I am not Anna, nor I ever wanted to be…


Let’s have a look at the following news report from a news web site:

Blackout leaves 300 million without power; Team Anna sees conspiracy

“Govt is still arrogant and dictatorial… the grid has failed, Metro is down,” a Team Anna member said.

So, Mr Anna and his illustrious team of IITian, ex-IPS officer and several corporate lawyers, professors and a big crowd, think that whatever goes bad is all the fault of the government and the people should be awakened.

The other day I was in the Metro train and there were two gentleman talking about the movement. One was staunch supporter and was calling himself as a poet who claimed to have seen too much of corruption and turned a poet.

He said that he saw enough corruption, paid for it and then became a poet. Whatever, he was talking to nobody and everybody and trying to say that Anna is great and the people need to wake up.

Another old man who was sitting right beside him said that everyone was awake and they didn’t need any third party to make them realise that they are sleeping and need to open their eyes.

The poet got angry and started shouting: “Aap ko pata hai kitne mahan hain Anna? Aap is tarah se baat kar rahe hain, aap jaroor bhrasht honge…” (Do you even know how great is Anna? The way you are talking proves that you must be corrupt)

The old man just asked him to shut up. Poet then turned to his right and started telling his personal story to someone else.

The point of this incident is that these are the specimen of Anna campaign who, if you are not with them, are outrightly calling you a ‘bhrasht‘ or corrupt without feeling any need to know about you, your ideologies, your logic or even a sentence in your defence.

Another incidence comes to my mind when a friend of mine went to get his phone recharged and the question he was asked before he could say what he wanted was: “kyaa aap Anna ke saath hain?” (Are you with Anna?)

This was at the pinnacle of Anna’s movement last year. My friend was confused and couldn’t reply. He just said please give me the coupon and left.

I don’t doubt hundreds of people who are flocking to show their support to Anna but I can also see that there are a lot of them who are conveniently spreading a kind of false notion that either you are with Anna or you are simply corrupt!

Wearing Anna topi and t-shirt is becoming a convenient way of hiding your reality and it’s a convenient garb of honesty, irrespective of your reality, to show people that as you show support for Anna, you are not corrupt.

The frenzy ‘created’ by Anna and his team was based on the simplest of the trick in the book: The people are fed up with corruption; there is a public unrest because of several scams; a lot of media coverage; ensure the message goes to media; hold press conferences; give interviews; accuse the top most leaders (whether or not there is any proof, just accuse); and people will run wearing you ‘cap’, with the tricolour in hand with the energy supplied by your ‘coke’ and ‘samosa’ distributed at the protest venue.

That’s what happened last year. Students had lot of time after exams, the UPSC aspirants were done with their exams, public had the angst because of government failure to check inflation, Congress leaders were getting chargesheeted or accused for scams… this all made it apt moment and what followed was a large crowd.

A large crowd swelled on the roads, buses, Metro trains asking “Are you with Anna?”

To hell with you, I am not with Anna nor I want to be.

There were youth mounting big sound-boxes on trucks and holding traffic to ransom, dancing on the road and creating ruckus!

So this is it all about! This anticipated revolution was a big party to let you feel light!

Coming to the point, now Anna, after failed attempt to make his and ‘only his’ version of Lokapl bill being passed, has organised a ‘better looking’ campaign. The NGO India Against Corruption is on Facebook and all social media with cartoons and Anna wallpapers etc. They are trying to reach out to maximum people.

No problem with that. Anyone has a right to have a peaceful gathering and to express their views. After all we are a democratic country.

But the problem arises when you have the original “I am Anna” or “Mai Anna Hoon” cap and the fake ones; you have original badges from the NGO and you have fake one; you have original T-shirts and the fake ones….

Now I am confused. Should they not be focussed on the message that the cap carries? Or should they be more concerned that only the T-shirts made and sold by them be bought?

Is this about selling merchandise or to really garner support of people?

The whole approach from Team Anna has been negative since the beginning of the movement. The policy of not bending or showing any kind of flexibility was the reason that Lokpal talks failed.

Law has to be enacted in parliament and not from Jantar Mantar. Fasting is a kind of blackmail and not a non-violent struggle to get your voice heard.

People have realised that there is no strength in this movement and have kept away from being a part of the crowd. Anna doesn’t want to give any percentage of chance to government and want to force his words on to them which is not acceptable.

Neither he wants to enter politics and fight the system from within. Why then people will show faith in you?

They know that government is the authority to make laws and whenever it wants it can suppress your strike, you are not willing to die fighting, you look for excuses, you give weird statement accusing anyone personally…

That doesn’t work. If you think people are with you, if you thought they saw a genuine urge to fight against corruption then you should have performed as per their expectations.

A golden chance was there when 5 state elections took place in 2011. Had Anna showed some will to enter the system and clean it, who knows he should have made a difference!

But he chose the popular way of criticizing the ruling party and negatively campaigning against them.

This is not the Gandhian ideology. Gandhi never said to blackmail and use fast as a way to ride the public euphoria nor did he approve of negative tactics to call anybody and everybody corrupt.

It’s high time that he and his team realises the dangers that India faces and come with a solution better than sweeping everyone with same broom and singing the chorus of over-repeated chants.

And that’s precisely why I am not Anna, nor I ever wanted to be.


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