The Anna Hazare 'movement' and the other India
Team Anna may have the right to say or do as they like, but cannot project their ‘demands’ as that of the entire country, writes Niranjan J Tolia
Recent utterances by Team Anna members and Anna Hazare himself are neither befitting to any ‘civil’ society nor are they democratic. They have hurt the sentiments of most Indians who elected a certain government and its prime minister through a democratic process. By unsubstantiated accusations and abusing someone holding a high office, one may be able to make newspaper headlines or occupy some space in electronic media, particularly when one does so while raising an issue like corruption that concerns the people at large. But merely raising such issues does not give anyone the right to make irresponsible accusations and to undemocratically demand an inquiry and appointment of a Special Investigation Team to inquire against the prime minister on the charges ‘selectively’ picked up from ‘portions’ of a ‘leaked’ CAG report, which is admittedly not finalised, remains unpublished and is not even authenticated. And all this is being done, seemingly, with our sanction, by a disgruntled group supported by Opposition parties and the media, particularly a section of the electronic media whose conduct has become suspect of motives other than the stated ones.
During the late 1980s, we had a CAG named TN Chaturvedi when the Bofors issue was quite hot. At the fag end of his career, Chaturvedi made remarks of possible irregularities in a submarine deal and suspected a scam worth Rs 6 crore. He suggested an inquiry into the matter. Soon after his retirement, the BJP nominated him to the Rajya Sabha for two successive terms, followed by the Governorship of Karnataka. Incidentally, Chaturvedi was not a political heavyweight, nor did he make any significant contribution as an MP. It is relevant to mention that during all these 17 years of his public office after retiring as CAG, the charges suspected by him in his capacity of CAG on the submarine deal were not proved, despite six years of BJP and over three years’ of other non-Congress governments ruling at the Centre. It is high time to consider that the people occupying constitutional offices or the positions of Supreme Court judges should be barred from holding any office or even being considered for nomination to the Rajya Sabha or for being appointed as Governors after their retirement. This will bring about required objectivity in their functioning while in office.
I have a few questions for Anna Hazare.
Who has appointed Anna’s so-called ‘civil society’ to represent me? I’m as much affected and concerned about corruption as any other fellow Indian; but we all are concerned about corruption per se and not only about the ‘selective’ corruption being raised in our name by these self-styled representatives who, without any basis, claim to represent the people of India.
Who has authorised them to abuse the prime minister in our names? I completely disassociate myself and so do millions of other like-minded Indians who do not agree with this bunch of self-styled representatives. As citizens of India, they have their right to say or do whatever they like, but for God’s sake, not in my name and not without my consent.
Team Anna and Baba Ramdev talk of many irrelevant issues riding on the initial support they received from the people in the name of their fight against corruption. True, the Lokpal Bill has been pending before Parliament for more than 40 years and it needs to be passed; but Anna wants Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed without a change of even a punctuation mark.
One of the things they are talking about is the “right to recall” elected representatives. I already enjoy this right. At least once in five years, I can recall the elected representative who does not perform, by a democratic process of election. I’m now looking for a “right to recall” these self-styled representatives. Would Team Anna and Baba Ramdev tell me where to get this right?
Appropriating the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi has become fashionable in public life. Except wearing the Gandhi topi, Anna is nowhere near Gandhiji’s ideology. The dabbawallas of Mumbai, who also wear the Gandhi topi, may be more Gandhian than Anna. At least, they are real ‘karma yogis’ as against the autocratic Anna whose ideological bankruptcy is well known to those who hail from his village. Non-violence is the natural manifestation of acceptance of pluralism. Once you have accepted and respected the possible existence of a viewpoint other than that of your own, you cannot be violent. The exhibition of complete intolerance and arrogance on the part of the members of Team Anna (that is fast disintegrating) has to result in violence only. Non-violence is not a virtue that can be practised in isolation, it is the spontaneous conduct of someone who has understood pluralism and made it a part of his/her life itself.
When Tamas and Rajas overtake the Satt, one ceases to be a Yogi and also forfeits the right to call oneself a Yogi; Baba Ramdev is a glaring example of this.
Tolia is a political thinker and activist