Dr. M Faiyazuddin,
A Large sections of the Indians are of the view that the movement of Anna Hazare has a different aim than what it is proclaimed. Undoubtedly the movement has given Anna and his team an enhanced status but the method adopted to highlight the issue of corruption raises many questions about their aims and objectives. Every political parties and every individual want corruption to go from the system. A huge crowd gathered at Ramlila Maidan during the fast of Anna Hazare to show solidarity with him, though unknown how the Jan Lokpal Bill will combat the corruption. Then where is the dispute? It should have been fought unanimously without disagreement. But India has a constitution, probably the lengthiest constitution of the world where everything is written and we as citizens of India are bound to follow and respect it. The constitution empowers the parliament to legislate laws under certain provisions. Any attempt to put pressure on the parliament for making a law of one’s own choice can be termed as unconstitutional. Of course democracy permits to stage Dharna and Andolan etc. but under no circumstances an elected government can be dictated one’s terms and conditions. We all want a corruption free India and we should fight having this aim only in our minds. Let us have a look as to why Anna’s method of fighting against corruption is apprehensive? The RSS and a section of the BJP want to use the agitation to navigate the middle classes to return to the Saffron fold. The support extended by the RSS, the overt expressions of sympathy, the covert mobilization of numbers, the desire to make common cause with Anna, is not some public play at deception and politics, it is the manifestation of a genuine desire to make common cause with a man who has managed to fulfill their aims. Mobilize the people and corner the Congress. The massive crowds that poured out onto the streets to participate in the movement could not have been mobilized simply by ‘Team Anna’ and a handful of NGOs. Rather, this was, to very a large extent, the handiwork of Hindutva organizations. Many non-Congress and BJP parties see for themselves an opportunity to once again rule this country, something what happened during Deva Gowda and I. K. Gujral’s time. There are a few in Team Anna who could also have their own objectives. What they are only time will tell.
Team Anna wanted a referendum on the Jan Lok Pal Bill (which is unconstitutional) but the same team opposes a referendum on Kashmir reflecting the same fascist ideology that the RSS possesses. Considering Team Anna as having liberal values, Prashant Bhushan joined the team and expressed his opinion on Kashmir only to be attacked by the men of RSS. Replying to a question about the attack Bhushan said, “this kind of fascist mindset is now increasingly being seen in several people and several organizations who feel that it is their right to just beat up people, intimidate people who do not share their views. I mean, this business about desh-bhakti etc might sound good, but have these people paused to consider what this means? Do they subscribe to the Indian Constitution? Do they subscribe to the freedom of expression, the right to dissent etc? And if they do not subscribe to that, if they feel that anybody who has an opposing point of view can be beaten up, then they have no right to call themselves patriots or desh-bhakts. In fact, they should then leave the country.” There is much to prove that Hazare belongs to the ideology of RSS. Mohan Bhagwat’s open support to Hazare and Hazare’s own disagreement with Prashant Bhushan on the Kashmir issue are sufficient proofs of his RSS mindset. To support Hindutva ideology, one need not take formal membership of RSS, BJP, VHP or Bajrang Dal. Many people have formal allegiance to Hindutva ideology of RSS, BJP and VHP etc. but there are some who vote for the BJP not because of its ideology rather having resentments towards the others. Anna Hazare has never spoken against the Hindutva ideology. He has been praised as a great Indian leader in the RSS’s Hindi periodical Panchjanya, even featuring on its cover page. Millions of Dalits, Adivasis and religious minorities of this country, who have not hesitated to express their distaste for Anna Hazare’s movement, not least because of its being so closely linked to Hindutva forces. SK Panjam, editor of ‘Dalit Today’, believes that Hazare’s Jan Lokpal is a new tool of Savarna Hindu revivalism. Kejriwal is also not known to have openly condemned the Hindutva forces.
