Anna Hazare and the Lokpal Bill–what does the Indian youth think?

22 Aug

1. Hithesh Uchil(26), Engineer,  Mumbai

The Lokpal bill should have been thought of when we attained our independence from the Brits. Almost 65 years of corruption will have to undergo a fair trial if this bill is put into place. How such cases will be prosecuted is anyone’s guess. The current judicial system has a lot of pending cases that haven’t been dealt with. The corruption faced in the past one year itself would flood the Lokayukta with a lifetime of cases. Speedy justice is something that cannot be expected out of this bill and it makes me wonder as to how it will handle cases within a month? Do we have enough judicial infrastructure to prosecute the corrupt?

It’s good that Anna’s andolan has made the country unite against corruption. However, isn’t this the very same country that has kept the Congress in power for the past donkey years? Do you mean to say if this veteran Gandhian hadn’t fasted along with Shanti Bhushan, we wouldnt have even bothered about this bill? Has everyone forgotten the scams in the BJP tenure? Independence does not require constant fathering…it means “Freedom from control or influence of another or others”…this should have been exercised by each and every individual in this country for the past 65 years. We have kept blaming our politicians, but have kept filling their pockets. If the citizens feel that a bill would do them justice, why haven’t they confided in the same way with our current court of law? How would the peoples faith in the bill drive the Lokayukta judiciary against the corrupt? These are just a few questions that seem to be unanswered…hoping an answer soon.

2. Nikhil Bangera(27), Manager at a publishing firm,  Mumbai

The Jan Lokpal bill is a step forward to tackling corruption in India, the bill tabled by the Government is ineffective as it’s Lokpal will only serve as an advisor, with no powers to initiate action. However, the Jan Lokpal takes things too far in many of its provisions and should be more practical. What we need now is a dialogue over each provision of the bills, televise the debates and then hold a referendum to decide what the final bill should look like. Meanwhile we should all do what we can to wake up the Government and force it to act. Write, talk, attend one of the events at I participated in a candle light march yesterday and plan to attend more over the coming days!

3. Ved Prakash Jha, Manager at a publishing firm Mumbai

I support Jan Lokpal Bill and I see it as a revolutionary bill to control corruption. If the bill gets implemented properly, we should be able to see the real growth capabilities of India.

We have trusted the politicians and government officials for years and in return they have infected the entire system and processes in these years. They have misused their powers to fulfill their hunger for money and luxury. We need to bring a change now. We need to take the control in our hands now.

I see Jan Lokpal Bill as an essential tool for a better tomorrow. I, a citizen of India, request all the people to support the war against everyone who is trying to stop this bill. Our non-violent protest is strong enough to make the government act. Your contribution is required, so please support this war.

If we want our nation to be free of corruption, we will have to let go easy options (getting work done by paying bribe or using other sources of influence) and follow all the rules. After the bill is implemented and we are able to curb corruption, our lives might not be easier but it will be better for sure.

My view on some of the important proposals in the Jan Lokpal bill (government’s Lokpal bill proposals have been included to show a clear picture):

Jan Lokpal – Lokpal would have power to investigate allegations of corruption against judiciary.

Lokpal – Judiciary kept out of Lokpal’s purview.

I support Jan Lokpal as it covers almost every source of corruption.

Jan Lokpal – Lokpal can investigate allegations that any MP had taken a bribe to vote or speak in Parliament.

Lokpal – Excluded from the purview of Lokpal.

The government is virtually giving a license to MPs to take bribes and do biased voting. I am against it.

Jan Lokpal – Lokpal should have powers to investigate allegations of corruption against the PM.

Lokpal – PM out of the purview of Lokpal while in office. Once he demits office, Lokpal can investigate complaints.

The CBI, which will investigate complaints against the PM, reports to the PMO and hence cannot act effectively.

Jan Lokpal – If the work of a citizen is not done by a government officer in the prescribed time, it should be deemed a violation of the citizen’s charter, and as amounting to corruption. The officer should be penalized.

