To All Lokpal Supporters: Where is your common sense?

Yesterday, I received an SMS. The content of the SMS was something like this. “A 7 year old boy XYZ from Hyderabad is suffering from cancer. His family is very poor. You can help his family by just forwarding this message. All leading mobile service providers have agreed to pay XYZ’s family 20 paisa for each message sent. You can also confirm this by talking to XYZ’s father on this number: 09*********.” As soon as I read the whole sms, I was sure that this is nothing but a spam message. But I decided to call the number given in the sms out of curiosity. When I called the number, the computerised voice on the other side said, “The number you are trying doesn’t exist”. I wasn’t surprised even though I had not expected this outcome. You have to admire the person who started this sms chain not because of his mischievous intent but because of how effortlessly he could trap everyone till me in the chain by putting a wrong mobile number. No one bothered to dial that number to talk to XYZ’s father at least to show some sympathy but felt nice that they did their bit to help a boy suffering from cancer by just forwarding a small SMS. Complete lack of common sense, no?

As soon as I deleted the message, suddenly a thought flashed in my mind. I could relate this sms with the whole Anna-Lokpal episode. Someone called Anna Hazare (may not with the mischievous intent that of the SMS chain initiator) claims that ‘India’ is suffering from Corruption (which is like cancer) and to help India to fight corruption, the people need to support a concept called Lokpal. This Lokpal can single handedly uproot the mighty corruption in our system. But like the sms forwarders who never bothered to check the truth of the content of the SMS, people did not bother to check the truth behind Anna Hazare’s words. While everyone is interested in what will be the powers of this lokpal, no one is ready to ask the simple question: ‘Do we really need a Lokpal?’ May be the lack of common sense playing a role?

I don’t want to go into ‘why lokpal is not a solution to corruption’ topic again. You can check my views from my last post here. The simple question I want to raise in today’s post is why are we not ready to use our common sense? People want to depend on an imaginary body like lokpal to curb corruption in India, but why can’t they stop taking or giving bribes? People don’t realise that the key to fight corruption lies in their hands. Imagine what if all the supporters of Anna who visited the Ramlila Maidan or the local protest sites in different states decide not to give or ask for bribes. This commonsensical way will be more effective in curbing corruption than building a whole new institution called lokpal.

Anna must be given the credit for awakening the Indians against corruption in our system but he must not lead his followers to support his cause of creating a ‘white elephant’ for the country. People must realise that If not having Lokpal is not the cause of corruption, then having a lokpal will not stop corruption. Lokpal, which makes the already complex system more complex, can at best be just a job generating agency considering the number of employees the proposed body will need. But it can’t satisfy the basic purpose of ‘eliminating’ corruption. So a simple advice to all pro-Lokpal anti-corruption crusaders, Please, use the common sense before jumping into the fight with a flawed goal.

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12 thoughts on “To All Lokpal Supporters: Where is your common sense?

  1. You’re getting close, but not quite there. It is incorrect to suggest that “the key to fight corruption lies in their hands. Imagine what if all the supporters of Anna who visited the Ramlila Maidan or the local protest sites in different states decide not to give or ask for bribes. This commonsensical way will be more effective in curbing corruption than building a whole new institution called lokpal.”

    People have no choice when a demand for bribes is put on them. It is not always possible to refuse. The cost of doing so can be horrendous.

    The solution is to have people who don’t seek bribes in the first place. Pl. do check out:

    Yes, LP is NOT a solution, but there IS a solution – and that requires multiple reforms, beginning with state funding of elections.

    In particular, do see this:

  2. k nagendra says:

    I agree “not having lokpal is not cause of corruption”.But people should not give/take bribe that is fantasy world . people have tendency to walk on easy path, that’s why we have rules,if present one are not good enough we need to make change.After all life is all about change.

    • No bribing is not a thing of fantasy. The shortcuts or bribes started because the existing institutions couldn’t provide service as per demand. If govt. gives more importance in equipping the existing institutions in providing better service to people, there will be no need to pay bribe. And when there will be no one to pay bribe, no one will ask bribe. Thanks Nagendra for reading and commenting on the post. 🙂

  3. i donot understand why do not u support anna !
    if someone after independence raised concern about anti corruption we should at least support him !i agree fasting is not the way for drafting his lokpal version ! and
    there are also errors in his version !
    but overally if someone dared to raise his voice against orruption and with him somuch intelligent persons then then we should support him.
    may be corruption will not be completely eliminated by forming lokpal. but it an be urbed out to some extend !

