Monday, August 29, 2011

Why Anna Can't Fight Our Battles Always

I'd like to see the Anna Hazare movement and the events over the past six months in perspective. What he has done is get everyone involved in a public protest against all-pervasive corruption, along with him. He has insisted that a Bill be passed that could make the lines of accountability clear which could be a better option to the one we have now. After all, this system has been in place for long and it is only getting worse going by the scale and magnitude of the scams that are being exposed every other day. Now says Anna, give us a Bill with teeth. The government stalled, shrugged, looked away, intimidated and finally agreed in principle to look into it. That is where we stand. The public of India can feel that it has achieved victory but it is only a small battle that was conceded. The war everyone knows is a long drawn affair.

Firstly, nothing may happen finally. Debates are always long drawn. Too many view points were put forth even as the old man lay on a fast unto death program, even when he had a gun to the government's head. Now with time available, the issue can go all over the place. That is the first hurdle. When and in what form will the Bill be finally passed? The content of the Bill.

Then comes the issue of how effective the Bill can be actually. How will the people use it? How will the actual mechanism of the Bill be made that people can use it well? How can it be used to make a fair, transparent, accountable and clean society? How will the people be educated? It will finally have to be a tool that can be used and effectively. That is the second issue - the implementation.

For both these to happen it is only the people who must take inspiration individually and collectively. At an individual level people must decide that they will now proactively cleanse the system, starting with themselves. They will not tolerate, they will question, they will not participate in anything that is detrimental to this cause. This cannot be done alone, hence the power of communities and groups is important. It is time that societies and groups are formed to keep this thought alive, to convey the true meaning of what this movement is about, what one can do, and how one can contribute. Only when the people at large get more involved in the actual process will there be change because then the power of the individual and the collective can be leveraged to greater common good - be it in protesting, in voicing opinions, in bringing issues to the notice of the representatives and in getting things done.

One thing we must all realise is that someone else cannot fight our battles for us always. We have to participate. We have to be aware. We have to educate and organise. Anna Hazare has only shown the way, the possibility, a glimpse of what can be done. Now, it is up to every individual to be a more responsible, proactive and committed citizen. It is time for every individual to take out that much time and sacrifice it for the sake of what this movement has started. Do not expect a 73 year old man to rescue you all the time!

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