Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why it’s important to slap the citizen


Sorry, but my mood off late is social commentary.

It cannot be helped. Such is the nature of the events unfolding in the country at the moment. For those interested, kindly Google “Anna Hazare” for more information on what is happening.

I just have a question to ask – why are these citizens being all self-righteous suddenly? They claim that this is a new “freedom struggle”. I find it a little ridiculous. The fact that it doesn’t occur to anyone that they are free to protest and call the government on its bluff is a little strange. How do these people feel shackled? They are allowed to elect. They are free to follow rules, or not. I’m willing to bet that some of them spit on the road and follow it up with “my forefathers fought for a free country, so I will spit. This land is my land, etc, etc, etc,” and some other truckload of tripe.

Have none of these “protestors” paid a bribe? Ever? Really? I find it hard to believe. In a country where minor traffic violations are pushed under the carpet with a Rs.50 bribe and no challan issued, it’s a little strange to see people gather by the thousands and be morally upright about an issue that clearly requires two parties to participate.

Let’s not look at corrupt officials and governments and government offices for a moment. Let’s look at citizens who go ahead and offer up bribes and under-the-table ways of dealing with an issue. They don’t pay bribes because it is the only way. I’m sure there are enough and more people in government offices that don’t need to be bribed for your work to get done. The way people are protesting, one is led to believe that every single government official is corrupt and so on. Truth is, most of them might not be. If you go someplace and act desperate and say “I will do anything, just please clear my paperwork” it won’t occur to the government officer to call the cops on you. He/she will take what you are offering and get on with his/her working day. People don’t realise that these people get paid anyway and they get employee benefits anyway. Anything more than that is probably going into their kids’ college  funds.

I don’t appreciate the fact that self-righteous citizens are taking to the street protesting. I want them to ask themselves if they’ve ever paid a bribe, willingly. If they have, they need to stop protesting against corruption, ASAP. These people are exactly like the fuckers who don’t vote and then bitch. If you haven’t voted, then who the fuck are you to tell the Prime Minister he’s shit? Aren’t you being undemocratic by not exercising a system that has been created just so you can create a governing body that will benefit you and others in the long run? If that is such a failure, then on what basis are these new watchdogs of society going to function? Are they officials elected “by the people”? No. Then how do people know that they have the best interests of the people at heart?

To me, this fight against corruption seems like a war with the government officials and corrupt ministers more than it is about the problem of corruption itself.

When the desperation to get work done is what governs most requirements, and there is a willing populace to encourage a rat race of “whose paperwork will get cleared first”, how the fuck is corruption ever going to go away?

The unfortunate, or fortunate, reality is that India is a secular democracy. Everyone here has the right to do and say as they please. Sometimes it’s fantastic that we do have this freedom. Sometimes, not so. In the instance of Anna, the hypocritical, right-wing, in desperate need of a retirement plan, Hazare, the freedom to express dissent is being misused to its nth degree. He wants a non-corrupt system. It’s difficult to achieve, but not impossible. In order for this lofty ideal to even pretend to be some form of reality, the second hand in the corruption clap needs to be slapped – that of the bribing citizen. However, what Hazare wants is a non-elected body of civilians to scrutinise every move of the Prime Minister, the CBI, and an assortment of other government offices.

Erm, a little Big Brother / 1984-ish, no? Probably worse.

Apparently, the existence of a watchdog entity that has the power to bring down even the highest political authority in the country, the Prime Minister, will eliminate corruption. History has proved time and again, that power in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with it, always gets abused. I don’t understand why “the people” don’t see that we’re headed straight towards a massive spiral of complete chaos. The existence of a secular democratic system while a non-elected superbody exists simultaneously, is at complete odds. It is at odds with the ideals that this country was built on. I don’t see how a part-dictatorial system is democratic in any way.

Corruption is not just about A Raja costing the exchequer a ridiculous amount of money or Suresh Kalmadi misappropriating resources to make the country look like an inefficient entity. Corruption is also the offering of an “incentive” to someone in order to push your work along. Corruption is about mutual benefit to both parties. The fact that only one party is being targeted in Hazare’s protest is a little weird. I want the jails to be overcrowded for sure, but by both the people who took the bribe and by the people who offered it.

