Mumbai: Holding that those backing Anna
Hazare`s movement against corruption don`t know what they are
for, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said the Jan Lokpal will
create a "supra-institution" that would be a law unto itself.
"It would have the power to investigate, prosecute and
punish. If this kind of power falls into the wrong hands then
the cure (to corruption) can turn out to be worse than the
disease," Tharoor said during an interactive session on day
one of the the Mumbai literature festival, Literature Live,
here last night.
On Hazare`s movement, Tharoor spoke of its potential to
turn into a powerful, oppressive institution like the Spanish
"When the Catholic church created the inquisition, they
thought it will be an agent for good. That it will preserve
and protect the religion. But within a very few years, it
turned into an authoritarian nightmare," the former Minister
of State for External Affairs said.
On the agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill, he said, "It
doesn`t solve the problem of petty corruption because every
hospital won`t have a Lokpal. And it will also require 20,000
people to implement it. If they`re presuming that all
government employees are corrupt, where will they find the
20,000 saints to man the posts?"
Hazare is a "74-year-old saintly individual", Tharoor
said. "However, people who turned out in support of him are
aware of what they are against corruption but they don’t
know what they are for."
"Do people want a supra-institution that has the power to
investigate, prosecute and punish anyone form the prime
minister to the judiciary? In the hands of someone less
saintly, it can be damaging," he said.
Pulitzer prize winning American journalist and author
Thomas Friedman, who was with Tharoor in the discussion, `Two
brilliant minds exchange provocative ideas`, said Hazare`s
movement had a "groundswell" of public sentiment.
"Is Hazare the leader or symbol of the movement? He
didn`t really create the Jan Lokpal Bill and then inspire
people to get behind it. It was written by a band of activists
who then chose Hazare to be the face of their campaign. He is
more a symbol of the movement rather than the leader. So he`s
not a leader in the way that Gandhi, Napoleon or Stalin were."
Friedman, who spoke about his bestselling books, "The
World is Flat" and "That used to be Us" at the literature
festival, said that in the past decade, the state of American
education, infrastructure and capital formation has fallen
"The American political system is completely broken and
paralysed," Friedman said. "It perhaps needs shock therapy in
the form of a third political party," he said.