Much has been said about the drafting of Lokpal Bill and the contentious clauses therein. But, have we heard anything other than the shrill noises? Are we any more enlightened on the real issues? I can vouch that most of us are not.
I think the TV Channels have taken out the communication from the debates. It is not about putting forth your views and ideas on the subject. It is about winning the noise match than winning the debate.
The more you shout, the less you have to convey. The less you convey, the more you confuse your audience. The more you confuse them, the less they retain their interest.... well, there comes the happy ending... you can go about things, the way they were... this seems to be the logic that great personalities, appearing on TV debates to enlighten us on the issues related to drafting of Lokpal Bill, following.
While the above is true about most of the current debates, I am looking at Lokpal debate, for the simple reason that the debate itself is completely lost in the noises that are being generously generated by all the stakeholders. Congress party does not communicate to people the real issues they see with the Lokpal Bill as suggested by Team Anna (Thankfully Media has now changed the term to ‘Team Anna’ from ‘Civil Society’... allowing people like me to be a part of civil society again!). Instead, they are trying to discredit the members of Team Anna/ Ramdev etc. On the other hand, members of Team Anna have lost all the proportions and are talking in voices that are so arrogant and beyond all reasoning. That leaves the principal opposition, BJP whose spokespersons are willing talk for hours on what wrong is being done by Government in Lokpal Bill drafting, but easily shies away from even the basic issues, when raised.
In all these, we are losing out a golden opportunity to reform our much abused anti-corruption systems. I have no doubt and no hesitation to state that we Indians are corrupt. I don’t know about others, as I am not exposed much to them. As for Indians, we find very less people who are neither willing to bribe nor willing to take bribes! We always find an excuse to fault the system/others and thereby justify our actions. We need a change in our mindset as well, if we have to remove the corruption from its roots. However, that being not an easy task, at least let us strengthen the laws and enforcement systems to restrict corruption in our country.
We can’t achieve that war, if we continue to try winning the battles by discrediting the opponents (opponents? who can be an opponent in this just war against a common enemy!). That is why I am taking this risk of trying to remind about some ancient wisdom stated by Buddha, to these illustrious people from all sides of the table, as to how we should conduct ourselves in reaching a viable and practical outcome in this whole debate!
Buddha, the great guru, after reflecting a lot on a fight between two factions of his Bikshus in a monastery, came to the conclusion that the only way we can ensure harmony in a group is by following certain principles in our interactions. I leave out the first three as they are more related to living together and therefore not relevant to current subject. The remaining three principles are as follows:
1. Using only words that contribute to harmony, avoiding all words that can cause the community to break
2. Sharing insights and understanding together
3. Respecting other’s view points and not forcing another to follow your own view point
(as quoted in ‘Old Path White Clouds’ by Thich Nhat Hanh)
I do not have to tell you, how each of the above principles was broken by the participants in the current debate on Lokpal Bill. More words have been spoken to damage the harmony than for throwing any light on the issues. People are arriving at their conclusions first and then debating to prove how wrong others are. Utter lack of respect for each other is so visible in the whole affair and the efforts are not to understand others’ view points but to force the other side with your views, be it through fasts unto death or private army or midnight evacuations!
Again, I do not have to tell you how easily they can arrive at a better result by following these simple principles!
None of them are fighting this war for their own personal gains and all of them are ostensibly fighting against the common enemy of corruption. Yet, they can’t find harmony in their debates! Hope better sense will prevail and all parties will climb down from their respective high pedestals and meet at a common ground to arrive at the best available solution rather than fighting for an ideal one.
Believe me... it is so crucial for our country; both in fighting corruption and in its very survival.