I’m quite contented with the news that Anna and Team have ended their fast today. Really, I think fast shouldn’t be a measure adopted in what seems like a long fight that will easily consume some years before yielding any results. This time it was Arwind Kejriwal’s health that was worrisome as he is a diabetic. A diabetic person is supposed to have small meals something like every 2 hours to keep their sugar level normal. From my experience of recent visits to dietician, I have learned that even non-diabetic people should not have gap of more than 2-3 hours between meals to speed up metabolism. And when someone like Renuka Chaudhary on her party’s behalf tells that she doesn’t care a hoot for the fast, we should take her seriously(this time) and do anything in life, anything but suicidal. That is what I think…
Very unlike to the characteristics of UPA that we complain doesn’t learn from its past experiences; they did learn some lessons from last movement of Anna and took utmost care of not repeating them. First, they did not try to manhandle the movement this time, a blunder of last time. Second, its leaders especially like Digvijay Singh weren’t talking much. When people like Digvijay Singhji open their mouth to explain party’s stand, they provoke people to get up from their couch before TV screens and join the movement. Third, Congress avoided to participate in debate shows, trying best to undermine the situation and look other way. It is not new for them to ignore agitations; if they are happening in remote villages, our government is last to know about it. But this silence was a conscious one. And lastly, in times where controlling media must be a difficult thing, they quite competently managed it. I believe Kejriwal’s allegations that some of media was not reporting fair.
Not all criticisms are government controlled. I have categorized critics into 3 parts. One group of critic consists of quite genuine people, either they have suggestions for the team or different path to work on but a path they have. Second group is of highly cynical minds, they let you know all their doubts, all those things going wrong with the movement according to them and they are so dark that the latest update on 2012 doomsday can be the only positive thing to look forward to. This second group talks a lot on common people’s hard life but in reality you can be sure they don’t live it. Their points are thoughtful in everyway but they don’t seem to sense our desperation. The third set of critic is the paid one. And I recognize them when they start with a year old accusations of RSS ties and how Anna’s organization was once charged with corruption. I just read that one yesterday. That too from a journalist who had earlier impressed me with articles on Maharashtrian politics especially the inside stories that we common people will never know or are not supposed to know. She wrote that people outside Maharashtra didn’t know what Anna Hazare is all about and Maharashtrains think him as tin-pot dictator of his village. This was a very tricky tone of writing, I thought. Trying to influence views of people outside Maharashtra by playing with their ignorance and making them believe it as an established general perception of insiders. What I remember about this point that last year, a congress minister had to put his foot in his mouth for same allegation and if Congress could make anything out of that corruption charge they would be on cloud nine, last year Anna’s movement had created havoc in their life. She continued that RSS had pulled the crowd for Anna last year and this year the empty grounds were result of RSS-Anna differences. All I know is RSS hasn’t managed to pull so much crowd for themselves!
This time it was Anna’s team that was making mistakes. They became little uneasy without enough coverage and worried that the lack of people and media pressure will turn them into a failure. Which was true but the expectation was still wrong. In desperation Kiran Bedi appealed to renowned names to join the movement which was basic gone wrong as the whole idea is common men and women to come forward and participate in the political process. But really, expectations are inseparable part of human nature; only trees on this planet are things that can sway expectation free. Team Anna is learning from their mistakes too and importantly they are quick to admit it.
What I miss in the Gandhian style movement is an appeal to people to start living what they are expecting from politicians. Like Gandhiji asked people to boycott foreign goods? This will give an edge and a spirit to the movement. For ex.
-An appeal to people to pay their taxes honestly even if they think the taxes are misused.
-To pay fines and penalties for breaking rules (to follow them in first place) and not escape by paying bribes.
-Cease from paying bribes to get things done conveniently.
-Cease from being provoked and act mindlessly on caste and religious issues.
And to behave like an ideal citizen who can expect and deserve an ideal government. This will also help in their political endeavor now that they are planning to take the plunge. When people consciously will work for corruption free India they will have less patience for a corrupt leader. Also finding honest leader from honest public won’t be a humongous task. I wish them success, believing it as my journey of success too.