Posts Tagged ‘anna hazare’

It is a very interesting phenomenon that one observes. Especially in times of social media and self expression and where everyone’s a publisher.

That there is a reasonably strong feel amongst the educated Indians, that corruption is not good for the country and that politicians and others who are resorting to these means, must be punished.

But when there are efforts from _someone_  or _anyone_ to do something about this menace, there are objections raised.

It happened when Anna Hazare protested. It is happening now even as Arvind Kejriwal exposes one scam after another.

There is a disagreement on the methods being adopted.

And hence a disagreement with the individual concerned.

There was a list of people who contributed to Kejriwal’s organisation, which was published.

And no sooner was that done, there were a fair bit of disclaimers and denials that came out from the people named therein.

Because they did not want to be associated with the means that Kejriwal was adopting.

Besides those few whose names came out as contributors to Kejriwal, many others all over Twitter and Facebook also found objections to his means (like they’d found in Anna Hazare too).

Arm chair activism in full flow. With strong arguments as well.

So cool.. this is how it is:

“Yes, I am sitting in my arm chair.

Yes, I dislike corruption.

Yes, I hate those reports about large sized scams, politicians and other heavyweights getting away scot free.

Yes, I wish there was a solution.

Yes, I am happy that someone is making some noise and trying to do something about it.

But hey.. No, I don’t agree with THAT particular thing that he just said or did.

No, I disagree with the methods he ia adopting. ”


So where does that leave us??

Do you have another plan? Do you think sitting in your armchair and wishing for that perfect solution will make it happen?

Do you even have a paper concept of that perfect solution??

Do you know what it takes??

Guess not!

And yet, you will keep finding faults when someone is doing something.

So I take it that you don’t really care about the problem as much. And you are fine with the fact that we are becoming an increasingly corrupt society, and our children will not be able to make any headway in life, without needing to pay their way through.

You are willing to accept that reality for tomorrow.

Is it?? Or is it not?

If not, then what are you really doing about it, except for finding faults with someone who is making an attempt?

Are you are part of the solution or a part of the problem?? 

The simple fact is that:

a. Someone is attempting to take the fight against corruption

b. He has his set of convictions and he is following those, both in intent and in effort

c. He is out there, walking his talk

d. You can agree with his broad convictions and integrity, and may not agree with everything that he does

e. That’s fine. Once you contribute (time, money, support) to a broad cause, stay with that. Does not matter if some of the means are not the perfect ones that you’d have liked to be adopted.

f. If you do not agree and cannot support, and would like things to happen in a certain way, what choice do you have? Heck, go out and do it yourself. Become an activist and walk YOUR talk.

g. Because there is no other way. This is NOT Burger King. You CAN’T have it your way otherwise!! You cannot order “a custom-made NGO that will do exactly what I want it to do” or “a new political party that will obey my every command”.


I know that I am unable to be on the street, fighting the corruption war, in a way that I would like to. So I am happy with an Anna Hazare or an Arvind Kejriwal who are doing their part. I will support them, and wish them the best. Even if I find an odd objection in their methods.

And this other absurd expectation that people have. That you should be spotlessly clean before you raise a finger against the politician for being corrupt. What nonsense that is?? I could be trapped in a system or I might have not had the courage to stand up against corruption so far. That does not mean that I don’t have or can’t have a desire to live in a corruption free society!!

I did not go to check if Dale Carnegie truly knew how to make friends and influence people. In fact, I don’t know if he had any friends at all. I didn’t care. I liked the material in his book and that was enough for me.

Likewise, if Kejriwal and his team have good material, I will support them. Not check if there is an odd old skeleton of sorts, in some of their cupboards’!!

What do you think?

There are some very interesting aspects of the Anna Hazare movement, in the context of modern India. I add to the tons of material on the subject, with my 2 cents of thought, as below:

1. Modern India is shining:

A party may have lost an election on the India Shining tag line, but we cannot deny the fact that India’s doing well, economically, and the general standard of living has gone up, across the board. People have work, people are busy, people are making money.

So how does that impact this movement?

Well, ordinarily if you are doing good, you have less reasons to complain.

And yet, we have HUGE mobilization of people, from across all sections of society. Reason is that the economic growth has happened IN SPITE of this corrupt government, and not because of it. And as one more mega scam gets exposed after another, there is a sense of detest amongst the people. That with all things going well for us, why is there this pain point in life? And due to which reason, people are protesting.

But at the same time, it is this prosperity that makes the few “intellectuals” give their deep analysis and keep finding the little loop hole here and there. If India was not shining and life was tougher, even these so-called nay sayers would have joined hands in the protest. But sitting pretty, they can afford to do their analysis paralysis!

2. Modern India has Social Media:

Again, this has had dual impact.

The huge mobilization has happened with help of mainstream media, but also because of social media. In fact, mainstream media almost “had” to fall in line. The tendency of our media brands, and especially the English television kind, is to look down upon anything that is even remotely looking like right-wing. This was not. But still the tendency of the media was to keep pointing the “other” side of the story. When they sensed the groundswell, on ground as well as on Social Media, the media vehicles had to fall in line with the popular point of view.

