In this mid’s of agitation and crisis of reality check in Indian politics Prof Mehta writes:
- No agitation focuses on sensible, manageable reform of representative institutions; all agitative energies are premised on bypassing them.
- To many of us, this proposal seems like the way we approached educational reform: if BA is not good quality, introduce MA; since MA does not work, have MPhil; since we can’t trust our PhDs, have a further NET exam, endlessly deferring to new institutions at the top of the food chain without attending to basics.
More interestingly he says:
- The demand that a Jan Lokpal Bill be drafted jointly by the government and a self-appointed committee of public virtue is absurd. Most of us sharply disagree with elected government on matters even more important than corruption. But no matter how cogent our arguments, it does not give us the right to say that our virtue entitles us to dictate policy to a representative process.
- “The only tiny hope that Hazare and other supporters of the Jan Lokpal draft hold out against this overwhelmingly likely possibility is that the individual at the head will be selected by a committee that will be partly non-governmental in organisation. For example, it will include all Indian Nobel Laureates, and the two most recent winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards — hardly a substitute for real electoral accountability. This sort of thinking among the privileged members of civil society, a belief that they alone can speak for “the people” and elected representatives cannot, is dangerous.”