Saturday, August 27, 2011

India needs Anna. ALIVE!

This appeared in the Adian Age \ Deccan Chronicle today.... aagey ,aagey dekho, hota hai kya...
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Anna, Aap Jiyo Hazaron Saal…

At the time of writing ( 11th day of the Famous Fast), Anna is still alive. That statement sounds crass…. crude… shocking. It is meant to. I think we have all lost the plot. And in the cacophony of all the noises and voices, we have conveniently overlooked the one person who is at the centre of it all – Anna Hazare. He has been reduced to a side show, a mascot, as his over zealous keepers continue to exploit his frail persona and use Anna as a bargaining chip. Anna’s health is now the nation’s obsession…. its chief concern. His physical health has become the barometre of the nation’s emotional health. If anything happens to Anna… and let me put it bluntly… if Anna dies, it will lead to consequences that may be far more terrible than rejecting the Jan Lokpal Bill. But, of course, in polite societies, we don’t talk about the death of someone who is very much alive.As of now, the stand-off is on.There’s no resolution in sight. But heaven help us, if the situation suddenly deteriorates and his health fails.Hey Bhagwan! Till then we shall have to put up with a parade of assorted personalities holding forth on tv channels. Bristling belligerence getting the better of some. While other light weights opt for catchy hyperbole.An over- enthusiastic ad man described the Ramlila gathering as a Kumbh Mela! Carried away by his own imagery, he went on to declare the crowds could be still bigger than the pilgrims who gather for the Holy Dip during the Kumbh. His wild exaggerations were understandable – we have reduced the entire protest to a pathetic game of numbers (“Mine are bigger than yours…”). Awestruck tv anchors urge their camera crew to sweep cameras over the surging crowds and then rhapsodise over the spectacle. A few hand picked commentators (“especially flown in”) hold forth from the Ramlila Maidan and assure viewers they have never witnessed anything like this – the scale, the fervour, and of course, the numbers! It’s always about the numbers. An irate housewife from Noida rants about rising prices and how she has to pay bribes to get a gas connection. The anchor turns to the camera with a triumphant look and thunders, “The entire nation stands solidly behind this lady… this is India’s Second Freedom Struggle.” And then it’s back to this season’s biggest reality show… poor Rakhi Sawant will need to do something more than flash her eyes and cleavage if she wants those trp’s. While Salman Khan must be scratching his head to come up with a clever gimmick to promote ‘Bodyguard’. As of now, there is just one bona fide Superstar in India, and that’s Anna Hazare.
But what of the screechy, shrill supporters who chant ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ on cue the minute cameras cut to close–ups? Emotions are running dangerously high. When that happens…. anything can happen. It’s like a flash flood or a bush fire. Or open heart surgery. Timing is everything. As of now, the protests have been admirably non-violent. Those who have taken to the streets have done so only because they fervently (perhaps, naively) believe it is a do-or-die moment – if they let this opportunity go, another one may be a long time coming . There is hope in their hearts that the protest ( more against the scourge of corruption than a thumbs up for the Jan Lokpal Bill), will lead to seminal change. Will it? So far, the country has been governed by a succession of elected representatives ( irony!) who have ruled like history’s worst despots – no questions asked! What we are witnessing across India is a display of collective wrath. The sort of suppressed, accumulated rage that has finally found an outlet. For that alone one must thank Anna. If Anna’s patience has worn thin , it’s in perfect sync with the sentiments of the people. Perhaps for the first time in 64 years, the aam aadmi believes the time has come to aggressively challenge those who have trampled on and abused their trust for six decades. The ordinary citizen is experiencing a heady feeling of instant empowerment after years of being resigned to accepting powerlessness as their collective ‘fate’. Armed with this new weapon, trusting citizens continue swarming to different venues across India demanding to be heard. This has been the single biggest achievement of Anna Hazare. No wonder Manmohan Singh was gracious enough to honour and salute Anna during his uncharacteristically emotional address in Parliament. What we are witnessing is living, throbbing Democracy in motion… it is an image that will endure long after the impasse ends, and everybody goes home to carry on with his or her life…. the significant difference being, from this moment on, it will be a transformed life , an aware life, an entitled life. And most crucially, a life that comes with a built in assurance that in a democracy, every voice counts, even the one that disagrees with you.
For all this to happen, India needs Anna. Alive. The countdown has begun.

36 comments:

chandanSnegi said...

Ms De, I have been very closely following your views on this entire issue. In fact following lot of other elite thinkers too. I write as common man and believe you might find it worth a look....
http://chandansnegi.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-so-much-crowd-in-ramlila-maidan.html

V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
V said...

Yes! India needs Anna. Alive! That is what his supporters are feeling! He must end his fast now.. May God bless him a long life!! Politicians and their supporters do not care about common man and his problems or Anna rather their fear is.. What if something happened to Anna!!

khemant said...

The last but one para is height of optmism. Frenzy is always non fertile

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चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

I read this in DC. Hopefully, he withdraws his hunger strike today and starts his anger strike till he strikes the deal with Parliament... the so-called Supreme body of India that is Bharat

RAJ47 said...

