( Manu Joseph beat me to it…but indomitable spirit that I am, here’s my take…)
Anna Hazare. Old man. Trying to bring down the whole system in a revolution. Following another old man from history, who tried to bring down the British. The fact that he succeeded or not is still debatable. We have been taught from childhood about this other old man, and made to believe that he almost like a Superman was the reason we are free today, and I can write this blog, without any censorship. I don’t believe it though…the Brits had two World wars, and their economy couldn’t afford to keep such a large piece of land as a colony. Plus there were the sacrifices of thousands of other “revolutionaries” from different ideologies, and class, with a thousand different way to struggle. Anyways, thats a different issue.
While going to Mumbai Cricket Association to collect my press pass for the DLF Indian Premier Cricket League, I was thinking. Is this the revolution we were all told? I was not being able to think much, as the loudspeakers of my taxi was blaring “Allah bachaye meri jaan, ke Razia gundo mein phas gayi…”. Nor did my Taxi driver cared much about any revolution, as I could fathom, he jumped the signal twice, and would have perhaps paid 200 rupees to any traffic constable had he been caught. Thats probably his way to fight the corruption.
So what then? Clearly the “movement” if I can dare to call this, is unorganised, and is for all practical purposes slowly creeping to be a hopeless cause. Anna Hazare, with all goodness in his heart don’t have the courage, or the leadership quaility needed to head this mass, which now, among others include the Gujjars, and the Jats. The Gujjars, who constantly demand quotas, which is according to me the worst form of corruption, and the Jats…well…who follow Khaps and honour killings. Enough said.
I seriously doubt this might spiral into mass rage and destruction if not controlled now…but then time will speak.
My maid, or my landlady is not blissfully aware of any such movement. They are too busy with the rising prices in the local market. This is a movement now of primarily the unruly class, and a few romanticised South Delhi elites, with a few “jholawalas” among them, desperate to give this a class character. The media, and the news hungry population is desperate to have an “Egypt moment”…of something which is a change from the regular news of scams. Of something which is symbolically still pure. It titillates the ephemeral fantasy and aspiration of Indian urban populace, for some world changing thrills.
And for all practical purposes, it will be a huge boom time for cardboard, placard, candle, and paper companies.
Mumbai, as I see is busy with IPL. The only “fast” on their mind is the fast locals they have to catch everyday for their daily grind.
As of me, I neither endorse, nor condemn. Being a journalist, (and a philosopher, as I consider meself to be…) I only report. The third group of people in this World, whose job is to observe from a distance.
But I do have questions. Should we tomorrow refuse to pay the traffic cop, if our car gets caught for signal jumping? I guess no. Cause if we do refuse, we will have our license confiscated, which will lead to a dreaded typical lengthy Indian law court process. Would we refuse bribes, or give donations for colleges? No.
Then lets not be hypocritical and naive. This is not going to be a revolution. One single Lokpal, which is basically an Indianised version of Ombudsman practiced in Denmark, would not change any bloody thing. Rather, it will be another man, possibly a retired judge, as corrupt as any of his brethren or as of any other institution head, like media, politician, or bureaucrats. Just one more pocket to fill up. One needs to change oneself, before one goes on to change the nation. Revolution is not a child’s play.
But thats not all. Any war against a system, if not guided with able hand, and determination, and exceptional leadership, will lead to chaos, disintegration, and ultimately to anarchy. With time Anna won’t lead the movement, the movement will lead him. And history knows, even Gandhi couldn’t stop the massacre of Chauri Chaura.
Thats the scariest part.