General Education Centre of the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh held a very timely and meaningful symposium on “Democracy and Jan Lok Pal” which has sent an awareness wave in the campus on the much talked about issue. A galaxy of eminent persons from diverse fields dwelled upon the ticklish subject which is going to be affected not only Indian Parliamentary system but also lives of a large section of Indian citizenry.
Addressing the symposium, the Group Editor ofRashtriya Sahara, Aziz Burney strongly questioned the credibility of Anna Hazare and his civil society and dwelled upon multi-faceted corruption. He questioned why concentrate only on the financial corruption and why ignore political and philosophical corruptions? He asked why Anna Hazare is keeping deadly silence on the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who has turned down the whole Indian democratic system to make Gujarat a testing State for Hindu Rashtra?
*Writer is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and Coordinator, General Education Centre, AMU, Aligarh. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elaborating on the fallouts of the Jan Lok Pal Bill and its proposed provisions, Burney pointed out that our Constitution drafters had foresight as they incorporated many provisions therein to deal adverse and diverse conditions. He said the Constitution of India has a well-defined system to deal with financial corruptions. He said the system should not be encroached upon by anyone because if you allow encroachment in one sector, you will certainly get some other sectors dented too and the whole concept of our democratic system and constitution, which is secular and socialist in character, will come tumbling down.
Burney went ahead to point out that Jan Lok Pal Bill is heavily tilted towards a particular ideology. He pointed out that Jan Lok Pal Bill is only an excuse otherwise real motive is hidden behind the curtains.
Presiding over the well-attended and thought-provoking symposium, AMU Vice-chancellor Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis said this great nation is presently reeling under corrupt practices in every walk of life and causing a large number of human rights violations. He said the Indian democratic system is based on the concept of equality and equity and the system allows every shade of opinion to be debated. He called upon the students to be aware of the burning issues and take their own stand with consideration of interests of the masses. He appealed to the students to truly follow the lifestyle recommended by Islam and urged them to translate the teachings of Sir Syed into their life. Prof. Aziz said it is very important to note that corrupt practices cannot bring excellence to an individual and no one could achieve greatness by adopting corrupt practices. He told the students that all sorts of corruption are slow poison and they should desist from.
Delivering the keynote address, former Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh and former Chairman of UP Minorities Commission, Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi disagreed that just by launching one movement aimed at solving only one of the problems among the numerous ones the nation has been facing a person may become Gandhi. He said that Gandhi had become Mahatma Gandhi after a prolonged war of independence, after making sacrifices and losing a lucrative career in law but some people have hatched a conspiracy to make a Gandhi out of one person and then legitimise their movement which is nothing but an agitational corruption, too.
Earlier, former Dean of the Law faculty Prof. M. Zakaria Siddiqui, elaborating on the topic of the symposium, said that the anti-corruption movement launched by Anna Hazare and his team was the largest mass based movement after the independence movement. But he disagreed that it can be called “Second independence”. He said the people who are calling for the so-called second independence forget that independence can be only one and that has been achieved. Secondly, he pointed out that Loknayak Jai Prakash Narain had also called his anti-Indira movement second independence. He said that we must ensure that in our zeal, we should not trespass the democratic space and must not invite another emergency-like situation.
Prof. Zakaria emphasised developing strong spirituality. He said dishonesty and corruption are all by-products of weak spiritualism. He pointed out that every religion has sanctioned good deeds and disapproved misdeeds. He said it is only spiritualism or in other words inner voice which stops a person to move towards greed or corruption. He called upon the students in particular and the youths in general to develop strong spiritualism to be clean and honest from within. He concluded his address with short comment that spiritualisation is the only way to wipe out corruption from Indian society and nation.
Continuing the theme of the symposium towards critical stages, Director CORD, Lucknow, Athar Hussain said there is no doubt that the movement against corruption is very important and everyone who loves society and the nation should participate therein. But before jumping on the bandwagon, one should get accurate knowledge about the issue and consider plus and minus points and then make a sound viewpoint and finally join or oppose a movement. He said unfortunately in the case of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, the media began presenting larger-than-life images and numerous channels began competing with each other so much so that the tragic news of hunger deaths in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh got enveloped under the blown up anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazre which resulted in the half-baked information reaching to masses and a mass hysteria soon became evident. Husain pointed out that such trends of raising mass hysteria are not a positive sign for peaceful coexistence of citizens and survival of the democratic system at large.
Earlier, making opening remarks and conducting the analytical symposium, Coordinator of the General Education Centre, Dr. Shakeel Samdani addressed a number of silent points of the subject. Dr. Samdani wondered why in the civil society representation of minorities or Dalits has not been made. He said the Anna Hazare team has kept a deadly silence over political, religious and moral corruption. He pointed out that we find religious places built upon public lands like railway stations or bus stations and nobody dares to question them. It is religious corruption. Dr. Samdani said that Article 341 deprives certain religious groups like Muslims and Christians to get the fruits of reservation provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India while some other groups like Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs are allowed to reap rich harvest out of it. He drew the attention of audience towards this political corruption. He also pointed out that almost all Muslim concentrated parliamentary constituencies have been reserved and thus Muslims have been deprived of the representation in Parliament. He said it is another glaring example of political corruption heavily guided by the communal and biased elements.
Dr. Samdani said the Anna Hazare team is composed of only few people. Indian democracy will be hijacked by these few people if the Jan Lok Pal bill is passed. They are demanding to bring even the Prime Minister under the purview of the Jan Lok Pal Bill. He urged the audience just to consider a situation when they decide to dethrone a Prime Minister then they can easily do it or he will be blackmailed by them. In such a situation, it is the Indian democratic system which will collapse and it is the masses who will suffer. He pointed out that such a weak political system on the shoulders of only few people will send wrong signals to the international community resulting in the nosedive of Indian prestige and credibility.
Dr. Samdani again pointed out that a time may come up when the civil society would raise a demand to dismantle certain institutions like Minorities Commission and due to their interference a weak Prime Minister will obey their dictates; then what will happen? Dr. Samdani summed up that if the present Indian parliamentary system is allowed to be hijacked by few people, whose credibility is shrouded under doubt, then it will be the end of democratic system and the Indian state known for its secular and non-violence will certainly move to fascism which will ultimately put the nation to anarchy and the country will disintegrate, like the earlier princely states.
He concluded with an appeal to all the saner elements of Indian society to see the reason and do not go by emotions or hysteria generated by electronic and print media.
The organising secretary of the symposium Nayyer Rahman, a student of M.Com (Final) drew the attention of the gathering towards the fact that India is passing through a crucial phase and the nation is standing on the crossroads. On the one hand it is galloping to be a super power and on the other the number of hungry and deprived people is rising. He said the students of AMU must be aware of all developments and burning issues, because in one or the other way they affect our lives. He called upon them to express their opinions freely and fearlessly.
The hurriedly organised symposium successfully attracted the students from diverse disciplines. For the first time in the recent history of AMU, the Kennedy Auditorium was not only packed to full strength but was overflowing and a time came when a demand was raised to install T.V. screens outside. The Hall went to clapping several times.
In the end of the symposium, Dr. Samdani presented coveted Shan-e-Sahafat Award to Aziz Burney. While presenting the award, Dr. Samdani told the audience that the police firing on innocent Muslims in Gopalgarh (Bharatpur) would have gone unnoticed if Aziz Burney might not have visited it in the hostile atmosphere and might not have reported the fascist and communalised face of the police force there.
It is very important to point out that the positive impact of the symposium has been recorded within a few days. Anna Hazare has condemned Narendra Modi and also the arrest of Sanjiv Bhutt, the glorious police officer of Gujarat.