Anna: the anti-corruption diet?

For the past few weeks, New Delhi has become one big festival city with elocution and fancy dress competitions galore (Gandhi cap has replaced the superman cape we used to drape in our childhood). In general, it looks like one big mela promoting anarchy in the name of democracy.

The very thought process that Anna’s VLCC Xtreme diet will lead to eradication of corruption is ludicrously similar in logic to AB Junior’s Idea ad which proposes that 3G can lead to a reduction in population.

Elaborated below are a few reasons for skeptics like me to believe that all this wrestling will end up with just an additional public body (Lokayuktas), without any arms or legs.

1) Execution: There have been innumerable bills passed in the past like TADA, POTA, etc. but has that stopped terrorism? For every single law developed, we Indians can find 100 ways to circumvent it.

2) Power: The scent of power to humans is what blood is to vampires – almost always difficult to ignore and impossible to stop when you taste some. All the Robins to Anna’s Batman seem to be adulating in the new found power. And as soon as one becomes powerful, the original motive for starting a movement goes for a toss. Let’s see what this Jhing-bang does next (hopefully not the creation of a new political JanLok Party!)

3) Bureaucracy: A bloated public machinery had been one of the reasons for our painstakingly slow progress in the first 5 decades of independence. By adding another layer in the form of Lokayuktas at all levels, we are creating an alternate power centre which might be potentially misused.

4) Anarchy: We’re fanning the potential to anarchy in the future by allowing different factions to arm-twist the government to a my way vs Highway option.

5) Ignorance: Most of us hardly know the contents of the Lokpal bill draft, let alone the differences between the government’s and Anna’s draft versions. It’s just the feel-good factor and some misplaced sense of higher civil consciousness that we’re contributing something worthwhile, which has made Anna and team – the pied pipers of Ramleela.

In summary, I feel this will be similar to the annual candle marches post every Bombay blast or the slutwalks, which increase people awareness and allow them to vent out their pent-up frustrations but just about stop there, in terms of effectiveness.

Nevertheless,  I’ll be the happiest person if proven wrong and infact, there is a desire in the heart that somehow this outcry clicks and India shines as it is actually supposed to.

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The Secret phone call from MMSingh to Sonia

4 Heinekens and a bowl of lentil soup later on a dark Sunday night, our dear Mr. Prime Minister has finally found the courage to let his heart do the talking. He flicks out his latest Samsung Guru from the left pocket of his dhoti and dials Madam….He clears his throat and as soon as the phone is picked up, he starts crooning…

MMSingh:  O meri Soniya re, Soniya re, Soniya re…Dedunga jaan judda mat hona re…

SoniaGadhi:  Oho PMji, have you started taking those 30+ pills again? How come dancing and prancing suddenly? Atleast do it in front of the 4th estate, they think that the government is run by a phantom who ghostwalks and rarely talks.

MMSingh: I am learning na, taking PR lessons from Rakhi Sawant on how to talk to the media, though I won’t be able to dress up like her. Btw, shouldn’t we discuss on the re-shuffling of the jokers in the pack, rather than my visibility skills?

SoniaGadhi:  Well, ofcourse – that reminds me, what did you do to Pranab? He was sobbing like a girl having her virgin introduction to PMS yesterday.

MMSingh: What to do Madam, he wants a share in each portfolio? I explained to him that this is not an Indiabulls stocks portfolio, but the cabinet of the Indian government!

SoniaGadhi: These bongs I tell you, so literate and literature-driven. Mukherjee has certainly taken ‘Jack of all trades’ idiom to his heart. You leave him to me, how are you planning to tackle all the thunder from down under? Last heard the DMK is planning to ask for a separate country called South India based on South Sudan’s caesarian birth last week!

