The inevitable has happened. Anna Hazare has finally given up. The fast is going to end today. Yet the question remains whether the movement has succeeded or failed?
Anna Hazare’s movement has remained non-violent all through but he is no Mahatma. One can say that during this movement the Gandhian methods of protest also got tested for their effectiveness.Of late, people of several countries launched non-violent demonstrations against their respective governments but ultimately all of them turned violent. On the contrary not even a drop of blood was shed during the year-long movement against corruption in India, thanks to Anna Hazare. He is not new to these forms of protest. For several years he successfully led crusades against Corrupt people in Maharashtra but we have to admit that getting success at state level does not necessarily guarantee success at the national level. It seems his plunge into national scene was not properly planned.
Gandhi ji had some advantages over Anna. He was highly educated, that too in law, and had inherited non-violence from a three thousand year old society influenced by the teachings of thinkers like Buddha and Mahavira. Though he consulted his companions while formulating plans and strategies yet he believed in himself and on his own chalked out a road map for achieving independence for the country without succumbing to any pressures from outside so much so he had to pay the price for his commitment to secularism. He was known for his skills to awaken and mobilise the poor, uneducated and god-fearing people of India. For doing so he did not rely on a few people around him but created a network throughout India with reliable and faithful leaders in each state.
I am convinced India against Corruption movement started by Anna believes in Gandhian non-violence but that is not the end of it. Gandhi ji always believed that Satyagraha was a method adopted by him to purify himself and not to coerce the opponent to a desired action. He believed in the goodness of human nature and always thought that by subjecting ourselves to the torture of British a day will come when they will realise futility of their actions and adopt our way of life. But then he was appealing to the conscience of well-educated British rulers who had practised democratic way of life for several centuries. Our rulers in India have scant respect for non-violent ways of protest and have believed in the saying ‘Might is right’ ever since independence. Whichever States were able to get some benefits from the Central Government was only through prolonged violence and bloodshed so much so in several cases the men who wielded the gun or professed its use were absorbed into the society by making them as the rulers of those states and other inducements.
Anna Hazare, firstly, did not adopt proper use of Satyagraha and Fasting all through the movement, and secondly, failed to create a state level leadership in each state who could educate the masses about the aims of the movement. He relied on a few people and even lost support of some at one or the other point of time weakening the movement further. Appearance of some religious leaders on the stage gave the feeling that the movement was sponsored or backed by a particular section of the society and therefore remaining sections of the society abstained. Initially the movement registered a great success but Anna was tricked into inaction by the government who wanted to buy time. Assurances were given to him by the Members of Parliament through a resolution. Nevertheless it is unimaginable that the very Members of Parliament would pass such a bill as aims to curtail their powers, curb their privileges, and make them subservient to another non-elected body. Anna and his team abused these elected representatives day in and day out. I do not know whether Gandhiji or his team ever used invectives and slanderous language against the British rulers. Verbal violence is as much condemnable as physical violence. Then the team comes out with a long list of corrupt parliamentarians who they want to be investigated and prosecuted. Pray tell me how does Anna and his team expect the same people to pass a bill against corruption who fear that such a bill will spell doom for them. Worse still, on seeing the response of the crowd last year, Anna felt so elated that he made known all the agenda that was in his mind or that the IAC team had chalked out for the movement. The charter seemed to be a long drawn affair and looked like driving the country towards anarchy. Wish we had a ruler who would tell Anna to run the country with all that he had in mind and see the consequences in the same way as the great philosopher, Plato, was told. Prudence demanded that let the first mile be conquered first.
Anna’s team also lacks skills of negotiation. After all both the parties on the two sides of the table have to save their faces and face public afterwards. Had they walked a mile and asked the other party to walk two miles, things would have been better. They should not have insisted upon everything that their charter of demands contained. In passing the Lokpal bill it was clear that all parties with exception of no one were against it and wanted it to be toned down. It would have been prudent to accept whatever least one could and get the bill passed. What would stop Anna Hazare to walk another mile thereafter especially after having convinced the people that he had been able to get so many things done. But that was not to be and the result was imminent. There were no crowds in Mumbai and later in Delhi too. People talked of IAC but nobody was ready to leave the comfort of his house or office to take part. And that too what a time had been chosen for the fast- July, when the temperatures hover round 40 C or even more.This year the rains were also not to be seen.
Anna may have taken comfort from the fact that a few candidates of Congress were defeated in elections due to his campaigning against them but then who were elected in those constituencies? Can Anna name any one of them who he thinks is absolutely honest? Has he not seen the recent results of Uttar Pradesh where both the major contesting parties have been alleged to be knee deep in corruption and the record of the party returned to power is the worst out of the two.
So in right earnestness I request Anna to give up the idea of floating a political party or backing candidates for he may have to face ignominy at the end of it. I can assure him that he would not find a single candidate in the whole country who is honest and those few who may be honest would not contest elections.