Lokpal – No penalties proposed.

I support the proposal in the Jan Lokpal bill. The government officer should be penalized in case of performance below expectation.

Jan Lokpal – Anti-corruption branch of CBI to be merged into Lokpal.

Lokpal – CBI untouched. Officers will be deputed to Lokpal.

I do not have a strong view on this point. However, we need to make CBI work independently and with more transparency. We should structure it in such a way that politicians or any influential person cannot control the investigations.

Jan Lokpal – The bill should create Lokayuktas(small lokpal depts) at the state level.

Lokpal – The bill only creates Lokpal at the centre.

We will need lokpal wings at state level; however, I think we need a central wing as well. It will make the functioning better.

4. Maitreya (24), Mumbai, about the Anna/Delhi police fiasco

Anna Hazare wanted to hold a protest and a fast in a park in Delhi; and, like anyone else who wants to hold a protest, asked for permission from the Delhi police. The Delhi police, for their part, assessed the situation, and used their constitutional right to impose certain restrictions on the protest march, chiefly among them being:

1. No more than 5000 protesters
2. No more than 50 (parked) cars
3. Fasting for no more than 3 days

Now the Indian youth, who garrulously demand their rights, but shy away when it comes to following their duties, do not understand the reason behind these restrictions, but go all out on the government and call these restrictions unfair. Presumably, they don’t care (or rather, just don’t think about it) if it does turn into a riot, the situation goes out of hand and people get killed. The basic function of the police is maintaining law and order, but the Indian youth (this anti-corruption movement has gathered a huge following among India’s largest demographic – people below 30) want to just follow the herd, law and order be damned.

What is truly surprising is that multiple government ministers and spokespersons appeared on television and said that if Anna Hazare’s followers have a problem with the restrictions, they should go to court and challenge it. But this Anna Hazare was not willing to do, and instead, courted arrest, leading to even more protests throughout the country. Needless to say, if the protests turn violent and someone does get killed or hurt, the immature Indian public will most certainly not blame the protesters, but in the media (that blindly caters to the largest demographic in the country) too, the protesters will be proclaimed as the victims of the “anti-democratic” government and the police!

5. Dilip Merala(25), Aspiring actor,  Mumbai

The only thing that can change the state of corruption in India is what every individual does when this problem is not hitting the headlines. Right now, everyone is excited and wants to jump on the bandwagon because everyone likes the idea of a corruption-free nation. The kind of movies made have also made people believe that we need to revolt against corrupt politicians to make things work for our country.  However, like most other issues this country has faced, people will probably forget it when this issue is not in the limelight. The zeal and excitement dies sooner or later and then comes that one day when you are in a hurry and you decide that you don’t mind paying those extra 100 bucks to get your job done quickly and ahead of the others!

I really don’t understand why we as Indians always follow a Hero! It’s good to admire someone but we tend to idolize our Heroes – our Sachin Tendulkars, our Amitabh Bachchans, our Bal Thackereys, and in this case our Anna Hazare! Yes, what the man has done and is doing is rather commendable. However, there are cons to this way of getting things done too. People might take to this way of getting things done for a lot of other things (not as huge as corruption) and it will get really difficult to handle such protests every now and then. Also, you can never predict who will be corrupt and who won’t. People like A. Raja, Kalmadi were considered to be good till the day they were found to be corrupt. How can we not say the same about Kejriwal and gang? How can we say that the “aam aadmi” can’t prove to be more corrupt than our ministers? You might say there will be a regulatory body to keep a check on this. Well, isn’t there one in the current system? You might say the new one will be more effective. Well, that’s an assumption!

