Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Opinion

"I‘d rather not be Anna”. This was the caption of the article in The Hindu, published this week. It was Arundathi Roy the bewitching activist in her usual incensed self. For me, an admirer of Ms Roy both for her pretty looks and most of all the utter education she has on topics that she dwells upon, the passion that she articulates and exercises in her words and into issues that she hauls herself into, the candid, unafraid analysis and statements on matters that impact our everyday life and existence, issues that touches her heart.

But is it that a discerning and persistent fan following and appreciation has got into her? The article spots that state, I’m afraid. She seems to want to arrogate and have for her exclusive domain anything that has to do with society, the country and the world at large? She seems to be in the state of mind that if a cause, a fight does not include the cause of the tribal, the injustices in Kashmir, the Narmada basin oustees, then the cause is trivia?. And she seems to have picked up the paranoia of smelling rat in every corner, a nefarious intent behind any movement other than the ones she may be involved in.?

She has trivialised a movement spearheaded by Anna Hazare and supported wholesale by the citizenry. A movement that is not mere elite jamboree. It has been reported that many middle class employed among the gentry had abstained from work without pay for a day to be at the venue where the septuagenarian was lying fasting.

She smells designs of big business and big money behind the Anna crusade. She lambasts Anna and the activists for not taking up the fact that the government is fighting its own people in the central Indian heartland. She ridicules the media for eulogising Anna’s campaign and fast and being silent about the fast “Irom Sharmila” has been on now for ten years in Manipur protesting against the draconian Armed Personnel Act by which the Security forces  can kill anyone under mere suspicion..

She alleges that the oligarchy that we have now ,run by the government will be accompanied by another oligarchy of the civil society should the Lokpal Bill as demanded by the civil society come into force.
A cause is a cause. While Ms Roy has been focussed on the injustices meted out to the poorest of the poor- the Adivasis, the dispossessed and hapless of the Narmada basin, the Singur or by the POSCO from the Villages in Orissa for instance,or  the brazen hegemony of the imperialism of the US. Well truly impassioned she is in matters such as these.

By the very same token, one can also ask her why not corruption has taken its due place in her scheme of things. To ridicule the Anna movement is naiveté.

There is nothing unconstitutional in society demanding their rights be safe guarded, rights as enshrined in the constitution. Whatever one may disparage about Jawaharlal Nehru’s economic policies the beacon that glowed  in that man was his acceptance and humility towards dissent. He was unlike his daughter or like the cronies in the present government run by a geriatric senile Sardar.

Since  the allegations of corruption began to surface in India in the late 1960s and to this day, can we count even on our fingers the number of cases that have seen conviction ?While during the Nehru era even he was not spared by Feroz Gandhi his vigilante son in law. And Mr Nehru did not order his incarceration.
Whether the second freedom struggle as the Anna Hazare campaign is termed will reach a positive culmination is a moot question. Which even an ardent optimist will not answer! But the cause is worth pursuing in its present intensity. Because the government has in its means, the press, the turncoats and the array of political parties and big business who all are in cahoots and will want to see that the civil campaign whimper out.

So entrenched is sleaze, corruption and crime in the Indian democracy, that we are not represented in the law making bodies, be it the parliament or the State Assemblies. They are stuffed with criminals, murderers and looters. Funded by mafia of industrialists, political families and dynasties. Constitution is usurped. When such is the situation extreme steps like Anna Hazare’s which may border coercion, civil disobedience etc will have to be called for. Because all constitutional provisions are being sabotaged by the government so that it can with its battery of criminal lawyers and infamous legal minds in P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal. Veerapa Moily , Manish Tewari etc  scuttle any unionism and suggestions by the society.

Anna Hazare’s achievement is in evoking a country wide response against government abetted  loot and corruption, like Gandhi’s bringing together a subcontinent of diverse culture and opinions  under one cause “Freedom from Colonialism”.

If Gandhi’s Dandi march against the unjust Tax laws of the British was unconstitutional and unlawful , by the very same yard stick the Anna Hazzare campaign  against the official silence and abetment of corruption and loot of India is anti India too.

