Monday, August 22, 2011

[ZESTCaste] How can an anti-corruption movement be called casteist?

How can an anti-corruption movement be called casteist?
By: Samrat Date: 2011-08-21 Place: Mumbai

Dalit intellectuals, according to a news report, are among the critics
of Anna Hazare and the movement he is leading. They find his movement
"casteist" and "against representative democracy". It is difficult to
understand how a movement for a less corrupt government might be
construed as casteist, but then, to Dalit thinkers, everything is
about caste, just as, to a Freudian, everything is about sex. You show
a Freudian a pen and he will think it's a penis.

Everyone's crying for help: A supporter of Anna Hazare at a public
hunger strike at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi on Friday. Pic/Subhash

Corruption undoubtedly affects all castes. It also affects the poorer
and weaker sections of society more directly. A privileged person can
afford a bribe. The poor often have to suffer because they can't pay

Considering that Dalits and tribals are as groups, worse off than high
castes, it would be sensible on the part of Dalits and tribals to
support any movement against corruption.

The Dalit thinkers who have opposed Anna and the Jan Lokpal Bill do,
however, have a point. Chandrabhan Prasad's warning that "vesting so
much power in the Lokpal, a non-elected person, could lead to a
dangerous situation", is valid. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said
as much. He is currently in the public's doghouse, but on this, he is

In this country, every inspector of every kind becomes an
extortionist. From the building inspector to the customs inspector to
the police inspector to even the CBI inspector, all misuse their
powers to collect bribes.

Those agitating for the Jan Lokpal Bill say as much. In fact, they
believe judges and ministers up to the Prime Minister are prone to

I have a couple of questions for them. From which society will they
get the staff for their Lokpal Police? Will their staff comprise
entirely of incorruptible Gandhians for all time to come? If their
organisation is going to be peopled, in the end, by the same folks who
today fill our police forces and bureaucracy, then it is unlikely that
it will be radically different. The words of caution are therefore not
entirely out of place.

Samrat is the Editor of Daily Post and author of The Urban Jungle. The
views expressed in this column are the individual's and don't
necessarily represent those of the paper

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