By- Priyankan Goswami
Ever since the Congress and its allied forces successfully destroyed a threatening anti-corruption movement of Baba Ramdev with use for police sticks and proper use of media, something similar for Kisan Baburao Hazare, AKA Anna Hazare was always on the cards.
The Baba was portrayed as a villain, non-secular and was made fun of, to destroy the movement more than his image. Anna Hazare survived to remain the hero as Congress was not threatened politically from its base or powers. Unlike Baba Ramdev, Anna did not threaten to form any political party to challenge our rulers, nor did he call for Swiss Bank probe. Indian rulers, though worried that Anna’s version of Lokpal, if enacted, might tie one of their hands from stashing away black money but were also probably relaxed that the people were not much shouting about their trillions and trillions of money hidden in the secret bank vaults of Safe Tax havens like Switzerland.
Nevertheless, the plan is to crush Anna Hazare had to be drafted. And drafted in way that serves two purposes, – destroy Anna’s movement and use the mobilized uprising to help our rulers in the long term. It had already taken shape with splits and differences of opinion amongst “Team Anna”, as they are called, regarding the Lokpal, starting to surface. Two days ago, as the Delhi Police declined permission to Anna Hazare and his supporters to undertake a fast at Jai Prakash Narayan Park in Central Delhi; the ground was all set for Anna Hazare to face the next round, this time the wrath of Indian rulers. Yesterday morning, it just happened what was expected.
How Rahul Gandhi?
It is being claimed and reported by Indian media houses, some of whom are known to be able followers of Congress, that it was only at the intervention of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi that the government decided last night to release Anna Hazare from Tihar jail. There was a late evening meeting between Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the situation due to Anna’s arrest, where the Government “realized” that popular upsurge against Anna’s arrest could pose a law and order problem. It is unimaginable and foolish to believe that the Government did not realize or know what the consequences of taking Anna behind the bars would be.
The fact lies simple; – it was a well calculated gamble. Just as Anna’s sudden appearance in April had shifted the focus from Swiss Bank wealth to the Jan Lokpal, Anna’s arrest now shifts the focus to a citizen’s right to protest. The media, opposition as well as the millions of crowds were seemed talking more about “right to protest peacefully” much more than Anna’s version of Lokpal Bill yesterday.
It must be mentioned that the people had earlier applauded Sonia Gandhi, who wrote to Anna during his earlier three day fast due to which the Government had agreed to Anna’s Jan Lokpal idea. With Rahul Gandhi now displaying eyes of mercy towards Anna after he himself protested across Uttar Pradesh on foot, is bound to attract the mobilized youth. Another strong step taken to become the new generation leader. The Aam Aadmi flavour, basically.
The future of Anna’s Revolution – we all will destroy it
Anna Hazare’s stand has shaken India, as we claim. His vigorous speeches have led millions to applaud and take to the streets, protesting and shouting. But is it not the same public who also attended similar public meetings by political leaders, the Indian rulers and elected them for speaking big words on different big issues?
As an example,- back in Assam, is it not the same public that came out on the roads to protest against Akhil Gogoi’s arrest one day before assembly elections and next day went on to vote for Himanta Biswa Sharma, against whom Gogoi had revolted so immensely with charges of corruption, to give him a record win?
There is no difference between the public speech and mobilization by a political leader and that by Anna Hazare, since the people are the same who refuse to change. The same people who shouts, comes to streets with symbolic protests, something the Indian democracy sees every day in different shapes and sizes.
Right from adulterated baby food to paying to get into schools, vegetable salesmen to the RBI who has helped corruption by banning the 25 paisa, music piracy to travelling in autos without meters, corruption is wide open to every youth of this country.
If we are so interested in solving corruption, instead of shouting to free Anna Hazare, we youth could have spent a day eradicating such issues at a ground level ourselves, which WILL make a change and effect. We could have said “No” to all autos and taxis which does not run on fare, we could have spent a day saying “No” to those electronic goods shop who sell TV and mobile phones at cheap rates by not producing a bill, we could have trapped policemen who lets go drunken drivers for a hundred rupee note, we could have spent a day catching government officials who did not turn up to work on time (after all they are public servants), we could have done millions of things. Our billions of people could have made millions of positive changes if it was done with a purpose.
But no, as usual we chose and will always choose to do symbolic things. Future scientists and students of reputed educational colleges decided to skip their lunches, media reported with pride as if they had sent a new mission to Jupiter! Wow! Do they remember the millions of poor Indians who live on one meal a day? Probably it would have been better if these students had decided to ban porn or smokes in their hostels for one day.
Just as there is no use wearing a black badge against AIDS victims if we don’t stop youth from taking drugs or stop trafficking, there is no use protesting and shouting of we are not ready for the change. Gandhi’s “Be the change you want the world to be” has to be picked up from the drain where we have thrown all his advices into.
And as a result of our indifference, what is the future of a 74 year old Gentleman’s tremendous efforts?
Call me a pessimist or a realist, the change will be No change. Rahul Gandhi will become the next Prime Minister; our rulers tied with Jan Lokpal will find newer ways to get corrupted, and we will continue to sit and complain in Facebook that we need a change.
Unless we wake up and change ourselves first and do meaningful things rather than symbolic protest. Yes, we still have time.