Friday, August 19, 2011

You tell me how Anna Hazare is correct

You tell me how Anna Hazare is correct. You tell me how fasting is non-violent.

During the first stage body eats from liver glycogen and muscle protein supplements, second stage takes off fat and body proteins, third stage causes hair fall and renal failure, and fourth stage causes non-recoverable ailments or death. Your body eats itself inside out, albeit slowly, till it has nothing else to eat. Multiple organs start to fail one-by-one, causing liver and kidney failure, eventually leading to coma and ultimately death. Which part of this is non-violent?

Is violence only in blood? Should the brain spurt out or should the stomach gash if you need to deem it violent? Is it acceptable if I put someone in a room without food or water, so he dies a slow death? Will you go to Jantar Mantar and claim loudly "Hey, remember there is no blood, so he cannot be booked"? Are you OK with that and call it a non-violent death?

Is violence only when done to others and not self-inflicted? Would you go humpty-dumpty on a march supporting me if I threaten the government that I am going to put myself on fire in 10 days in full public view in Jantar Mantar in the national capital, if the country's demands are not met? Or would you come in masses to the Tihar jail because the Government arrested me for fear of a backlash or violence? Remember, the only guy talking about non-violence there is Anna Hazare. If the situation goes out of control, you and me are not going to sit down taking the Lathi Charge. Gone are those days of the British, we will fight back and won't hesitate to draw blood, for we are all animals inside and only then human outside. We are not capable of saying a sorry to the guy we accidentally brush on the road with our car. We don't mind spitting on the road. So we won't sit there and protest in a non-violent way if things go wrong.

Let Anna Hazare fast next to me for 10 days. I will eat sitting next to him for the same 10 days, and then set myself on fire because the Jan Lokpal bill is not exectued the only way I want, paying no heed to the constitutional limitations or alternatives. Would that make me any less a martyr? I die a quick death, he dies a slow death, but it's death after all for the same cause. And none else did it, both of us do it to ourselves. Would you all come and support me and pour kerosene on me? If your answer is no, then you have absolutely no hell-of-a-damn right to go on a march supporting someone else's fast. Remember you are taking full responsibility for someone's death when you are doing that.

This is probably the biggest stage we have got so far to talk about corruption. Why is no-one talking about the practice of giving bribes? This should also be talked about in all the marches and candle vigils. Now that we have mobilized so many activists, why not take government offices one by one on a weekly basis, declare them as corruption-free zone, station ourselves there in groups and advise the common man coming there not to pay bribes? If one knows everyone else is not paying a bribe, no-one is going to pay it. No givers means no takers. It cannot be stopped from a personal front whereas a mass-motive is needed. Corruption is a two-edged sword, corrective measures are needed on the giver's side too. If you would go join the movement on a Saturday morning, march all the way, come back home, eat your dinner and pay that bribe in the RTO office on Monday so you could get to office early - Corruption cannot be stopped with a thousand Lokpal bills. Stop the giver, punish the taker.

So, could someone please explain how fasting is democratic and non-violent? Or how is it not blackmail when you are holding the government to ransom? On a personal note, I have no take on the Lokpal bill, because I don't know my country's law or constitution. It's probably correct, but with a few necessary modifications to follow the constitutional laws. Remember no-one is above the constitution. But don't sucker me saying fasting is non-violent. It is extremely violent, utterly non-democratic and a full-sense blackmail! And I have absolute regret for the only fellow dying out there. You guys are eating, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In theory, every action is violent and flawed. Even when you are not fasting, you are being violent to animals and plants to feed yourself, right?
Anna Hazare is not going to fast to death because XYZ is fasting. XYZ is fasting to show his or her protest to govt, the same way Anna Hazare is doing. A person fasting is not the same thing as someone aiding you in putting kerosene on you. I choose my path and Anna chooses his path and they happen to be same and we decide to put the protest together as alone we can't move the needle.

Jayaprakash Narayan said to Indira Gandhi: "In a democracy the citizen has an inalienable right to civil disobedience when he finds that other channels of redress or reform have dried up."

Frankly I don't think Anna will reach that stage. It is to put appropriate pressure in the only way possible and recommended by none other than Gandhiji. With the conviction of truth, honesty and sincerity on one side, you can see where this is going.

