Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill and Lokavidhyadhar Samaj - Lalit Kaul

The root cause for birth of corruption in activities related to social, political, religious, and economic affairs of a human society is dishonest intent. Consequently the impact of such dishonest maneuvers in managing, family affairs, societal affairs, and that of the whole Nation varies in the quantum of harm it does within its specified boundaries.

To experiment while trying to plan and implement certain programs perceived to do good for the populace that is under consideration cannot be denied to any head of a family, sarpanch/panchayat of a village, and/or the elected government of a Nation. The failure of such an experiment too does not deserve any kind of ridicule for the thought process that initiated it and the effort/resources that were expended to make a success of it, but to stick on to a failed experiment is tantamount to pursuing certain interests that are at once at variance with, and/or in contrast to, its avowed aim – the good of the people. The failed experiments do benefit a section of people who are a part of planning and implementing agencies because of very huge (incomprehensible for a commoner on the street) quantum of financial investments in activities under the experiments. The intent to carry on endlessly with the experiment because of vested interests is Dishonest Intent and amassing of wealth at the cost of perceived beneficiaries is only its by-product- defined as corruption. An honest intent would scrap the experiment.

Organic Link:

The Indian caste system is perhaps as old as its civilizations have been. Each caste has had its own samaj visibly and inherently different from the others. The singular and most momentous contribution of post independence Indian governments is creation of a new samaj – the anglicized Indian samaj - visibly and inherently different from the Lok Vidyadhar Samaj. Yet, like the old times, there exists an organic link between these two and because of which the dynamics of anglicized samaj adversely affect those of the Lok Vidyadhar Samaj.

The Failed Experiment and the Dishonest Intent:

Before embarking on the development process based on Five Year Plans, the first Prime Minister of India requested Professor P C Mahalnobis to work on the alternative plans for socio-economic development of the people of India. Professor P C Mahalnobis, accordingly, submitted two plans, 1) capital intensive and 2) engaging crores of unemployed hands in productive activities. The then Prime Minister chose the former. An experiment based on the collective perception of those at the helm of the affairs then cannot be a matter of ridicule today.

However, the fact that this experiment had not yielded expected results and in fact had continued to inflict more and more miseries on the ever growing section of the populace, was ignored subsequently, is tantamount to dishonest intent that completely inhibited initiation of another experiment as proposed by Professor P C Mahalnobis the inspiration for which remained the Gandhian perspective of the Indian samaj.

Corruption on the Rise:

The big money temptations bred and nurtured the nexus between the politicians of the day, the big business, and the bureaucracy that also led to vast increase in the strengths of police forces and creation of ever growing paramilitary forces to inhibit/suppress any kind of protest, organized in any possible way, from the sea of humanity that perennially found itself exploited and left out of the process of growth and economic development.

In fact the annoyance at raising the issue of corruption was expressed by Pandit Nehru who did not like Sri Feroz Gandhi, the then Congress M.P., raising the Mundhra Deal scandal in the Parliament! Not only the seed of intolerance had been sown against anything that went against the Congress party, the hint that corruption was the last point on agenda for discussion subtly went across the Congress MPs. Smt. Indira Gandhi went many steps further to boldly declare in the Parliament that ‘corruption was a global phenomenon’!

While Bofors scandal opened the flood gates of corruption because it was the first time that the Prime Minister had been accused of accepting commissions, publicly honouring Sri P V Narsimha Rao for his literary contributions at a time when he remained implicated by a lower court and ordered to be imprisoned for 3 years, legitimized corrupt ways and corruption. Both the governments had one common feature and that was innumerable scandals. The flight of capital from this country to safe havens abroad was only a natural corollary.

The proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is essentially an attempt to eradicate, over a period of time, this corruption that essentially addresses this disease of ‘giving and taking bribes’. The reason why it has caught imagination of lakhs of people cutting across social, religious, class, and age barriers is that in addition to losing money by way of giving bribes it defeats all rationality to accept government employees demand of ‘cash for work’- the work he/she is employed to do! How much of it will succeed is not a matter for discussion here.

The Fallout:

A kind of respectability gets accorded to those millions of half-naked, starved, emaciated, and exploited lot when they are perceived as members of a samaj- the Lokavidhyadhar Samaj. This classification may be new, but the membership has lived through more than six decades (excluding the span of British rule because their intentions were honest in that looting India was their primary aim). It is a legitimate child of multifarious dishonest intents of the ruling class. This is a greater question. That the dishonest intent has given birth to a wholly deprived Lokavidhyadhar Samaj is a question that Jan Lokpal Bill fails to address. The fallout of dishonest intent is not that ‘garib aadmi’ is fed up with and/or against giving bribes because it eats in to his coffers, but that it has deprived him of his enterprise and consequently a dignified living based on his productive capabilities (It can be nobody’s case that institutionalization of Lokavidya will ensure a corruption free society, whereas it is bound to improve material quality of life for Lokavidhyadhar samaj).

Imperatives for LJA:

Therefore nothing defines corruption more poignantly than his quality of existence. Looking at it from this angle, the issue of corruption gets transcended to a plane from where giving and taking bribes becomes too mundane to be seized with.

Therefore, the movement for eradication of corruption, in the said context, would necessarily have to address to the extant basic structures of, socio-economic development, electoral politics and the mechanisms in place for elections, the mechanisms for deliverance of justice, socio-religious divide, etc; etc.

Hence, it is required of the Lokavidya Jan Andolan to define ‘dishonest intent’ and its fallout with reference to Lokavidhyadhar Samaj like, its exploitation creating abysmal poverty all across; systematic neglect and suppression of its knowledge base culminating in to production of millions of unskilled labourers forced to migrate to cities from their villages in search of livelihood just to subsist, and the process of dehumanizing concomitant with large scale migrations leading to increase in crime rates requiring more and more police force and judiciary for ‘managing’ law and order.

To articulate that the movement for establishment of honest intent is all about eradication of such systems/mechanisms which encourage and institutionalize dishonesty for personal gains is to ask for prime space for Lokavidhyadhar Samaj in the political, social, economical, and religious dynamics of Indian society.

The struggle for getting that ‘prime space’ is the genuine one against the dishonest intent and its by-product, the corruption.

Lalit Kaul

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