Yesterday I received a call from my cousin sister asking if you are free or not and I answered that in yes as I answer to everyone else! She asked me if you will come to ‘Lal-Quila’ to support Anna Hazare. My straight answer was NO[As I do not support his way to get work done]! Later in the evening I was out to buy some fruits I came back and she was at our house, as I saw some rallies in support of him in our locality I asked her to join them as she was interested to join Anna on Ramlila Maidan, I thought she would be really supporting him in his fight for his cause but the answer I got was “Yaar, Yaha Maja nahi aayega !!!”. And I felt so sorry on the so called youth who are gathering in large numbers at the site of protest and elsewhere without knowing what implications and scars it will leave on the pages on Indian Democracy and its processes. As memory is still fresh of the world cup victory this was not the emotion of nationalism we all had when India lifted the world cup trophy and we all resorted to the streets with our National Flag. Even as the game was going the dream of the Sachin Tendulkar was in fact the dream every Indian, and that’s the level of emotion we are capable of. “Leaving aside props and the choreography, the aggressive nationalism and flag waving of Anna’s Revolution are all borrowed, from the anti-reservation protests, the world-cup victory parade, and the Bollywood culture. They signal to us that if we do not support The Fast, we are not ‘true Indians.’”[-Quoted from an editorial]
I am not in any way denying anyone their right to protest, nor questioning it. My question on the current state of affairs going on today in country is that, is it only the goal that matters and not the means? Without going into the debates of ‘Jan Lokpal’ and the other versions which I am sure every news channel had already conducted and established so many difference between them, that my version won’t be comprehensive enough !
I don’t think any Indian today will be unaware of the cause of corruption for which Anna Hazare is fasting(may be only poorest of the poor in some of the remotest villages are amongst them). This cause of eliminating ‘corruption’ which everyone who knows the word firstly relates to ‘money and politician’ is in no way wrong, and every countrymen be it poor, rich, middle class or poorest of the poor, wants to get rid of it, and that is the single reason we are seeing masses of people on the streets and supporting the face that represents them [Anna Hazare] ( I really appreciate the efforts of all of them and their will to do something for the country, but more on them below !). Even the rest who are not present in these rallies want to fight for the removal of corruption but where they fall behind is the way these people want to fight against the corruption. Thus reaching to a definite, clear and scientific conclusion that it is not the goal people differ in, rather it’s the means, ways, methods and most importantly the demands.
While his means of ‘fast-unto-death’ is in all way ‘Gandhian’, non-violent, and pro-democracy but the reasons he gives to adopt to these methods are not so [I am talking about deadlines and demands].
- Starting with the first reason that members of the civil society popularly known as ‘Team Anna’ gives is that they have waited 42 years for the parliament to pass the bill, but I don’t think that the present parliament can be blamed for the sins of its past, just as we cannot be blamed for the sins of our ancestors. It all started in December 2010 that this UPA govt. planned to prepare and bring Lokpal bill in parliament when Mr. Anna started writing letters to Prime Minister to consider his bill, and when the PM didn’t respond to this letter he started saying that please listen to our demands or we will resort to ‘fast-unto-death’. Tell me one thing here, it may be possible that PM may not have responded at that time because to democratic procedure any bill is open for suggestions from outside only when it is drafted and thus he may have thought that it will be appropriate if we can ask him for his suggestions at that time, as he’s there to follow the constitutional provisions. But no one wants to see the picture from another angle as we are very convinced with the idea of ‘Saale sab chor hain’.[This mentality one more reason why we seeing so many people with Gandhi topi on streets to support Anna Hazare].
Second justification that Team Anna gives for their means and methods is that we have tried everything in our limits to convey our viewpoint to the govt. and there is no other way left through which a common man can send his suggestions to the govt. Here the situation is like this:
- Lokpal bill was sent to the standing committee for in-depth scrutiny on 8th August (This was the bill drafted by the govt. and not the civil society version). But civil society members met the standing committee and standing committee after a discussion asked for a copy of janlokpal bill to discuss and scrutinize it. Now when this time team Anna was following a democratic procedure healthily they didn’t have sufficient patience to wait for the standing committee’s final draft rather they wanted to resort back to their strike. But this time the govt. collaborates in declining the democratic procedures by doing everything possible to overthrow itself ! [Anna’s arrest and devouring him his right]. A few months down the line it abandoned that effort and tabled its own bill in Parliament [govt. version], a bill so flawed that it was impossible to take seriously.
- And now with people support they need not do anything as they believe that what they say will be the first thing any govt. officer will do for them. On people’s support I would just quote Arundhati Roy as I already feel sorry and pity for the blind and ‘dude’ like mentality of those Indian youth who are supporting him just to click some cool pics to put on Facebook, fun and to show that they are concerned.
- “If what we’re watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times. For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you’re likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind.” – Arundhati Roy.
Now is it justified that without resorting to the democratic procedures, without valuing any of its processes, and even breaking them [There’s no provision of joint drafting committee in constitution] civil society members consider their efforts to be enough to convey their points to the govt. I just think that they may not have done enough as is clearly indicated by the impatience they display in the world’s biggest democracy.
Note: The above two reasons that I mentioned above were given by Arvind Kejriwal, one of the lieutenant of Anna Hazare.
Now even if we consider the blackmailing procedures and methods [Leaving beside the demands as those need to be discussed in too great detail] of the brand Tean Anna to be legitimate, let’s see how will it leave scars on the face of Indian Democracy. Let’s for a moment suppose that the way civil society is protesting is justified [mind here that I am not questioning the protest only the way it is being conducted i.e. want of concrete demands and deadlines]. Now if we consider this ‘goal oriented’ way of protest which is even attracting popular support, tell me if you will support this:
- Will you also consider similar protest legitimate by all the general category people in India who are against reservation [Reservation which is done to protect and promote the interest of the marginalized and help them come in level with others]?
- Or will you support the ‘Rail Roko’ andolans by Gujjars to claim reservations [Will you support mainly their means] ?
- Or the Maoists method who wants to overthrow Indian state to protect and promote its interest? [“For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State” – Arundhati Roy ]
- Or is doping justified just because we don’t have appropriate sports infrastructure and we want to earn fame and medals for the country?[Here we all want to achieve this goal, my question is on the means all the way].
- Or is it justified to cut innumerable trees just to make way for development. [Again means-goal relation]
Leaving beside these, won’t use of such methods delegitimize the protests of those small groups who resort to the established political and democratic norms to get their interest protected, take for example:-
- Thousands of villagers in Koodankulam protesting against the nuclear power plant.
- Thousands who are facing down armed policemen and mining mafias in Jagatsinghpur, or Kalinganagar, or Niyamgiri, or Bastar, or Jaitapur.
- Nor the victims of the Bhopal gas leak, or the people displaced by dams in the Narmada Valley.
Not going into further discussion I leave you all with some of these questions that provide a completely different viewpoint into the current political status-quo of the country, I here will make some things clear to make clear my stand and escape the criticism of some.
- I am neither against the methods of ‘fast-unto-death’ of Anna hazare, nor against most the provisions of the Jan Lokpal but only against his demands to pass the bill by his deadlines without giving time to the ‘current’ parliamentary which to me seems dedicated to it.
- I am nor against any of the civil society member or his views indeed here I criticize govt. for his arrest of Anna Hazare.
- I do support the fight for corruption but with democratic measures, as fastening the process which is deadline driven will only leave pits and loopholes in this draconian legislature.
I request you to comment but please don’t comment on things that need discussions as this is all a comprehensive and subjective things, but I do welcome your comment. 🙂