Those who compare Anna to Gandhi do not realize the injustice they are doing Anna. Anna is a man of his village. He is the hero of his surroundings. A seventh class pass army driver rose above his self-encased life and decided to transform his village into an ideal village. He succeeded. Enthused, he carried his experiments further and yielded some results at the province level as well. At seventy-four, this is Anna first stint at national level. He has succeeded in kindling the conscience of many Indians.
The above stated success, by no means invites comparison with the Mahatma. Gandhi was highly educated. He knew three languages. He was his own man. No one could plan, package, and manage his movements. He was the brain, the body, the soul behind all his stirs. He never fasted against any authority to get a favorable decision. He fasted, as an instinct, for communal harmony. Against the mighty British, he used civil disobedience. He was brutally beaten many times but he never retaliated. He worked in a TV-less, internet-less and cell phone-less era. He never resided either for medication or otherwise in ultra posh locations like the Medanta, Medicity, Gurgaon. Whenever he entered a place, he rushed to the then called untouchables’ colony, washed the place, and lived there. All important people, wanting to meet the Mahatma went to that street which otherwise they would never have gone. He was surrounded by really tall personalities like Sardar Patel, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Kriplani, Rajendra Prasad and others. Each one of them had his own standing and commitment. Gandhi wrote vociferously. His language is lucid. Gandhian literature is a bulky lot, which has attracted innumerable scholars all over the world. Gandhi married, had children; his wife was a driving force behind him.
I cannot do justice to Gandhi’s brilliance by using words. This is no attempt at dwarfing Anna. But can’t we respect Anna for what he is rather than for what he is not? Gandhi was original; Anna at best tries to copy some traits of Gandhi. Any effort at copying Gandhi by anyone is commendable. We don’t want to belittle anyone. But we are being severely unjust to our contemporary by forcing Gandhi’s mantle which is by far, too big, and too weighty.
It’s simply incorrect to compare the two. Anna is not Gandhi. Anna is Anna and he should be respected for what he is.