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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anna Wins The Battle,The War Begins

So the government finally gives in to Anna Hazare & team's demand that the civil society representatives be included in drafting committee of the Lok Pal Bill. The battle of Jantar Mantar is won but the war of the Indian people against the menace of corruption is far from over.  In fact,even this victory may not mean much if the guards are lowered prematurely. Not two days have passed and we can see questions raised on the representation of the civil society. There are clearly attempts at creating differences within the motley group of crusaders rallying around the Gandhian social activists.The biggest irony is that even though the timing may be conspicuous and reek of dubious intent,the questions raised are legitimate and are as a matter of fact, crucial to the future of the movement.


Demonstrations and protests against graft are nothing new in India,they are held almost every week by one political party or the other against the party in power,it doesn't really matter which political party is on which side. If Anna Hazare's protest movement spread like wild fire,it is mainly because he is a Gandhian social activist with no apparent personal interest nor ambition. But as his popularity and support base grows, political parties would try to take advantage of it in whatever manner they can. It is disappointing that many of the supporters of the movement including students of law and politics (as reported by the newspapers) have little idea on what the Lokpal is, what changes are being demanded, all that matters to them is that Anna Hazare comes across the self-less,principled leader of the masses who can lead them into a corruption free India. I doubt if that is what Anna really wants, his statements seem to deny it.

Although, in a timid minority, there are people, especially the Facebook generation who see the movement as something similar to the scene at Tahrir Square in Cairo . What they forget that the Jasmine Revolution is mass movement to bring down military dictatorships and monarchs and install a democratic polity in place. Post-revolution the objective of the Egyptians is to dismantle the entire political system and usher in a new era.  India on the other hand is probably the most robust and dynamic democracies in the world, apart from being the largest one.We need to fine tune our system, remove clogs and grease it, not reinvent it.  As such Indians face a much difficult task, and the youth in particular should be prepared for it. If at all we can learn anything from the Egyptian protesters, it is what Shaheed Bhagat Singh had said more than 80 years back, the cause is more important than the leaders (...you cannot kill an idea). The greatest advantage of the Egyptian protesters was that they were leaderless, the Mubarak government could not find a target,taking down which would have demoralized the protesters.

Thankfully, we in India don't have to think in terms of military science, but we do have to always remember the cause we are fighting for, every single day. People with vested interest in the existing culture of graft will make every effort to derail the movement, especially now that the leaders of this movement have been accepted as partners in draft committee. It might become easy for them to weaken the movement by various means, the way to prevent it would be to know what we are fighting for and not just under whose leadership we are fighting. 

Here is a link to the
(via http://annahazare.org/)

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