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Anna the Awakening

By Barun Das | Last Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 13:49
Barun Das
Not For Everyone

<b>The Awakening </b>

From the reverberating Ramlila Grounds there have arisen echoes of a new idea. A new possibility. An awakening.

Not trumpets of victories as some Civil Society members would pretentiously claim. Not gleeful proclamations of obituaries of the Government as Opposition would like to predict. Not even the jarring trashing of <i>netas</i> to unfurl the people’s power as we saw some over enthusiastic supporters enact.

But of a sober possibility of reform.

The Anna episode has offered us a course changing phenomenon. An occasion for introspection. An opportunity for each and every Indian to make and keep some promises.

In the timeframe of the past few decades, it is perhaps the best chance to make a U-turn in the way we do and accept doing everyday business. An opportunity for us to change track to pursue our mission to regain our supremacy in the world arena. Mind you, unless all of us participate, we would not able to seize the opportunity.

Atulprasad Sen’s dream of "<i>Bharat Abar Jagat Sabhaye Shreshtha Aasan Labey</i>" (India will assume the leadership position in the world) can now be lived.

<b>Who is Anna?</b>

Why after all has the Anna Hazare movement been such a success? Why is it that each one of us connected with it?
To my mind, you always need a reference frame; for our existence as well as in our pursuit of any mission. That possibly is why we have images of the Almighty or his apostles in almost all religions. We need to visualise an image while we pray. Anna has personified the idea that corruption or compromise with truth is certainly not the only option. Anna is the image that people will visualise when they would choose to pay Rs 400 extra to get an official challan for violating traffic rule, or would choose to wait for a few extra days to get their passports.

Besides the learning that a prospect of amendment is within grasp, Anna has made us believe that solutions are possible and available.

So far, we became a part of the system. If there was a problem, we circumvented it without being haunted by our conscience. We accepted that as a part of our life with a <i>chalta hai </i> attitude!

<b>No Blame Game </b>

Of all those who were chanting slogans against corruption, I would like to pose a simple question. How many of us can claim to have a squeaky clean plate?

Have we not without much ado or fuss pulled out those hundred bucks when caught jumping a red light, or paid the expected “fee” to babus to get your house registered or get a driving license without a test!

And in this I see hope. Because for the first time, I feel, the citizenry is ready for change and to make the change. Not in a way that you saw the Arab Spring, but in our very own <i>desi</i> home-grown style.

As much as we are keen to see greater probity of our political and administrative system, we must be more than willing to be accountable to ourselves.

Not all civil society members are shining gold in their own submissions. We have already witnessed that the entire media and corporate world are not unblemished. On the other hand, I have myself encountered some exceptional politicians, bureaucrats and policemen who are talented and dedicated.

So we must avoid the pitfalls of generalisations. Blame game is, therefore, an exercise in futility.

Corruption is embedded in our systems and our way of living. Fostered, inculcated and practiced by almost each one of us. To eradicate it, we need 120 crores Jan Lokpals. One would never be enough.

<i><b>Main Anna Hoon</b></i>

It is not for nothing that despite scandals tumbling out of the closets by the tonnes, India’s star has been on the ascendancy. The Indian growth story is attestation of the fact that we have also been doing something right. A whole lot of right things done in the right way still keep our flag flying high.

Besides China, India is the only country that has proved to be an able manager of size. And among the most successful experiments of diversity.

With West grappling with consequences of its past mistakes, the centre of gravity of world economic power is shifting eastwards.

At this propitious juncture, Anna Hazare has provided us with a reference point. It is now for us to be Anna.

As India stands on the edge to reclaim its past glory and script a spectacular story of success, we need to step back and assess.

Not just by thronging India Gate will we see groundbreaking revolution. But by taking an oath that we shall be the change that we want to see in our country.

A shining star has crossed the Indian firmament, it is up to us to awaken to it and follow it.

As William Johnson’s famous quote goes: ‘If it is to be, it’s up to me’

The question is: Will we seize the moment? The answer is "We Must".

….And this piece is for everyone, including myself.

<i>(Mr. Barun Das is the CEO of Zee News Ltd.)</i>

First Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 13:49

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