WHAT WAS the government trying to hide? A legitimate question in the minds of concerned observers of the drama of anti-corruption campaign! A government that has done its job well need not have panicked to the extent that it did. ‘Something fishy’ is a thought that many citizens could not escape from.
It is not difficult to create a hype in such surcharged atmosphere of dissatisfaction with existing order of things. That a group used its money power and manipulative mind power to mesmerize youth who needed time to understand intricacies of governance, systems and structures, can be easily passed on as a different kind of corruption. And that, when accompanied by the many propaganda that money came from American Agencies working overtime to subvert democracies, lends easy credence to the illegitimacy of anticorruption campaign. Speaking of propaganda, where are the evidences? A legitimate questions indeed! And that is what UPA too asked. Where are the evidences for corruption? Even if there are, will they stand in a court of law where even judges have been put in jail for allegedly accepting bribe?
Therefore, what are the circumstances? Foreign money playing into the hands of one group and panicky reaction on the part of another group! Strong circumstances for and against corruption! Both pointing out to corruption ultimately! Have we entered into an era of double standards then? Perhaps an era of total mental corruption, which is dangerous too. The support base for the Campaign against corruption did not come from the people of India. Yes, there were many in Jantar Mantar. But why were they there and why did they withdraw? To fight against corruption? If one carefully analyses the speeches made there and the emotive tempo that was created, one can safely conclude that promotion of some hidden agenda was dancing at the background with gaiety. Background players! Very dangerous stakeholders! Finally the crescendo that was built up deviated from corruption to anti-UPA agenda. “We shall defeat Congress in the next elections” Wow, what honesty ultimately! Whose agenda is this?
There was no limit. UPA provided the handle. Rushing to meet one ‘godman’ gave the strong idea that even the Parliament of India could be held to ransom. The game fell out. Indian citizens can be duped only for sometime. The campaign against corruption was soon weaned off. Those who genuinely felt the pain of corruption, those who genuinely felt, ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ decided to keep away from clowns and jokers. From people dancing to the tune of campaigners against corruption now it was the turn of the campaigners to dance to a different tune.
Hidden behind the hidden agenda was a personal agenda of the entire show. Finally, the ‘team’ ended up with a proclamation that it would float a political party. The 601st political party in India, the Election Commission would say. They already have enough headache with 600 and odd registered political parties in the country. May be a manifestation of the quality of democracy in India or may be a manifestation of the level of corruption in India. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to have a share of the wealth of this nation. Voters are tired. Indeed they showed this fatigue in the second phase of the campaign. Right from 1951 Indian voters have shown the audacity to distinguish between the hero and the clown. They show each his place.
We cannot dump the entire show as a sort of circus only with clowns. There were many interesting characters. Balance of judgment can slip even the mighty. They retrieved their steps sooner than expected of them. Some diehards among them lacked the ability to understand realities from different angles, to reach beyond limited horizons. The likes of Justice Hegde in Karnataka represent the diehard fighters against corruptions but they do lack the vision to evolve genuine alternatives. Corruption in India is not simply personalized.
The universalization of corruption led to its taking deep roots in the systems and structures of governance in India. The allegation of corruption in the judiciary is just one example of this deep lying malady. If India is singled out for its gargantuan level of corruption it must open our eyes and minds to look at those countries that have less level of corruption in their governance. Kiran Bedi would have done well to look at the big and small levels of corruption instead of looking at small rape and big rape. She should take some lessons from the UP Minister who advised his bureaucrats to steal but to become robbers. What a shame! “Mera Bharat” has become very small.
The difference between India and other developing economies is that we have borrowed a plundering model and have integrated it into our systems and structures of governance. With more than half of Indian population being poor, even 35% official figure is too huge for India, this model is a misfit. Those countries have refurbished their instruments of governance with systems that do not allow corruption. We have developed the skills to deal with manifestations and symptoms, as do most of our trained doctors. Other countries in the meantime have developed the know-how of constantly overhauling their systems of governance. One of the major overhauling they have done is to have changed their representative system.
This is fundamental in their journey towards good governance. In India we are still tinkering with our election system reluctant to give up the legacy that we borrowed from the British. It is once again a manifestation of an underlying corruption, that our rulers do not want the people to elect their genuine representatives. Actual corruption lies there. It is evident by now that countries with Proportional Representation system of elections have far less corruption than India. It is because at the time of election the system does not require anyone to be corrupt to win. It provides a winning space without indulging in corruption. If there is no need of corrupt practices at the time of elections the system will hardly provide the leverage for indulging in mindless corruption after elections. This has been the precious lesson that one learns from countries with Proportional Representation system.
It is high time that Indian citizens turned their eyes towards other models of representation and governance and not get bogged down with our borrowed models. It is also high time that there is citizen pressure on changing the models of our representation instead of wasting our energies on removing mere symptoms. The media has to play a crucial role in this. But that is a separate discourse altogether. Indian democracy has to be refurbished urgently and Indian electoral system has to go through a thorough overhauling. It is indeed high time that India shifted gears toward Proportional Representation system of elections. This will be a sure and lasting way to win the battle against corruption.