटटी के तिनके धीरे धीरे मेज़ पर तशरीफ़ टिका रहे हैं
और सूरज की नर्म रौशनी सेंक रहे हैं
वो कागजों और किताबों से भरा बुक शेल्फ टकटकी लगाए बैठा है
न जाने क्या सोचता है बैठ यूं गुमसुम तन्हाई में
बाहर खिड़की के पार दरख्तों में फूलों का इंतज़ार है
कोई गुलशन होने का मौसम इन्हें भी नसीब करा दे
यूं मुरझाये से पड़े हैं वो इंतज़ार में
बैठ खामोश देखता हूँ सरसराते पत्तों को
हवा के तेज़ झोंके से लहरा उठे जो
हौले से, दबे पाँव आ खड़ी मेरे पास वो
कह गयी न जाने क्या, समझ न आया मुझको
लम्हा भर गुज़र गया यूं ही, देखता रहा मैं खिड़की की ओर
राह देखता रहा आने वाले लम्हे की
पर न आने की आहात उसकी, न करता वो शोर





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