The uncouth and shameless Mayawati says, "let Anna fight 2014 elections, bring his own government and then do whatever he wants". Very clearly meaning, we are in government now and will do whatever we want.
I heard Hegde on TV saying, "[t]hey want him to die, then let them say so".
What a sad and shameful state of affairs!

Appu said...

Anna, please form a political party and yes, please please take care of health. I pray the fast to end soon.
Bharat Mata ki Jai

Radhika Gupta said...

Long live ANNA...

Ambika said...

I see some sense in Bal Thackeray's statement. He got it bang right when he said that Team Anna (Bedi and Kejriwal) should also sit on fast.
Anna is being made a scape-goat by his supporters.
How can one be so stubborn and obdurate? They have to meet mid-way...and the Govt is meeting mid-way...alright. I mean, you just can't stir up trouble.
The cause is getting lost in all this while some ppl bask in their 15 minutes of television fame. Bullshit!

Pooja Rathore said...

Anna is our leader( genuine and smart) for our fight against corruption.i just heard that Anna will break the fast iam very happy to know that ,health is all.
good post ,very well written wise,practical yet showing you truly care for the cause and also the Man our dear Anna.

Andy Sharma said...

Ms De,
Do you hear "WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA...finally got our kings and queens to agree (including you too!) Please do not challenge the people of India by sipping wine in a five star hotel using iPad!

Priya said...

Ppl who r saying that the entire Anna team shoul fast, do they have any idea what it takes to organise a movement of this magnitude, a lot was reqd to be done apart from 'fasting'. Common man now understands WORDS wont help,so he stood up to ACT.
Its a CALL for all citizens to step forward for the CHANGE they want, not merely critisize.

kakaka said...

off course Bal Tahckerey will say that. He must be sh*(()&^ng in his pants that some other MAHARASHTRIAN is way more popular than he could ever be.
Constantly questioning everyone's intentions, Bal thackerey and the family has swindled a lot.
Mayawati should watch it, she might just get what she has wished for, ANNA is India's national leader, whether you like it or not. It is nor Rahul or anyone else. If this man decided to contest for elections, from any state including Maharashtra, he will win. Period.

p.s:Interesting to see you make this u-turn Shobha, dont underestimate this man's potential. He must have had immense grit and determination to fast for so long....inspite of the dilly dallying by both parties.

goodluck said...

Read carefully. Shobhaa has not done any U turn. She has exposed the hypocrisy surrounding Anna that made him a pawn.
Many Anna supporters wanted him to die so that they can bring down the government and have mid term elections.
Congress and UPA feared that eventuality and gave in. Better to look magnanimous than face mid term elections at this point.
BJP, RSS tried its best to fish in troubled waters and ended up with no mid term elections immediately. All their support has gone in vain while the UPA shrewdly accepted everything just like them.
And anna's obstinacy was also noticed by many.
The ultimate victory goes to the UPA and Dr.Manmohansingh.
Haarkar bhi jeetnewalonko kehate hai Baazigar.

goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashwini said...

M'am, I do hope something positive comes out of the fasting! The difference I feel the media abroad generally supports their government, be it 9/11, and all the Wars they start, and they can be critical too. When has our media done that? Hard decisions of the govt are never promoted, like they do in the west, if India ever starts a war our own media will pan it!
Away from the topic- M'am for you previous post-SPARROW- its a great website and their work is amazing- but not all of us can contribute financially. Maybe they can have a blog of some kind where like minded women can talk on social issues, there are lots of women on the net. Just my suggestion.

Desi Babu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desi Babu said...

Dear Mrs. De,

Glad to see you say something positive about the Anna movement.

During my travels recently, I gained a lot of wisdom talking to taxi drivers. I think you might like a summary of all the wisdom I gained in the backdrop of the Anna movement, on my post:

Wisdom behind the wheel

Cheers!

goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goodluck said...

http://exitopinionpollsindia.blogspot.com/2011/08/anna-ends-farce-deconstructing-victory.html

Arjun said...

Well, something of this kind was coming. When we say electronic media is doing this 24x7 new tamasha, the media is quick to retort by saying that they are only performing the task of bringing the truth out to the people, as they happen to be the fourth pillar of democracy. Pillar or no pillar, it'll take a few years for people in India to realize the overbearing intrusion of the media in the name of democracy and freedom of speech, not just for consumers of news, but also the subject of their coverage.
Its all happened in the west in decades bygone, and people there have gotten over it, knowing when to switch from reality shows on an entertainment channel to reality shows on a news channel.
In India, for innocent customers, its only the beginning of the reality show joyride on news channels.
We'll have several news reporters and investigative journalists emerging as heroes more so in our country that loves hero worship.
There will be people and groups who will start recognizing and try to seize the initiative by accruing the benefits of generating and creating false or genuine perceptions using the live media platform to its advantage. The media in its approach will try its best to portray itself neutral, while cleverly leaning on one side in order to garner support for their coverage.
Who benefits, what are the consequences, and eventual outcome will all depend on how things play out in each instance.
In the current Anna episode, Anna's fast and anti-corruption movement in the heart of the capital city were the simple messages to pull crowds. The crowds in such mobilization are never expected to understand the complexities, but the devil interestingly lies in the details.
Do not be surprised to see more of the electronic media associating themselves in reality show-like situations to influence and aid masses in forming perceptions.
Print media, which has been witnessing a slow death, will be quick at picking the cue from electronic media on most occasions, and thus not too many differing views will be out there for people to consume, just like in the Anna episode where differing views simply drowned under the scathing effect of one-sided popular views.

goodluck said...

