The Importance of Being Anna

Oh! What a tangled web we weave!

Anna Hazare, after today, can never underestimate his own importance to India. A repeat of the 1990 Mandal Commission days greeted Delhi today and promises not to die a silent death. The government, not unlike the British colonial government of the past India, is being felicitated with wild cries of a Second Struggle for Freedom. Gone is dialogue and meaningful governance in the face of, what is arguably, a shining example of the “satyagraha”, long practiced by the man credited to be one of the greatest leaders of the same political party that governs the nation today. Indeed, it is that same political entity that seems to be caught into a tangled web – damned if they do and damned if they do not.

But today is not 1930, when Gandhi had to travel 300 kilometres, visit 40 towns and villages across 25 days, for the famed Dandi March. The government is not colonial, but democratic. Anna Hazare is no Gandhi – there is no parallel.  And today is not 1990, when Mandal was demonized. Today, we face a greater challenge – a weak government and an idolized impostor.

I watched on as a group of young boys drove a fast car, frenzied, singing Vande Mataram. Busloads of young pople and old, being taken to a temporary detention area. The man himself, Anna, proclaiming a second freedom struggle before he was summarily arrested. And now, his release and repeated intention to proceed with his satyagraha, the reason for his arrest in the first place.

Sure. Corruption is wrong. The government is wrong as well for obstructing a movement. The media is wrong for its instantaneous but selectively well crafted coverage. And wrong, is Anna too for being so important. We shall just have to watch as people suffer these wrongs in the next few days.

Which is why Anna Hazare needs to know his own importance to India. He and his supporters have brought an issue to the forefront effectively in a democracy most known for its apathy – of, by and for the people. But he has the support of mindless, super-excited mobs, who like in the Mandal days, knew just one thing – that they were right. He needs to educate them, make them realize that they are every bit responsible for corruption or breaking the laws as the other side is. And with this sobering thought, help transform their behaviour and thought.

Anna Hazare needs to know his own importance to India.

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