In the final moments of Maniratnam’s movie “Yuva”, the protagonists played by Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi along with couple of their friends (attired in denim!!!) are shown entering a Vidhan Sabha after winning the assembly elections. In the film Devgn is a student activist and Oberoi just another student who were taking on the local politicians and finally end up contesting the elections and also win. I wonder if Team Anna was also dreaming of such a moment in real life when its members decided to abandon their agitation and took a call to wear political topis from now on. For some time it was clear that Team Anna members were getting frustrated by the meek response they were getting from the common public to their agitation calls. This was a far cry from what they saw in August last year. From Jan this year when their second round of “fast” agitation met with a slow and thanda response, Team Anna was subject to a barrage of criticism and loads of advice from all and sundry. As written nicely in his Op-Ed ( A for Anna, B for Baba, C for Camera) in “The Hindu”, columnist Biswanath Ghosh says and I quote “We feed on the frenzy whipped up by news channels; and, when caught in a verbal duel between distinguished panelists with colliding views, we are so confused that we end up adopting the voice and the demeanour of the excited news anchor”. And most of the news anchors and famed columnists were of the view that Team Anna must stop this agitation business which has become a joke and fight elections to bring in the changes it desires to see. These voices were amplified by the jibes the politicians were unleashing on Team Anna provoking them into taking the electoral plunge. It looks like Team Anna got so incensed by these voices all over and decided to walk into the electoral land mine with eyes wide open.
For a moment let’s step back and look at the genesis of Team Anna’s movement. The movement started as a calling card for a legislation for preventing corruption at high offices called the “Lokpal bill” (which incidentally holds the record for being brought up in parliament so many times without getting passed till date). Coming after the RTI (Right to Information) Act which again some of the members of Team Anna like Arvind Kejriwal effectively championed for and succeeded, this bill was to be a game changer in putting an end to corruption in India. As I mentioned before, this bill has the illustrious history of circling the corridors of Indian parliament many times over without getting enacted. Each time, when the bill was introduced to the House, it was referred to a committee for improvements or to a joint committee of parliament, or to a departmental standing committee of the Home Ministry. Exasperated at this attitude of the political class, a group of activists under India Against Corruption ( IAC) umbrella with Anna Hazare as their mascot embarked on an ‘Anshan’ which in no time captured the imagination of the public.
So it was a very legitimate movement which erupted purely due to the failure of the ruling class to bring a legislation that will prevent corruption at high places. The common man who was paying the price of corruption day in and day out saw this as a menace and went all out in support of the same though he might not have understood the legalities of the Lokpal bill. There were and are legal luminaries who are of the view that we don’t need another law but proper implementation of existing laws to prevent corruption. Let’s keep that debate for another suprabhat.
It is quite obvious from the delaying tactics displayed in the past that the political class is not for a Lokpal bill. So one didn’t expect anything else but continuous goading to stop fighting in the streets and urging Team Anna to get into parliament to fight for the bill. By falling for this bait, Team Anna might have just ended up scoring a self goal. While it is still very not clear what shape the political fantasy of Team Anna will take, it is very clear that whatever it might be, the writing is on the wall. Why am I so skeptical? Because, in our parliamentary democracy, a political formation can make laws or influence law making if it is a majority force (thereby ruling party) in parliament or in a coalition era, be like the Left in UPA1 or TMC in UPA2 with the jack in its hand. For Team Anna’s movement to take a shape of a majority party is asking for India to win 20 Gold medals in the next Olympics! The second option means it has to provide “outside” support or be a part of a coalition of one of the fronts which Team Anna has been castigating all the while for not enacting the Lokpal bill. The third option is to be non-aligned to any front and with just a few MPs keep trying to push for the bill. All this means- floating a political party, contesting the next Loksabha elections, win a few seats and try to get the Lokpal bill passed in Parliament is nothing but a non-starter. All this, if you can muster a few seats.
Winning those few seats by itself could be a herculean task tougher than beating the Chinese in Badminton! I still remember the fate of T.N.Seshan who was once a Middle Class hero for bringing up a sea change in the way elections were conducted in India – ended up as a Middle Class Zero when he contested for Loksabha elections and lost. There are other examples galore of eminent people biting the dust once they contested the elections and lost. Because, in India contesting and winning an election is a matter of arithmetic and that too an expensive one by itself. Many times in elections Indians don’t vote to elect their MP or MLA but elect their caste leader. And there are other considerations as well – in short you need to be an expert in Game theory. ( A Shashi Tharoor is an exception – Admit, he’s doing a great job and is an inspiration )
In addition to the fact you have ended up killing the Lokpal goose, there are other issues which have been very well articulated by Swaminathan Aiyar in his weekly column in Times of India today. For those who missed that – here’s the link – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/entry/anna-s-party-would-be-a-great-blunder
A very regular argument being thrown up is that instead of fighting outside for a change in the laws of the land, Team Anna should come inside the Parliament which makes the laws and bring in those changes. This is like a film maker prodding all his critics to be filmmakers themselves before penning those critical reviews of his film!!! One needs an outsider perspective to things and it’s good to have a movement outside the parliament constantly pushing the leaders to mend their ways when necessary. That’s what Team Anna was doing all the while. And that’s what they should continue to do. That the Anna movement started fizzling out was mainly due to the wearing out of the novelty factor and loss of hope in people that it will succeed after that disastrous extended parliament session which ended abruptly. Loss of hope is as much or more than a big insinuation on the political class as much on Team Anna.
