Democracy vs. Democracy is a rare event. In the heat of the moment, it could be said that “it happens only in India!”
Corruption, in this country, is so understandable that it does not need a definition. But what it so publicly seems to need is an autonomous body punishing it.
From the storm of 2G scams and Commonwealth Games mischief and numerous uncountable cases of corruption highlighted by the media, there emerged a little old man called Anna Hazare. He came and he conquered; swept the nation off its feet like prince charming on a white horse from a far away, fairyland.
The question is: who is that princess he swept off the feet while riding on his high horse?
It turns out that the princess is a sixty-four-year-old, independent girl named India.
Team Anna and the numerous “patriotic” Indians supporting him might just create some history, or perhaps, a twist in the tale. And any Indian not backing Team Anna is silently and loudly termed a traitor.
I came across one of those forwarded emails where they try to explain why Anna is right and what he and his team is fighting for. I would love to meet the people behind those forwarded messages and emails, which enthusiastically flash every other day in my inbox to remind me that Team Anna is going through the whole struggle to amend a law in India. The Lokpal law. That’s right. Not a bill, but a law.
Perhaps, I didn’t need this example to affirm that the fans of Anna were low on the Lokpal IQ. Matter of fact, I didn’t need any example. It was just so plain obvious. People are fired up with nothing but “patriotism” and “dumbness.” And that is a dangerous combination.
Watching die-hard fans multiply over time, there emerged another star looking for the spotlight. One of the god-men in the country. A certain Baba Ramdev. I wonder if people really watch news channels anymore or else they would have known how babas can miraculously become two-faced. A man who called homosexuality a disease and publicly expressed his wrath for LGBT, didn’t seem to have any issues when it came to cross-dressing on national television.
What truly must break India’s heart is to watch people march down its streets, crushing the Indian Constitution — the icon of the largest democracy in the world. It’s democracy versus the people now. The talk of the town is that people are demanding their interests on the streets. But laws are not made on the streets in a civilized society. Only if “civil society” knew that.
A threat to fast indefinitely is not a revolution. It’s emotional blackmail.
It’s perhaps the exact way the country got divided on linguistic basis. Something even the educated Indians of today still amuse themselves with by making fun of each other’s accents and dialects.
Had Team Anna approached the MPs in the parliament and found a partner in them, and led to the formation of a good law in the country, it could still have been a fairytale story.
What exactly are fairytales made of? Are they made of marches on the streets or goodness of the soul?
What is corruption, after all? And what does it take to end it?
Surely, we can’t nip it in the bud now. Now, it’s become like the great Indian Fig tree; its roots so deep inside the souls of Indians. Can a Lokpal detach an Indian soul from that root of corruption? You bet, it can’t. Not even the civil society version of the bill.
Voicing your thoughts in the making of a law is not a crime. But let your voice echo inside the walls of a sacred institution and not fade out in the amnesia of the wind.
Reach your representatives. Let your representatives know what you want. How about shifting the wave of letters addressed to Anna Hazare at Ramlila Maidan to the MPs in the parliament? Get in touch with the people you have elected. How hard could that be if it’s a cakewalk to dial up some big name in town when you’re caught by the traffic police?
And lastly, I wonder what Kiran Bedi had in mind when she said, “Anna is India and India is Anna.” The last thing I’ll fall for is personification of this great country. Anna doesn’t and cannot define India. If anything that comes close in defining this sixty-one-year-old republic, it’s perhaps its constitution. It’s a shame people fail to appreciate one of the greatest books ever written.
There will be a bill passed and there will be a law out soon. How much time and effort people would invest to get a follow-up on it, is all together a different question? But corruption can’t be ceased by a Lokpal or by civil society or by Anna Hazare. Not even by the original Mahatama and his original satyagraha. It takes character to do that. It takes courage to face and fight the demon in the mirror. When you’ve got values to protect and principles to guard, even fighting alone can be a revolution in itself.
Why follow a leader? Why become a fan when you can be the superstar of your own life?
[Nithya is a contributing writer, and a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: [email protected]
Views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Jamia Journal’s editorial policy]