It may sound rather puerile, but this is what it’s been reduced to: India against Corruption (IAC) vs. India for Corruption (IFC). The battle lines are firmly drawn, the big question is: Can IAC worst IFC; Can the new, emerged society beat back the entrenched, morally-derelict, value-free old; and will it, finally, be a triumph of transpacracy over kleptocracy?
Transpacracy is the flavour of our times, at least in emerged countries believing in the End-of-History ‘ism’. It is nothing but transparent democracy where the rule of law plays out in plucky openness, leveraging technology of a world-wide-web as harbinger of a just social order.
Much has been made out of the tyranny of the unelected and unelectable few over the elected and electable representatives. Also, the fact that the Constitution admits of law-making by the parliament is beyond question. But, paradoxically, it’s in the interstices of these two propositions that the solution to the present scourge of corruption lies.
First: the unelected and unelectable tyranny of the few. It is well to remember that these so-called few are the rightful citizens of this country conveying people’s angst and anguish. The support that Anna Hazare’s fast generated cannot be wished away. Were one to discount that too, the issues that this tyrannical group purveys cannot be overlooked. The issues are simple: Must we continue with this retinue of corruption that refuses to go away and raises its ugly head with monotonous regularity? Mustn’t we’ve a strong and autonomous institutionalized mechanism in place to curb such future desecrations?
The answer is simple: YES. For no social compact agreed upon by individuals coming off their free will to improve their lot enjoins a situation that their elected representatives loot their money in their selfish quest to fatten themselves at the cost of the very people for whose improvement they purportedly were elected. Further, must the vast majority allow the continuance of this desecration because they’ve committed the folly of voting them to power till their term gets over? The answer is a ringing NO.
The second issue – of parliament’s supremacy to legislate – flows from the former. While it’d be facetious to question the noble intent of members of the Constituent Assembly, it’s certain that they didn’t envisage situations when MPs and central ministers would be incarcerated for acts of gross commission. Nor could they have imagined that the people’s representative would make a career out of public service to lord the people over palm and pine. Remember, these members of the Constituent Assembly were people who had suffered incalculably to free the country, sacrificing comfort, profession and life, for a transcendental, national cause.
The arrogance and hauteur of most of these so-called people’s representatives must be seen to be believed. To call them public servants whose job it is to serve the public would be an offence to English language. To imagine that they’ll discharge their ministerial responsibilities to do good turn selflessly for public good would be asking for the moon. The impulse and the jockeying to occupy ministerial berths have been well documented in the infamous Niira Radiagate. Failing such ascendancy to ministerial high berths, those who are made to settle for lesser perches, try to make the most of the crumbs offered them. Their arrogance and hubris is legendary as is their impulse to high living – as though they are the lord and master who can brook no rule of the land and law.
Now take your pick. Whether we must allow the tyranny of the elected to continue ad nauseam or we must voice our opinion on public issues to straitlace public transactions. “Eternal vigil is the price of freedom,” Nehru, the quintessential democrat had once enjoined. His words ring true more than ever before. We need to banish the spectre of kleptocracy and an Orwellian raj.
Orwell though turns in his grave, smirking mischievously, unsure if his dictums are going to hold out in a world changing at cyberspeed and where untruths and hypocrisy are derided as unlovely relics of past opacity. He isn’t unhappy though, because he knows he’s won his fight – where war will be considered war, and not peace; ignorance condemned as ignorance, not knowledge; and freedom will be freedom, not slavery – where singlespeak trounces doublespeak and multispeak; and where human feelings find wings to take flight.