The decline of Anna Hazare ‘movement’: why it is not surprising

English: india against corruption

Silence, an awkward one at that, is impenetrable especially if it is preceded by euphoria. It is often dense. It leaves one impossibly lonely.

The Team Anna that would stop at nothing to drag the entire nation (most parts of it reluctant) towards a superstructure—its own fixed version of cure to all the maladies faced by an over-populated nation—is now left with the same option of fighting corruption through political process that it refused to be a part of just weeks ago.

This is not to belittle the noble intention the ‘crusade’ began with. But there is no denying that it thought of itself as not the harbinger of change, but change itself.

The timing couldn’t have been better. The stage was set: a scammed nation so soused in disenchantment with its corrupt political class crying for a cure. Then what went wrong?


Political level

Corruption—the central, grand, all-embracing narrative of the Team Anna ‘movement’—is, was just an epiphenomenon, not the phenomenon itself. It’s the ramification of greater maladies: moral, ethical, philosophical, spiritual corruption. But the Team picked an easiest battle as it is easy to measure, it’s tangible: financial corruption (somehow, corporate corruption that turns the political class into parasites wasn’t much of a concern). It thought it could eliminate this menace just with one shot, Lokpal Bill. It thought it would take nothing less than a superstructure to bring order to a tired nation. It wanted a result. Not a process.

That’s the most damaging aspect of this entire script.

The argument was this: we are tired of all these scandals. We deserve a cure, a change.

Yes, we all do. But to think that they could cobble together a piece of legislation all by themselves and force its implementation without leaving room for negotiation/thought process meant that they were, in some sense, no different from those politicians who  take a billion-plus lives for granted day in and day out.

Personal level

At its peak, not to be chanting the Team Anna mantra almost meant that you have no concerns for the country you are living in. If you are not a chest-beating supporter of this ‘crusade’, then you are someone who is ready to absolve all the crimes ever committed by the politicians. But how many of those who supported a corruption-free India dug deeper and saw how it begins in the first place?

I am asking this question because I have witnessed some of those joining this ‘crusade’ even though they had no scruples in paying a paltry Rs 500 a month to their domestic helps. If this is not corruption, what is?

How can a piece of legislation free India from all its ailments when we put a price tag on an individual even before birth? If it is not a male, then it’s a rotten apple in the family tree. Can we get any more capitalistic? Can we get any more cruel? Among the minuscule population that supported this ‘crusade’, wasn’t there at least one individual who eliminated his baby just because it was a female.

There is such darkness within. Unless we find ways to tackle moral corruption, we cannot dream of a brighter tomorrow. We are all corrupt in one way or the other, aren’t we?

Related article:

Why democracy and the right to dissent are inseparable

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