The Adivasis in Jharkhand and other Mao infested territories in Central India may not be paying bakshish to the beat cop but they have to pay the Maoist.  I guess Ms Roy will know that.


Insignia said...

Very interesting Anil.

Thanks for writing about this. I read Roy's article as well. Though I would not agree with her cribbing about the issues she mentioned; there were few truth as well.

Media for eg. Indian media goes gung-ho about everything and anything. For them; its not the cause or the reason but TRPs. Dont you think so? Well; each of us have a selfish motive; you may ask whats wrong if the media takes advantage of the situation as long as it helps spearhead the movement.

The media has always distorted facts. Its a responsible body. Can you stand Ms. Barkha Dutt talking about goodness of Anna Hazare movement after what all she allegedly got into?

Next, how much would a governing body control corruption? The change is WE isnt it? Yes, this is the starting point and tables could be turned. But if we dont change; nothing else will change.

Does it make a difference if you go participate in the dharna when you just bribed a policeman?

Well, I sincerely hope this works towards a positive change

Mélange said...

Ha,why I could guess while reading Arundhati's response that you may come up on this ?

Anil,Even though I continue to be the admirer of her poetic language,I had serious disagreements with her even when she wrote that 'special feature' for Guardian.It is ridiculously pity to watch these strong opined,legible souls finally approaching the path of 'ism'ists.They won't find anything better with any other 'isms'..

I think the reason behind her stand can be the lack of so called 'public support',media support for the proletarian revolution she is into.However,there are few points even in her state of 'confusion'.

At least one has to have a broad view to accept the fact that we need Arundhatis ,Bedis and Hazarres to fight the causes as the country is going through multifaceted issues at a time.You can't insist that the people can only respond if they somehow acquired the right to respond through daily participation in these naxal,Nba movement and all.Shame !

NRIGirl said...

Educational read for folks like me who doesn't follow nor understand the politics... Thank you!

Makk said...

I like this article.

Balachandran V said...

While appreciating and being carried away to some extent by the inherent goodness in Anna Hazare's movement, I cannot but help, like A Roy, to smell something rotten in everything Indian. I was disappointed to note A Roy's dissent on this issue, but I am amused at the nascent Indian indignation against corruption. I'd be far too naive to believe that the majority of our countrymen are incorruptible. If it were so, the present state of corruption would not have been so rampant and widespread. It is just not in the Indian culture not to be corrupt.

One can always hope that Team Anna would bring about changes. If at least the corruption in higher circles is contained, the positive effect might percolate down.

Meanwhile one should listen carefully to people like Arundhati Roy because it is better to retain a little pinch of salt. This is India, you know, the country who kills Gandhiji everyday.

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,Melange,NRIGirl,Makk, Balan

B, now I presume that you feel ok that Anna Hazare was touched here in the Blog.

B, s views on the Indian media is correct. Media persons like Barkha Dutt are epitome of what ails the society.

As for Ms Roy's comment which Melange mentioned that she read in the Guardian , I do not know which she refers to. Is it the one on Kashmir? If so I can only agree more with Ms Roy.

As I said I'm no optimist about India and us . The movement is indeed a watershed. And if something better evolves out of it well good for the country. But since it is each one of us , who are corrupt in mind and deed that makes the country we cannot also bemoan that we are not represented in the legislatures and law making bodies. We already have our accomplices, clones in there every where. When such is the situation what can Anna Hazare do?

I was also quite disappointed by Ms Roys diatribe against the movement of Anna.I do not think that the civil societies actions are to be rebuked or trivialised . After all there are people like Ms Kiran Bedi , another rare breed in the mould of Ms Roy who are in the movement.
The motives cannot be ulterior, though there are vultures in the sidelines waiting to usurp and corrupt the movement.

Mélange said...

Anil,I was mentioning about the special series she done for Guardian with the hed "Gandhi,but with guns" (came in 5 parts).A piece of literature for sure,on Maoists.

