Friday, June 03, 2011

The Hunger-Strike Approach

Baba Ramdeo's decision to go for hunger-strike against corruption and the Government's unprompt response to the resolutions made following the Anna Hazare strike is ... well ... striking!

I definitely appreciate the Yoga guru's concern to contribute in yet another way to the society's ills apart from bodily or mental ones. Probably, lots of people have pointed fingers at him on the point that his trying to change his role like this is uncalled for. While I would say that the point shouldn't be ignored, I feel it's someone's fundamental right to decide to do whatever he wishes within the limits of Law.

However, there's a deeper, more long term, concern. What is corruption for these people? Black money in Swiss Banks? Politicians misusing their powers? Bureaucrats taking bribes? What will happen if these instances of corruption are removed overnight? Nothing! Thousands others will come to take their places.

Corruption, like education, poverty, unemployment, is a deep rooted social disease which can't be solved with a revolution. It will require a deep, sustained process of cleansing that has to happen over a protracted period of time. Oversimplifying it and presenting it to the community as if it's something outside them is misleading. I don't even know if it will result in more harm than good.

One point in favour of this is, of course, if the initiators realise that these revolutionary events may mark a start of a national movement. May be, it will awaken the people to stand up when they see corruption being practiced in their field of vision. Hope it happens.

Meanwhile, I would plainly say that I find it unbecoming of Baba Ramdeo talking of gallows for corrupt politicians.


thedialecticmind said...

The fight is for the establishment of a system which will help people fight corruption when they face one. For a definition of corruption which the system would seek to help fight one should read the Jan Lokpal Bill putforth by these people. They have tried to cover most acts of corruption(if any is left out, you are free to tell them and if your suggestion is good they might include it)

What Baba Ramdev now is trying to do in addition is pressurizing the govt into bringing back the Black Money! I fail to see what is wrong in that demand. He is at least using the huge following he has for a good cause (I personally do not like him, but when somebody is doing something good one must atleast not object or create hurdles ). Secondly the demand of death penalty is not bad. If one looks at it many Indians are pushed to committing suicide because of corrupt practices. Should not death penalty be issued in the worst cases of corruptiion which lead to a death of a person or many people (corruption in hospitals and vaccine programs for instance) Most of the problems in India can be solved by attacking corrupt practices.I agree with you that removing one set of corrupt people is not a solution, but when have these people asked for it. They are fighting to get a system in place which will help us fight. And they want it to be strong. Right now we do not have a redressal system where we can complain that such and such an official is not doing his work because we did not pay the bribe.

sanjay said...

I think every step towards removing a negative tendency should be welcome. You might sit on the sidelines and watch or join the cause, but the sheer size of the corruption by these politicians is knee buckling and heart stopping. Death penalty seems harsh, an odd phrase from a supposedly all forgiving guru, but life term is something that i am all in for.
Moreover the onus is on us to elect the right guys and also for there being a pool of educated, non-self-serving candidates.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Hi, thanks for the informed comments.
Dear Shreya, let me sync up with you on some points. I think, where we agree is that it's not an end, but a start, of a movement. Where we differ in this is probably the amount of hope that all this will result in a sustained movement. I don't say it won't. But I have relatively less hope.
Various people have various takes on capital punishment. It's a differ topic of discussion that I can't handle really. But I feel that corruption is not an act of pre-medidated murder. It grows in a person like a malady, and is rooted in the most basic ideas one received in the initial stages of life. A corrupt person usually lodges himself in an environment where he feels a homely feeling, as if he is doing just what everyone else is doing around him. Corrupt practices ought to be stopped at all costs. But I feel that killing a person deeply in the midst of a corrupt ecology, in absense of our ability to kill that ecology itself, is an act of violence. You may call me a 'naramwaadi' in that sense.

Judging the severity of an act of corruption on the basis of its immediate cost in terms of human lives would again be a mistake. Firstly, it's very hard to find the real consequences of anything. For example, using a car may be an innocent indulgence to us. But to think of it as a part of a civilisation which is parasitic on the planet would make it appear really dastardly. Bad example, probably. But, please bear with me, and give it a thought. There are only two things that should ideally be done to handle corruption (or any social evil): prevent it (preferably through means other than mortal fear), and education (which will take time). The fact that I am using the term 'ideally' displays that I appreciate that the reality is a big different. Therefore, though my vote would sure go against gallows, if it is brought in I won't go on a hunger strike! :)
Finally, I wish to express my agreement with you on the point that the parts of JLB which empower people will definitely go a long way. Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Noone claims the things will change by one "andolan". But, this is a beginning of a process. Setting lokpal bill and bringing the money back is are some important steps towards reducing corruption. I wonder why people spend so time in analyzing these "andolans".Instead, would it not be wise to contribute on them

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Hm. I feel there are lots of them joining the andolan. That's good. But it helps having various thoughts and perspectives around so that the community as a whole doesn't show knee-jerk reactions.