All of a sudden, when the middle class was rising, the masses in India rallied behind Anna Hazare, giving hope to the old wise man. Anna mistook this momentary exuberance of people as their readiness for a long-drawn battle against the government. The hope of Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, the political capital, was dashed in the Azad Maidan in Mumbai, the commercial capital. It also served Team Anna a clear message that people cannot sacrifice their economic and commercial interests for some wayward political gains.
It was only last year, when the entire nation made a beeline behind an old man, who finds Gandhism thrust upon him. Anna Hazare
has tried to emulate the Mahatma, but despite his personal integrity and grit, his movement has all the signs of frittering away and waning. People of the country are no longer moved by his call for the fight against corruption. The government prepares for his call for fast, agitation and mass gathering, but somewhere within, it knows that Anna is more like a spent force now.
There are three important components of the Anna Movement, Anna, himself, his Team and people. Anna, first. The supposed Gandhian leader took up the cause floated by India Against Corruption and championed it and on the way to mercurial popularity he expanded his arena of fight from Maharashtra to cover entire India. He was clearly swayed by the volumes of support that he got from the people of this country, who felt that a new Gandhi had emerged to take on the might of the government, which had been disconnected from the people it governed. People’s anger found a genuine expression in Anna’s call to stand against corruption. Similar emotion had already been experimented successfully in Bollywood through films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai, where people clapped when an old man, a retired school teacher embarrasses a government official to secure his pension.
People are fed up with the all-pervasive corruption for long now and Gandhianised Anna gave hope to them. But, somehow, Anna Hazare failed to keep that mass support intact. One has to accept this as Anna’s inherent weakness. He is no Gandhi. People failed to realize this and their expectations of Anna remained so high that he could not have lived upto. He lacks the organizational skill and the understanding of public mood of the Mahatma. Also, Anna Hazare has not been consistent in his speeches and actions over past one and a half-year, which is so un-Gandhian. This drifted the masses away from him and his movement.
Anna’s team is, at its best, pulling in different directions. Allegations of nepotism and dictatorial attitude have been the biggest obstacle in accomplishing the task that the team has taken unto itself. Chief architect of the Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal has, somehow, alienated all colleagues but a few. Even Anna Hazare does not seem to be in sync with his team all the time. This has exposed an organized bunch of activists to the ruthlessness of the government. Also, the allegations against Kiran Bedi
of malpractices and of having communal tinge against the team have not done any good for it. The inevitable result has been loss of credibility of Team Anna among the masses.
On their part, people have also behaved in an intriguing manner. All of a sudden, when the middle was rising, the masses in India rallied behind Anna Hazare, giving hope to the old wise man. Anna mistook this momentary exuberance of people as their readiness for a long drawn battle against the government. The hope of Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, the political capital dashed in the Azad Maidan in Mumbai, the commercial capital. It also served the Team Anna a clear message that people cannot sacrifice their economic/commercial interests for some wayward political gains. This is precisely why and how Anna’s anti-graft movement became a pro-lokpal agitation. The coming days, beginning today, are likely to follow the same pattern.