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A Peaceful 'Anna'rchy

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 16:55
Supriya Jha
Crystal Clear

Tu Maslahat se chaal chal, Chahe dua na kar.

Tera Maseeha Kaun Hai? Usey bejubaan na kar!

<i>(You play the moves with cruel diplomacy and don’t bother to pray)</i>

<i>(Who is your God? Don’t mute him.) </i>

Khud Qaid Hai Tu Kafs Mein, Taakat Ke Tukdo Pe!

Mai Bhi Qaid Hoon, Lekin, Haqeeqat aur Haq-e-Baghaawat mein!

<i>(You are yourself trapped in a cage, with pieces of power thrown to you)</i>

<i>(I am also imprisoned, but by the truth and the right to protest)</i>

Apni Rihaai Maang Tu,

<i>(You better seek to free yourself)f</i>

Mujhko Rihaa na Kar!

<i>(Don’t free me)</i>

These were perhaps the unheard sentiments coming straight from a nook of Tihar Jail, where Anna sat defiant after the government committed the political hara-kiri of arresting him.

Anna’s non-violent stubbornness finally earned him not just the ground, but a groundswell of support, with a sea of people ricocheting Anna’s call against corruption as they seemed to find a way to vent out their frustration, long pent-up. As some think, all those donning Anna caps out there at Ramlila Maidan were not merely following the ‘latest fashion trend’, i.e., of course, anything and everything featuring Anna’s name or face; there was a story behind each face. Once asked, they were ready to narrate their tales of how the devil (of corruption) hit them.

So if we zero in on what makes THE BRAND ANNA such a huge success, it’s a combo of Anna’s selfless determination and rock-like will power mixed with people’s so-far-compelled tryst with corruption as a way of life.

Anna showed the world what a pure intention armed with a dogged determination can achieve.

As the billion Indians celebrated Independence Day on August 15, with a question piercing deep into their subconscious – the question being, 65 years on, were they really free? - A silent Anna sat in a solemn squat at the Rajghat, evoking a sea of evolutionary sentiments in countless Indian hearts and in turn sending shivers down the spines of lofty chairs wedged in corridors of power. The government got baffled, confused and played the suicidal move of arresting Anna and earned for itself a rain of brickbats. The government remained unsure of its next move, despite multiple brainstorming sessions with the ‘trouble-shooters’ unlike the septuagenarian Gandhian who was dead sure about each and every step he was to take in order to see his dream of Jan Lokpal Bill breathe the initial whiffs of reality.

And today as Anna has turned out to be a great phenomenon in himself, India has partially proved wrong what Albert Einstein once said, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one (Mahatma Gandhi) as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

We are the GenNext and not only do we believe in such miracles, but we have also witnessed another ‘apostle of peace and non-violence’ spearheading an absolutely peaceful people’s movement, which many across the world, might mistakenly liken to the protests and riots taking in other parts of the world, like the Arab Spring, smeared in bloodshed; recent UK riots, wherein the protesters turned into hooligans, with people ranging from postman to millionaires’ daughters actively participating in vandalizing and looting shops, restaurants, eateries etc.

Anna and his India kept the movement animate without a speck of violence, keeping alive and ‘kicking’, the legacy of peace pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi. Though there are a number of cynics out there, blasting Anna’s ways and calling them unconstitutional, and ironically ‘undemocratic’ (a movement fuelled by the people and amplified by their anti-corruption slogans and ‘Mei Bhi Anna’ chants), the pitch of pro-Anna crooners has been heard far better and the naysayers blasting the movement as Anarchy have few takers. Yes, the people did shout and march jamming the streets but if this shouting is called anarchy, then the nation must prefer this anarchy to the ruckus staged by the MPs in the Houses as the latter leads to complete washouts of Parliament sessions (as we saw in the last winter session), resulting in zero legislative business and the former, i.e. Anna stir, in mere 13 days, managed to fast track a legislation, conveying ‘sense of the house’ on Jan Lokpal Bill. So, why not opt such peaceful ‘Anna’rchies, instead?

The movement has lessons galore for the citizens around the globe with the prominent one being what Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

Peace and peace only can give happy returns that will last long. All other selfish means will sooner or later, result in clashes of interests and evolve through violence to erupt in bloodshed and destruction.

But we do need to keep in mind what Anna said that merely donning an Anna cap and chanting anti-corruption mantras will not metamorphose a nation immediately. What is direly needed is an equally strong commitment from each one of us that we would never give in to the temptation of getting our jobs done or fast-tracked on the wheels of black money and that we will always speak up against whatever that’s not going right in the system and that we would really be Annas.

And today, as an old-man-next door turned into youth icon Anna, returns to his native village in Maharashtra on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, not just the villagers but the deity Ganesha Himself, seems to be elated and welcoming him, donning an Anna cap and Anna specs too! This further reinforces our belief in the Indian culture that is a culture of happiness and peace.

I hope we as a nation go on to propagate this culture of peace and honesty and establish an example to be followed by the West and the Middle-East and every piece of land that is ebullient right now in the want of a Ramrajya.

Let the Arab spring get the hue of Indian August and the riots elsewhere turn into peaceful Anna-rchies. Let civilization be another name of Indianisation! Because – Revolutions without riots – It happens only in India!

First Published: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 16:55

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