Open letter to Anna Hazare

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 17:04
Biplob Ghosal
Loud and Clear

Dear Annaji

You are the one who awakened us and gave us the belief that we can challenge the system. You took us on the path of revolution.

For all those like me who haven’t witnessed the Independence struggle, you surely showed us the path to bring in the change and achieve freedom from the menace of corruption.

But your idea of forming a political party has surely depressed me a lot and I feel let down. It may have been that people in “comfort zones” have forced you to take this decision or probably the ‘deaf and blind’ government has compelled you to jump into the electoral field.

You have worked tirelessly for two decades in Maharashtra and brought significant changes. Last year you created a mini revolution with people chanting: ‘Main bhi Anna, tu bhi Anna, ab to saare desh he Anna’. Thousands of people swarmed the streets to express their solidarity and desire to support the anti-corruption movement after you asserted, “In a democracy common man is the ‘king’ and politicians are the sevaks”.

Such was your charisma that the GenX, which generally keeps away from politics, also jumped into the movement with Anna caps. Though you are above seventy, but your sheer personality made the youths come forward aggressively yet in a non-violent and tolerant way. The media also played a role in the Anna phenomenon after they named you a ‘youth icon’.

I am too young and inexperienced to advise you, but from what I feel and hear from people around me, I am trying to convey this message to you. I hope you have time to go through this.

Annaji, you and your team might differ with me when I say that the campaign began to lose its sheen when Team Anna campaigned against Congress in Hisar elections and thereafter continuously hit out at the ruling party while leaving others untouched. This certainly led the common man to wonder whether this campaign was ‘apolitical’ or not. And with your final announcement to go for a political alternative, doubts about the motive of the movement have only increased.

Your political turn has even irked your own staunch supporters like Medha Patkar and Santosh Hegde.

Also, a leading newspaper had reported on August 04 that around 100 volunteers choose to part ways with India Against Corruption (IAC) after Team Anna decided to take the political path.

I believe that you should have stuck to the demand of Jan Lokpal Bill and not out up with a fresh demand that a SIT probe be conducted against over dozen union ministers. Also hitting out at Pranab Mukherjee seemed a weird idea.

Though from the beginning, it was a known fact that parliamentarians didn’t want a watch dog over their head, yet there was a ray of hope that at least the institution of Lokpal would come into existence, if not a strong ombudsman as proposed by Team Anna-led civil society.

Thus, it would have been great if you could have forced this government to convene a special session of Parliament to discuss and vote on a new amended and a powerful ombudsman. But by deciding to form a political outfit, in a way, you have ensured that the matter is put on the backburner.

The Congress-led government whom you have tagged as ‘cheaters’, seems to be in a jubilant mood with your decision. While some Congress leaders are gleefully asserting that they have been proven right that you and your team had political ambitions, others have welcomed you to the electoral ring.

A political party, as you envisage, should have a clear direction and aims.

Also, elections in India are known to be influenced by factors that may not be in your control. It will be difficult to make the aam admi vote for your ‘clean’ candidates but more tough would be to keep them hooked to the anti-corruption movement.

Though it may be premature to come to a conclusion, but the success of your party seems distant.

You are hailed as the ‘Modern day Mahatma’ – so, I request you to live up to my and millions of other Indians’ expectations. Recent announcements by you and other associated with the movement makes one belief that you have become impatient.

Your most powerful weapon was your ‘apolitical’ stature. There was a definite goal – The Jan Lokpal Bill, which got lost somewhere along the way.

I request you to reconsider your decision. The voiceless common man will lend his voice and stand by you, if you would focus on just one issue – The Jan Lokpal Bill.

No one has forgotten how the Parliament could not pass the Lokapl Bill after the much publicised “sense of house” acceptance of the movement. The angst is there, it just needs to be rekindled and directed towards the goal.

Dear Anna, this country needs you as an activist not as a politician!

First Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 17:04

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