When Anna Hazare
stood up against official corruption, I was there, along with
other Indians, including Muslims, supporting him and his cause.
Sadly, like many
other mass movements, we soon started to have a spectacle in which
all kinds of fascists and shady characters had encircled Anna.
Today, many of
us are forced to reconsider our position of backing Anna Hazare’s
campaign. We do respect him and the enduring work he has done in
Ralegan Siddhi as well as scores of villages around it.
We still stand by Anna’s complaint that there is too much of
corruption in our public life and it must be done away with.
However, the fact remains that Anna Hazare is being a little too
It is quite obvious now that opportunistic elements are trying to
come riding to power on an Anna wave like they did on the
Jaiprakash Narain bandwagon in 1977. This sabotage of democracy
and the replacement of the state by the mob cannot be allowed.
We have to remember that hundreds of millions of Indians gave a
mandate to the UPA, not Anna Hazare and his team, to run the
country. Thus, it is the authority of the Union government and the
responsibility of Parliament to make law, not Anna Hazare’s.
To be fair to
the government, it has been constantly interacting with Anna Hazare and his associates. In fact, the government has been so
considerate that it accommodated 36 out of their proposed 40
points in the Lokpal Bill. That, possibly, is as far as any
government can go without abdicating the authority that the people
and the Constitution have conferred on it.
As the dangerous elements lurking in the shadows behind Anna
Hazare and the circle of his friends try to inflame the masses
with time-tested propaganda tactics (they have already released
audio-cassettes of Anna Hazare), the rest of us have to think
whether it is nationwide unrest and possible violence on our
streets that we really want.
Let us keep it in mind that this is what the evil men lurking in
the shadows want. They want violence and anarchy. They cannot wait
till the general elections when they can get elected in sufficient
numbers (if they really enjoy the support of the people) and amend
Some of these
people are inspired by the Arab Spring, which is quite
inappropriate for the Indian Monsoon. To begin with, Manmohan
Singh has not been ruling for four decades like the tyrants of
Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. We have a system of peaceful transfer of
power based on elections every five years. There is very little in
common between India and the Arab Spring countries. Hence, the
analogy is not correct.
It is precisely for the reason that India is a
democracy, demagoguery and rabble-rousing is absolutely uncalled
for here. Our advice to Anna and Co: please wait for the elections
and come to Parliament in large numbers to have your way. Till
then, please have patience.
The writer is
president of New Delhi based NGO Institute of Objective Studies