Monday, August 29, 2011

“Corruption is in the minds of the people”

A round-table discussion on 'Anna Hazare and his relevance' was conducted by the Wednesday Club

By Shevlin Sebastian

Photo: (From left) M.K. Das, C.J. George, Kurian Abraham, P C Cyriac and P Rajan

“One unfortunate development of the Anna Hazare movement is a contempt for politicians, which is being translated into a contempt for democratic institutions,” says C.J. George, the managing director of Geojit BNP Paribas. “How can Hazare ask Parliament to pass the Lokpal Bill in a few days time? I am against the way he has gone about his campaign.”

In the past three years George has tried to buy an apartment in Delhi through a cheque payment, but there were no takers. “And these same people have rushed to the Ramlila grounds to support Hazare’s movement,” he says.

The largest amount of corruption takes place in the private and corporate sector. “Corruption is in the minds of the people,” he says.

George was a featured speaker at the round-table discussion on ‘Anna Hazare’s movement and its relevance’, organized by the Wednesday Club, a forum which helps develop communication skills. The moderator was club president Kurian Abraham.

Columnist P. Rajan spoke about a concerted attempt by the government authorities to malign Hazare. “It is not necessary that we have to support all the clauses of the Lokpal Bill,” he says.

Recently, Leftist intellectuals and writers like Arundhati Roy have stated that Parliament is being undermined. “Nobody is trying to replace Parliament, as some people are suggesting,” says Rajan. “All what Hazare and his team want is the introduction of their bill. Whatever happens, the momentum created by the Hazare agitation should not slacken.”

Senior journalist M.K. Das spoke about how for the first time after Independence, the middle classes have got involved. “It is the colossal scale of the corruption nowadays that has forced them to take a stand,” says Das. “The problem with Parliament today is, to quote [sociologist] Andre Beteille, ‘A great institution has fallen into the hands of small people’”

Das spoke about the lack of generosity shown by the government towards the Hazare campaign in the initial stages. “The government was so apathetic,” he says. “I support this mass movement because it helps us to safeguard democracy.”

Former senior civil servant and Chairman, Federal Bank, P.C. Cyriac agreed with Das regarding the attitude of the government. “The administration should have been reasonable and sympathetic to the people’s demands and try to solve them, instead of attacking the petitioners,” he says.

To curb corruption, deterrent punishment has to be meted out to the offenders. “A combination of the Lok Ayukta and the Lokpal Bill would be the most effective,” says Cyriac.

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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