Month: March 2012

Fight against corruption must continue

India Against Corruption seems to have lost direction and momentum in fight against corruption. IAC wanted a Lokpal Bill. That did not happen. They wanted right to reject and right to recall. Both are unlikely to happen soon. Anna Hazare seems unable or unwilling to lead the agitation. Other members should resume the fight against corruption.

IAC members need not go on indefinite fast. They can go on chain hunger strike. Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan can fast for some hours every day. Then Shazia Ilmi, Gaurav Bakshi and Manish Sisodia can take their turn. Then some other people fast. Every day the cycle is repeated. The fight for Lokpal should be separate from fight for Lokayuktas.

Elections are said to be major reason for corruption. That is partly true. Many people who don’t fight elections are also corrupt. In India elections take place throughout the year in some part or other. IAC must fight for a single election day once in five years. Elections to all Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly, Zilla Parishad, municipality, panchayat and other local body constituencies should be held on a single day. That will reduce corruption. A candidate should be allowed to contest from one constituency only.

IAC should fight for presidential system. Parliamentary democracy has failed. Coalition compulsions result in wrong people being ministers. Even when there is single party government in states there is dissidence. Someone who is not chief minister tries to become chief minister. President should be elected by MPs and MLAs. Vice President should be elected by MPs. Governors should be elected by MLAs. Direct election to President, Vice President and Governors are expensive.

IAC should fight for an easy process to remove corrupt judges, bureaucrats and other officials.

IAC should fight against corporate debt restructuring. Corporates who have borrowed must pay the debt as per the conditions on which they borrowed. Properties of defaulters should be attached. List of borrowers and defaulters should be public.

IAC should fight for abolition of Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils. Parties sell Rajya Sabha seats.

IAC should not worry about not being representative of OBCs, Muslims, SCs, STs and so on. Those who talk of such things have lost elections.

Fight against corruption demands fight for a new constitution. IAC should draft a new constitution. Supreme Court judges should be appointed by President after approval by Parliament. High Court judges should be appointed by Governor after approval by Legislative Assembly. Let not IAC worry about self-styled followers of Ambedkar protesting against new constitution. Those followers do not have much following. Ambedkar did not write the constitution. He was the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution. The followers of Ambedkar have not protested when the constitution has been amended around hundred times.

Church and Better India

Catholic Bishops of India had met in Bangalore on 1-8 February 2012 and after having reflected on “The Church’s Role for a Better India” have given their message. They have quoted the Preamble of the Constitution, talked about India’s condition, what the Church has done and what the Church intends to do.

Bishops should know that the words Socialist Secular were not part of the Preamble when the Constitution was adopted on 26/11/1949. They were added by 42nd Amendment in 1976 which came into effect on 1/3/1977. Bishops should be inspired by the Bible and not the Constitution.

The good work the Church does through its educational institutions, hospitals, orphanages etc. should continue.

It is wrong to blame economic development for inequalities, gap between the rich and the poor and tensions spilling over into violence. There was inequality before economic development. On the whole the people of India are better off than 20 years before. Some policies and actions of government have benefitted industrialists at the cost of others. Bishops can speak against devaluation of currency, stimulus, bail outs and corporate debt restructuring.

Jesus was not a do-gooder, social worker, activist, revolutionary or evolutionary. He was not a rebel without a cause or rebel without a pause. He spoke of the Kingdom of God. He did not speak of a better society. Jesus did not come to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

If a major cause of violence is injustice, bishops should strive for quick justice. Cases drag on for years and there are appeals and people lose hope. Bishops should ask for death penalty in all cases for murder, attempted murder, abduction, acid throwing, character assassination, hijacking, kidnapping, piracy and such high crimes. Bishops should ask for change in legal system. There should be no lawyers. Then the cases will be heard and settled fast.

Female foeticide is a concern. The Church can ask for ban on abortion except in cases of rape and saving mother’s life.

It is good that bishops want to root out untouchability and caste system wherever it exists from within the Church. I have heard that segregation is practised in churches and cemeteries of Tamil Nadu and parish bulletins in Goa carry matrimonial advertisements that mention caste. CBCI should put an end to it. However it is wrong to ask for reservation for some Christians because they were once Dalits. CBCI should fight for abolition of reservations as they are discriminatory. Reservations perpetuate caste system.

It is good to stand for protection of environment. It is not good for bishops and priests to lead agitations against illegal mining, deforestation, mega projects, pollution and so on. Lay people can lead agitations and bishops and priests can lend moral support. Governments crack down on protestors and politicians change their colours as we have witnessed at Koodankulam protests. Tuticorin Diocese was targeted and inquiry conducted about its finances.

Bishops have not said anything about corruption. Corruption is the root of many evils. As long as there is corruption there cannot be Better India. The Church can have some days of prayer and fasting against corruption.

It seems bishops have forgotten about evangelization. They have not said anything about use of media to make Christ better known. Fight against injustice or oppression can be fought by anyone but the Church is needed for evangelization.

Bishops can do something to promote Christian Unity in India. Anglicans who wanted to join the Catholic Church were granted personal ordinariates in UK and USA. Similar arrangements for Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants and other Christians can be made in India.

No negotiations with abductors

Abductors, hijackers, kidnappers, pirates and terrorists are criminals. Governments should not negotiate with criminals.

Maoists in Kandhamal have abducted two Italians, Paulo Boscusco and Claudio Colangelo. It is too bad that Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik has said Orissa government is open to any kind of negotiation with the abductors.

Naveen Patnaik should say “The abductors must release the hostages immediately and unconditionally. We will not negotiate with criminals. Any negotiation in the past was a mistake. We will not repeat our mistakes. I withdraw the offer any kind of negotiation. It is the duty of the state government to uphold law and order. Within one hour we must hear from the two Italians that they are free. Otherwise we will launch an operation to rescue hostages and catch abductors dead or alive. We will fight criminals. We will fight day in and day out. We will fight in season and out of season. We will fight during summer, monsoon, winter, autumn and spring. We will fight day and night. We will fight during light and darkness. We will fight from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn. We will fight when the sun rises and the sun goes down. We will fight when the moon rises and the moon goes down. We will fight when there are stars in the sky and when there are no stars in the sky. We will fight unceasingly. Neither shall we be tired, nor shall we be weary. We will catch the criminals wherever they are. The criminals may run but they will not escape. We will smoke them out of their hiding places.”