As for blackmail comment, can you explain how it falls in the definition? Everything is out in open, there is no secrecy involved, no gun involved, no threat of exposing your personal details if you don't accept the demand involved. He has a right to protest and so do the others. If Govt think it will have repurcussions to ignore the voice of so many, it is true. But they cannot label as blackmail. The govt can always force feed him as they have done others in the past.
It is a non-violent fight but a fight all the same.

As for flaws with the campaign, sure my friend there are. Unless you come up with a completely better and different way or help the cause and reduce the flaws, your thoughts don't move the needle. And I bet any way you take to do anything substantial can be criticized.
Remember this bill has been put forward atleast 7 times before over the last 42 years. Accepting the vested interest of selfish politicians (in what they think as a profit making business rather than a service to people) is not the same thing as honoring the constitution.
With today's laws in India, corruption is the lowest risk and highest return business. There is just no incentive for someone to be not corrupt. The law is just to fix the anomaly and to really make India the superpower it deserves to be rather than a paper tiger.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the naive comment on stopping the giving of bribe rather than stopping the acceptance of bribe:
No one wants to give a bribe if work can be done without it in a reasonable time, right. No one has free money. People pay bribe because they know a mundane tasks (like getting a driver license, passport etc) that should be straight-forward and a matter of hours takes days and months and maybe never, if the bribe is not given. They also know there is no strong law they can use to get the work done in reasonable time. Now the govt official will know that he or she is proven guilty, they will have to pay penalty out of their salary. So will his boss. That is a practical way to limit corruption rather than preaching impractical ways on a blog of skipping office to no affect.
People in US don't pay bribes because basic common man things are streamlined,automated and transparent. A 'babu' somewhere cannot hide the file. The law is on my side and I can sue the department in a practical way without giving up my day to day life.

Also everyone understands this is not a magic wand, but a step in the right direction. Other aspects have to be covered over time as well.

7:35 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

Am not saying the bill should not be passed. I am saying the current version of proposed jan lokpal bill has its own flaws like handing over all powers to one committee, instead of distributing it and taking measures to exercise this power effectively.

The basis of democracy is to distribute power among judiciary, executive and legislation equally so that it is balanced.

My concern is how many people in this march/protest actually know about the effects of the bill. I, one for sure, do not know it fully. But I don't want to jump from the pan into the fire.

9:52 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

Mr. Anonymous, as for the comment on stopping to give bribes, I tend to agree with you. It cannot be stopped by some willing people because of the risk of their work not getting done. It has to be a mass effort. If one knows all the others who have come to get their work done aren't paying it, one will not pay it either.

Now, that measure requires some concrete preaching and steps, and there is no platform bigger than what we have now.

Plus, there are some thugs who force a non-demanding official take bribe to behave their way. There is an equal flaw there that needs to be addressed.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to watch this which addresses questions you have (of who will control the Lokpal committee).

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys can find fault in everything sitting in the comfort of AC workplaces. He is not fighting for his family, his community, religion, or region, but for the country selflessly.

2:27 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

That doesn't still compensate for the flaws in the bill. And if the government wants to hear what public wants in the bill, I don't think it is right for anyone to say they voice public opinion and only their version should be passed.

2:40 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

And I wonder where all these activists were for the last 10 yrs, when Iron Sharmila has been fasting in Manipur. Is it because it is local and remote and doesn't bother everyone but only some Indians?

2:42 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

3:19 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

So, the important question again? Before we support the jan lokpal bill, have we actually read through the proposal, understood its implications and what effects it will have on the legislation and public? How can one call it jan lokpal bill if there is not even a chance of debating it in public, and it has been drafted only by a select few? It is not right to say only this or that version should be passed. It has to be analyzed with proper unbias, the protest should be dedicated to that.

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The debate has been going on since December.
The draft by Civil Society has been drafted by people at large though various channels including internet.
More clarification :

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mr Sravan
I don't understand the comment of yours ' if the government wants to hear what public wants in the bill'.
It is actually the Civil Society that wants public referendum on the bill, not the govt.

