Three Cheers for Anna Hazare!! This is the slogan that would find favour among a large number of Indians today that participated in the novel public movement against corruption that the 74 year young guy from Maharashtra led. The movement for a strong Anti-Corruption Body (LOK PAL) found an immediate connect with citizens at large and they came forward in forcing the Parliament of India to pass a resolution that accepted the major demands of Mr Anna Hazare.
"Unconstitutional and undemocratic", "Dangerous", "exercise of power without responsibility" etc is how the critics defined the movement in which people on the street motivated by a man on hunger strike forced the parliament to speak in favour of a strong legislation to deal with rampant corruption in India. The logic in their criticism was rooted in the worship of the parliament as the supreme decision making body that reflects the will of the people. After all, a democracy ensures that Parliament does the job that the people of this country want.
A leader of Mr Rahul Gandhi's standing (heir to the Nehru legacy) declared on the floor of the Parliament that such movements set a dangerous trend since these mob methods and frenzy could be employed for less noble causes that may in fact attack the building blocks of this nation such as its plural character. Seems Mr Gandhi had spent too much time in writing a speech woven with good English but couldn't find time to reflect upon what he said.It is naive to believe that any movement that has a nefarious motive such as to attack the plurality of India would have such a widespread support amongst the people of this country. Does he think that think that people of India would support a leader who calls for hunger strikes to promote such causes? I have no doubt that people of this country are secular and wont support a sectarian cause that is against the spirit of Indian-ness.
Also, lets be clear about one aspect. The parliament and the Government did not defer to the will of the thousands and lakhs who came on the streets, it showed deference instead to almost the entire citizenry of this country who kept watching and debating the issue of corruption in their drawing rooms, offices and in the bazaars. It was this silent majority, which wasn't on the streets, which could throw out our all MPs, MLAs and Governments in the forthcoming elections that caused over Parliamentarians and the Government to listen and take notice. Any number of mobs on the street shouting for a not-so-noble cause and no support from silent majority, would ever earn the respect of a lawfully elected democratic government and parliamentarians.
Thus, let us accept that Mr Anna Hazare's movement galvanized the nation. It is not new for the Government to have been forced to take some corrective measures. The judiciary, of late, has been actively forcing the government to take action and legislating through its judgments. One could argue that the means employed by Mr Anna Hazare amounted to holding the gun on a legally elected Government but the argument loses steam because the people that elected the very government want change that he advocated.
Simply, the people of this country are fed up with the daily corruption they witness, face and deal with and they want some credible action. It seems regular elections after every 5 years haven't got them a deserved respite from omnipresent corruption. When water is already at a temperature of 98 degree centigrade it just needs a bit more fire for it to boil. Mr Anna Hazare provided the spark that finally led to the outpouring of this water on to the streets. To his credit, he led a movement that was dignified with its non-violent methods, which ensured that an average timid middle class indian too joined the movement and gave an expression to his anger and frustration.
Whats the future? Hopefully, the parliamentarians and more importantly the political parties would take note of the rising frustrations among the masses with a system that is dysfunctional for the common people. Hopefully they would dare to bring about strong laws and policies, select honest candidates for elections, change electoral practices and give our democracy a new flavour- one that is palatable to the poorest of poor and the weakest of the weak. Hopefully- the 74 year old Anna Hazares' of India wont have go without food for days together..JAI HIND.