Nurturing Young Minds

Nurturing Young Minds

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Anna Hazare and Company

Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal's campaign against corruption, and for the Lok Pal, is without doubt laudable,  and needs the country's support. It underlines their commitment, perseverance and courage. However, it also highlights certain other facts. It shows that the are not trying to build parallel  mass base on the strength of a constructive program that would catch the fancy of the nation and its people. The weapon of fasts is the last weapon in the armory of a non-violent movement,  and  its too frequent use tends to rob the weapon of its impact. Gandhi, the creator of this weapon, used this weapon very sparingly, as the last resort when everything else failed. This 'everything else' was important to Gandhi as he had may other weapons, the most powerful being his constructive program. The Anna team does not seem to have in their armory any other weapon of mass mobilization or social reconstruction. Resorting to frequent fasts highlights this fact. This is pathetic. Fasts, undertaken by whosoever, and this does not exclude Gandhi, have an element of drama and suspense in it, and therefore they do attract a lot of attention. But getting the nation's attention in this manner poses a danger for team Anna : the team might ultimately be reduced in public image to the status of a drama troupe of a very high order, and they might finally look, in nature if not in magnitude of impact, like a nukkad-natak or street-play  group that has very good intentions of inducing social change and creating social awareness. While all such groups are highly laudable, all of them need to go beyond street-plays, if they are really serious about social change and national reconstruction. I propose to write at length on  this subject, but for now, no more.

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