As Anna persists with his fast and the Government wobbles along in rudderless fashion, the media is actively courting sound bites from the well-known. Arundhati Roy and Nandan Nilekani are two famous names that have been drawn into the feeding frenzy of late. While Ms. Roy wrote an article on the issue, Mr. Nilekani gave an interview or two. Another blog on TOI did a thorough job of exposing Ms. Roy’s inaccuracies among other things. It’s deeply disappointing to see an acclaimed author and activist indulge in hurling unsubstantiated accusations. I suspect the unprecedented rise of Anna triggered her perennial “oligarchy alert” that momentarily confused and befuddled her thinking.
Mr. Nilekani, on the other hand, while raising some interesting points which are bound to get the techies to salivate, fell rather short on other issues by indulging in broad inane generalities. For instance, he says, “you don’t fix cars by having more guys to inspect cars.” This is a naïve characterization of the anti-corruption debate. Lokpal is not about having more “inspectors.” It is about having a place to lodge complaints with the guarantee that these will be investigated. Next he says, “I am not a great believer that if you pass a law, corruption will miraculously vanish.” This is a deplorable and most annoying canard being spread by the anti-Anna brigade. Who in his or her right mind would ever say that corruption can be wiped out with a single law?