Thursday, September 01, 2011

Anna Hazare, Please leave Gandhiji alone!

In the past so many months, watching English news channels was an absolute pain. Team Anna, Civil Society, second Independence Movement were terms traded freely to describe what i think was a movement which projected a noble cause but was executed in a manner which lacked dignity, sense of propriety and aimed at feeding the insatiable appetite of the media for sensationalism. A former IPS officer does mimicry! Reminiscent of the merry jig of Sushma Swaraj! The end might be noble, but the means? Farcical. Totally devoid of dignity. The protestors seemed to be having fun! Basking in the media limelight. More and more joining daily to join the media whipped up frenzy, hoping to be caught by the roving channel cameras.

I would not have thought my feelings worth a blogpost had not the whole drama been staged against the back drop of the Mahatma. Anna Hazare was hailed as a modern day Gandhi, but he was behaving like a headless chicken.

What did Anna want? The Parliament to pass HIS version of Lok Pal Bill! Who is he? As erudite as Gandhiji to understand the implication of an ombudsman with autonomous powers? Who’s to man this Lokpal with such unlimited powers? People like those who constitute Team Anna who are eternally playing to the galleries? God deliver us from such well meaning (?) souls who get carried away when the media camera is on them and behave in a manner that makes us hang our heads in shame.

Hysteria, celebrations, jigs and mimicry – that’s not what we want. These trivialise the cause. Politics is serious business. Let not people who have no respect for parliamentary democracy make public statements dismissing all elected representatives as scoundrels. Bad apples are there – in plenty. But dangerous to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Let’s not forget that, with all its shortcoming the Indian democracy has delivered. Let no one think it a worthy cause to put a spoke into its functioning.

Having said this, I’d like to turn to what’s laudable about Anna Hazare’s movement. It gave centrality to the greatest problem facing the country – corruption. Between this movement and Subramaniam Swami, corruption as an issue has surfaced and is looming large enough to haunt politicians. With a few political heavyweights in Tihar jail, and more probably to follow, our netas and their hangers -on might think several times before greasing their palms. But are the netas alone to be blamed?

It is said every country gets the leaders it deserves. And we have got the ones we deserve. How are we above blame when we give ‘monies’ to get a registration done? Or offer the cop a currency note to avoid getting a ticket? Or “treat’ government inspectors to get a reduced house tax, or get approval for a project with holes in it?

Who am i to point fingers at a leader when in my little world i indulge in corrupt practice?

If the Hazare movement causes us to introspect along these lines, something has been achieved.

Cleaning has to begin from the bottom of the pyramid.