However, Anna Hazare himself was centre staged only after the leaders of the movement found that Ramdev was not syncretic enough a figure to create a broader Indian appeal. If you look at the history of this movement , you would find that Anna was a minor character of this drama in its first phase and Ramdev was the hero then. The decision to replace Ramdev with Anna has perhaps to do with the fact that Ramdev did not look sufficiently militant and his hobnobbing with political class had contaminated him. Therefore, Anna was brought in. He is a celibate , who for the sake of the nation did not raise a family. His past as a member of Indian Army also helps. He is naive and speaks a language which the masses understand easily. He can ask for Death to the Corrupt and yet remain nonviolent because he can fast umpteen number of times. He is a doer. Many ministers in maharashtra have resigned, forced by his power of nonviolent fasts. So, he is also an achiever. This is a how an ascetic fighter was discovered in Anna and Ramdev was conveniently dropped. Anna gives us solace because he sacrifices for us and the least we can do is to stand by him in his Tapasya. This would also fetch us Punya. In our families a senior member, usually a woman, fasts and the whole family benefits. The movement against corruption promises quick and final solution to the disease of corruption and is therefore appealing to the Shining India mindset.
If the movement had been serious about corruption, Team Anna would have needed a much wider perspective than just the specific clauses of a single piece of legislation. This has now become a battle about the ego of a few people who are looking to convey the impression that they can damage the Congress, not because it deserves such a fate but because such a perception serves their personal agendas. If Anna had been a Gandhian, he would have paid some attention to the question of the means adopted to achieve the end he claims to be fighting for. It is difficult to fight against corruption while in effect backing the corrupt.
Once praised by Anna, Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar also lashed out at Team Anna and asked the anti-graft campaigners not to seek to dictate terms. He was also critical of the civil society faction for playing jury on the issue of corruption. “It would be better if people stayed within their limits,” said Nitish. The Group Editor of Rashtriya Sahara, Aziz Burney strongly questioned the credibility of Anna Hazare and his civil society and dwelled upon multi-faceted corruption. He questioned why concentrate only on the financial corruption and why ignore political and philosophical corruptions? He asked why Anna Hazare is keeping deadly silence on the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who has turned down the whole Indian democratic system to make Gujarat a testing State for Hindu Rashtra? He further said the Constitution of India has a well-defined system to deal with financial corruptions and the system should not be encroached upon by anyone because if you allow encroachment in one sector, you will certainly get some other sectors dented too and the whole concept of our democratic system and constitution, which is secular and socialist in character, will come tumbling down.
Corruption shadow over civil society leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi is no secret. Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, veteran lawyer Shanti Bhushan, his son Prashant Bhushan or even Swami Agnivesh, who has now parted ways with the team, they have all faced one charge or the other. Shanti Bhushan – a former Union law minister – was slapped with a notice for evading stamp duty to the tune of Rs. 1.3 crore. He was also accused of having bought a bungalow in Allahabad for Rs. 6.5 lakh when the actual price was around Rs. 19 crore. The next in the line of fire was Kejriwal, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. In September 2011, the income tax department sent him a notice for non-payment of dues amounting to Rs. 9.27 lakh. He was accused of breaking a three-year bond with the department. The latest to join the list was Kiran Bedi, who resigned as an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, months before her retirement. She has been charged with inflating her travel expenses in spite of enjoying discounted air fares. Swami Agnivesh also had a lot to hide. He is said to have misappropriated Rs. 18 lakh of government funding.
In the absence of a clearly defined objective no movement can succeed . All the evidence suggests that the real goal of these members of Team Anna is regime change and that too, not in the weak sense of a change of government, but in the much stronger sense of constitutional change. The Sangh Parivar has always wanted to overthrow the present Constitution. Hazare has been unhappy with the RSS for trying to steal his thunder with their claims to have mobilized people for his movement, while the RSS has objected to the involvement of minorities in the anti-corruption movement. But they need each other. It is clear to the RSS that the issue of a Ram temple no longer has popular resonance, and Advani’s yatra has fallen flat because everybody knows that the BJP is mired in corruption; they need Anna’s clean image to win them votes. On the other side, Anna does not have the cadre to mobilise crowds, nor does he have a party machine that can win elections and install him as the head of a Jan Lokpal. They have to work together, and they do.