Also for the comment: " It is not right to say only this or that version should be passed."
Team Anna is asking for their bill to be tabled in Parliament and debated. They cannot force nor are they asking for only this exact version to be passed. Their main take is this bill or a better bill that does not take the essence out of fighting corruption should be passed. Currently the govt whimsically took out all the corruption fighting points without logical reasoning. And their current version does nothing to fight the corruption (infact penalizes more the person who dares to reach out to Lokpal committe)
The govt is infact not having logical discussion with the people on how their bill will tackle corruption. Because it does not and they know it does not.
Look at the clarity and detail with which Team Anna presents details and high -level picture of what they are asking. They consider the public to be intelligent. Also if you give specific , objective and constructive suggestion to the team with logic (rather than just name calling) they do ammend the bill. The current Jan Lokpal bill is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.

7:37 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

The government sent out a notice last week, if what I heard is correct, that public can send in their inputs for the lokpal bill. Team Anna categorically rejected this saying the govt is adopting a tactic to distract the public off Anna's protest, and that people should insist for the current Jan Lokpal bill be passed.

Also, Team Anna demands their version of bill be passed by August 30, there is no scope given for debate on/off the parliament by the politicians or by public.

I wonder why many prominent lawyers like Ramjeth Melani etc. are silent on this, they are the ones who know the impact one way or the other. Am only bothered about one point in the Jan Lokpal Bill - Handing over all power to one single committee with no over-ruling authority. It's close to dictatorship.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you give the source for what you 'think you heard'.
Here is my reliable source (not a blog) that says Team Anna is all for referendum (even now if the Govt has guts to put the bills in referendum):

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you care explain how it is dictatorship.
A dictator is someone who has power and does not listen. It refers to a govt of that nature. You and me and Team Anna can demand anything we want, that does not make us dictator.
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator.

Also if you are following news, negotiations and talks are happening through various channels as we speak. If the bill is not passed by 30th, the govt will not be put in jail by Team Anna. It is called posturing. A firm and sincere commitment by Govt and followup within stated timeline should be acceptable to the reasonable volunteers working for us in Team Anna.

10:57 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

Source? Surprised you haven't heard of it, being in Team Anna:

And if the govt expects this from me, I don't think anyone has the right from asking the govt to stop doing it. How does one know I can't send a better solution? (I here is representative, there might be better qualified people out there).

11:33 PM  
Blogger sravan said...

Also this:

11:35 PM  
Blogger sravan said...

And about dictatorship, it need not be a person. It need not directly affect people. But the whole point of democracy is based on decentralization of power, and the current version of the bill is totally against it. I strongly do not agree to concentrating all powers - investigation, prosecution and punishment - to the same committee. There should be different departments involved in any case, so that justice is met out properly, and one can overrule the other in case of need. Else, the committee dictates all.

In short, I am all for a strict version of the lokpal bill, but not so strict that the govt can't function at all without the constant fear of being prosecuted. It's going from a situation of lawlessness to prohibition. What we need is the middleground.

11:46 PM  
Blogger sravan said...

Excerpts from the Times today:

".. But there can be no second opinion on the need to find common ground. Both the government and Team Anna claim to be doing what they're doing "for the people". If that be so, neither side should allow ego to come in the way of a solution that best tackles the curse of corruption and serves the cause of India and its people. This is a moment in our history that calls for humility and guts, not hubris or bravado".

No-one is against the cause, Anna Hazare is a noble person. But that doesn't necessarily mean I agree with the means of the team behind him, that's where I have a problem. The govt is now ready to refer Jan Lokpal bill to the standing committee, and if it comes up with a plausible middleground which brings corrupt to justice, it should be accepted.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lokpal committe will just investigate and file a case in Indian courts. Indian courts will prosecute if they think so. The centralization is just for investigation, one coherent, independent body that is answerable and can be removed if found corrupt. Not for prosecution.

Seriously, have you read the bills ?

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the article that you are quoting:

The govt is just asking for opinion on its bill, with the intention of making minor changes to show it is taking public opinion. Is it asking for referendum on which bill is better ? Is it asking if PM, judiciary etc has to be included.