Some of you might hate me for saying this but I will say it anyway. It is easy to not be into politics and talk about cleaning up the system from the outside. It is easy to be a part of a rally (or a few rallies) once in a while coz it does not affect our schedule in a big way. Getting into politics and managing (rather trying to manage) a country like India is what is really really difficult! Respecting the constitution and making sure that a change is brought about through the right means is what is difficult! Even today when Anna is asked about politics, he says he does not want to enter that dirty pool. Unfortunately, Indian politics is difficult and everyone who enters it has to take some stern decisions. Sometimes, politicians may be forced to be corrupt just so that they can still be in power if they wish to do something for people at some level. It’s almost like being brainwashed – it could happen to anybody – even Anna and Kejriwal! The trick is to still want to be a part of the system and then change it from within. I will always respect someone who wishes to enter politics and clean up the system MORE THAN someone who says, “I hate politics but I want a clean nation” (some film has a similar dialogue I guess!)

With respect to the LokPal bill, I don’t agree with either of the two drafts. I think the Government and the Anna Hazare camp both need to compromise on certain aspects and draft a realistic bill that can be implemented to bring maximum effect. Apart from that, the only way to fight corruption is – be your own Hero! Fight corruption on a daily basis! As individuals, say NO to offering and accepting bribes in your day-to-day life! That should serve the purpose 🙂

6. Abhijeet Deobhakta, Manager at a Publishing firm, Mumbai

Right after India’s triumphant World Cup campaign, we all witnessed the start of Mr. Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption. The only difference was, at that time, we thought this campaign would fizzle out just like any other campaign against the Government. After the initial round of talks, it became clear that the Government wasn’t interested in this bill and it all looked like it would go on forever – even till the time I had grandchildren (I am 28 now). But thankfully due to Annaji’s perseverance and sheer grit it isn’t turning out to be that way!

Today, he is making the Government kneel down and have meaningful talks with him. To all those scholars having PhDs in law and political sciences, etc. who think Anna is not respecting the “Parliamentary Procedures” and holding the Government at ransom by going on an indefinite fast, I have only one question: Are all politicians who are supposed to take our country to the pinnacle of global power abiding by the constitution or the rules? This may not be the right way, but it’s the best one we have got at the moment. The Lokpal Bill may or may not be the best solution against corruption, but Anna has proved to be a catalyst to people’s anger against corruption.  I for one do not know all the intricacies of the Lokpal Bill, but the fact that someone is finally standing up and smacking the Government’s backside makes me support that person. It’s not about Anna or the Lokpal Bill – the response we are seeing today is actually the frustration they have been carrying with them for living in corruption and not been able to do anything about it at all for so long. It has gone to an extent that the majority of India seems to justify the methods that Anna is using and they have the got every reason to do so.

I cannot fast alongside Anna, as no one will give a penny but I can atleast support his movement in any possible way I can to ensure that by end of it, we might just have a radical change and actually wipe out the rotten. Forget about playing by rules, and acting as per procedures – it’s Anna-way or highway!

7. Alina Lewis, 22, Mumbai

I have always been oblivious to critical issues like politics, corruption, cheating and scandals, but I’ve known one thing all along – every country must have citizens who speak out when something is not “Okay”, when we are told to accept what is given and make peace with mediocrity.

I don’t know if the Jan Lokpal bill will get a nod or not, whether the people of India will really witness a corruption-free nation it has always dreamt of. But what I do know know is that from now on everyone in power will think twice before they abuse it. Anna Hazare and the Lokpal Bill episode is an evidence that India has grown into a country
that will not turn a blind eye to issues that affect them, but seeks to confront them and anyone who abuses power is not going to get away with it.

We Indians love being controlled and when in power they love to control, abuse it even. Think about it – controlling parents, teachers, professors, societies setting rules to decide how
one must act, speak, behave and what one must believe in the name of Indian culture. There is a reason why it is so easy to intrude and dictate a country like ours.
A majority of the nation had learned to accept things the way they were. Accepted that politicians are going to be corrupt and there’s nothing we could do about it. But Anna Hazare and his struggle took the country by storm, challenged what we learned to accept, united us once again and reminded us that no matter which walk of life we come from we deserve to live with dignity and respect. Good that we have begun from somewhere; it brings hope.

