Our govt doesn't work without pressure: Sri Sri
Vicky Nanjappa talks to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living foundation, on the Lokpal Bill and why Gandhian Anna Hazare's movement against corruption was lapped up by the common man
The Jan Lokpal Bill is only a first aid kit. It can instill some fear in people. To eradicate corruption completely, we need a spiritual awakening in the society, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said.
Talking to rediff.com, Sri Sri said: "Patriotism, love and a sense of belongingness can help rid the society of corruption."
Denying that people had taken over the Parliament, the spiritual leader said: "By listening to people's demands, the power of Parliament does not get overridden. Parliament is there to hear the voice of the people. Unfortunately, nothing in our government works without pressure."
"What is shocking and unfortunate now with the party politics is that the politicians listen only to the party high command and do not represent the voice of the people. When the Jan Lokpal bill was sent to the chief ministers of various states, instead of seeking opinion from their MLAs and the elected representatives in the districts, the chief ministers referred back saying "Whatever the High Command says, we agree". This is not democracy; it is dictatorship under the guise of democracy," he added.
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Image: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
'It is not who makes the bill but what is in the bill that matters'
Asserting that the Jan Lokpal bill was 100 per cent perfect, Sri Sri said: "It may have certain flaws, which only experts can see and rectify. There is scope for modification. Someone who can make it better is always welcome. It is not who makes the bill but what is in the bill that matters."
"What also matters is whether it helps the common man. Anything in the Jan Lokpal bill which does not fit into the parliamentary system or appears to violate the fundamental rights of the people, will have to be corrected. But the basic principles of the Jan Lokpal bill will have to be adopted by the government."
"Nearly 40 scams have been exposed in the last 5 years; this has shocked the people of this country. Their anger needed a vent. In the last few months, I have travelled to 14 states across India and I could sense this issue when people would ask me in public."
'Anna only echoed the frustration of the people'
On how the movement against corruption evolved, the spiritual leader said: "We were looking for a senior person to spearhead it. At the same time, Anna Hazare was leading such an agitation in a district in Maharashtra. We then invited him to New Delhi. His response to our request was, "I don't know. Nobody knows me in Delhi. But everybody knows me in my district and I will get support there"."
"So, we gave The Art of Living course to people in 15 centres and created volunteers and through them began this movement. We started this agitation in Jantar Mantar with the participation of Art of Living volunteers and singers. However, I must also add that it was always a peoples' movement and the talk that the RSS was backing it is unknown to me."
"Anna Hazare is a man of firm resolve and he has only echoed the frustration of the people. A sense of urgency was created after waiting for 42 years for the bill to come," he concluded.