ANNA HAZARE AND INDIAN DEMOCRACY
( I could prove myself with my arguments as I progressed writing this article. I wrote this on two different days . First day was when Anna started his campaign and by the second day I thought of finishing this Anna had stopped his fast and declared his political intentions. The happiest thing was that I was even more stressed and firm on my arguments now as finish off this. )
What comes to every Indian mind when talking about the Indian political scenario of 2011 would be the way ANNA HAZARE quaked the political class. The depth of impacts this struggle would make on INDIA as a still immature democratic nation is not discussed with its importance. As a student of Indian politics, I had never imagined that led by group of people, say some 5 or 6, can come out in streets accompanied by some thousand people can exert pressure on Parliament of India to pass a bill, to create an institution and to change the whole investigation systems without any compromise, consultation or a consensus within the country.
It is absolute ridiculous to conceive that those hundred or thousand who went to streets carried the interest of 1.2b people. Even among those who were out in the streets, I believe, didn’t have a clear idea what the men at the front were demanding and what the real issue is. And believe me I had a taste of such an experience in my college when there was a strike on the day ANNA called to boycott classes last year. And interestingly, as I quizzed some of them who stood at the front of the rally they held, I came to know that they knew nothing about the bill LOKPAL for which they are out.
We are living in a democracy having a parliament, the election to which are undoubtedly fair as any other nation in the world can offer. Every 5 years people are given the discretion to choose their representatives. But a man or his team of 10 surrounded by a thousand people can never be the voice of our country. And regarding those 1000 or 10000 people who came on the streets to support, I would like to put it as one of the commentators has commented last year. These people have come out to streets just to watch a fancy circus which is on show for the whole day in every “national” channel. And they were out there having a prejudice that the “National channels “have found the material in the item they are telecasting. And we know, people don’t lose a chance to see it with their eyes rather than through the camera. And the delhities too didn’t and thus they were out. This is simply the truth and the very evidence for it is the absence of mass in the second term of the struggle in july 2012. The show was not in television 24 hours(London Olympics might have played the key role I suppose) and people didn’t find any material in it though there was no change for the protests.
Another millions who fought for Anna were through the new face of political awakening in the world. Through the social Medias. I was a regular user of Facebook , which is the stronger among these networks when the struggle was out in it. I could see many of my friends, who never casted a vote for any election to choose the people who represent them, posting at least half a dozen posts daily supporting India Against Corruption (IAC ). It is certain that these people don’t find anything other than the cheap fame and show offs they get out of these public show off.
To prove my point of pseudo awakening of Indian youth ,I would like to quote the social media war kerala people fought when the issue of mullapperiyar dam came up. Our people posted maps & figures to predict the face of kerala post dam breakdown. Posted so many abusive statuses against whomever they could, even the common people, without any sense. All this settled down very fast and interestingly without any results. And here the false news and analysis was spread by some of the regional parties with the help of mainstream medias. My opinion is strongly supported by the impartial comments expressed by eminent jurist Sri. K T Thomas who was in the panel appointed by Supreme Court to look into the issue. Coming back to our issue, it is proved that people come up with opinions on their provided columns on the web arena without any understanding and these screams out in the new media, most of the times neither represents them nor they are true.
Coming back to team Anna. In July 2012 team started fasting for still unknown amendments in lokpal bill rather. Only a general proposal of stronger lokpal was only heard in the Medias. Anyway the agitation started as nothing different from their first one they held last year. But there was huge difference in three things. First, thresponse of people to the movement. It was a poor turnout and the frequent calls by the leaders for its supporters went in vain. There was even a call by Anna himself to the dtlhi youth to boycott classes for a week and be at jantar mantar with him. Again for no gain, proving that the youth had no stand in the issue or putting it straight they had no intentions of curbing corruption. Last year they were in the fanciness of being in a quite unfamiliar ride. That unfamiliarity factor is no more there with the Anna circus now.
Second thing, may be the result or cause of first factor either way, is the media factor. Unlike the previous instance there wasn’t any 24 hour telecast of the same as they did last year. There may be several reasons for this stand of medias starting from Olympics to pressure from government authorities. The reasons as they stand could have been overcome if again there was material and mass for the movement as media cant shy away from any movement having both these qualities.
Last and the most crucial factor was that IAC was talking to deaf years. Interestingly, government was this time silent throughout the protest. Last time there was responses available for Anna even from the silent Prime Minister. This time it was rare. Again, some may argue that the causes may be the result of those 2 factors we discussed before. But one thing was sure. However silent they seemed to be in public, the government has this time done their homework well. They have very well calculated the limitations of an Anna like campaign. This is where government failed last time and this time they did the right thing (Even then govt had effectively handled Baba : Kudos to the then Home Minister for throwing away guru overnight from ramlila maidan . Rare instances I have felt there is a govt on our land). Being silent was just one of the measures it worked out effectively this time. The basic aspect they learnt was that the campaign was hollow in almost every angle.
I would say, eventhough a late decision, the move to enter political arena is always welcoming. That is how in a democratic country like India we need to make changes. This call was made during the first turn by Arundhathi Roy who had criticized the campaign of anna and team from the beginning. Team Anna need to do the job standing as a political power. Politics and elections are the realities of Indian democracy and not the street movements and fasts.
Don’t think that I am a pessimist saying nothing is going to change in our country for whatever change we introduce to the system. Nor I am an optimist saying that our system is corrupt free and our ministers are saints. As Mr. Bishwanath Ghosh put it in his article in hindu dted 04/08/12 , We will have to start the changes from the grassroots and not from the top. Every noble change that we intent to give the system should start from citizens, otherwise the changes itself would become corrupt. That is the lesson we should learn from Indias experience. I, myself being a civil service aspirant wish to be corrupt free and bring a lot of changes in our country’s governance and it is never different from what my friends’ intentions. We all want to move this society further and I believe the same was the case with those who walked before us. Still many of them happen to be corrupt and inefficient. The system made them so, the citizens play an important role in their transition. Suppose if no one is ready to bribe a public servant will there be corruption or if people respond to corruption. Seems like I am nowhere on the ground? We say that we have lost 1.7 lakh crores in 2G auction but I believe that on single month if we put together all the bribe citizens give at the government offices they deal in day to day life, would sum up more than this calculation.
And my question is this… WE HAD A REVOLUTION NOW. WE ALL KNOW THAT CORRUPTION IS ONE OF THE MAJOR EVILS THAT HAUNT OUR COUNTRY.. WHETHER YOU WILL BE BRIBING OR COMPLAINING IT TO THE AUTHORITIES ONCE YOU ARE ASKED TO PAY BY A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL??? Will you have that sense of responsibility for the noble cause of nation to be corrupt free or will you bribe him and come back home with your things done with no pains????? The future of our country’s governance lies in this question for me .. HOW ABOUT YOU?????