Govt bill = {a} (less than 1% of bodies. Leaving all sort of innovations possible on how to channel bribes in the places not covered)

jan lokpal bill = {a,b,c,d,.... all bodies covered by corruption)

Govt is asking opinion on {a}. Just say how a can be changed. Not asking to include b,c,d.....

Someone has to be blind or have vested interest to not see through the tricks of govt.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your initial comment you describe dictatorship as being Anna asking for ALL or NOTHING. And when I mentioned that is not called dictatorship, in the later comment you describe it as meaning as one body putting the case and prosecuting.

Not only are both incorrect, you are changing your arguments from post to post.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also referendum is different from asking opinion. A referendum of public means if the people says yes to bill implement it, if no don't implement it. It is binding and being democratic. What Team Anna is suggesting if govt wants to do.
Asking for opinion is not binding. It is saying this is what is going to happen, do you have some comments which I may or may not entertain. Public is not fool to not see the difference.

As for the method used by Team Anna, sure it is drastic and we don't want to use for every issue. But decades of corruption and a weak system where the govt is not capable of making sweeping changes to address corruption has left people crippled. Inspite of having 1/6th the world populations, we are not the top super-power in the world. A change of this level in a society entrenched in corruption can only come through a revolution, a firm but non-violent revolution.
All the pen-pushers can suggest ideal ways, but it has not and will not lead to actual results.

10:36 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

Excerpts from

It says lokpal/lokayukta will investigate a complaint within one year and file a case in a court (investigation is owned by lokpal, court is responsible to lokpal). Once court decides guilty, lokayukta will have all the powers to oust the guilty (punishment owned by lokpal again - no distribution of power)

Lokpal can give permission for anyone to file a case against any judge. Overrules CJI, which is not encouraged by constitution.

Lokayukta/Lokpal can notify movable/immovable assets of accused to be attached if DURING INVESTIGATIONS, it finds a cause for prosecution. This is even before prosecution, and without assets, how will a person be able to aptly defend himself, in case he has done no wrong?

If the allegations against a minister are substantiated through an enquiry or investigation, the Lokpal or Lokayukta will be able to recommend removal of that minister - before/after prosecution? If you are ousting a minister before prosecution, it is a grave injustice to all the public who have voted for him.

Wrong complainants should be meted with strong punishment. Just a cash fine of less than one lakh is not acceptable. I could easily waste the government's time/resource by filing a wrong case and get away with it, scarring a good minister in the process.

- All these are based on my minimal understanding of the bill. If they have amended or corrected a few, I stand corrected too. As I said, I am not against jan lokpal bill. I am only saying some important concerns be addressed before jumping into a dangerous all-autonomous body - that is not going to be handled by Anna Hazare or Mr. Khejriwal, but by current civil servants only.

10:38 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

And I still disagree with Mr. Anna's ways. I am not for satyagraha, however noble he or his cause may be. I never went against this idea. If you believe in judiciary after the passing of bill, you should believe in it before. You can't have double standards.

"Aug 30 - Have it my way or go, there is no alternative" - is a blackmail. The protests against such ways are also increasing, and that means there is a section of the public who don't believe this is correct.

10:43 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

BTW, my writeup was about how fasting is not correct, not about the pros and cons of the bill. Thanks for reminding that.

I also mentioned I have a few personal reservations about the bill and there are a few areas to look at and correct if need be, but I never said we don't need the bill. I don't question the cause, only the means.

10:50 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

"In your initial comment you describe dictatorship as being Anna asking for ALL or NOTHING"

- Now I understand why you are upset. Please read again, I meant handing over all power to one committee is leading to dictatorship. Subsequent comment also is along the same idea. Not sure how you read it as talking about Mr.Hazare.

10:57 AM  
Blogger sravan said...

Happy there is a middleground attempted. Happy that the jan lokpal bill is going to be debated.

Hope Mr. Anna calls off the fast (for now at least) and doesn't worsen the situation anymore when his demands are being met. And hope Team Anna accepts it if a plausible middleground - a bill which strictly punishes the wrong-doers, but doesn't go against democratic principles and maintains balance of power - is reached upon. May the best law for the people as well as the government (note: not politicians) be enacted!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Neha said...

Team Anna is no longer part of solution but a big problem with their autocratic,undemocratic approach.

6:19 AM  

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