Tennis and bananas
"So how's things with the Right to Information Act going?" asked Boss, "Don't see you running up huge bills at the photocopying shop anymore." "Truth is," said I to Boss, "that the RTI Act has become a good business like sports, too. Take cricket, for example, what a lovely business. Shining India, even if we get thrown out of the World Cup in the opening games. And like in cricket, once the professionals get in, then there is no more room for amateurs. It is as much about winning matches on the field as deciding outcomes and incomes in the courts, and that does not imply that RTI activists or cricketers have mastered tennis either. The game is certainly not love-all, things are sometimes based on how many cards people hold in their hands like aces and deuces, and all the shots are called by the sponsors."
"You are slicing lobs over me," whined boss, "just tell me why the RTI Act is not really fixing things in the country anymore."
"They lied to you," explained I, "and you have been around long enough to realise that they will always lie to you." I then moved away to fry a banana. This can go on all day. Unlike tennis balls, bananas are slippery.
The question arises, then, who is this "they"? And truth responds, softly, from behind the red tape-"they" are the RTI types. Whether they were in governance, media, activism or even the Information Commissions, they are now all on the same side of the curtain.
Sure, people like Medha Patkar and Arvind Kejriwal and Aruna Roy are still out there, but they cannot understand why even those who were on their side have started beating them on the head-take a look at what happened to poor confused Medha in Nandigram!
So what's the future of RTI in India?
I don't know about that, but they have a formidable new building, with security guards to keep the common man out. Something like getting Independence in 1947-all that the RTI Act has achieved is more cars with red lights on them.