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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

See the spirit of Anna’s movement

Don’t nip our fledgling civic consciousness in the bud

Written by Farah Baria |
April 15, 2011 1:28:37 am

I was truly saddened to read the columns in these pages on Anna Hazare and the Lokpal bill. Not because the views expressed were wrong (they were,indeed,most articulate and valid) but because they exemplify the kind of ivory-tower journalism we can do without in these cynical times.

Yes,Anna Hazare is a naïve idealist,but then protests are seldom rational; they breed in the gut and the gully,they are visceral reactions to indigestible politics. Let us not forget that the French guillotined hundreds of oppressors before the delicate flowers of liberty,equality and fraternity could bloom. And closer home,surely Mahatma Gandhi’s ambition of felling the British Empire on the yogic principles of truth and non-violence were once considered puerile,if not downright absurd.

Yes again,Hazare’s version of the Lokpal bill is beyond the ambit of democratic institutions. Yet,pray,which of these grand institutions is up to the job? The legislature,which exchanges cash for votes in Parliament? The executive,which is just another name for venality? The judiciary? Or is it our vigilant fourth estate which was,until very recently,scrambling to wipe the muck off its own doormat?

Obviously,none of the above. Which is why,although many of your columnists could tell us what was wrong with the bill,precious few could offer a viable — and wholly “democratic” — solution. And sadly why,when this whole media circus dies down,we will be back to the same old status quo,yet another historic moment lost.

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Like the snake that bites its own tail,we prefer to ingest our own venom. Instead of recognising the spirit of a movement,we prefer to wallow in the post mortem. Instead of encouraging a healthy outrage that can temper idealism with expediency,we prefer to cynically nip our fledgling civic consciousness in the bud. Instead of attacking our national disease,we prefer to attack its clumsy doctor and his raw remedy.

Clearly,this sort of journalism has no room for public debate or dissent,at least none that could be seen on these edit pages. But then,ivory towers are not for the janata,are they? Ask any politician.

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