Why Anna Hazare did you sell out?

Posted on April 9, 2011

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The cynic shall speak now.

I wouldn’t lie, I was a bit scared to open my cynical mouth earlier. Didn’t want to be the spoil sport amidst this “me too can do Egypt” euphoria over the last 4 days, just in case, I mean just in case something good came out of it. But now that the farce is out in the open, now that my very soul is disturbed with images of aspiring political candidates Baba Ramdev and Swami Agnivesh in saffron sitting with Anna Hazaare I am mad as hell.

“Fast unto death” so to speak! This was all such a gimmick. Really, nothing, absolutely nothing substantial has come out of the last 4 days of drama. It was more like a filler from the World Cup to the IPL. And public memory is so short that they’ll smoothly move on to something else, IPL for now. Presently, junta have been given to believe that a lot has been achieved. Reports of celebrations and rejoicing are coming from Jantar Mantar and Hazaare’s village even as I write this. What exactly are we celebrating here?

All that we have got here is a mere promise of a promise. Mere high hopes. Something we have been living upon for more than the last 60 years.There WILL be a bill, corrupt WILL be punished.” You know what,  there is nothing more sexy than the future that we will never get to see. And we suck up every time.

What has really happened here is that one Anna Hazaare made tall claims and then sold himself out to trivial achievements, attained God hood and blind followers.

Friend on Facebook argued with me in favour of Hazaare, he said,

“Anna could not possible be on a hunger strike until the bill is passed – that is not rational. Nobody can do that and it’s not fair on our part to expect him to do that. IAC (India Against Corruption) had to keep their demands simple so that the govt could agree to them quickly (within a matter of days). Hunger strike is not a joke – it cannot continue for months. It is up to all of us to follow this bill until it becomes an Act. If the GoI drags its heels in tabling this bill in LS, the agitiation must begin again. If LS does not pass it, the agitation must start again. I’m sure IAC will take the lead, but when they restart the agitation they will need our support.”

I replied,

A lot of what you are saying here is high hopes and I don’t blame you for being optimist, just as you cannot blame me for being pessimist. Time will tell how much of this will actually be done. How much responsibility will be shouldered by Anna Hazaare. Public memory is too short so no body here will follow up. Cynics would not be convinced unless we are proven wrong. All we can do is wait and see where does Anna Hazaare go from here and may be by the end of the monsoon session of Parliament I will tell you, “I told you so” or vice versa.

Why Mr. Hazaare did you make such a unrealistic, tall claim of “fast unto death?” Exactly what were you thinking? You knew you didn’t mean it, right. You know that you were just lying to give some kind of shock, to create drama, to grab sudden attention.

But junta were stupid. They were in the state of “we too can do Egypt” and joined the euphoria, because well, it was just that, an euphoria. You don’t think through much during these times. You don’t take a moment to think about the process that is required for a bill to become a law in the country. The several steps, months, years, debates, discussions, drafts that goes into it. Did people really think Hazaare was going to be on fast till all this was over? Till the issue came to its logical end? Did anybody wonder who are the people behind this campaign, where is the money coming from, what could possibly be the hidden agendas? Actually people weren’t thinking. People brainwashed with too much goodness stop thinking. Its like having blind faith in a religion. You stop questioning.

You dear Junta are too naive if you thought this massive media attention was possible overnight without funds and support from well organized groups:

  • On 3rd April early morning, millions of pamphlets were distributed all over the city of Delhi, and am guessing all over India. At 11 am I was driving back from Saket to Dwarka and I saw fliers in front of every door step, on the street, on the parks, scattered all over. Who do you think paid for this?
  • On day 1 itself the topics #lokpal #annahazaare #jantarmantar were trending on Twitter, you think that is possible without a well thought of communication strategy? Who ensured this?
  • They had set up the system of ‘Missed Call for live Updates‘ who paid for this technology?
  • There were sponsored pages on FB for the cause. Who sponsored these pages?

Why Mr. Hazaare are you sold out?

Am not saying you should have necessarily died fasting. But I can’t help remembering the film, ‘Guide’ here. When people put faith in you, when they think your fasting is going to achieve something great you just don’t give it up because you feel hungry. You don’t say ‘fast unto death’ and then give up on day 4 for trivial success. Did you think you have won the battle against corruption? 4 days of fast at Jantar Mantar, candle light vigil at India Gate, all are such usual drill, all so predictable, so short lived, so futile. 4 days of euphoria with no outcome.

So my question to you Mr. Hazaare is, instead of unrealistic claim of fast unto death could you have not said something more realistic like a “sit in dharna” till the bill actually becomes law. That was more feasible. But harder to achieve. Imagine, months of sitting at Jantar Mantar in this approaching heat, who am I kidding?

Let me introduce you Mr. Hazaare to a certain Irom Sharmila from the state of Manipur, which by the way is an Indian state:

She has been on fast for 10 years now. You must be thinking how is that biologically possible. Well this is what happens. She goes on a fast, cops arrest her on attempted suicide charges and start to force feed her through nose. They release her on recovery and she goes back to fasting. They arrest her back. Repeat this for 10 years. Sharmila doesn’t have a Face Book page. There was and never will be an euphoria around her, because she didn’t suddenly out of the blue started mass publicity for herself, no mass distribution of fliers no massive funds. We came to know about her by word of mouth after she had already been on to her mission for years. And now 10 years have passed.

You Mr. Hazaare gave 4 days. It was all very strategically planned wasn’t it? You knew you’d sell out soon they will give you a trivial promise, like a toy to a cry baby.

Meanwhile you dear junta who are so up in arm against corruption, how corruption free you yourself are?

I can bet my life that not a single person who spoke against corruption in the last 4 days are free from corruption themselves. Each one of them wouldn’t hesitate before pushing that 100 in a cops hand when caught jumping the signal, not a single parent would get their children admitted to schools of their choice without paying a bribe. You all will continue to get that ration card made or that gas connection done through corrupt means. In this city 99% of the drivers have got their driving licenses using corrupt means. Not a single person would think twice before submitting a fake rent receipt and medical bills while filing their tax returns.

You know dear friends, its not just a telecom scam that is called ‘corruption’. We all are corrupt to our very core and no law will ever be able to address our own style of corruption. Let me give you the bad news. We DO NOT need the lokpal bill to banish corruption from our lives, for that we need inner strength and the will to fight and not take the easy way out by paying a bribe. Do you have that?

And one final question to the mainstream media and some more eminent writers – Why are you so late in coming up with these criticism? Were you also afraid to open your cynical mouth, like me?

Kaafila

Indian Express

Blogger, Jiten Gajaria

Before I end this rant, here is a golden quote by GB Stern:

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.

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Posted in: Debates, Law, politics