Anil,a piece of literature may not necessarily be the one with 100 % reality or impartiality to me.I completely agree with Balachandran there that we need always a pinch of salt aka a different view always,yet can't agree with them always.

I certainly have my own doubts watching and heeding over Ms.Roy how she is progressing like.I feel with the passage of time,she is being somewhat partial to her views developing to kind of intolerance.

During Ms.Roy's contro on Kashmir,I happen to read an interview of Mary Roy.She was stating how fearless Arundhati quoting the telephone conversation between them,in which Ms.Roy reportedly commented to the anxiety of her mother "Just don't worry about me.They won't touch me.If they ever do that,Kashmir can be burnt"
Btw,is it fearless ?

As ecclesiastes puts it ,Knowing is pain,burden sometimes.

Daniel said...

You opinion is very interesting. But I somehow feel the demand of Jan Lokpal bill is way too much.. And the media hype is also very high that a common man supporting Anna does not know what he's supporting and what Anna's demands are.. Movie stars joining the campaign also attracts more crowd but most of them do now know much about the demands of Anna.. People just know it's about anti-corruption:) In my opinion, creating another powerful body to fight against corruption is good but what if that body also becomes corrupt. Who will control this body. Anna Hazare also demands that Lokpal should have police powers as well as the ability to register FIRs; this is very risky.. Corruption is inevitable when a body or institution becomes powerful and then a common man will have two corrupt bodies to handle -- lokpal and government :)

adithyasaravana said...

I agree to your views anil, I think would come back again to read again and comment in detail..

anilkurup said...

@ Melange,

I was reading the five part series of the article Ms Roy wrote for the Guardian on her journey to India's most brutalised areas of Chattisgarh . In official parlance Maoist infested tribal areas!

Balachandran's comment,"with a pinch of salt". I'm certain is not what he meant on Ms Roy's writings on Kashmir, Narmada or the Moist insurgency.
To trivialise and throw aspersions on the facts reeled out in her article is I'm afraid because one has not known more about the facts and is content to be comfortable with the news fabricated and planted by the government , be it Maoism or Kashmir.We all are prone to be cozily cocooned in our dens and may wake up only when the fire has reached inside( call it) our lair..

But what I still cannot understand is Ms Roy's unwillingness to endorse this agitation against for freedom from corruption though she endorses a strong Lokpal.

anilkurup said...

@ Daniel,

Thank you for the visit and the comments.
Yes some demands of the civil society is far reaching and impractical.
That does not negate the intention that is laudable and the movement a dire necessity.
The governments intransigence is conspiratorial. And the political parties none of them would want a strong bill. So if the civil society succumbs the government and the opposition combine will pass through an eunuch of a Lokpal that will service their needs and perpetuate status quo.

As for having to pay two bribes in future when a Lokpal is administered , it then tells on our culture that we are all corrupt deep within and corruption is in our red cells in lieu of hemoglobin.

Danny do visit often.

anilkurup said...

@ Aditya Saravanan,

Thank you and come back to read again and discuss.

adithyasaravana said...

Anna Hazare or not, it is the mindset of Indians which needs a change.
/That does not negate the intention that is laudable and the movement a dire necessity./
we take for granted, that it is never possible to root out corruption, that has become a rot of our society..but then ,if we just accept things forever, the problem is going to become more bigger and rampant.
I still wonder how many of Indians who support Anna Hazare would try to change their mindset.
But the movement at least tries to question our integrity, to question ourselves when we support such cause as to what moral responsibilities should we shoulder to make the system better.
otherwise we think , all politicians are corrupt, and just because we have no opportunity to sit in the chair, can criticize about their unlawful ways of public money laundering.
I don't want to sound cynical, but if this spirit doesn't die.. maybe we can hope for a better future.
that should be the intention too..
Ms Roy has her own reservations and opinions, but this is an opportunity to stand for an ideal..
let us standup for few things atleast
otherwise, we tend to accept ourselves as limp spineless creatures..

anilkurup said...

@ aditya Saravanan,

I agree with you in full.