INDIAN CURRENTS – Anna Hazare is back in action, this time at Ramlila Ground, with more supporters and cheer leaders. An obstinate Anna and a punctured government made Anna’s second innings of fast a national event. The mass support that pours out in support of Anna across the country and beyond is definitely not the support for the person of Anna Hazare, rather it is the outpouring of the burning desire and dreams of every citizen for a corruption-free society. If the political class and the government do not get this message into their heads and hearts, no force would be able to stop the uprising of a billion people. History has chapters on Russian and French revolutions. By any account, India has the most fertile soil for an Indian Revolution in the 21st century. Those in power, and those waiting for power, should always remember this ‘Sword of Damocles’ hanging over their head.
Anna is basking in the new found glory. He has gained a larger than life size within a few days, thanks to the stupidity and short sightedness of the UPA government. When Anna began his first innings of fasting at Jantar Mantar, the invisible hands of the RSS-affiliated groups behind the move became visible through the Bharat Mata symbol at the background. Not many understood this machination — it is only the RSS and their affiliates use and display the Bharat Mata symbol — and those who understood it pretended not seen it. The intelligent planners of ‘Team Anna’ chose this time the picture of Gandhiji instead of Bharat Mata to make the ‘Anna phenomenon’ appear like a freedom movement. And Anna parroted, “Second freedom struggle has started from August 16.” TV channels which feast on crowds and ‘crowd mentality’ happily announce the arrival of the “second freedom struggle”. If Anna Hazare, ‘Anna Team’ and those blindly following them believe that passing of Jan Lokpal Bill would eradicate corruption from this country and that would be the ultimate goal of a “second freedom struggle”, then they are misleading the gullible public to their own fool’s paradise. Communalism and casteism are two Himalayan evils and dangers that enslave millions of Indians. Lokpal is not a Bill that would address these issues. Without eradicating communalism and casteism how can every Indian feel safe and secure, equal and proud? Why Anna has not uttered a word so far against communalism and casteism?
Some TV channels and speakers shamelessly compare Anna to Gandhiji. “Mahatma Gandhi is today alive in the form of Anna Hazare” is what they announce. It is nothing but belittling the Mahatma. Gandhi became Mahatma after his “experiments with truth”, being guided and directed by his spiritual power, moral strength and ethical values. He was not propelled by a team of vested interests. He was identified with the poor, the marginalised and the “Harijans”. He listened to his ‘enemies’ and demanded justice even for the ‘enemy country’Pakistanwhen it was born. There is no comparison between Gandhiji and Anna Hazare who has a single point agenda that he wants to thrust down the throat of the government without any compromise. Again, compared with Gandhiji’s spiritual power, moral strength and ethical values, Anna is miles behind.
However, the movement against corruption has to go on. Lokpal is no magic bullet that kills corruption at one shot. Until the time every citizen decides not to accept or give a bribe corruption will go on, no matter whether Lokpal or Jan Jokpal becomes a law. Anna has vowed to free Indiaof corruption. One can only pray that Anna lives that long. In any case, Anna is not Gandhi; neither his movement against corruption the “second freedom movement”. (Indian Currents, 22 – 28 August 2011) www.indiancurrents.org