  4. Agreed Lokpal will not be able to end corruption, but i say, it can be the first step to end corruption. Agreed corruption begins from us, but i blame the system for it, sometime we are forced to bribe in order to get our work done. If we dont stand together this time, we will not get any other chance. I dont think common people need any common sense right now to support Anna. What i say is, people are not exactly supporting Anna, but are supporting Anti-Corruption movement.

  5. Shalabh Aggarwal says:

    I am not a hardcore lokpal supporter but just tell me something:

    1. Did you pay bribes for having potholes in roads or rather say roads in potholes?
    2. Did you pay bribes for not having electricity in more than half the country?
    3. Did you pay bribes for major part of indian cities forced to drink untreated dirty water?
    4. Did you pay bribes for government spending 10 times of what it was supposed to spend on CWG?
    5. Did you pay bribes for A Raja killing tens of thousands of crores of government revenue?

    This list might go on forever…..

    None of us pay bribes for having or not having all this. We pay TAXES.
    This is our hard earned money being stuffed by government officials into their pockets. Reduction in bribing will just be a side-effect of what lokpal intends to implement.

    Now coming to your issue of not paying bribes.

    If you have time of running to government offices daily to save a few hundred or thousand to be paid in bribes, you are most welcome to take the initiative.
    If you go and dance on someone’s head DAILY and ask him to do your work without taking bribe, normally anyone will do.
    But think about normal middle class indian who has to reach his office on time, work the whole day and then reach home late.
    How can you expect him also to go and fight in govt. offices to save bribes? He wont have the time for it.

    This is what lokpal is needed for. It will a binding force for officials to their work.

    As we have a saying that : “Laato k bhoot, baaton se nahi maante.”

    • Shalabh, I absolutly agree with what you have said. It is not about the small bribes that we pay, it is about the big money which these politicians are eating up, which is there in swiss bank, in there properties, in there b’day celebrations etc etc.

      To answer to this post , Dibyasundar, Do you think if people stop paying bribes, there would not be corruption? I am afraid I disagree on that. How can you expect Indian population to use there common sence when they are not getting even the basics to eat, drink live? Do you think the masses in India, majority of whom are illeterate, uneducated, under poverty line, will use common sense? 90% of the people on strees do not understand what LOKPAL is, infact they do not need to. They have come out on road out of HOPE, that a person is fighting for them, to give them better life.

      Today Anna’s stand and deadline is being seen as unreasonable. It is becasue of the politics that the govt is playing. They purpously created useless clasuses in there LOKPAL bill, and kept on debating on it, passing time. Anna is now pressing them becasue he wants something should happen before the parliament session ends, otherwise all the effort of people would go in vain.

  6. Kunal says:

    Hi Dibyasundar,

    Lets look at the ‘common’ stuff first.
    Why do we have laws ?
    If every person follows rules then there is no need to frame laws and implement those. All the judicial, law inforcement machinery that we have (and spend so much on it) would render useless if every person follows rules.

    But is that the case???

    A thundering NOOOO !!!

    The world is not as simple as writing a blog. There are genuine issues which may not fit into the idealistic way of saying “Stop giving bribe and ta-daaa… the issue is solved !!!”

    With all those ‘Intellectuals’ opposing Anna and Lokpal, i’d just like to ask one question – What have YOU done on a national scale to remove the menace of corruption ?

    And when i get a satisfactory answer to this question, i would join you and oppose lokpal.

  7. mukesh singh says:

    its a naive thinking that if a certain group stop giving bribe then corruption will stop.Corruption in india is a structural issue and its not a function of those who give but more skewed towards who demand bribe directly or indirectly.Fear of punishment in case of public bureaucracy will compel them function in an effective way and the delivery of public services would improve.
    Lokpal is nothing but a check towards towering corruption in public bureaucracy and should be very successful in managing public grievances.

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