Anna Hazare is our national tragedy

If there were an Olympic medal for persisting with a grand folly, Anna Hazare would not have missed the target like Deepika Kumari and struck pure gold. There’s no Indian who’ll disagree with Anna’s determination to root out corruption with the Jan Lokpal Bill, but to inflict yet another fast-unto-death on an unsuspecting nation on a weekend is a ritual that exposes yet again the true colours of the ‘Gandhian.’

Like his supporters mainly drawn from the RSS, Anna is a fascist with the vision of a village sarpanch. He cannot keep arrogating to himself the powers of the sole spokesperson of India’s collective conscience without playing his political cards with the honesty that is expected of a man occupying the pedestal he does.

We have a political system that has worked largely to our advantage despite its many flaws. Why should we let it be hijacked by a man who has fought no election and has little to offer beyond a one-point agenda devoid of any overarching political vision? And how can Anna have any credibility in the eyes of the people when he’s aligned with a Rolls Royce-loving yoga contortionist whose business empire is under investigation?

Baba Ramdev is the last person an anti-corruption movement should be seen with, till he comes clean about the sources of his funds. Yet, he’s the man who has emerged as Anna’s other crowd provider. The sales agents of his magical cures are ever ready to congregate at his call at the Ramlila Grounds, or wherever their bread-provider directs them to go.

The yoga teacher has never hidden his political agenda, which clearly is backed by his immensely, and ungodly, deep pockets.

But what about Anna? Whose side is he batting on? Why doesn’t he take on the politicians he so loves to berate, in electoral contests? If Anna were a democrat with a vision, he would have led a political movement against the present political order, but his politics is that of a village bully.

Listen to him, or else he’ll put on display, for one more time, his incredible ability to go on a long protest fast. That may be a salve for the conscience of the South Delhi-South Mumbai middle class, which when it’s not expressing its solidarity for Anna, feeds the venality of politicians and bureaucrats, but that’s not the political solution to a deep-rooted malaise that’s been singularly responsible for bursting India’s success-story soap bubble.

As our economic miracle resting on one-sided growth turns out to be as bad a joke as Rahul Gandhi’s hunt for gainful employment, the country’s piling problems require a multi-pronged attack powered by a new vision, a new force. Anna with his tunnel vision and limited arsenal of political weaponry, is certainly not that force. He’s more of a caricature of his cause than a credible alternative. And that is our national tragedy.


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