So everybody seems to be talking about just one thing at the moment in India. Okay it maybe two - the shocking performance of the Indian Cricket Team in England, after a World Cup victory just a few months ago, is a bit too much for a true blooded Indian to handle. But coming back to the main topic at hand, we all know what I'm referring to. Before I begin, I would like to say these views are solely mine. I write in the capacity of a citizen of a democracy called India, where freedom of thought and speech is a right. When I speak of parties, police, public servants and systems being corrupt, I generalise. I know from experience that there are a few good, moral and strong souls around who do their best. I have never been nor intend to be politically inclined/linked/influenced/motivated. I campaign for no one in particular, just for a country I love and call home.
He's a hero, he's corrupt, he's the second Gandhi, he's a liar. We've heard all this and more about the 74 year old man who has been fasting for his country and it's citizens. Maybe you think his version of the Bill is ridiculous, maybe you disagree with the way he has gone about making his point. Fact is, he made it. And he made it so loud and clear, he 's got the support of an entire country to the extent that the cluelessly baffled Government, is now on it's knees. What exactly he has support for is varied - some support his Jan Lokpal Bill, some support him for his brave attitude to fight against a system so flawed and corrupt, you'd never dream to tackle it (unless you had a death wish). Others support him for waking up a nation and unifying it whilst others support him for being falsely arrested and being denied his right to express himself peacefully.
For those who are against him I ask, before Anna Hazare came around, how many of us even knew of the existence of a Lokpal Bill? We sat at home and accepted the system for what it was, always complained things would never change and cursed the system, the government and Indian politics. The poor and illiterate can do no more than accept it as their destiny paying for past sins to be cursed with such a miserable existence. We always waited for someone to come and make a change. Now someone has. Someone who has lived, experienced so much in life, that he has managed to transfer that onto others - regardless of age, color, social background and religion. He has shown us how to stand up for what we believe in, how not to fear being arrested and the beauty of dying for a million strangers. Look at the way, for so many days these protests have been peaceful? Would protests in any other country happen this way? Have they happened this peacefully in our own country before? He has used peace and encouraged everyone that supports him to use peace as a tool.
So before you shoot him down entirely and call him a fraud, try and see the good this old soul has done. Before you point a finger at him and educate us on all the mistakes he's made, take a look at your life and let us know how perfectly impeccable you are. Anyone in the world no matter how good they are, has people for them and against them. If they lived to tell the tale, Gandhi, John Lennon and Michael Jackson amongst others would vouch for that.
I see a lot of people cursing the Congress and accusing them of all sorts of things. By no means am I defending them or their actions. In fact, arresting Anna Hazare was a ridiculously stupid move on their part - they laid their incompetence, corrupt ways and lack of intelligence on a silver platter for the whole world to witness. Releasing him, blaming the Delhi Police just helped them make an even bigger spectacle of themselves. Regardless, I don't think slamming them and attacking them alone is the answer. All parties should be answerable and brought to justice.
Sure the opposition will take full advantage and side with the people. But let's not forget the riots and killings and scams that have taken place when other parties were in charge. Let's not forget the parties that have killed and encouraged vandalism, that have used illiteracy for their benefit and votes, the ministers they have hired that have cases of rape and murder slapped on them, the way they have also misused and abused religion, and taken full advantage of their positions, the powers that come with it and the trust of every single citizen. Heinous crimes have been committed all by all parties against us, against our fellow brothers and sisters - and enough is enough. They all need to know we are not stupid, we are now demanding justice, not just from the Congress but from them all.
The Jan Lokpal Bill and the Governments' Version
Both versions are flawed. The Governments version - unbelievably so. But all power cannot be given to one committee alone. One never knows, what if the wrong kind of person gets elected into the committee? This committee alone cannot be the singular authoritative force, things need to be checked by different institutions, its a democracy after all right?. Neither side must have all the power, neither side must have the last word and neither side must be close minded. There needs to be an open, calm discussion with some sort of logical compromise. That this bill needs to come into play is beyond doubt, all it's missing is a studied, balanced and sensible approach.
We are all corrupt. Be it out of convenience, pressure, no option, harassment or whatever else. And even though we are all against corruption, we need to ask ourselves if we are really ready for it. We must take a long hard look at life as we've been living it and the changes that will now come into play. We have grown accustomed to things as they have been and accepted them as a part of our daily lives. So lets start with just the basics. Are we ready to wait in long lines, wait for a few months for certain documents, to abide by laws which require us to follow simple traffic rules? No buts, no arre's, no please, no excuses - chalta hai won't work anymore. A rule is a rule and it's meant to be followed no matter what reason you may have to break it.
I cannot blame the police and other public servants for being corrupt, look at the conditions they work in. Look at the conditions they live in. If I was them, I can't say I wouldn't jump at the chance to make a fast buck to see a smile on my childs face when I buy him something I couldn't afford to before. That is something we need to look at too. If the government looks after it's employees, their employees will look after the people and the people will in return look after their government and its servants. Education for all must be a priority. It's not an easy task, it's too deep rooted but there has to be some point at which we can start cleaning up the mess.
India is such a beautiful country, she has so much to offer, such beauty, so many resources, spirituality and more than anything a warmth that exudes from the hearts of all her people that others are envious of. We need to support her, not exploit her. It may have been happening this far, but the time for a change is here. The cry for a change is now. The time to be heard is now. Let us be wise and tackle this properly. You cannot go extreme black or extreme white. Balance. That is what life is all about. All pros and cons have to be weighed. Expert opinions, educated opinions, young opinions and unbiased opinions need to be taken into account with what the people of today need. We need transparency. Many mistakes have been made. We cannot erase them but those that are guilty of huge crimes and scandals, must pay for their mistakes regardless of the party or system they belong to. So I'm not for either Bill, I'm not for or against the Government. What I am is a citizen of India, a supporter of a system with no corruption, someone that believes we need to change with the times - our systems and laws included. Above and beyond that, I'm a believer. In love, in peace and in the potential of our country. Change can happen, we just have to make it happen.
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending - Maria Robinson.
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Ramona Arena, 20/08/2011.
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