On the other hand, Social Media also makes it easy for the “experts” sitting at home, in front of a PC (or whatever device) to pick the holes. And put out blogs and Facebook updates and what not. NONE of them has given ANY practical solution that I have read so far, but all claim to find issues in the present movement. Luckily, this one time, the groundswell opinion has drowned out the voices of these naysayers, and the movement continues to generate momentum.

3. Modern India is Young:

Not just in this movement, but in society in general, I find people on the other side of 40, being resigned to India’s “fate”, as it may be. I am also on that other side of 40, and there have been times (though rare – I try to find positive things in life, in general) when I have also felt a similar resignation of sorts. But these people I talk about, usually think in terms of ‘politicians will always be like this’, ‘corruption is the way of life’, and stuff of that kind.

These are also the people who felt many years back that we’ll just have to wait 5 years to get a car allotted, or phones will die in monsoons, or that we’ll always have to go with a begging bowl to the IMF.

Well, some things have changed. And others MIGHT. Who knows?

The modern India is young. It has not seen the license raj, except in a film like Guru. For them, it is a piece of fiction. And they are the Jaago Re generation. They don’t take shit. They want things their way. So while the smaller problems they deal with themselves, and get change to happen, when it comes to larger issues like nationwide corruption, they did not know how to bring about change. But in an old man Hazare, they have found a connect. Which is where you see the mass following from the youth, from college students, even from school students. They want the country of their dreams, and this man offers them a hope to get there. And they are willing to follow (Few days back, a lady was sharing the story – someone asked her teenage daughter who her ‘ideal’ was, and instead of the likes of Dhoni or Aamir Khan or an Anand Mahindra, she chose her grandfather; the youth today respect a person, irrespective of age!).

4. Modern India THINKS: 

This is not to say that we did not have thinkers earlier. But in a less connected, less literate, far more rural India of yore, personalities were bigger. The aura of Mrs. G worked just because it was Mrs. G.

Today every Indian has an opinion of his own. Equipped with knowledge and enabled with technology, opinions are shared and can convert to mass thoughts. Personalities will be rejected if they are not convincing in their thoughts. The reputation of journalists is as good as the stand he / she takes, and how well it resonates with the people’s opinions. A Barkha Dutt was soundly rejected when she made her plea in the Radia tapes case. In spite of her reputation. Same goes with a Rajdeep or an Arnab or a Shobha De.

Which also means that there are hundreds of views on a movement of this nature. Whether the approach is right, whether he should blackmail the government, whether the new proposal of the Lokpal bill are adequate, whether there are better ways to making the impact, etc.

The fact is that the issue is not trivial. If you ask for solutions to get World Peace, you think it will be a one-liner that everyone agrees upon? The current problem is not much different in complexity. And which is why, there will be many opinions, on parts or all of the solutions proposed. Also whatever Anna Hazare and his team have proposed is not perfect nor is it a panacea.

So IN SPITE of these holes being found in the proposals, IN SPITE of people not agreeing on everything, the movement has taken shape and has gained momentum. Because he is at least DOING something. And the thinking modern India agrees that while it is not perfect, it is a move in the right direction. It will hopefully stop the southward movement of governing value system, and will give a hope for a bigger change to emerge in time to come. Also as they say in Indian mythology, the current government pot of sins has grossly overflown, and people DEMAND a stop to this.

That is the view of modern India, and which is why it has wholeheartedly supported the movement. In spite of a few differing points of view. Also of course, due to the fact that Anna’s team has been very conscious of getting it right. They have made sure that there is no connection to parties, the people in the forefront are pretty ‘clean’ and in spite of Manish Tewari’s histrionics, there is little to find obvious and apparent fault with. Unlike say, in case of the Baba Ramdev attempt.

We could be witnessing history in the making. The turnaround of the nation. With everything else going for it, as a country, we are also resisting the corruption bugbear! Wow.. I am so excited. If we win this, can ANYTHING stop us as a country, then??

What do you think? I, for one, am in support of Anna Hazare. Salute the man, salute the movement.


Anna Hazare on fast unto death

Baba Ramdev on fast unto death

Medha Patkar on fast unto death


Four cars with beacon lights on the top, and driven at high speeds, screeched to a noisy halt outside the Jain temple.

The peace and the quiet of the temple was broken. There was concern inside. So much noise and commotion had not been seen or felt here, for a long time.

The meditation and prayers of many devotees were broken, and their minds diverted to the gate. Some of the people rushed towards the gate to figure out what was going on. Finally, the main trustees of the temple walked ahead to enquire the details.

Just then, first a couple of security guards, and then some assistants, and finally the opposition MLA walked out of the car, and into the temple.

At the gate, the temple security stopped the gun wielding security guards from going inside. There were glances exchanged between the MLA’s security persons, the MLA’s PA and the MLA himself. And it was decided that the gun totting security men, could stay outside.