MMSingh:  Don’t worry about them – most of these Maran types are booked in the 2G scam…And now that we have launched 3G, I expect many more to fill up Tihar jail. (We’ve installed Dish TV in some of the cells for them – platinum package, which includes Sun TV and Gemini TV also)… *Apdi Poda Poda* starts dancing

SoniaGadhi:  Ok ok, control your motions…Btw, what’s your plan for 2nd October? Let’s do something pathbreaking this year.

MMSingh: I’ll break the Dahi Handi, yipeeeeeee!

SoniaGadhi: Uff, when will you read the festival calender carefully PMji? The 2nd of October is not Gokulashtami but Bapu’s birthday. Everyone is doing something – Annas & Babas are fasting, Rahul is walking 18 kilometers a day, and I’m wearing these faux khadi saris!

MMSingh: Oh ho, there are 365 festivals inIndia and I’m not Chacha Chaudhary whose brain is faster than a computer, no? I have an exhaustive 2 point agenda for that holiday – 1) to train our party members on Gandhi’s  experiments with truth and 2) take bhangra lessons from Suhkbir. Elaborating point 1, I will teach Rahul on how to smell weed properly to enhance his grassroots program and show cultural classics like KJo’s Dostana to Golum Nabi Azaad to make him understand the 25 Key Benefits of falling in love with a man…

SoniaGadhi:  Bhangra at this age, naughty boy?

MMSingh: I also want to be fit and furtila like you Italians naa, a la Silvio Berulsconi 😉

SoniaGadhi: Now, that’s more like my Bond! Should I serve your martini shaken or stirred?

Gandhi – Saint/Politician/Myth?

All around us, we see men today being elevated to the demi-God status. Indians especially seem to bitten by this bug (The late Sathya Sai Baba, Baba Ramdev, etc…) Which makes me go back a century and think about the original GodMan, Gandhi who was given the title of Mahatma by a nation starved of real heroes.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi might have been a successful leader and politician but in my books, I can’t put him on the pedestal of a saint. My judgment is based on limited historical facts, read and absorbed through the years (Though history itself is always colored depending on the writer’s race, creed and nationality).

Let’s delve on 4 aspects of the man’s well-publicized life, before you can start shooting your darts at me:

 1) Gandhi attained independence for us?

Did the Brits really leave because of Gandhi’s determination? Maybe he was one of the major irritant in their lives, but to me our independence was the side-effect of World War II.

  •  The immense devastation in Europe, which left most imperial powers incapable of holding on, led to the eventual decolonization and freedom of India, Malaysia and a few other South East Asian countries.
  •  Also, post WWII, 2 new superpowers came into play – USA and USSR and it also spawned a whole new group of institutions like the UN and EU, and peace, country sovereignty, etc. were the new buzz words.

2) Non-Violence against Oppressors!

The idea of offering your 2nd cheek if someone slaps on the 1st reeks of two problems:

  • It goes against the universal law – “Survival of the Fittest”…Why would 350 Million people allow 0.2 Million people to trample them and the only retort we have is that we won’t raise a hand on you!
  • Standing in front of a gun and ready to die without putting a fight is tantamount to suicide – amoral and illegal (let’s keep the debate on euthanasia for some other day/post)

3) Partition

Yes Gandhi was always against partition, but despite his strong views on the subject why didn’t he influence his brethren to share power with the Moslem League?

  • The eagerness to appease to all factions and in the bargain hurting everyone led to the massive bloodbath, which has left stains till date and has exploded into other negative dimensions.
  • We don’t know whether he could have done anything better, but in my mind this is Gandhi’s biggest failure as a “Father of the Nation”…

4) Experiments with Truth? 

Sharing a bed with young women in the buff and practicing abstinence doesn’t make sense. Atleast that’s not what nature intended and Gandhi seemed to find logical explanations for doing so! And there are various such small idiosyncrasies in his autobiography, which are hard to digest for the ‘Saint’.

Let me close by saying that whatever said and done, I still believe that he was an individual who had a few fantastic qualities like the guts to hold onto the truth and have an entire population dancing to his tunes – Yes, Gandhi was a great politician…But a saint ? Open for debate !