Importance of Anna Hazare

Mr. Anna Hazare has caught the imagination of the nation. For the first time India’s educated English speaking middle class, a little less than one third of the population has taken to the streets. No doubt the unprecedented coverage and exhortation by TV channels played a crucial role to spread the movement. While Mr. Rashid Alvi’s allegation of American inspiration or allegations by others of a foreign hand may be discounted, no doubt there are powerful interests encouraging the movement. Corporate honchos are uncharacteristically jumping on the bandwagon. Why, even Mr. SP Hinduja has made a stirring call against corruption through a newspaper article! Never mind how or why the nation has got galvanized in favour of Mr. Hazare. The bottom line is that Mr. Anna Hazare has become today the rallying cry for the people.

So where do we go from here? 

Mr. Hazare is not the solution to the problems besetting the people. He is the symbol of national discontent. Corruption is not the only cause of popular discontent. Police atrocities, total lack of governance, terrorism, inefficiency, subservient foreign policy and a host of other grievances do not arise from only corruption. Nor is the Lokpal Bill, conceived either by the government or by Team Hazare, likely to end corruption.
Nevertheless the present situation does offer a grand opportunity.

There is prospect of a genuine cultural revolution that can reform the political system. Even more so than the Jayaprakash Narain (JP) movement of 1977, there exists the potential for a paradigm change. I had some acquaintance with the origin and culmination of the JP endeavor. It ended in failure. If similar failure is to be avoided I offer a few suggestions to Mr. Hazare and his supporters. 

First of all there is need for a concrete, specific and concise agenda required to bring about political reform. JP’s movement had a simple catchword, “Total revolution”. Team Hazare has a simple catchword, “Jan Lokpal”. That is not enough for achieving a second Independence.

The Lokpal Bill need not be dumped but integrated with the proposed agenda because it is already too deeply embedded in the national consciousness. As pointed out earlier the proposed Lokpal can be confined to only political corruption, leaving the rest to the Central Vigilance Commission. Along with the CBI it can be made into a constitutional body accountable to the President. It can be clearly specified that the appointment and functioning of the Lokpal as well as the CBI and indeed all other constitutional bodies would be under the direct purview of the President without reference to the Cabinet. There is nothing in the Constitution that would counter this provision. The President as the only official having the widest singular electoral mandate is the appropriate functionary to act as the final arbiter. There would be other items in the proposed agenda for reform that would address all other major grievances.

The time to formulate a consensus agenda for reform is now. Otherwise Mr. Hazare and supporters could drift into chaos and confusion.

With the wide popular support already achieved by Team Hazare it is a given that with requisite skill a national party can be created on the basis of an agenda for reform. Without a political instrument to implement the agenda the movement’s claims ring hollow. The new party should be formed on the basis of democratic principles with new membership drawn from the supporters who have taken to the streets. If any existing political party wants to join the new party it should be welcomed on the condition that it fully accepts the new party’s agenda and dissolves its own identity before a full merger. Only then would the movement successfully challenge the prevailing political culture and system in order to introduce genuine radical change.

The final step naturally would be to contest the general election and unseat the riff raff that governs India today.

People may think it too early to consider a concrete agenda and a new party. People would be mistaken. The sooner the public is educated about the endgame less pitfalls would there be to achieve success. Perhaps Team Hazare has already factored all this in its calculations. If it hasn’t, it should. It requires a strong hand and a clear mind to hold the reins of a mass movement. 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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Views: 3374      Comments: 3

Comment I disagree to the idea of forming a new political party. We do not need to change the political system. We need to change the human approach from its grass root level. We give birth to a corrupt human being and then bring him up in the same enviornment. This process needs to be stopped at some level. A child, in Indian society, gradually learns how his father earns dishonestly and how that ill-gotten money attributes to levish living of the family. He also learns how his father disobeys the traffic signal on the road. The child gradually learns how his father enjoys immunity and law is deceived and ignored. In western conountries the child from the very beginning learns how his father obeys the law and pays respect to traffic signals. He also learns how the law acts if law is broken. Vice versa in India the child learns how his father uses his links to get rid of legal action if he happens to be caught. So this gradual learning makes the child grown up man. It is thus a teaching that he follows right from his early life. The habits develop and transform into reality. Neither Anna Hazare nor Indian politics can change this scenario in one day. The corrupt politicians and the system how to befool people for fetching more and more votes in India have corrupted the system. Muslims and Dalits are appeased at the cost of law and others convenience simply to earn their favour may be the congress or BJP. Mayawati has so deliberately diverted that big amount of public money for making her statues and the statues of other insignificant persons like Kanshi Ram. No body wants to earn the displeasure of Dalit communities by criticising her. The gates of public exchequer have thus been opened for such useless purposes. It is a political extravaganza. If India is to be brought on right track some other form of governance shall have to be thought of where one would not require vote. India is now at the verge of collapse of political system. Useless people go on blurting useless things and media takes advantage of it.

R.S Tomar
15-Oct-2011 03:59 AM

Comment I don't agree with the proposal of forming a political party.If that party comes to power,it will also become corrupt.BJP was considered to be party of principals but now if not more it is equally corrupt as Congress.As on today Anna has crores of followers.I suggest that he should administer an oath to all ,whether they are in Ramlila ground or any where else in India,that they will neither give nor take any bribe under any circumstances.
Further a large no. of lawyers,doctors and businessmen are claiming to support Anna in his fight against corruption.Are all these gentlemen paying their income tax honestly.Private practiceners particularly doctors and lawyers don't pay even 10% tax.Is it not corruption? If Anna can motivate people to follow above 2 proposals, at least 50% of the work of Lokpal will be done without involving him.
Thirdly we should not vote for a person against whom serious charges of corruption, murder,rape etc are pending.It should be made mendatory for the Election Commission to publish all such details against the contesting candidates in all news papers read in that area.

22-Aug-2011 05:00 AM

Comment i am not an expert in history, since i slept through most the classes. but as far as i know, nehru kept most power to himself since he had a vision for india and he didn't want anyone else to screw it up. same power at the hands of corrupt ppl like indira gandhi have spelled doom.

mr. hazare, with all his noble intentions is forgetting that if the civil society is replaced by corrupt members (which may eventually happen if jan lokpal bill is passed), the whole exercise may add burden to india's expenditure, without giving any result.

as you had mentioned in one of your articles, one way to reduce corruption and increase transparency is by making CBI, EC, Vigilance, Judiciary accountable to President and LET the President be elected by Indian junta, the way it is done in America. That way, the President will be more honest, since his/her reputation is down the line!

21-Aug-2011 03:39 AM

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