Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anna Hazare and the new Untouchables

I was watching the movie Untouchables yesterday.  Elliot Ness, Malone and Stone had a serious problem at hand.  It was not just Al Capone or bootlegging.  The entire society was used to consuming liquor, which was made unavailable due to prohibition.  It was hard to get support when the whole society was so used to consuming liquor.  There were moles in the police department who didn't care much for the law.

Aren't we in a nearly same situation?  We are so used to corruption that getting anything done without paying bribes is impossible in this country.

I would compare the current state to that of emergency.  Right now, common man doesn't know what it means to have a clean administration.  He is so used to the corruption that the law of the land is only namesake.   During emergency, common man probably had no clue about what it meant to lose his freedom of expression.  In fact, prominent citizens like Vinobha Bhave and JRD Tata had even supported it.  But for JP's effort to bring together the old Congress, the socialists and the right with the alliance of communists, the general public may have voted Indira Gandhi to power, as an approval of emergency.  It would have been even easier with the then notional office of the election commission.

Anna should have attempted JP's way.  JP was a Gandhian and had understood the power of conversations with ideologies.

Instead of running a one man show (yes, it is a one man show and I do not want to consider others in the campaign) Anna should have used his clout as a simple and popular local leader.  Anna is the only individual in the group, who had the integrity that could have influenced the politicians.  There are decent people across political spectrum who are sensible enough to see the intensity of the problem.  Their experience and exposure to the system would have given more direction to Anna.

It is as if Anna and team have branded all the politicians as the new untouchables.  Even if Anna wanted to be balanced, his team of advisers are averse to right wing politicians who might be of some help.  RSS supported him and may have helped in mobilizing support from parties like BJP or Shiv Sena.  His team brands RSS as untouchables and do not want to go with them.  In the process of fight against corruption, they have been actively converting friends to foes.  He and his team trusted media to do the support mobilization work.  The media that is just as corrupt as the rest of the systems.   They would walk away when there is no tamasha.

This surely wasn't Gandhi's way.  Mahatma Gandhi continuously engaged people from different ideologies in his fight for the freedom.  He continued to correct the course of action after discussions with others.  

In order to claim to be a leader with Gandhian values, Anna should understand Gandhi's ways; Gandhi's ways are a lot more than just wearing a cap.

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