A supporter of Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan; Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

OPINION: Democracy vs. Democracy

Democracy vs. Democracy is a rare event. In the heat of the moment, it could be said that “it happens only in India!”

Corruption, in this country, is so understandable that it does not need a definition. But what it so publicly seems to need is an autonomous body punishing it.

R. Nithya

From the storm of 2G scams and Commonwealth Games mischief and numerous uncountable cases of corruption highlighted by the media, there emerged a little old man called Anna Hazare. He came and he conquered; swept the nation off its feet like prince charming on a white horse from a far away, fairyland.

The question is: who is that princess he swept off the feet while riding on his high horse?

It turns out that the princess is a sixty-four-year-old, independent girl named India.

Team Anna and the numerous “patriotic” Indians supporting him might just create some history, or perhaps, a twist in the tale. And any Indian not backing Team Anna is silently and loudly termed a traitor.

I came across one of those forwarded emails where they try to explain why Anna is right and what he and his team is fighting for. I would love to meet the people behind those forwarded messages and emails, which enthusiastically flash every other day in my inbox to remind me that Team Anna is going through the whole struggle to amend a law in India. The Lokpal law. That’s right. Not a bill, but a law.

Perhaps, I didn’t need this example to affirm that the fans of Anna were low on the Lokpal IQ. Matter of fact, I didn’t need any example. It was just so plain obvious. People are fired up with nothing but “patriotism” and “dumbness.” And that is a dangerous combination.

A supporter of Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan; Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

Watching die-hard fans multiply over time, there emerged another star looking for the spotlight. One of the god-men in the country. A certain Baba Ramdev. I wonder if people really watch news channels anymore or else they would have known how babas can miraculously become two-faced. A man who called homosexuality a disease and publicly expressed his wrath for LGBT, didn’t seem to have any issues when it came to cross-dressing on national television.

What truly must break India’s heart is to watch people march down its streets, crushing the Indian Constitution — the icon of the largest democracy in the world. It’s democracy versus the people now. The talk of the town is that people are demanding their interests on the streets. But laws are not made on the streets in a civilized society. Only if “civil society” knew that.

A threat to fast indefinitely is not a revolution. It’s emotional blackmail.

It’s perhaps the exact way the country got divided on linguistic basis. Something even the educated Indians of today still amuse themselves with by making fun of each other’s accents and dialects.

Had Team Anna approached the MPs in the parliament and found a partner in them, and led to the formation of a good law in the country, it could still have been a fairytale story.

What exactly are fairytales made of? Are they made of marches on the streets or goodness of the soul?

What is corruption, after all? And what does it take to end it?

Surely, we can’t nip it in the bud now. Now, it’s become like the great Indian Fig tree; its roots so deep inside the souls of Indians. Can a Lokpal detach an Indian soul from that root of corruption? You bet, it can’t. Not even the civil society version of the bill.

Voicing your thoughts in the making of a law is not a crime. But let your voice echo inside the walls of a sacred institution and not fade out in the amnesia of the wind.

Reach your representatives. Let your representatives know what you want. How about shifting the wave of letters addressed to Anna Hazare at Ramlila Maidan to the MPs in the parliament? Get in touch with the people you have elected. How hard could that be if it’s a cakewalk to dial up some big name in town when you’re caught by the traffic police?

And lastly, I wonder what Kiran Bedi had in mind when she said, “Anna is India and India is Anna.” The last thing I’ll fall for is personification of this great country. Anna doesn’t and cannot define India. If anything that comes close in defining this sixty-one-year-old republic, it’s perhaps its constitution. It’s a shame people fail to appreciate one of the greatest books ever written.

There will be a bill passed and there will be a law out soon. How much time and effort people would invest to get a follow-up on it, is all together a different question? But corruption can’t be ceased by a Lokpal or by civil society or by Anna Hazare. Not even by the original Mahatama and his original satyagraha. It takes character to do that. It takes courage to face and fight the demon in the mirror. When you’ve got values to protect and principles to guard, even fighting alone can be a revolution in itself.

Why follow a leader? Why become a fan when you can be the superstar of your own life?

