“A democracy cannot be arm-twisted by a mobocracy” Well said Manish Tiwari!This is what must have been drilled into all those people, right from the beginning, who thought that anyone with a handful of followers and a sensation hungry media could make a monkey out of the elected body consisting of people who have years of experience of running the country through its various ups and downs in history.
Who is Anna Hazare? Who is Baba Ramdev? Or those people who claim to be with them like the Bhushans? Pappu Yadav is also a supporter of their mission who went on a fast in jail to display his relation with their ideals and objectives. Humbug! They are all overnight crusaders against the problem that has existed in our society for years more than many of their age.
The supporters of this so called ‘civil society representatives’ are of two kinds. One who are genuinely impacted by the social malady raised by them, and two the younger generation who have had ‘no first hand encounter’ with the corruption they are protesting against but are fairly excited at being a part of the Indian equivalent of the Middle East uprising.
The former category of supporters are assets, in the sense that they can give accounts of real life corruption incidents that can flag off the investigations against corrupt officials and organisations. The latter are a bunch of disoriented gullible victims of the new media craze who aspire to turn heroes like Wael Ghonim in Egypt, hence and otherwise a liability in the long term.Besides what can they contribute positively to the protest when their awareness of corruption is limited to the traffic policemen at the junction and to what is shown in Bollywood movies!
Anna Hazare does not have many true followers, and he is no 21st century Mahatma. One of Anna Hazare’s biggest achievements in reviving his village Ralegan Siddhi (the feat that made him popular first) is to ‘forcefully’ abandon alcohol and tobacco. How many among the Anna loyalists can claim to be totally alcohol and tobacco free? Also, Anna is no Gandhian style activist as there have been accounts of violence under his aegis in Ralegan Siddhi to ‘discipline’ the grown up people of the village and forcing them to live a life that he preached.
He is said to have justified his action of beating up alcoholics in the village thus. “Doesn’t a mother administer bitter medicines to a sick child when she knows that the medicine can cure her child? The child may not like the medicine, but the mother does it only because she cares for the child. The alcoholics were punished so that their families would not be destroyed.”How ridiculous and anti-democratic is this?
Anna’s social activism through the age old Gandhian tactic of ‘fasting unto death’ in front of a large crowd of sympathisers and thus tying the hands of the administration goes back to 2003. He used the same weapon against in 2006 for the RTI bill and once again in 2011 for the Jan Lokpal bill.
Such estranged and self-distancing attitude against the elected government in a democracy is highly unbecoming of a responsible citizen, and compelling the government to dance to one’s tunes by holding it up against an emotionally agitated mob is by far completely inappropriate way to deal with things- in particular a policy or bill which is supposed to go through a constitutional process before implementation.
The subcontinent countries have a highly inflammable socio-economic scenario that in addition to the ever growing population can be a highly potential and lethal political weapon if capitalised smartly. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have to be political puppets, for otherwise they could end up becoming causative agents of a cataclysmic uprising that might see no real outcome but an end to our stable democracy and a nation-wide political riot!
Capital punishment for corruption is both impractical and absurd, and as dangerous as the blessing given to Bhasmasur (in Hindu mythology). At one end, it could work out to be the most successful effort to reduce the country’s population as innumerable number of people would go to the gallows orphaning their families behind and at the other end of it, the punishment could become the most successful method used to settle political scores with unrelenting officials at various levels by hooking them to a corruption case! (something akin to how narcotics helps the police today). Both of these outcomes are not intended, but inevitable in case the law comes into force.
The gap between such idealistic propositions and the political reality in our country stems from the inexperience among the persons involved from facing the ground reality. Performing social work or teaching yoga is nowhere close to running a country. In both the cases, you cater to a suffering mass that craves for your help to come out of its pains and despairs. On the other hand while running a country and especially a democratic pseudo-continent like India, the greater challenge lies not in doing the right thing but in avoiding the wrong thing that could instantly charge up the crouching tigers like fellow politicians waiting for an opportunity to pounce on you. Idealism and Utopia are words that were never a part of the political dictionary in a hard core democracy like ours.
It is never about keeping everyone happy, it is about keeping the most of them as much happy and satisfied as they can be kept! It is not about making everyone stand in a queue, it is about making ‘everyone’ believe they are the first in the queue! That is how a democratic setup functions, and corruption (in a small but wide scale) is very much one of the key lubricants that ensure the smooth running of such a setup, and hence cannot be completely eradicated overnight in isolation, by a mob of agitated and spirited people taking on the elected government and its seasoned politicians.