The New, Very Important Priority : ‘Educating’ People About Lokpal

The people of the country finally won the battle for the Jan Lokpal. Credit was given to Anna Hazare. It is natural to do so, because had Anna Hazare not gone on a fast, this Bill would not have been passed in Parliament. It was not the Congress desire nor that of the Bharatiya Janata Party that this Bill should be passed, because many were under the delusion that they would become the next Prime Minister, and therefore perhaps the Lokpal could become a source of trouble for them. But such conditions and circumstances developed where all the parties had to pass the Lokpal Bill. The Samajwadi party made its opposition to the Bill known and contended that the passage of this Bill will deepen the feeling that politicians are either corrupt or are thieves.
The Samajwadi party’s thinking is not wrong. In fact, the image of politicians has become such that nobody can see anybody honest in politics. It is said that a single fish can dirty the pond, but here there is competition amongst the fish on who can dirty the pond the most. It may be that the Lokpal will bring about some caution that there is a constitutional institution by the name of Lokpal, where, if a complaint is made, it will be seriously looked into and those against whom the complaint has been made could come into the purview of law.

The Samajwadi party made its opposition to the Bill known and contended that the passage of this Bill will deepen the feeling that politicians are either corrupt or are thieves. The Samajwadi party’s thinking is not wrong. In fact, the image of politicians has become such that nobody can see anybody honest in politics. It is said that a single fish can dirty the pond, but here there is competition amongst the fish on who can dirty the pond the most.

But now questions like what kind of Lokpal, how was it passed, who is behind it, who should get credit, etc. have reached the last, final border. Now the question is : what after the Lokpal? Will Anna start another andolan? Anna has used a word – ‘watch dog’, under which committees will be formed in every district and after responsibilities have been assigned to them, he will see how those committees are functioning. Some people in Parliament queried and many people in the country have also queried whether those working in the institution of the Lokpal will be honest? For this, people have started giving the example of the judiciary, and especially the higher levels of the judiciary, which includes the Supreme Court, that when allegations have started being made against Supreme Court judges, where will an honest Lokpal come from?
Actually, it has become difficult to search for honesty because the gaze of people is going as far as corruption is going. A person outside this circle of corruption is just not visible to people. Good people are not there, and the few who are there are humiliated. Nobody allows them to stay on. False allegations are made against them, due to which the honest person steps outside the circle of power. Therefore, questions are arising whether it will be possible to find honest people. Will the manner in which complaints about people reach the Lokpal, or if a decision comes to the Lokpal, will the Lokpal make the right, impartial decision or will the Lokpal also be ‘managed’? Questions, questions, questions. But today is not a day for asking questions. When the institution of the Lokpal will be formed and the institution will start working, then it will have to be seen what problems arise, how does the institution of Lokpal face them or tackle them. The Lokpal will also have to keep in mind how complaints to harass people or those to settle scores can be recognised. Institutions like this are often used for jealousies, settling vendettas and fights with ‘enemies’.
The most important thing is, how, after the Lokpal Bill has been passed and become law, will information about it be disseminated amongst the people. I remember that when the Right to Information (RTI) became law, very few people made use of it at first. People did not even know how the Right to Information form was to be filled up and how to get information from offices. We carried a series on this, ‘educated’ the people on RTI, and even today people write in wanting information on how to use RTI.
The Right to Information law has given a lot of strength to people. The law is not perfect in itself, but whatever it may be it is being used in the interest of the people. It is a different thing that some people are also misusing it, using it for blackmail. But probably this happens in every democratic system that some people use every thing for their own personal benefits. Obviously, ‘educating’ the people in respect of the Lokpal is a big task. It does not seem to me that the Government will render any help in this matter. I do not think that any big organisation will help in this financially. But some people will have to come forward to take up ‘teaching work’ about the Lokpal, explain to the people of India that there is such a law and this is how it can be used.
The Lokpal is an important law for the people of the country. To publicise this law, to provide information about this law many people will have to come forward, especially those who equate the Lokpal and Anna as one. They will have to say that they are the disseminators or publicists for this law which has been made to keep an eye on politicians, and they will have to educate a lot many people about it. This is very important work. It seems to me that the people of India will most certainly play an ‘andolankari’ (zealous, one who participates in movements) role in taking the Lokpal law to the public at large.

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