The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday 25 October 2011


Questions were raised right in the beginning about the formation of ‘Team Anna’ with inclusion of father-son duo, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan. That was in April after Anna’s Jantar Mantar Fast. In last six months since then, we have seen a series of events that give quantum of pertinence to the debate on ‘Anna’ and ‘Team Anna’ being two different identities.

That was unnecessary controversy; any one of them could have served on the panel well. When you start on a path of struggle against a system that is lubricated by the oil of corruption, you need to be extra-cautious to have worked on all the loop-holes of your strategy. Now it seems that was not taken care of. April Fast gave Anna a pan-India presence and August Fast gave him a pan-India acceptance.

The period between April and August should have been a period of consolidation and the movement proceeded in a way that made us believe they were working on to take the things to the next level. All the constituents on shaping this thought seemed to be in place then.

  • Anna’s Pan-India acceptance and his appeal abated the Bhushan duo controversy.
  • Also, Anna’s immediate response on Bhushan’s CD controversy where he said he would send them out if the allegations were true bolstered the atmosphere of trust.
  • Government’s backtracking and sabotaging attempts during the Lokpal meets strengthened the common man’s perception about Anna’s sincerity and government’s cunningness.
  • Ramleela Ground crackdown on Ramdev and his supporters was a black event that helped to mobilize thinking in favour of Anna’s anti-corruption movement.
  • Verbal volleys and rhetoric of government’s so-called crisis managers only added to the anger of the common man.
  • Government’s outright rejection of tabling Anna side’s draft of ‘Lokpal’ in the Parliament sent a message that government was behaving like an autocrat.
  • Inflated confidence of the government by dull reaction on Ramdev crackdown prompted the government to treat Anna’s proposed ‘August Fast’ in the same fashion. They felt their pitch was ready to launch the sledging attack on Anna Hazare and his team members and they went in full throttle.
  • It was precipitated in Anna’s arrest on August 16 after government’s foolish attempts to deny him a place to Fast in the national capital.
  • Meanwhile, many known faces including ruling coalition politicians, ministers and corporate personalities were sent to jail owing to corruption charges during the period.
  • And everything was under intense public scrutiny all this while.
And the galvanization was on ground. The unprecedented public reaction on Anna’s arrest was a slap in the face of a democratically elected but autocratically behaving government. Crowds swell. The whole world watched. Every step by the government to look tough and denying the Anna phenomenon made the Anna phenomenon more substantiated. As the days passed, urban centers got more and more agitated. The spread was remarkable. Government tried all to save its face but its foolish acts in dealing the movement in the past gave Anna phenomenon an upper age when an agreement was reached and Anna broke his Fast. Though the agreement was intended to give leeway to the government as well as to Anna’s movement – the Fast was stretched too long and Anna’s side was looking for a middle path while the government was looking for a face saving – the mass mobilization on a common issue above caste and religion biases made the Anna phenomenon true Gandhian embodiment of the fight against corruption. Anna Hazare came to symbolize it. Analyses were written. Anna was written to be the 2nd Gandhi. Some studies after the August Fast told us he was far ahead of Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh as the leading national figure of India. The mass mobilization made him larger that life.

And this larger than life phenomenon somewhere brought a sense of complacency; complacency that diverted the focus; complacency that led ‘Team Anna’ overlook its structural, ideological and functional weak points. Week points that were there since the movement started gaining momentum. The ‘Team Anna’ got more and more of eyeballs and, therefore, started increasing scrutiny and debates on its activities.

  • Father-son duo in the team was an ideological compromise.
  • Differences with Ramdev and Ramdev’s political ambitions to steal the show that led to the Ramleela Ground crackdown – Ramdev’s presence in the team was again a functional and ideological compromise.
  • Justice Santosh Hegde expressed his feelings very clearly on his reservations about the way the movement progressed.
  • Like Bhushans, Agnivesh, too, have had a controversial past and now we see him opening fronts against the Team Anna.
  • Though Team Anna managed media very well, it could not manage its internal differences that came out through media reports. During August Fast negotiations with the government, differences among the core members of the team became media headlines. Santosh Hegde and Agnivesh were of the view that Anna was taking too tough a stand. Some reports said Arvind Kejriwal was the main impediment in the way of reaching a workable solution while some others reported on high-pitched war of words among Team Anna members on August 26 night when Kejriwal told the press that talks were broken.
  • Agnivesh’s CD controversy is an ignominy.
Three key members of the core Team Anna – Santosh Hegde, Ramdev and Agnivesh – are not part of it.

So along with the positives earned by Team Anna through foolish steps of the government as well as by Anna’s simplicity and resolve, co-existent was its structural negative. This anomaly later on created ideological and functional problems resulting in a flawed vision.

Anna Hazare was always different from this ‘Team Anna’. Mahatma Gandhi, too, consulted his lieutenants before outlining a campaign. But Anna’s lieutenants are not Mahatma’s lieutenants. Anna has come to embody the Gandhian spirit but to fight corrupt and cunning politicians he needs to have political acumen. Mahatma was one of the greatest political visionaries of his time that certainly Anna is not. That makes structure of Team Anna all the more important. And the real problem lies here.

  • The team looks confused on its trajectory ahead – becoming impatient on its promises to wait till the Winter Session of the Parliament shown in active campaigning in Hisar bypoll.
  • Though the August Movement ended up well, no efforts were made to refocus the strategy on taking the ‘Jan Lokpal’ movement to the Indian hinterland.
  • Only two faces – Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal have been doing most of the talking – a mass movement needs envisioned leaders at various levels.
  • Like Bhushans, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal have their own sphere of social activity life and so their own agendas resulting in controversies like Prashant Bhushan’s Kashmir statement controversy, Kejriwal’s remarks on Anna and the Parliament and most recently Kiran Bedi’s inflated bills controversy.
  • Undue controversy was generated on diverting the agenda to other issues like election reforms when there have been no tangible gains yet on the core issue – ‘Lokpal’.
  • Anna has not spoken something new on taking the movement further. He started a blog but the nature of posts that it has is mostly reactionary in nature – to react on statements of government spokespersons or to react on increasing controversies related to Team Anna. His interviews, too, are largely centered on warning the government or repeating the old things.
  • Anna has not consolidated his gains so of us. He has not consolidated his team. Recently two members of the ‘India Against Corruption’ core group, PB Rajagopalan and Rajinder Singh, social activists with significant contribution, left it. Some more are voicing their views on leaving the group. Apart from the political tilt, they allege of absence of internal democracy and dictatorial ways of Arvind Kejriwal as underlying reasons.
Anna phenomenon is largely built on trust, simplicity and honesty of Anna Hazare and plight of the masses victim of corruption. He has been able to mobilize masses. The next step has to be taking it further to the Indian hinterland and getting an effective ‘Lokpal Bill’ passed. That requires a Team Anna structured at multiple levels of functional efficiency but bound by the glue of one ideology, i.e., the anti-corruption struggle. And certainly, it is not the ‘now amorphous’ looking Team Anna or to put it in a more disciplined way – the people who pledged to work with the Gandhian activist in strengthening the anti-corruption movement.

This Team Anna and Anna phenomenon are two different entities at the moment. And this is impeding the anti-corruption crusade. Though nothing much is lost as of yet, some damage-control exercise is needed immediately. Right from the beginning, it has been a peoples’ movement and it needs ‘the right people’ now. The sense of the need has to be desperate and urgent as it is not clear yet how a Team Anna coherent with the Anna phenomenon would take shape.