27th day of August 2011 is the epitome of the movement started on the historical day of August 16, 2011 when a simple but honest man of Gandhian integrity challenged the might of a democratically elected government that looked to turn hostile on voices representing the ordinary Indians demanding a strong ombudsman bill termed ‘Jan Lokpal’ on an issue, just being debated and debated over the last five decades. The ruling class on August 15-16 dismissed the demand terming it as a thought process of small standalone group. They projected it as subverting the supremacy of the Indian Parliament. Some of them even said that very few of the Indians were angered over the issue of corruption and they would soon have their grievances met once the government version of the ‘Lokpal’ is enacted. They miscalculated. We have proved it during the last 13 days since the historic day of August 16.
Every day beginning with the August 16 moment, when the mounting public pressure forced the government to set Anna free, has graduated on higher note of true democratic values putting the notion ‘citizen first’ on the highest pedestal and has witnessed a riveting cascade of defining events being unfolded every moment and being spread to every Indian by a media that after ages, played a largely sensible role realizing its obligation towards strengthening the democratic values. Almost nothing except Anna’s Movement was seen and is being seen on almost of the national news channels and in national pages of newspapers and news portals.
Anna has proved the mettle of the ordinary Indian. He has spoken again through Anna’s voice that he is fed up of the existing system of governance in the country and needs some fundamental reforms now. This thought process has capitalized in the voice of Anna Hazare. It has made Anna much bigger than Anna Hazare giving him a larger than life presence in the psyche of the ordinary Indian for the days to come. He has come to represent the true embodiment of the Mahatma. He may lack Mahatma’s political acumen but he has imbibed Mahatma’s will power on holding on values like honesty and integrity practiced through ‘Satyagraha’. Anna has come to represent the conscience of every conscious Indian.
And what else could be the more visible show of strength of this mass conscience symbolized by the word ‘Anna’ that forced the divided, bickering, warring, ridiculing, ignoring, criticizing, abusing, mocking, dodging, dismissing Parliamentarians to speak the language of Anna and so of us in just 12 days.
On 12th day of Anna’s Fast, (Saturday, August 27, a Parliament holiday), the Parliament was forced by political compulsions to be convened to discuss the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ and Anna’s three specific demands – PM’s inclusion, State Lokayuktas and the Citizen Charter. It was forced by political maneuvering of BJP on 11th day of Anna’s Fast when it demanded voting on the three demands of Anna Hazare under the Rule 184. It was double whammy for the government as BJP had dwindled away to support Anna in order to save its face when Congress was looking to find an escape route behind the veil of united Parliament floating the idea of discussing a lameduck draft that had no essence after excluding Anna’s three demands. And to add to it, it chose to carry out the debate under the Rule 193 that doesn’t include voting. Congress’ misery was more intensified with ‘well thought of remarks’ of Rahul Gandhi that took 10 days into making on Anna’s Fast and the spreading Movement when he chose to dismiss the very intent of this mass uprising. Intense politicking and parleys of discussion ultimately forced all the politicians to convene the Parliament on Saturday to discuss the ‘Jan Lokpal’ including Anna’s three demands. This whole exercise was equally compelled by the increasing public outrage over Anna’s deteriorating health and insensitive dilly dallying of the political class. Also the fear psychosis that another weekend was approaching and repercussion could be severe with many more Lakks of people on the streets to support the anti-corruption Movement named Anna was lubricating this feeling. But even here, the intention was to score some gains as voting was not going to be part of it.
On Saturday, 12th day of Anna’s Fast, when all the political class ‘representing us officially’ went into the discussion mode, least of us had expected sanity on their part but as the debate progressed (and remember, it was televised live and being watched by the whole country), a rare sense of sanity, though forced by the political compulsions of some big elections including Uttar Pradesh next year, started percolating. By the evening, the trickle down was complete and a holistically spread sense of sanity seemed to be working on this elite rural class as the House passed a ‘Sense of the House Resolution’ with thumping benches endorsing Anna’s all demands. A ‘Sense of the House Resolution’ is a rare event in the history of the Indian Parliament and is a thumping endorsement of an issue with no division of the opinion. What could be the better indicator of this sanity, that may prove very fragile, than BJP’s support even if was not happy without actual voting as it decided to go with Anna accepting the ‘Sense of the House Resolution’.
The whole country rejoiced on the evening of August 27. The whole country is celebrating the milestone achieved on the way to fight. Millions participated, irrespective of their affiliations, when Anna broke his Fast this morning. But, the celebration should be with the sense of caution. It is just half the ‘Lokpal’ battle done. It is just the beginning of the long march ahead when the next two big-ticket reforms needed immediate action are the enactment of the ‘Jan Lokpal Act’ and the election reforms.
The Anna Symbolism has helped us revisit the Gandhian Conscience and it is rare opportunity for this country. India was forgetting Gandhi and its democracy had started looking more like a half-baked product. But with this symbolic victory of the power of the ordinary Indian yesterday, the Gandhian Conscience and the Indian democracy have again been put in the ‘being reloaded’ mode fuelled by the participation of the ordinary Indian and not its political class.
When Anna broke his Fast this morning, it was culmination of this symbolic victory and reminder of the fight that is en-route to get promises into real, solid ground based activities because if we have reasons to praise the rare conscience shown by the ruling elite class of the Indian politicians, we equally have the reasons to doubt their continued sense of reasoning for good given their changing stands since August 16 and their many U-turns after its promise to Anna on April 9 to break his Jantar-Mantar Fast for the ‘Jan Lokpal’ draft. Rejuvenation is under way. Complete resurrection is on the way.
BELIEVE BUT BEWARE AND MARCH AHEAD. WE STAND VINDICATED. WE STAND UNITD.