Millennium Post

Gangs of Swaraj II

From Gandhi to Anna ‘Gangs of Swaraj’ have made up numbers by crafting slogans that appeal. These slogans attract believers to the ‘cause’. Believers come from the remotest of places and they repeat the slogans, as asked for. They see their traditional headgears have been trademarked as ‘Gandhi’ and ‘Anna’ and they accept it. They also try to forge a relationship with the ‘jeans’ industry that has done more damage to them than corruption.

After they have survived few days of satyagrah, they come to know that Team Anna has done a nationwide survey and got the ‘directive’ to form a political party. No one asked the believers. Anna did not get down from the couch and ask people, who were there without mobiles and without an account in Facebook. They were told to go back and wait for the new election symbol they have to vote for.

The issues of Swaraj and Suraj [good governance] have been used only to compose the numbers. The leaders of masses have used the numbers only till they got an invitation to the table of talk. Anna and his team have repeatedly done the same. Corruption and anti-corruption have the same vague connotation as Swaraj or Suraj had. The panchayatiraj system was crafted to make up for Swaraj, but ended up as an extension of electoral politics. Planning does not flow from the bottom, but execution is forced downward. Swaraj cannot be mandated by an e-mob. The new trend started by this latest movement of Anna and his team has set a wrong precedent and this will prove fatal for future movements.

People who have voted Anna online to fight election want him to get them motor driving licences, passports, export-import licences, loans to buy bungalows and penthouses, insurance claims, loans to study abroad, grab farmers’ land without hassle and without bribe.

Anti-corruption does not include the issues of poorer citizens of India. Forcing people to migrate to earn their livelihood or asking people to travel hundreds of miles to get X-ray done is not corruption. Losing their mother tongue when getting educated and then becoming unemployed is not corruption. Right to information cannot give you a number of how many people want any particular government or minister to go. We cannot get the figure of how many people went to sleep without food on a particular day or in a particular month. The anti-corruption movement can deal with issues that can be enumerated or quantified. The number of parliamentarians with pending criminal cases, scams with audited figures, black money figures reported in a foreign journal and similar figures from reputed agencies make cases for movement. The unorganised sectors’ figures are only annexure. Deaths from Malaria in Chhattisgadh, death from hunger in Odisha and murders in political rivalries everywhere are not quantified through authentic sources and hence cannot be included as an agenda in any bigger movement.

A degree in business administration from any 3rd rated institute can get a job with at least five digit monthly income, but a hardworking farmer who is in the profession for generations cannot guarantee two meals everyday to his/her family. Our artisans, artists and musicians who have not shifted from their family traditions are considered objects of parade and collage of academic and cultural project work. This systematic crime does not fall in the crisp definition of corruption. For that they need planning and then they need planners who must not be a villager, a farmer or a musician. They are airlifted from a different planet and imposed as resident planners for the planet they are hardly interested in.

The latest client of business administration is the anti-corruption movement. With their vast experience in hotel industry, entertainment industry, real state, healthcare, mining, commonwealth games, arms and ammunitions industry, and so on, MBAs will definitely have a business plan to make this movement a big success. In Swaraj, the unproductive lot of society enslaved freedom in the name of sovereignty. Cities turned into palaces of fortune-makers. Villages, farms became the colonies that kept supplying the food and commodities of masters’ desire to the cities of policy-makers.

How, in the name of organised farming, the food chain of rural areas have been devastated can be a great area of study, if some MBA or economist politicians have the heart to do so. Fancying with names like ‘Soya city’, ‘Cotton belt’, ‘Sugarcane districts’, we have endangered the crop diversity that has ensured a sustainable food chain for society from time immemorial.

I have recently come back from a remote village of Kargil in Ladakh called Dah. It is believed that inhabitants of the village are Aryans. This apricot village is on the bank of Indus River and is mostly free from any aggression of modern planning. After a while we were on a modern road built by BRO and on our way back, we got to see many boards advertising schemes of welfare sponsored by government. I knew that Aryan village was now within the reach of anti-corruption movement. I wish I don’t see the folk of Dah village with topees of anti-corruption movement flocked around their tiny monastery. They are revered for their floral headgear worldwide.

Akhilesh Jha is a civil servant. The views expressed are personal.
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