That is what Anil Dharker and some others like him pointed out. Whoever did not support is called a congie stoogie including the great Sonia hater Tavleen singh.
Arundhati Roy and Agnivesh have become untouchable traitors by media trials. The media which falls over Arundhati, did not feature her at all in this debate.
Even Cnn Ibn started printing more anna sided articles because that is where their trps come from.
There are doubts whether Anna fasted in the true sense as government doctors were not allowed. Only fawning doctors like Trehan are giving statements.

Now these people are so accustomed to TV and all sorts of exposure that they will do anything to get back on the stage to upstage everyone. Anna is not that simplistic as he is made out to be.

One good thing has come about this movement. When marathi people were seen as becoming more and more anti Indian, Anna has made pan India to dance to his tunes and brought back atleast some marathis on the national platform. For this alone, I applaud him. He brought back India as a nation.

goodluck said...

This 24 hour media has become a big joke. the frontrunner is Timesnow, hindi channels,followed faithfully by NDTV and CNN IBN.

There was one curious thing. Nothing sensational was allowed to happen during Anna's fast.

This raises the questions. Who are actually behind mumbai bombings? Who murdered Hemant Karkare? Is Kasab smokescreen to protect someone else? Is that why he is not hanged yet?

Divya Virmani said...

Finally...Mrs De, you understood what the people of India want. And you had to kneel down. You should learn one thing, Anna didn't personally asked you to support him; you started talking for him after realizing and learning some simple facts about the mango people.
I'm so glad that Anna will continue to make sure that Jan Lokpal will get approved by Standing Committee as well. He and his team is extremely smart. Hats off!

Just FYI: came across a picture on Facebook of Arvind K and Prashant B, sleeping on the road... These are true Indians wanting the betterment of our society and country. Unlike the politicians currently holding high post and spending the country's khazana on their sultry nights in Mauritius and Switzerland!
http://divyavirmani.blogspot.com/

Divya Virmani said...

Oops... I meant Arvind K and Manish S

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0... said...

He is the only hope in India who has the courage to stand against people who won't even hesitate to sell the motherland at cost of innocent lives....He has to live healthy since any health hazard would be hazardous for some corrupt people's future...

0... said...

He is the only hope in India who has the courage to stand against people who won't even hesitate to sell the motherland at cost of innocent lives....He has to live healthy since any health hazard would be hazardous for some corrupt people's future...

Jain said...

I agree the only good thing about this whole movement is that people got a chance to come on the streets and dance and party and socialize. 80-90% had no idea what is the occasion. They all thought someone called Anna will end the problems of this nation. No one knows what "historic" decision happened that the fast was called off. Some people are just sad that the party is over. Others say Anna is a hero because he fasted for 11 days.
We should have more such street parties but hopefully we will mature enough as a nation to actually call them street parties and socializing opportunities (which are actually very healthy and good things for a society).
There are thousands who got so carried away with the partying atmosphere who will shout at the top of their voices and swear by anything and call you all kinds of names if you oppose their opinions; thinking in their mind that Anna is the only honest person in this country and JanLokpal bill is going to solve all problems of this nation.
I want all such people to just answer one question not for anyone else but for themselves, whether they have read the bill they had been shouting for in totality. Whether they understand the pros, cons, far reaching repurcussions of each and every word and clause of the bill. If the answer is not an emphatic yes then they are just fooling themselves and the entire nation by saying that this is a historic movement etc...
Whatever ppl have heard about the bill is what they have been told by the marketing team of Anna.
If nothing else it is a big lesson for Marketing gurus for the best marketing formula in India. There should be a chapter added in marketing books in indian business schools about Anna brand marketing.

I am very happy about the fact that the whole thing came to an end without any senseless laws being implemented and framed on the streets by a partying crowd.
The sad part is though that a few young folks who could have had a bright future and could have actually done something constructive for the country lost their lives in the process. One young man self immolated himself. One young lady shot dead, and probably others who didn't even get any attention from the trp hungry media. But yes good thing is that the cause for all this hysteria the 74 year old Anna is still alive and kicking, thanks to the five star treatment he is getting by the high profile Dr Trehan and his hospitals. Not to mention the publicity that the hospital and the Dr are enjoying via the marketing guru Anna..

Sunil Gandhi said...

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