From Dharna to Ubharna

If nothing else, the ongoing PTI and PAT Dharna (peaceful sit-in) now nearing its third month has raised public awareness about the major ills plaguing our society that people either took for granted or felt too helpless to do anything about. It has also resulted in sharply divided opinions: one that favours the status quo and the other that agitates for change. Instead of the debate centring around personalities and point scoring, should we not focus on issues for a change?

It is a well-recognised fact that the primary responsibility of a state is to look after the well-being and welfare of its citizens. Seen from this perspective, are we comfortable that the country is headed in the right direction? Are we happy with the way justice is being dispensed by the judiciary and law & order being maintained by the police to the benefit of the common man? Do we really think our successive Governments have been effectively managing the health and education portfolios? Are we satisfied with the rampant corruption and bribes culture? Shouldn’t we aspire to break free of the bureaucratic shackles that impede rather than facilitate our daily lives?

Since all political parties routinely complain about rigging, why haven’t electoral reforms like autonomy of the Election Commission and resort to electronic voting been accorded priority? Let alone reforms, why no insistence on following of prescribed procedures like display of Form 14s( ROs declarations) on the EC website, announcement of results by the EC and timely redressal of complaints?

And now to the broader issues: is it right for our public representatives to think of themselves as a law unto themselves? Is it kosher for nepotism to trump merit every time public sector jobs from the top to the bottom are on offer? Is it ok for our public representatives to exponentially increase their holdings without declaring the extent of their assets or revealing their sources of income or even evade paying the tax on this income? Is it ok for more national resources to be devoted to the protection of a single VIP than on a countless number of its hapless citizens? Is it right for well-connected and well-heeled individuals to gain easy access to billions in loans and then get them conveniently written off?

But above all, are we clear-headed about the twin menace of extremism and terrorism that stalks our land and the need for a strategy that prevents our disadvantaged citizens from being needlessly sacrificed at the altar of pragmatism?

Don’t we think its about time that genuine reforms in the police, the judiciary and the bureaucracy, which all impact the general public, are enacted and enforced? Regardless of who we support, shouldn’t all well-meaning individuals clamour for the change that shows no sign of materialising ?

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