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.

Friday, 3 August 2012


After series of flip-flops and negative steps by members of Anna Hazare’s team and even by Anna Hazare, the anti-corruption movement needed a whole revamp to arrest the process of base erosion.  They needed to have a clear vision. But they couldn’t. As a result, we are debating today the demise of the anti-corruption movement.

And the media that was drafting his powerful imagery is now questioning the developments that sacrificed the Lokpal Movement, be it the Indian media or the international media. And they have valid reasons.

What Anna Hazare and India’s anti-corruption movement needed to do was to regain its focus and strength – a single minded focus on corruption? Instead what they have made out to be final outcome of the 16-month long movement – going political and contesting elections – shows a last-ditch effort to kill the frustration of reducing support. Rather, it looks more like an exit strategy. But even this outcome has created fissures in Team Anna itself, apart from alienating many of the die-hard supporters of the movement.

Let’s chart out the basics:

Restructuring - Restructuring of team to run and spread the movement was the core requirement.  But even after the much hyped reports and demands on restructuring the movement, nothing seemed to move on the ground. Sometimes Anna seemed to be clear on his course of action, sometimes he looked confused. He could have easily got many eminent persons, social activists and religious leaders to spearhead the Lokpal movement across the country. Why was he taking so much of time when it was slipping out? Why couldn’t the Lokpal Movement have more faces than this coterie of the ‘very few’? No doubt contributions of the coterie in the Lokpal Movement are beyond any speculation but then it is them who only who wrote the script of this anti-climax.

Anna needed to realize Lokpal was not like his other missions, restricted in scale and scope, it was pan-India and Anna certainly needed lieutenants beyond the coterie. Though there are some other faces like Yogendra Yadav came to stage today though we seldom saw him participating in the movement. Like Yadav, there are others in IAC who are nothing but dormant faces of the movement. Rarely coming to take the stage, they don’t bring anything to the movement in terms of connecting it to the masses. Anna never looked to act on these aspects – a must have for the success of the Lokpal movement, more so after confusing signals from the government on enactment of a ‘as weak as almost dead’ Lokpal Bill.

  • There are many social activists with unblemished track record who could have been respectfully invited to be part of the movement.
  • Also, there should have been no problems with religious leaders being parts of it barring them who were so visibly controversial like Ramdev.  
  • The movement should have been restructured keeping in mind the fact that it must utilize the resources fully and no member should quit the movement sighting reasons like what Rajinder Singh and PV Rajagopal had quoted.
  • Also, having more faces with active voices would have made it difficult for the government to target individual members of the movement.
In the next phase, this anti-corruption movement needs to go beyond Team Anna and Anna Hazare and there must be a mechanism to promote internal democracy among the volunteers working for the cause.

Expansion - Forming and sending teams to different parts of the country was to be the next and only priority on the agenda once a successful platform was built. It became even more important in the light of the multiple instances of the government backtracking on its promises since April 2011 when the Lokpal Bill began its journey to the national conscious to the shameful ruckus in the Rajya Sabha on December 29, 2011.  

A movement like ‘Lokpal’ needs to have a pan-India team of committed volunteers, say two representatives in each state. Adding to it the count of the Union territories, the number goes well beyond the 50 mark. If a pan-India movement has to be sustained, that is not a big figure.  Even the base figure of 50 strong Core Committee members who were all on same trajectory voicing each other to propel ahead would have made it extremely difficult for the government to target the movement indirectly by directly targeting the personal and professional lives of the Core Committee members.

That brilliant calm - Why didn’t he realize the August Fast placed him much ahead of any of political figure of India? He didn’t seem to realize it during the phases of rapid base erosion? He is still not realizing it. He broke his fast midway amid reduced public appearance; he again chose to target the UPA and threaten anti-UPA campaign in the five state assembly elections while dodged the question on BJP’s stand on CBI inclusion in the Lokpal; there have been flip-flop on Anna and Team Anna relations; Anna, Team Anna and Ramdev triangle made things only worse. The latest whammy comes from yet another poor strategized fast even that ended abruptly without any result.  All this while we saw bitter spill-over of verbosity by the parties involved. Now expect more of it since the movement is officially political now. The government said today that it was not going to present the Lokpal Bill in the Monsoon session.  There have multiple such incidents like and it has created confusion diverting away the supporters.

His silence on government’s attempts to malign his credentials would have been the most apt and direct reply to the loose cannons like Digvijay Singh. But by replying on every move of the government and answering every Tweet and letter of the likes of Digvijay Singh, he undermined his own sanctity as every such move gave rise to another such move of controversy.  He needed to maintain and balance phases of strategic calm and strategic dialogue with the stakeholders involved be it the supporters or the opponents.

Too much of media - A movement like Lokpal is not about being lens-friendly. It is much beyond that. Media needs stories and it will follow. Can we deny sincerity of Medha Patkar? We cannot but certainly she doesn’t look eager to come under the limelight. The scale that the movement achieved gave an opportunity to take it to the psyche of the common man and this realm had to be widened. That would have been done in an efficient way if the leaders of the movement would devote more time in small towns and hinterlands than in TV studios or in holding press conferences to counter the verbal volleys of the government. Why dissipating energy and risking the movement for some petty facial show-off?

The required scale that was never achieved - That could have come by an absolute realignment of the focus to the ‘Lokpal Bill’ with ground level work by the social activists to connect more and more people to it. Once the scale had become so significant that it reached small towns and hinterlands (something that cannot happen without taking the grassroots social workers in the fold), masses across the sociopolitical spectrum would have found a spontaneous connect with the cause and its leaders (obviously not political leaders of the day but the grassroots workers).

But apart from the spurts, the movement could seldom come out of its urban India garb. Much had to be done for that on the ground level but Team Anna was content with media and social media presence.

And so, here we are, today debating and discussion the untimely demise of a movement that draws parallels with the JP’s mass movement.

If anything, it ensures just this – Lokpal is to remain jinxed. Emboldened by effectively killing a significant movement demanding Lokpal, the successive governments would keep on finding excuses to keep it in procedural limbo.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -