Mahatma Gandhi would rise from the dead if he could, only to contribute to the anti-corruption movement in India. But then again, he was lucky to be spared of the foul politics and internal chaos. The peaceful movement led by Anna Hazare demanding a corruption-free country for the citizens of India, has alas, succumbed to the internal creaks and creases. What was once a desperate attempt by civil society activists to appoint a separate committee that adheres to its own set of guidelines and imparts justice in cases of corruption has now turned into a little game of monopoly for power.
The Prime Minister in his Independence-Day speech in 2012 said that the Lokpal bill has indeed been passed, however common sense concludes that this is just another attempt to pacify the audience and secure votes for the future elections. He, of course, did not mention what was included in this bill that was passed in December 2011, or what changes might have been made in the proposed bill. Anna Hazare and a bunch of social activists have ever since been trying to get the version of the Jan Lokpal bill (Jan meaning common man) passed. A potential success, with Anna Hazare going on a ‘bhook hadtal’ and millions of Indians pledging their support from all over the country, lost momentum after Kejriwal, a close ally of Anna throughout the movement, harboured interest in starting an anti-corruption political party for the same.
The best quality steel, although ductile, is only useful to its maximum potential if it is internally free of impurities and cavities. A similar analogy can be used for the anti-corruption movement with Anna, Kejriwal and Baba Ramdev. Expressing his evident displeasure at the current scenario, Anna stated that “politics has split” the anti-corruption movement into those who are pro-party and those who are against it. After all, Anna has established his whole reputation on the grounds that he suppresses no political ambitions and his sole purpose is fighting corruption for the people. His credibility was at stake here with Kejriwal’s insistence on getting involved in politics. Soon enough, internal rivalries led to the collapse of the movement itself. Anna has also disparaged any news of him joining hands with Baba Ramdev in order to close ranks with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). He was also extremely offended at the superficial loyalty of a lot of his supporters who said that they wouldn’t form a party if Anna didn’t wish for them to, but when ahead with it nevertheless. He maintains that he does not have any vested interest in politically leading the movement after the Kejriwal split.
It’s often said that ‘the enemy of an enemy is a friend’. This statement might just be the pivot around which this whole movement is centred. Kejriwal’s insistence on forming a party and sticking his head into politics raises questions regarding his commitment to the anti-corruption movement. Was Anna simply a shoulder to fire the bullets of his political ambition from? The public continues to be confused. Once again, Indian history repeats itself. The contrast between Gandhiji and his peaceful tactics, and the ‘put yourself out there’ methods adopted by the likes of Bhagat Singh are reflected to an extent in the Anna vs. Kejriwal battle.
What could have been a revolutionary movement has fizzled out due to personal ambitions, and the worst part is, there isn’t one person to blame. However the anti-corruption movement has not completely died out yet. The fire ignited in the minds of the citizens continues to burn brightly and putting aside personal differences could enable India to salvage what is left of the movement. Political involvement or not, Anna and Kejriwal must first join forces and combat corruption. The irony of the matter remains, that in the current day, politics still runs the country, even if what you’re fighting against is corruption in politics.