8. Damayanti Bhattacharjee

How many times did you have to bribe a government official for just one signature on a paper? How many times have you been denied admission to a school or college because the seats were already bought by someone more influential? How many times did you curse the municipality for not fixing the pot holes in every road?

Do you still need more reasons to support the Lokpal bill?

It’s not about supporting the man- Anna Hazare, it about supporting what he represents. He represents a voice against an epidemic called corruption which has been crippling our country since the last 65 years. India has the potential, and I would like to believe the resources to become one of the most developed countries in the world. Corruption has been dragging us down for years now. India continues to feature at the 87th position among the top 100 corrupt countries in the world (According to the Corruption Perceptions Index – 2010 reports). If we don’t take a stand now then when?

Although I support the cause, I have some doubts when it comes to his methods. Fasting until death seems like a blackmailing to me. If the government refuses to accept the proposal and Anna dies, it will cause an upheaval in the country so they definitely cannot do that. If in fact they do agree to his terms and conditions, they will do so under pressure and this is will raise direct questions on their credibility. This also means that any random person can gather large supports, put forth his demands and threaten to die and rest assured that the government will give in. I’m sure this won’t be much of a democracy then. Anyway, these are just my thoughts. I’m still against corruption and will support the cause if not the ways.

The movement started by Anna may not be able to break the wall of corruption that was built and guarded over the last 65 years, but looking at the support and the response he is getting, I’m sure it will help to make a small hole in it. That’s the beginning we need to ultimately curb the corruption.
We on our part can spread the word. Voice our opinions and let them know we care.

Have your own opinion on this subject? Post it on the comments section and we will edit the article to include your opinions.

An interesting transcript of an interview between Karan Thapar and Arvind Kejriwal (the page has a lot of grammatical errors)


9 Responses to “Anna Hazare and the Lokpal Bill–what does the Indian youth think?”

  1. Neha August 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I have written a blog post about my opinion on the issue. You can access it here

    • Amey Kanse August 23, 2011 at 5:29 am #

      Thanks for commenting, Neha. I will check out your article.

  2. balagopal August 23, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    Hope SYSTEMS will also be put in. In the case of PDS the price diff in mkt & the PDS is attracting enterprising guys to divert the food supply. By changing that to even price and reimbursements to the end deservee will remove the anomaly and stops the corruption. The young with their tech-ability can look to contribute in this area.

  3. Alina August 23, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    I have always been oblivious to critical issues like politics, corruption, cheating and scandals, but I’ve known one thing all along – every country must have citizens who speak out when something is not “Okay”,
    when we are told to accept what is given and make peace with mediocrity.

    I dont know if the Jan Lokpal bill wil get a nod or not, whether the people of India will really witness a corruption-free nation it has always dreamt of. But what I do know know is that from now on everyone in power will think twice before they abuse it. Anna Hazare and the Lokpal Bill episode is an evidence that India has grown into a country that will not turn a blind eye to issues that affect them, but seeks to confront them and anyone who abuses power is not going to get away with it.

  4. kukkumol August 28, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    it is shame that we are selecting those selfish leaders, representing for the legislative and parliament. since people are on demand then why should those members have to debate on it. our country has been looting by some people and we are just watching the news and taking all the burdens. at least the anti corruption bill has come up and we all should support and take action to make it as a law and behave accordingly.

  5. Anonymous September 7, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Do you will to support a greater cause? A more definite one? Not backed by any political group? Do you think you can walk an extra mile? It is not about corruption really. It is about human life. Would you, if it is for some other state of your country?

    Have you heard of this? –

    Iron will burn your bones.

  6. Kunal September 12, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Thank you Anuja for that link!! But it just points out what media coverage can do!

    • Anonymous September 13, 2011 at 3:59 am #

      Right. And what masses can do too.

  7. An Indian! September 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    What I think is that sitting on a chair in front of your P.C./Laptop and commenting on any kind of issue is much much much easier than to get all the Indian citizens at a place, and protest together for a “true” cause………..great going Annaji.

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