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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Road ahead for Team Anna is strewn with obstacles

The highly popular Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption campaign seems to be losing sense of direction under the weight of many internal contradictions. Team Anna, at the beginning of the campaign earlier this year, looked to be rock solid. They were successful in painting an impression that the core team led by supposedly a saintly person consists of dedicated men and women of the highest integrity.

Their unique selling proposition was that these ‘selfless’ campaigners are solely driven by the deepest desire to get rid of corrupt and immoral practices from the system and society. Team Anna challenged the clique of power-drunk politicians after a series of corrupt scandals surfaced in quick succession. The enormity of corruption in the 2G scandal is mind boggling. Still what greatly exasperated the Indian masses was the insult of the Commonwealth Games.Politicians-turned-sports administrators are accused of siphoning hundreds of crores.

Moreover the utter mismanagement of the Games had made the country of more than a billion people laughing stock before the entire world. It was truly disgusting to see street dogs roaming in the games village and plaster falling down from athletes’ rooms just few days before the start of the games. The enraged reaction of the masses, which in a way was the people’s vote of no-confidence against corrupt politicians, was the reason for the instant popularity of the anti corruption campaign. Anna Hazare’s persona also helped in building the momentum. Team Anna misconstrued this as the unquestioned and everlasting support for Anna’s leadership and few people around him.

Team Anna challenged powerful politicians; they should have been prepared for a strong rebuttal. The politicians were almost painted as petty criminal, it was quite obvious that the rulers will also try to explore and exploit the chinks within Team Anna.

Ordinary human beings can never be infallible but few members of Team Anna wrongly considered themselves to be extraordinary. Understandably, these men of flesh and blood — like us all in the society — are weak and vulnerable to the temptations of power.

Team Anna’s real problem is not issues like inflating travel bills or plunging to politics by running anti-Congress campaigns in the elections. Ordinary people are guilty of overreach. Few influential members of Team Anna have assumed that they not only can clean the entire system but have the capability as well as the people’s mandate to dwell on any issue under the sun.

It is a well-known fact that Anna Hazare is a simple man; he lacks nuanced understanding of complex issues. The Congress party’s accusations that Anna’s anti-corruption tirade is an RSS sponsored movement had dampened the spirits and narrowed the scope of the wholehearted participation of minorities in the anti-corruption movement. Yet the movement was thought to be a sane cause. Majority of the civil society and intelligentsia was prepared to overlook these well founded allegations in the expectation that Anna’s campaign may eventually help to clean the system.

It is highly inappropriate to compare Anna Hazare with Gandhiji. For that matter, credit also goes to Anna for accepting that he is only worth of sitting at Gandhiji’s feet. As a matter of fact, Anna Hazare’s place is not even at Gandhiji’s feet. What does a person threatening to participate in a war have to do with the apostle of peace who sacrificed his life at the altar of his conviction? The debate on whether Pakistan is India’s enemy is useless. India and Pakistan have fought many wars and the risk of another war can never be eliminated, such is the nature of their relationship. Still a true man of peace can never aspire to participate in bloodshed; instead he will like to shed every drop of his blood to forge peace as Gandhiji did. Similarly, whether Kashmir is an integral part of India is not an issue. The Indian army has so far successfully frustrated all efforts to annex Kashmir by force. But is it not a reality that the use of indiscriminate force has not been able to win the hearts and minds of Kashmir’s people? Instead of hauntingly declaring that Kashmir is an integral part of India and washing his hands from the intractable conflict as Anna Hazare did, a true messenger of peace will always try to work for peace and reconciliation.


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