Millennium Post

It turned out to be people vs Anna

Anna Hazare’s decision to alienate himself from the political party that his co-crusaders in the anti-graft movement are launching should be seen in the light of the movement as a whole. Anna has declared that he does not want to be part of the party that is talking shape and will be happy to remain outside the political imagination and continue with his crusade against rampant corruption in the government and in public office. He has even said that the new party, if it at all takes shape, should not use his photo or name as an endorser of that party. He has cited the case of the JP movement which, in spite of its huge success, could not stop the rot that eventually overwhelmed it. Anna has even named Lalu Prasad Yadav as the unlikely and unnerving product of the JP movement. He has expressed his apprehension that even his movement, if its turns political, could produce figures like Yadav.

One may or may not agree with the citation of the JP movement and its eventual trajectory but it is true that in India, political turns of social movements have been more or less unproductive and uninspiring. And in some cases, like that of Mayavati, the essential core has been forgotten in the name of petty politics and rabid corruption.  Hazare clearly is a learner from history and wants to stay out of this. That is a good sign and may actually salvage his movement from losing further popular support. Hazare’s movement amassed huge support from a cross section of Indians who considered him a civil society hero, like Jayaprakash Narayan, who could impress upon the ruling elite and the larger political class that the voice of the people is their first and the last acid test and they should never take political support for granted. Hazare did strike a chord with large amount of people but lately, his appeal seems to be fading away due to the political ambitions of his core group who are trying to make best use of the public support to go the political way. Hazare is happy staying with and within the larger ambit of the civil society. His was a movement that after a long time could galvanise a large part of the politically impervious middle and lower middle classes and could give them a cause. And large part of this support came because he refused to toe the line of politics. By turning away from politics and refusing to lend his name and fame to political factions that precisely want to extol his name, Hazare may have just rekindled the lost faith of millions in his crusade.
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