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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