Annarchy OR Anarchy: Questioning The Movement And The Mass Ignorance

Posted on November 21, 2011 in Society

By Kamal Trilok Singh:

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence. – Mark Twain

It seems we have both in abundance… Ignorance of the masses, confidence of a team.

After watching, hearing and observing the entire fiasco of the Anna Hazare anti corruption movement, I have come to a strong realization that, for one, I do not support it one bit and second, that my personal assessment of the entire movement is that it is based on the principle of Mass Ignorance. Before I get into the details of what I mean, I would like to categorically clarify that by no means are my views intended to hurt the people reading it at large, and that I am glad that there was a team that has brought the issue of corruption in India to the public limelight.

Ever since the hunger fast by Anna Hazare it was pretty evident that the movement was spearheaded by the team and not by an individual. Anna Hazare to me was an empty vessel; a clean image, one in which you could pour any issue and it would have worked. The big difference between Gandhi and a Gandhian is the lack of identity in the latter. While Gandhi had his own set of rules and principles formulated purely through his experiences and conscious, in the case of Anna Hazare – a Gandhian, there was no scope for any such possibility. To illustrate, its as if I were a communist, I would follow Marx or Lenin or Mao. Thus in case of Anna Hazare, he might have been the face of a movement but not the backbone, which is not entirely advisable for any movement. The principles of the leader have to go down the ladder and fuse into the masses rather than a model where Anna is merely the face and the intellect. So, the first major reservation being that this movement is not a movement by a man but indeed one that is merely cast around the shadows of the integrity and the image of a Gandhian.

Moving on from the hunger strike to the core issue of Ignorance; when the movement started and crowds started to pour in support of Team Anna, one fact pointed out categorically by all media channels and outlets was that most people present at the venues did not even know the difference between The Lokpal Bill and the Jan Lokpal. It was pretty common to hear news reporters interviewing people who said – “We are here to support Anna and we will do whatever he wants…” So rather than understanding what they were supporting, people choose to follow a group of social activists and lawyers who claimed that they represented the civil society. There were facebook pages and clicking a like button seemed enough, or standing at the Lokhandwala circle in Mumbai, or Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan in Delhi or some venue in your town became a fashion that was perpetuated solely on Mass Ignorance. I am reminded of a friend who put up a status update on facebook during Anna’s fast. She did not support it and had every right to express her view. She was not just replied with abuse, but got a huge amount of hate mails as well. Thus, the second major reservation being the fact that not only were we marching along without knowing what we were marching for, but we would call anyone with a different opinion corrupt, anti-national, not patriotic etc.

My opinion is our opinion. A trend that has come up all along this debate is the fact that one person’s opinion becomes the opinion of the masses. Its not only surprising but shocking that a generation that tom-toms itself on Google and the internet failed to do its homework. Most of us would rather choose to follow Kiran Bedi on twitter and her opinion of the masses. Thus without any adequate research one person’s opinion was now the “Laxman Rekha” for millions. Just yesterday when the government came out announcing that it plans to make the Lokpal a constitutional body rather than a statutory one the cynicism from Team Anna rolled down hill in the country. Kiran Bedi tweeted: ‘Constitutional status for Lokpal is cart before d horse. It’s like no bread keep waiting for illusionary cake! Who r they Fooling?’ Needless to say that most of us agree with what she says without even being remotely aware of what constitutional status means.

And now unfortunately it seems with increasing evidence that what once seemed like an apolitical team is not entirely apolitical. First, by announcing that people shouldn’t vote for the Congress (you have a lot to answer for) in the Hisar by-polls, Team Anna is endorsing the two other candidates who themselves have no clean records. On being asked repeatedly about this, the answers now seem as ambiguous as the motives. And if this seems to be the trend, looking at the UP elections it seems I will have to see a Mayawati back in power building more statues of herself. Thus, why the sudden rush and the hurry when the government categorically through the law minister Salman Khurshid had said that they will bring the bill in the winter session?

Finally, I would like to add a small note on the BJP throughout this movement. Personally, I am neither a BJP nor a Congress supporter. I am pretty straight forward – A Communist. But coming back to the BJP, it seems that they are no longer the principle opposition party, Team Anna is. I haven’t seen a single instance of any BJP leader having any alternate view other than that of Team Anna and I am sure that the BJP does not agree with everything Team Anna says. But, it seems that the BJP’s views on everything regarding this issue are in sync with that of Team Anna, which unfortunately only lead to me a conclusion that all that BJP is trying to do is score political points rather than be constructive.