[Nithya is a contributing writer, and a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: [email protected]

Views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Jamia Journal’s editorial policy]

About R. Nithya

R. Nithya (2013) is a special correspondent for Jamia Journal. She can be reached via email at: [email protected]

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  1. Nithya…gr8 writing!
    I was one of the followers of the whole Anna episode but fortunately I am not a fan of Anna. In your writing you have made some important points….am impressed. But it is unfortunate for this country that Indians have very positive thinking and ofcourse emotional…we the Indian always think “something is better than nothing” this is one of the reason, the movement got popularity. A person comes and says with the help of a law tomorrow our country would be corruption free and we believe and join the protest, which is ofcourse our political culture and historical legacy…we have long history of our freedom struggle where agitations and protests were very effective means and we got independence with Gandhian non-violent way. We join hand together and raise slogan against our representative and the institution the Parliament, no doubt our Constitution gives the particular right in Art. 19, but we should not forget that we are the only who elect them and what are the bases on which we elect the representatives…and those bases are caste, class, community, religion and most important money. The involvement of money in electoral politics is the most unfortunate scene in Indian democracy. Is it not a corruption? who involve in this Politicians, bureaucrats, or the common people?
    In the whole episode Anna ji compared with Gandhi ji, again its unfortunate for this country…here i want to mention that a political leader Lalu Yadav said that India cannot produce the second Gandhi and I think he is right. Gandhi ji was the initiator of mass movement but here mass is absent. As far as the corruption is concern, it is not an overnight job, corruption is everywhere, a person is not doing his job its a corruption, if we students are not doing our job again its a corruption. We appreciate the bribery, according to a report in seventy percent cases we offer the bribe to the respective officer or any post holder. There is a need to follow morality rather than making another law because here law is always use to suppress or oppress and target is always honest people. We have world’s best Constitution but we can see the implementation level. India is a “soft state” where we have very hard law but poor implemetation. A new law would be a burden of our law book.
    Team Anna initiated this movement people joined them and we have experienced the dictatorship on parliament from outside, some got popularity and their desire fulfilled with the help of media. The use of power of the ruling UPA. Tomorow we will have an anti-corruption law. Now our testing time starts…can we imagine a curroption free India? how much would be our contribution and……….?

  2. Before I reply to Nithya’s article I want to say nothing is personal. I my reply I may use I and U but that I would be refer to supporters of anna and u would people who are anti Anna.
    I would begin with saying that u won’t be regarded as traitor for being anti anna Its democracy and u have dissents. But same applies with us. Supporting doesn’t mean we are less in IQ.
    I have a few points which I’d like to state. No doubt laws are not made on streets. But the govt was given 42 years to pass a lokpal bill in parliament. But the fate of bill is no mystery.Ana fasted 5, 6 months ago and after that agreed to have discussions with the govt. But the result of discussion a toothless lokpal bill, which again to all of us. then Anna came on streets and started the “blackmail” as u call it. Regarding the issue of Baba Ramdev and Kiran bedi, the mistake most of u having a high IQ commit is start blaming the followers if u can’t blame the one who is being followed. We blame Marx for mistakes committed by Marxist. I was in 2nd semester. My teacher told me that Marx had said I am not a Marxist. Ramdev and Bedi did mistake but stigmatization of such a noble for their mistake is highly unfair. Lastly, Nithya u mentioned in ur writeup u would like to meet those people who defend Anna. I am one of the. I study in jamia, doing MA(pol sc) 3rd semester. I am in college till 1o’clock. I too would like to have a face to face interaction with u. Hope to meet u soon.

  3. Irfan, I wanted to reply to u separately. I am a bit shocked that u find laaloo correct but not Anna. Fine ur opinion. I agree Anna can not be another Gandhi but that really makes no sense to argue that one cannot follow his footsteps. That would mean that his preaching should be practiced by Gandhi and none else. Moreover, your right our soul has become corrupt. but answer me why?????? Because, I system encourages us to be corrupt and demotivates to be honest. Why would I embark on the wrong path if I know the deal will cost me heavily. And why won’t I embark on the wrong path if I no that its the shortcut and there are heavy consequences. This is human nature. The policy of stick has to followed till we don’t become moral. Hence, an effective bill to check graft is required.A broom is always required to clean up house. We don’t give arguments that broom won’t help untill we become cleaniless freak

  4. Hello every one from Irfan to Manisha…i can only say one thing u,can debate on the topic as loud and as much as u people wish,but fact of matter is bringing PM under LOkpal will be a absurd.Secondly calling those tratior who dint supported anna,i swear i want to sue those people.Anyway i dito Irfan on Lalu’s issue and his whole writing.I agree a anti-graft sorry strong anti-graft bill is needed but at same time we should know what it should have so that it should not be a burdden on law-book.

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