Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Country for Anna-men

Just yesterday I happened to come across this ridiculous piece of news – “ArvindKejriwal asking voters in Hissar to vote against Congress”. Over the past few months, this whole Anna Hazare circus has begun to take newer and newer dimensions. To be honest, before April, ’10, I had no idea who Anna Hazare was. Even PrashantBhushan and ArvindKejriwal were names that would just strike as something in my mind, not recalling anything definitive. Today though, suddenly they are celebrities. More people are Anna Hazare ‘fans’ than Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan, put together, ever had. It did make up for good entertainment for a week or so – the great Anna circus. Someone gets arrested, then they are left, but they don’t want to come out of jail, then suddenly the whole capital crowding in front of the country’s premier jail (including my dad, some of his colleagues, some of my teachers, and who else not.) It was my staple source of entertainment during dinner – following the anna circus on Times Now.

Things have died down a bit. Another 6 months and Anna will be history (just like the earlier media-made circuses like CWG, 2G, Aadarsh, Aarushi murder…. The list goes on). The funniest and most queer thing about this whole drama is that all of them are invariably inconclusive. As far as I remember “no one killed Aarushi” (ha haha… I guess by next year we’ll have a film of that name too), or if you so please, let us assume her Dad killed her, but it doesn’t make any difference anyways. Neither do I remember anyone finally getting nailed for Aadarsh. The case of 2G and CWG is a little more curious. Kalmadi and co, along with Raja and co are in Tihar, but from what I last heard, they have air-conditioned cells, TV sets… omg… even I don’t have such luxuries 24x7 man!!!! (btw I just remembered, Kasab gets even more luxurious arrangements… oh god… where is the country heading to?? Well whatever…)

These political games are fun to watch nonetheless. They have pre-written scripts – which I , you, the media, and any tom dick or harry knows – and yet the media goes about ‘speculating’ on what might be the government’s and opposition’s “next step”. Come on man… it’s all written in the script… what’s to speculate about?? But still, to be honest I just looooove it all. ArnabGoswami just ‘rocks’ on the newshour, asking the same, supposedly ‘uncomfortable’, questions to a variety of people who answer them with gleeful ease, though trying to act as if they are being asked the most objectionable questions ever asked on earth.

What is was talking about anyways was about that old man… what was his name… oh ya right Anna Hazare. (actually it is KisanBaburaoHazare – bet you didn’t know that, right?) Now after that 15 day long fast (15 was it? Or was it 10? I’m forgetting), what did he get, and more importantly what did the country get? (We did waste a lot of our time though, and there was wastage of many other things too) The Lokpal or the Jokepal or whatever you call it… I really don’t know what it will do any good. RTI never did any good. Consumer courts never did any good. Heck the whole judicial system never did any good. And if someone is cynical enough, one can say the whole bloody independence on 15 Aug 1947 never did any good, except that our money and resources are now being looted by our own countrymen instead of foreigners – so what? Who cares? The loot is on anyways, right?

There you see, I keep veering away from the very point that I wanted to prove. Now to borrow the title for an Oscar winning movie, what I want to basically say is that there is “no country of Anna men”. Now I can see those die hard Anna fans (fanatics, fans, worshippers all the same…) already out with their AK-47’s pointed straight at me. But I earnestly hope none of them will actually shoot because they are followers of a ‘non-violent’ gandhian. (Now to speak of non-violent gandhigiri… did you know by the way that in his young old days, when our little superstar Anna Hazare had set off to ‘purify’ his village Ralegan Siddhi, he used to tie up drunkards to light poles and flog them with whips. Yes my dear, our very own Anna Hazare used to do such ‘non-violent gandhian’ activities with his very own hands. Anyways, let history stay in its place. He has certainly not shown glimpses of such barbaric side of his personality in recent days, and so let’s not dig that out now.)

So what I was saying is this campaign or movement or whatever it is called by “Team Anna” is not really going to go anywhere. Such foolhardy campaigns never go anywhere. The lokpal as we all can see, is not yet properly discussed in parliament, nor do I think it will in the coming future. Because the very fundamental problem is that 99% of the MP’s don’t want it. And come next election, a new set of MP’s will be voted and among them again 99% will still not want the lokpal. Anna, Kiran, Arvind or Prashant won’t stand in elections. Neither they have the steam to go for it, nor do I think they can actually win from any constituency, and nor will it help the country to have just 5 men of integrity in the parliament consisting of 500 goons. Anna will keep crying his throat out hoarse, the govt. will just do its time to time firefighting job (like it has been doing in telengana, Kashmir, jaitapur and bellary for last 6-7 years).

