Anna Hazare’s Hunger Strike in India Leaves Many With Doubts

Source: www.nytimes.com
    Much of India’s intelligentsia, if sympathetic to fighting corruption, has greeted the Anna Hazare movement with unease or outright hostility.    

2 Comments

  1. i am anna August 24, 2011

    there nothing of doubt in the people . its just simple pass the bill. dont wast time by keeping it in standing commite . hear the voice of the nation .

  2. Mickie Sorabjee August 24, 2011

    August 20th, 2011, was Sadbhavana Divas and the birth anniversary of India’s late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who firmly believed. “The democratic way of nation building requires patience, perseverance and a spirit of conciliation.”
    Ironically it was also the fifth day of Anna Hazare’s fast as his way of protest in his fight against corruption. But it is doubtful if the man who is riding the crest of electronic media wave respects any of the above. Anna (Big Brother) is no Mahatma, and Hazare is no Gandhi. The comparison is an insult to the Father of the Nation who resorted to civil disobedience to achieve Swaraj from foreign rule 64 years ago in a different type of milieu. Thanks to Gandhiji’s perceptive leadership of the times, today we are a proud vibrant democratic republic with an enshrined constitution that leaves constitutional avenues open to protect every citizen’s rights and hear his voice. There can be no grounds for a touted revolution. For all his laudable intentions, Anna has become a hero by default _ first because of the government’s botched handling of the current situation and second his followers looking for an immediate quick fix solution to their angst, believe he is their redeemer_ a new age vacuum cleaner who can blast away the stains of corruption and cleanse the system steeped in graft rot.
    But corruption is such a deep rooted part of Indian society that this is easier dreamt, than achieved. A couple of lakhs of his supporters would yet count for only a minority in a country with an Indian population of over a billion. On the basis of his own prescribed high moral grounds against corruption, more than half his supporters would fail the test were such an elimination exercise carried out by anti Anna voices. Even as his crusade against corruption strikes a chord on one hand, on the other, Anna Hazare’s holier-than-thou attitude and his insistence on his way or no way, has few takers. His attitude bespeaks a chauvinist mindset. The man is over-reaching himself with this rigid stand and his deprecation of parliament procedures. Here is a person known in his words to be contemptuous of elections and understandably disdainful of this vital line of democracy, yet paradoxically using democratic right to freedom of speech/action to impose his vision of an anti-corruption ombudsman, known as Jan Lok Pal, by dictating terms instead of exhausting constitutional methods. While exercising his constitutional rights, he is stubbornly refusing to accord Parliament its rights under the constitution to execute procedural norms.

    There is no justification for unconstitutional method like the one used by Anna Hazare to blackmail/ hijack the government which cannot be held responsible for any untoward medical fallout of the man’s chosen way of protest. That is not to say this pen does not endorse his anti-corruption plank, but it certainly doesn’t approve his method or fall for his team’s hyperbole of this being a second independence movement. The demonstrations are not wrong but the moral euphoria stoked by a competitive electronic media is misplaced.

    His followers among the masses do not realise the dangers of opting for an unaccountable official to hold elected officials accountable They are rather naive to fall for his otherworldliness that a law passed quickly will somehow cleanse India of the corruption malady. Laws made in haste do not make good laws. Hazare is focused only on politicians whose credibility is at an all time low, when there are hazare anek strains of corruption that touch the common man in daily existence which have not been touched upon in his current campaign. To expect a single Jan Lok Pal to look into all these instances is unworkable and living in a fool’s paradise. The man is trying to close the door on corrupt politicians and opening a window for another kind of tyrannical corruption in hands of a different brand of unbridled power.

    No self respecting democratically elected government will/should succumb to an individual’s demand to appoint an ombudsman virtually above legislature, executive and judiciary who will have the authority to investigate and punish all and sundry, including the country’s prime minister with no safeguards to check the Jan Lok Pal himself. The proposition is a gargantuan mockery of Indian democracy. Instead the government should pull the rug from under Hazare and trip him to present its own strong Lok Pal bill and give the restless nation what it has been seeking since 1968.

    By himself, Anna Hazare has no pan India stature nor is he representative of all Indians. It is a coalition of unexpected groups supporting him, and the electronic impetus that has brought him to India’s centre-stage, The self styled messiah who was better known for his activism development in his village in Maharashtra and is today basking in the glorification as a second Gandhi, should accept that the Mahatma did not achieve success in his freedom struggle, over night. So if he concedes a few months to a belatedly responsive government to work on a bill to satisfaction of all sections, it is not going to be the end of his resistance. Congress wheels are moving slowly but positively in the right direction. Who can tell what the next fractured parliament will bring if mid -term elections are forced on a weary electorate by over enthusiastic moralists? His deadline dare to Government is fraught with danger of setting detrimental undemocratic precedents and sure fire road to anarchy that needs to be curtailed under law of land. To be a pressure group and watchdog is a healthy sign of democracy, but when it crosses the line into open demagogic defiance beyond parameters of Constitution, then it is undermining the instrument of government.
    Mickie Sorabjee

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