Thursday, November 24, 2011

The alternative system

Recent events in Egypt indicate how difficult it is to build alternate system. Fall of Mubarak was swift, but building a viable alternative government has been equally prolonged. The Generals who were once seen as good option in transition phase have now been target of protestors' ire. The promises made a year back have not materialised. Just shows how difficult it is to make a viable alternative work.

Would Indian Tahrir Square movement have met same fate? Of course, both movements were quite different, though some over enthusiastic people had compared Anna Hazare movement to Tahrir Square. Considering the infighting within Team Anna, wonder how capable they are to be part of Jan Lokpal? Again shows difficulty in finding right people of Jan Lokpal, as the criteria quoted like Megsaysay Award Winner, etc, may not be sufficient to run or govern an entity. It's different ball game.

The common thread in all these protests have been the anger against establishment. The frustration about not having control over how the country is being run. Today's slap-gate and its enthusiastic support is also manifestation of such anger. But, as rightly put by Thomas Friedman and Shashi Tharur at LitFest, people know what they are against, but they don't know what they are fighting for. There is general hatred towards ruling class, but no-one knows what is the alternative. OK, Jan Lokpal Bill was apparent goal, but how many of the mobs who joined Team Anna, knew about it. I guess people had joined it more to vent their anger against system and were trying to find quick fix. This aimless anger is detrimental to overall system as it destroys the existing system, however crippled it may be, to pave way for chaos.

Of course there could be parallel systems, as Jan Lokpal purports to be. But important criteria for such system is accountability, which I think Jan Lokpal lacks, as the members are selected rather than elected. And same is case with CAG and Judiciary, good parallel systems, but again they should restrict themselves to their role.

So how can alternative systems be arrived at? It should be more of evolution, using the existing system as a mean to achieve that. I understand that current system is corrupt, but is there any viable alternative at present? So its better to change the system slowly that to await a revolution. History is littered with revolutions, which were followed by chaos and destruction, where years were lost in forging new systems. I hope we learn from history!

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At 12:45 AM, Blogger Tejas said...

comparing Anna's movement to any kind of revolutionary movement in itself is inappropriate. Jan-Lokpal agitation should be compared more to Sarah Palin's Tea Party movement than Tahrir Square one.
check this article out about comparison of OccupyWallStreet & Jan-Lokpal movement at

Evolution is one of the traits of any democracy; so yes, we don't really need a revolution per se. But again, we urbanites are incapable of empathising what the have-nots go through amidst such disparity.


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