By T S Sudhir
“Alagiri is part of EGoM on corruption. This is a good move. Always useful to have an expert on the panel.”
I began my morning reading this sarcastic tweet by Chennaikaran that in a nutshell conveyed the mood of the average Indian. Social media has given an outlet to express the disgust about India becoming a nation that has got used to corruption in its veins, as commonplace as motorists jumping the red light and bribing policeman on duty to escape prosecution or a fine, or the builder asking for 40% of the payment in black.
Is Anna Hazare then the new JP? For the generation born post 1975, Jayaprakash Narayan led a movement against the Indira Gandhi regime in the early 70s, that culminated in the senior Mrs G imposing the Emergency.
And Anna Hazare is himself a war veteran, who draws inspiration from Swami Vivekananda. He is now using the most potent weapon shown by Mahatma Gandhi, a fast-unto-death, to put pressure on the government to clean up the system.
Some third-rate politicians have murmured how the system is being blackmailed by a fast-unto-death. Perhaps if Gandhiji were to today use that same weapon, these netas would call him a blackmailer too. Some Congressman has called Anna Hazare a RSS agent as well. By extension, all those at Jantar Mantar and elsewhere in the country are RSS agents too.
We all agree we want a vibrant parliamentary democracy and not be ruled by some despot a la Libya or Egypt. But if it is going to translate into some 500-odd MPs and thousands of legislators around the country scratching each other’s back to benefit themselves at the cost of the exchequer and then using that money to buy votes, it is time to blackmail.
And why not? We are tired of hearing about how clean a PM we have. If his definition of cleanliness is to keep himself clean while not cleaning up his environment, I think we have a problem. We do not want to be told India is shining when we know exactly how unscrupulous leaders benefit by getting themselves alloted petrol bunks and educational institutions. We have had enough of big ticket corporates bribing and manipulating the system to set up industries that rape the ecology and environment. We have had enough of family members of politicians in power, using the access to the breakfast table and the bedroom to strike corrupt deals.
Anna Hazare’s fast is a clarion call for Indians to say `Enough is enough’. We won’t bribe to get our work done. Corruption and convenience cannot be synonyms. This may not solve all our problems. But it is a beginning in that direction.
It is important that this crusade does not fail. Because if it does, it will only make the ruling class confident that it can get away with anything. And everything.