The tragedy of India these days is that those who are literary inclined have somehow become the gatekeepers of nation’s conscience. At least, with great use of their word play, they paint such a picture. Dig deeper and their own core seems limited.
I had talked of Javed Akhtar’s nonsensical diatribe in response to an intelligent and reasonable discussion. He had a predisposition before he came in and left with it all intact. Nothing changes and nothing is gained. Its not a discussion that occurs.. its an ego assault and a personality war. That’s all to it.
These days, an old frail man Anna Hazare is fasting to get a Lok Pal Bill passed – Indian version of Ombudsman act – through which the Government ministers and even the PM can be convicted if found guilty of scam or scandal.
Government has been dilly dallying and making a mess of its response. If there was a better opposition than the clueless BJP and the lunatic Communists, I would have assured you that Anna just defeated Congress in the next elections. Alas, dreaming in India isn’t easy. But that doesn’t bother Anna Hazare. He has dreamt and will fight.
As I was expecting, Ad hominem attacks on Anna Hazare will start. Someone somewhere will find ways to find fault with his personality and try to discredit the entire movement. And this writer turned political pundit – Manu Joseph comes rushing in to do the honors
But what kind of man is he, really? Haima Deshpande, a senior political writer with Open, has met him several times. About 10 years ago, when he went on a fast to protest against corruption in the Maharashtra government, Deshpande covered the event. She was a bit surprised when he said that he wanted to end his fast because journalists from the English media were finding it hard to reach his village. He wanted to end it on a Sunday..
He hits at Anna because Manu feels that the old man is a farce for having fasted a few days lesser than he promised. What he doesn’t say is – was he able to get any change in place due to his work? If yes, however little it was, he was still better than the 1.2099999 billion people out there! For, like Manu, this bunch had done NOTHING! They had not missed a meal – unless they couldn’t afford one anyway.. and no one wanted to jump in fray against any corruption for the fear of being killed.
Maybe, its important to ask ourselves right now – is Anna important?? Or is the movement important?? Is there a need to have a national movement at a larger scale which can bring the Ministers and the Bureaucrats to their knees and get the looted money back? If yes, then Anna Hazare is a tool – very critical and important, but a tool. He is there to wake the youth up. If he can fire the imagination of the youth such that it leads to a revolution, that is more than any body else.. ANYBODY for that matter – has been able to do since the independence. Shouldn’t that be enough?
While on the case of writers turned political activists. Where in the world are the career activists like Javed Akhtar, Teesta Setalvad, Arundhati Roy et al. All those whose heart beats for “Social Justice”?
Medha Patkar had decided to support Anna Hazare but came out with her own way of showing disapproval and adding first signs of cracks in the entire movement by issuing the following statement along with her buddy – Sandeep Pandey:
“In this fight against corruption, we have to choose our allies with care and take those along who have the moral authority to stand with the masses and have struggled for peace, justice and democracy rather than pushing for a communal, casteist, patriarchal and divisive agenda and facilitated ecological corruption.”
First of all, I have an issue with Self-Styled, Self-Congratulatory Activists. They have installed Halo-ed words and given them their own definitions and then sit in judgment on everyone else. So, like in her terms – Swami Agnivesh – for all the work he has done may be the example of Ecological Corruption. Or Baba Ramdev a communal guy – why? Because of their faith! Had these two guys been from any other community – heck even linked to Jamaat-e-Islami parties or Al Qaeda, they wouldn’t be as bad.
Baba Ramdev, unlike anyone else – really ANYONE ELSE – has been able to inspire people to care for their health. Specially in the rural areas. Inspiring millions to get up in the morning and make yogic asanas and kriyas as part of their daily life is not an easy task. But he has done it. He talks against corruption and against scamsters more than anyone else.
So, what exactly is the issue with him? Because he is of a certain religion. Its very easy in India to promote yourself as a Muslim or a Christian or a “Secular” Atheist and be considered moral even though you praise and support those who kill policemen and innocent train passengers or even back Jehadis up.. but the moment you promote yourself as a Hindu, all hell breaks lose!!
I am not saying that in this movement – the sentiment should be about forwarding any Hindu agenda, but by tagging someone from some religion as “obviously” communal simply because he happens to be what he is … INJECTS the communalism into the movement. If one were to look at the sentiment one is trying to work on, rather than accuse him because of his beliefs, then this movement has a future. Otherwise, people like Medha will bring the entire effort down.
Movement has to move beyond Anna
In these movements either you have the stature and ability to instigate such a thing or you follow. The machiavellian amongst the elite try to break the movements down. And that’s precisely what they are upto.
It is imperative that this movement takes its own life. Its important – for the sake of the nation – to fight against the likes of Manu and others like Medha and Arundhati – it is imperative that this movement becomes bigger than Anna Hazare himself. He is the Chief architect, and will remain as the main inspiration. But by taking this movement beyond a person and his personality, we will also make it less vulnerable to the attacks of those who in the career of forwarding a certain agenda.
Movements which capture the larger emotions shouldn’t lose. If they do, so does the ability of the youth to organize and hope. This movement that Anna has started has to be kept alive beyond the Lok Pal Bill, and made successful not for anything else, but for just one thing – Hope! The Hope should remain. If that hope remains, then we can hope for a change.