The Anna Hazare Phenomenon

When Anna Hazare started his second indefinite fast on August 16, 2011, I went to support him at Ramlila Maidan. One of my friends confronted me, “Even you keep an illegal laptop in the hostel when it is not allowed. If we ourselves our corrupt, we have no right to preach it to others.” It forced me to introspect.

I think it depends on how you perceive the movement. True we all indulge in petty corruption in our daily lives sometimes by choice and mostly by compulsion. But the idea is that we would rather live in a corruption free world where everything is transparent than bribing people into getting things done.

Though I do not believe emphatically in the efficacy of the Jan Lokpal Bill in rooting out corruption, the movement definitely helped in bringing the issue to the forefront and in the conscious mind of every Indian. It made the whole political class shake their complacency and realise that in a democracy, the true power lies in the hands of the people, which in no way ends after elections. And that even they are capable of actively participating in policy making if the Government fails to deliver.

The anger of people against the Government made it a mass movement. The common people in India were fed up with the unrelenting price rise. Even when the ministers were involved in scams the Government cut down subsidies for the people citing burden on the ex chequer as the reason. The people (especially the middle class) have had enough of everything and they came out in huge numbers to support Anna in his struggle. The movement chanelised the anger of the people in the right direction. (Had it not been for the protests, Sharad Pawar would have received many more slaps. He should thank Anna for it.)

Ramlila Maidan reverberated with the shouts of, “Anna tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai”.

For one thing, the protests at Ramlila Maidan should be commended (even by those who are are anti-Anna) is that the huge crowd was managed so well. Also the infamous ‘Delhi males’ were in their best behavior. The volunteers of the “protests against corruption” deserve huge credit for this.

After the success of Ramlila Maidan, Team Anna should not adopt a dictatorial stance.  As the winter session of parliament comes to an end, there is no use of an inefficient Lokpal bill passed in hurry. All the provisions of the bill should be properly debated before  it becomes a law.

Mridusmita choudhury