The fact that only one part of the corruption equation is being held accountable for a problem that clearly needs two participants is a little ridiculous.

Dear upright citizens,

Kindly stop supporting Anna Hazare if you’ve ever bribed someone in life. You’re the reason why A Raja thought he could get away with it. When you supply, there will be more demand. It’s a rule that governs just about everything in life and reality. To think that you’re not asking yourself what kind of citizen you are is in itself indicative of the kind of people who will be in the Lokpal. I don’t want to be governed by two agencies. I’ve elected one, while in the full possession of my faculties. Don’t ask me to stand by and watch as random people with a so-called sweeping ideological match with most of the country’s moral fibre decide which of the government officials I elected are worth being in office. As a citizen, I find it personally offensive that my vote, and my democratic rights are being undermined because Anna Hazare feels that the government I elected needs to be scared of someone watching over them. You are trivializing a process that requires time, money and a lot of hard work.

Shruthi

There are some people who have articulated their non-support for Hazare rather beautifully. This particular one (by Peter Griffin) was epic and also led me to discover Facebook’s character limit (500) –

“1. I'm anti-corruption.
2. I'm anti-Anna Hazare.
3. Hazare is a sanctimonious right-wing tyrant so cloaked in his own virtue that he believes he is above the law.
4. The law is frequently an ass.
5. Nevertheless, the law is frequently our only hope.
6. Better the elected asses than the dictatorial unelected.
7. The government is playing into Hazare's hands with its idiocy.
8. Yes, these views can be held simultaneously.”

The trouble with people who put themselves on a pedestal is that they don't have the option of making mistakes. When Hazare called himself a Gandhian, he had already begun a process of intense scrutiny. The truth about his ideology was bound to come out sometime. When self-righteous, do-gooders think they are the shit, they are setting themselves up for a fail. I’m sorry but when you decide that you are above any kind of moral scrutiny, then you need to understand that you should have a flawless record. Those that don’t should shut the fuck up and move on.

I, for one, am not a perfect citizen. I am not going to be a part of this “fight for freedom”. I already am a free person in a free world. I don’t see the need to fight for freedom, again. I’m not being suppressed, oppressed or anything. Underpaid, maybe, but nothing else.

Have I paid some police uncle somewhere some money so he will not hassle me, yes. Does that make me a bad citizen, yes. I don’t like that I did, but I’ve had to. There is no justification for a mistake made. However, when I do see my type going to town and acting like they know better, it irks me. When you cover up your mistakes and pretend to be a person you’re not, then what’s the difference between Kalmadi / Raja / Kanimozhi / Bellari and you?

EDITED TO ADD THIS link

6 comments:

  1. This is not "ranting". I could not possibly tell you how much sense you make to me!

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  2. Beautiful article. My friend above posted this on FB citing your reference... Wonderful read and it kinda treads on the path where I'm heading too. Kudos! :)

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  3. Vrinda - thanks a lot. The "ranting" - its just a label. The way things are going, however, I'm probably one of the few people who the majority thinks is in support of the government. Truth is, I'm not. The fact that non-Hazare people are considered pro-corruption tells me that the people behind this "freedom struggle" are extremists. And let's face it extremists are not nice people!

    Sankalpparihar - thank you so much for dropping by! :)

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  4. wow can there be a group which that doesn't support hazare AND the govt? thats me!
    Awesomely written!! :D
    one thing irks me . If u once bribed some1 but now have repented and changed. u can't be called clean? (not in hazare context but generally speaking )

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  5. I think everyone in India has bribed. If you don't do it anymore, of course you're clean! :)

    Bribing is a reality that we all need to deal with. If we stop giving, something might come out of it. I honestly believe that. As long as we give bribes, corruption, in any way or form is not going anywhere!

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  6. I'm going to write a little about this next week. The power of the web and all that.

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