And the MLA and his PA proceeded inside. Meanwhile the trustees had come out, and started enquiring, “How can we help you? What is the matter?”

And the PA responded, “Yes indeed, we need your help. MLA-saab would like to discuss with you. Can we sit somewhere?”

And some chairs were laid out there. Sensing some seriousness, the trustees asked the public that had gathered around (the devotees at the temple) to go away. They went away a small distance, but still had their eyes and ears on this meeting and the discussion.

Finally, after the MLA, the PA and the trustees had sat down, the MLA spoke.

“Bhai-saab, the country needs your help at this time. You know how pathetic the conditions in our state and our country are, right? This is the time when all citizens have to do their bit, and this is the time, when you can do something for your state and the country.”

The peace loving Jain temple trustees were bewildered. What can we do for the country, they were wondering. And then one of them spoke, “Sir, you are right. There are many of our regular devotees who are quite well to do, and they can certainly give donations to your party. But we do not have any such process from the temple. These are all personal decisions which all devotees can take at an individual level. Our rules do not permit us to promote political donations via the temple.”

The MLA replied, “No, no. We are not talking of money. That of course, I have many Jain friends, who are contributing to our opposition party funds.” And glancing at the PA, he added, “they are also giving to ruling party funds – I am not sure who is getting more!”

The MLA continued “What we are looking for is something different, and which you have a lot to offer”.

Now the trustees were very curious, and asked “Sir, we don’t know what you are referring to?”

The MLA clarified, “You must have heard of Anna Hazare and his fast. How effective it was to get the government on its knees!”

The trustees nodded away.

MLA: “Well, indeed, the fasts unto death are the rage of the day. They are the master political moves, based on which a lot can be accomplished. Now Baba Ramdev and Medha Patkar are also going for the same.”

The trustees, still not clear about their role, continued to listen intently.

MLA-ji: “The situation has become very bad for us. As opposition party, we want to take credit of pulling down the government. But these Anna Hazares and Baba Ramdevs and Medha Patkars will walk away with all the credit. So we had a meeting of our party, and we came up with a brilliant idea. And which is what brings me here today.”

The trustee asked, “Ok, so what is the idea?”

MLA-saab: “Well, in our party, and even in our youth wing, we did not find too many people who could stay without food for more than 1-2 days. And then someone pointed out that, in your Jain community, you have many people who fast for many days together. So what we want is to recruit your fasting people, for our causes!”

Trustees in unison: “WHAT??”

MLA: “Please listen to me. The plan is full proof. See, you have at least 50-100 people who are fasting for long periods? We will make them our ‘fasting army’. We will use them one at a time, and pick up one cause of corruption, one scam at a time. We will put your person ahead, for the cause, and our team, will prepare all the banners, posters, and also bring the 100s of volunteers outside Mantralaya. We will arrange for air conditioned mandap outside the Mantralaya, and we can also arrange for newspapers, TV etc. whatever it is that your person requires. All he needs to do is to sit quietly, very peacefully, as the media comes and reports the goings on. All media interviews will be done by our people.”

Trustees are aghast at the idea. Then one of them asks, “But our people are NOT on fast unto death. They are fasting for few days only.”

MLA: “Don’t worry about that. We only write fast unto death. Death does not happen. The government has to give in before death happens. Our media pressure and public pressure will ensure that.”

The MLA is excited in his own plans. He continues, “In fact, our plan is so perfect. One cause after another, one of your persons after another, and we keep pegging away at the government. Lets look at an average of max 1 week for each cause. Then with 50 of your people, used 1 at a time, we are through for 50 weeks of andolan.”

Almost jumping out of his seat, he continues enthusiastically, “And if we have got them to bend down on 50 items in a year, can they ever return to power in the next elections?? No way! Government will be ours.. ha ha ha.. ”

The trustees are staring at him unbelievingly. They ask another crucial question, “What if on some occasions, the government does not bend down and the fast goes on for many days? What if it hurts our fasting person?”

The MLA is stumped by that question. He pauses. Does not have an answer to that. But being the astute politician, he recovers quickly, “Nahi, nahi. Aisa ho hi nahi sakta. Don’t worry. We are there for you. We will never allow that to happen. Not even one of your persons will have to die!”

And then in a whisper, he tells his PA, “But if one had to die, then the government will fall immediately, and we will be in power the next day.. ” and smiles wickedly..

And just so that they have the proposition well covered, the trustees ask this final question, “But why should we do this?”

And the MLA quickly responds, “Ah, now you  are talking. I knew you Gujaratis understand the language of negotiation. So I am going to make it very interesting for you. When we get into government, we will institute a Ministry for Minority Affairs at the Cabinet level, and your person can be a minister there. AND we will also have a special committee for Jain affairs, with a budget of Rs. 100 crores, and of course, you can have your people there.”

MLA: “So should I consider this a DONE DEAL??”