And an even more fundamental problem lies with the mentality of the people. Why not ask yourself an honest question… do you really want to set stringent rules for yourself? Do you really want to follow such rules always? Don’t you want some freedom from rules sometimes? Don’t you look for loopholes in rules?

Does it really suit us to talk of moral values, especially like corruption? I don’t know about others but at least I don’t consider myself utterly “un-corrupt” and so I would prefer to shy away from jumping into the Anna bandwagon. I use pirated Windows, watch downloaded movies, listen to downloaded mp3s, play cracked games, read illegally downloaded ebooks. So how and with what face do I join the Anna circus?

I really feel Anna should take the train back to Ralegan Siddhi. Indiaagainstcorruption.org is just the name of a website. Unfortunately, India is not yet against corruption, and the near future looks bleak too. Democracy anyways gives everyone the freedom to “whatever the feel” like (no, actually that’s not the meaning of freedom according to democracy, but well, in practice, that’s what we take for granted)

The world is much different from what Anna and his ‘team’ might have imagined. It was said that the Anna movement was backed by ‘middle class’. But let me tell you a straightforward fact about the indian middle class. (for the record I’m a part of it too). The indian middle class wants to be out of trouble. So when caught on the road without a helmet, if stashing the cop’s pocket with 200 bucks means lesser trouble, that what the middle class does. Yes, I’m sorry to say, but the fact is, the “easy path” and the “moral path” are usually not the same, and mostly people take the easy path only. Democracy in practice and democracy in ideology are different things altogether.

Democracy in practice means if I can download a movie for free why would I wait 2 months after it’s release to buy it for 100 bucks? Democracy in practice means a boy selling pirated version of the latest paperback at Rs.50, while the original comes at Rs499? (yes that’s what makes democracy better than anything else. That little boy from the slum makes a little money, I get my book at a tenth of the real price, and the original author? Who cares? He’s already stinking rich anyways) Democracy in practice means getting away without the license being punched for a bribe of Rs500. (the policeman can have a good dinner with his family, and I save the trouble of my renewing the license). Yes, democracy in practice means getting to do whatever I want. Democracy gives me the right and the opportunity to do it. If you are at the right place at the right time and your brain conjures up tricks when needed, you are the king in democracy (Tata, Birla, Ambani… they got rich like that), on the other hand if luck runs dry, you might be among the several million earning less than Rs.32 a day and be called poor (btw if you earn Rs.33 a day, you are not officially poor though). Democracy is not capitalism and it doesn’t help the big companies more than the beggars. And democracy is not socialism and it doesn’t helpthe beggars more than the big companies. Democracy gives you the right to go into jail in then stand your ground there and not want to come out. Democracy gives you the right to gather in millions, candles in hand, outside Tihar. But mind it, democracy does not welcoming hypocrites who come along with the agenda of rooting out corruption. The ideals of democracy states that the citizen has the supreme power, but unfortunately democracy in practice snubs at people proclaiming themselves above the parliament. Changes in democracy, and especially in India, come through the parliament only. (that said, I must remind you that there are hardly ever any changes in a democracy. Democracy was, is and always shall be a form of governance where nothing is in favour of the ‘common man’ and yet the common man accepts everything in the name of ‘majority’s choice’. Only that we have never been able to pinpoint that elusive ‘majority’, fulfilling whose wishes becomes a burden on the ‘majority’ that we see on streets.)

People with ‘no political ambitions’ and those who say that they will ‘never stand in an election in their life’ are not the people who can bring changes. They can only ‘capture the imagination’ of the masses by showing them dreams that can never be fulfilled. Campaigns never lead anywhere. Those who do make a difference are those who have the guts, and take the trouble to go through the dirty political channels and reach the top. There are hardly any worthwhile people who take that path, and the few who do cannot keep their kurtas completely white while travelling through the murky bylanes of power.

Maybe a corruption free india would be a better india, but let’s stop dreaming about that, because believe me, such an utopian society is just a ‘vision’ and can never be a reality. I’m not being pessimistic. It’s just the plain fact that neither I want such an india nor do you actiually want, and neither team Anna wants. Whatever we say, our day-to-day actions clearly betray us that we are happy with the way things are running and we are in no way interested anlokpals or jokepals. Truth is, there is no country for Anna-men.

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