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JanLokpal vs SarkariLokpal vs SelfLokpal

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on August 21, 2011

India is waking up. 74-year-old man is making sure that people wake up. Anna Hazare, a known crusader against corruption of last 2 decades has taken it on to himself to wake people up from a slumber.

There has been frenzied debate over the three versions of lokpal.

  1.  Jan Lokpal:        The one Team Anna (Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi,  Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan et, al.) has proposed.
  2. Sarkari Lokpal: The one that our beloved government has proposed.
  3. Self Lokpal:          I created this to accommodate those voices who think that we don’t need these lokpals and subscribe to the view that it will all go away with self-cleansing.

Note: Link to JanLokpal vs Sarkari Lokpal is at the bottom.

Is this outcry really about being in favour or against some specific version of Lokpal? While that is definitely one of the issues, it is about people being fed up of scams after scams and living in a country where every form of fees comes with a surcharge/bribe. Students are fed up that either they have to be brilliant enough to crack IIT/IIMs or rich enough to pay donation that most colleges demand. People might be divided when it comes to detail but, they are united for the cause. There has been some ridiculous argument against this movement (e.g., murder of democracy) and avoidable exaggeration by Team Anna (e.g., Anna is India and India is Anna) but, when so many people have opinions, you are bound to have some regrettable ones. However, there is one fact and one fact alone. Corruption has kept this country with tremendous potential on backfoot for several years and needs to be urgently addressed.

Government has placed a version of Lokpal so, why not wait? Lokpal bill has been in the dock for 42 years so, it is reasonable to doubt their committment to pass the bill let alone a strong bill. Bribes and Donations are far too common to escape any eye that wishes to see. How many convictions have we seen? Media and agitations seem to be the only time when government appears to be all eyes and ears. “Lok Sabha TV” is probably the only adult channel on Indian Television so, excuse me if I doubt parliament’s intentions. Excuse my scepticism when people like Manish Tiwari, Digvijay Singh represent the ruling party.

Why not Self lokpal? Self cleansing is not a new concept but, unfortunately we live in a “real” world and not “ideal” one. This revolution is not just about calibrating our own moral compass. It is more to do with coming up with a system which will prove deterrent for those who don’t have any moral compass to calibrate. While it is all too well to say that it should start with self cleansing (and it should), people more often than not get coerced in to doing things that they otherwise would avoid. Bribe often is extortion and donation the norm. If every one voluntarily plays their part sincerely, we wouldn’t have murderers in the society (thus no need for IPC 302) and there wouldn’t be people looting the luggage of victims of train accident. It has to start with you and us but, a country must have provision to hold guilty accountable. I haven’t bribed anyone and still there are scams worth thousands of crores. I pay my taxes honestly and still I can’t expect half decent roads. So, to think that SelfLokpal can eradicate corruption is naive and too simplistic.

To have your doubts regarding the movement is one thing and to undermine completely another.

Read here: JanLokpal vs SarkariLokpal

Some other interesting take on the issue (Following are two opposite views):

Swapan Dasgupta: UPA’s credibility is now History.

Tavleen Singh: Making of a hero

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