The Lokpal of the “Jan Lokpal bill” sounds like the guardians of Plato’s Republic; not very democratic institution. It is hard to predict compatibility of the proposed Lokpal institution with the Indian democracy. The criticism of Lokpal institution as anti-democratic has to be taken seriously.
In any political system, there are power centers. In an ideal Democratic system, one may argue that all the significant power centers must be elected. There are many difficulty in implementing such system. One of them is the power jobs that require sophisticated technical understanding of some subject. For example, supreme court judge. Almost all democracies in history didn’t elect their supreme court judges. So, we need to relax the condition of the ideal democracy. A practical approach is to only try to maximize the number of power centers that are democratically elected. Therefore, I think that creating Lokpal as a non-democratic institution is not necessarily a bad idea according to my understanding of the nature of democracy. Many times, the devil lies in details. The details have to be worked out. This institution should be powerful but not too powerful like constitutional courts of Turkey. Checks and balances are key to democracy. This is good that both ministers and activist have joined the drafting committee. Hopefully some thing balanced will come out.
Now about the man himself. People have doubts about Anna Hazzare’s political philosophy. As some have pointed out, his style of doing social work has been quite authoritarian and full of moral idealism. For example, he preaches against film music, uses lots of religious symbols, and incites militaristic nationalism. He has been called Gandhian therefore in the popular mindset he can not be bad. Gandhi’s politics was not much far from Anna’s style. Gandhi was highly religious. His ashrams were not democratic place and he some times referred himself as a general of a Non-violent army. So watch out where Anna may lead us.