[ Update : have added a resources section at the end to keep adding documents, different points of view around this issue. ]
Its totally amazing how Anna Hazare has been able to get folks to rally around his cause – we’ve not seen this level of a more-or-less spontaneous, widespread outburst of public opinion in a long long time – especially from the usually cynical middle class.
What next ?
Yes, the emotion is probably worth it – if it wakes up the political class and sends the message that some lines have been crossed and a reining in of greed is in order. Its likely to be the disgust and the fact that a few have connived to corner a huge portion of the benefits of growth disproportionately thats bugging us.
But its awesome that there’s a common issue that has our attention. Whatever our stand on it, we’re all ears, eyes and the mindshare civic issues have had amidst the population is at an all time high.
What do we do with it ?
We have to go beyond the rhetoric, beyond the jingoism.
The leaders in this, the media, the activists – they need to make the fullest use of this never-before opportunity to now spark a debate – as befits a democracy – about not just the Lokpal Bill and its details, but the overall way in which we engage democratically.
Teach us about how we can participate in the framing of laws – there seem to be existing mechanisms for this – on a more regular basis!
Tell us, or put in effort, to evolve constituency level mechanisms to voice our collective opinions about issues before those that vote on our behalf do so on those issues.
Start a debate, and figure out, how to reduce the negative impact that the whip has on legislation. The party should not be more important than the democratic voice it purports to represent.
Start motions for amendment – either citizen initiated if possible – or through our representative by bearing enough pressure on them – to either strike off amendments that neuter the CVC, state policing, RTI etc, or amend laws to empower and make accountable existing mechanisms more.
Essentially – we have a never-before opportunity to create a civic awareness, and involvement beyond the shrill, emotionally charged sloganeering we’re seeing right now. We have an opportunity to make a difference to how our democracy operates and how we participate in it.
Or are the news channels/leaders/etc unsure of whether this same crowd, the same ears and the same eyeballs will disappear if the discussions switch to more meaningful, truly impactful, democratically mature stuff? Are we capable of deeper participation in a democracy?
The dog might just catch the car. Now what … ?
- The IAC’s documents and presentations
- Found one resource, at least, which talks about the differences in the two bill drafts – the IACs and the governments.
- Here’s another, comparing the two.
- Nilekani’s take on what it’ll really take, esp from a systemic pov.
- Manu Joseph on our relationship with ‘corruption’
- NCPRI’s attempt as fostering an informed debate around the Lokpal
- A good reasoned argument about why the IAC proposal is not well thought out
Please share more info about points of view about the same, how the police has been placed under more and more policitcal control through amendments, the CVCs powers, and other such. will be great to compile some compendium of info as a Civics-101