In my blog post in Jan this year after the failed Parliament session, I had humbly called for an Anti-Corruption movement Ver. 2.0. Some of the ideas acquire more credence in today’s scenario. As I mentioned in that post, expecting a flawless Lokpal bill first up is not realistic. The groundswell of support for the Jan Lokpal bill rattled the politicians across the board and the ruling front in particular. From then on till the time the fast agitation in Mumbai failed, the government was working overtime on getting a version of Lokpal bill to the parliament. Team Anna should have shown restraint and maturity in engaging in discussions with the Government at that stage and must have gracefully agreed for the version of the bill though it might not have been the perfect bill. For that matter even the present RTI bill is not perfect yet it is already yielding results. If they had done that, we would have seen the passing of the Lokpal bill finally. Now, that seems to be distant reality.
Coming back to that climax of the film “Yuva”, the wily politician played superbly by Om Puri stops Ajay Devgn while entering the Vidhan Sabha and says “Tum log aa to gaya idhar, Dekte hain kitna din tikta. Tumhare pahele bhi bahut log aaya idhar, duniya badalne kiliye. Kuch bhaag gaya, kuch kudh badal gaya”
(Now that you have come here, let’s see how many days you survive. Before you, there were many people you came here to change the world. Some vanished. And others have changed themselves).
It will be very ironical if this happens to Team Anna!!!
Check this link to enjoy that scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fksT0VfDKj4
I’ve been seeing similar sentiments being expressed by few columnists, check these out :
21 thoughts on “Coming up – A “Yuva” moment for Team Anna???”
thanks very much for this great post! i had a lot of interesting thoughts while reading this
Thank you so much !!!!
this is an amazing article, thanks.
Hi, Many Thanks !!!
i really like following your blog as the articles are so simple to read and follow. excellent. please keep up the good work. thanks.
Thanks for taking the time to read and for the feedback !!!
Hey friend, I liked your article so much I even bookmarked it here. Cheers.
A Typical Cynical article who actually has no hope nor is clear.Fighting Corruption by Team Anna was never a apolitical fight but very much a Political fight yes they where not in Electoral Politics but now has decided to enter that.Electoral Politics in Parliamentary system of Democracy never means only winning.Every fight is not won only by winning there are some fights where you win if you loose. Arvind Kejriwal in electoral politics is a Win-Win situation immaterial of the results are.If he wins in elections we will take the fight inside Parliament if he looses by giving a effective fight will also prove our worth to the Political Class. Our aim is to be effective that’s it.How long anshans could have been effective we could see a fatigue creeping in the supporters so take the fight to next level and that is only electoral Politics.It is a process and this got to provide the Nation with our legitimate right.We are fighting for a full systemic haul and are ready to go the distance.People who believe in
us will support us and fence sitters &Parasites no Problem but most welcome to share the spoils of our Victory!
Venkatesh, Thanks for reading the post and taking time to leave your comments. I appreciate. I am like you and others who are frustrated with corruption in our country. I was and am a supporter of IAC. But I’m not in favour of the current path. Thats all.
The Anandkumar’s article is far more clear than this comment from Venkatesh. If only Team Anna had accepted the govt’s Lokpal bill ( Not an ideal bill, but good to start with), the nation would have had another weapon ( just like RTI bill, which too evolved over time) to fight corruption. Team Anna could have supported right candidates in next general elections. Team Anna could have focused on election reforms so that corrupt elements do not get elected easily. Thereafter it would have been easy to pressurize the party in power to remove weaknesses in the Lokpal bill if any.
Due to the shortsighted policies of Kejriwal & company, country lost a chance, wasted lot of energy with little result.
Hi, Thanks for taking time to read the post and leave your feedback. Much appreciated.
The climax of path followed by Team Anna attained the “yeh to hona hi tha” (predicted result). You can’t fight armed only with your ideals. Something looks attractive only in books. Let’s not go into the path followed by Gandhi. But, one thing is certain that the British were far more civilized. The Team Anna behaved like that they have just read a book on Gandhi & went on to fight corruption. Instead of starting their fight with the top corrupts, they should have taken the corruption at the lower level. The common man faces this type of corruption the most. After gaining the confidence of the common man, they could have taken the top bosses of corruption.
Now how to fight the corruption at the lower level? Certainly not the way like Fasting, Dharna, etc…….. Be brave! I would suggest instant justice! Let’s take a look –
Lower level corruption done by babus, inspectors, etc. is to increase their social status through money & through this money they increase their spending capacity and buy greater economic security for their future.
If you want to get rid of the corruption at this level, then first hit on the temptation for corruption i.e. hit their social interest. But how – Forget that they will get jail or punished by this “Black English Government”.
So here comes the “instant justice” ! Give a severe thrashing to the person demanding bribe – also you may take the age old method of donkey & black paint. Mock the people for whom they are doing corruption i.e. their family – humiliate their family members at every possible social place- at school, market, even at their own house; Just tell them that how corrupt their earning member is! This may seem rude, but it is they (family) who ultimately benefit from the corruption & they directly or indirectly encourage corruption.
Also there are some people who become corrupt under pressure. Save / rescue them by all possible means, if they say no to corruption.
So Mr. Kejriwal the above thoughts can be the starting point of a new beginning. Now you have left Anna, leave the “ANSHAN” too !
You are young; gather a group of young people; who believe in instant justice; help any person suffering at the hands of corruption; ask your followers to accompany the people undergoing injustice and deliver the instant justice on the spot.
Because these corrupt people have no fear of sleeping law. Let us create terror in them. I believe one good public thrashing will create the right environment in the whole department. Similarly arm yourself with a group of competent lawyers, who will provide free help to the needy. We leave in a high tech world. Collecting evidence of corruption is much easier now. Use every means to fight.
Once you gain the confidence of people and mass support, then only you can fight with top bosses of corruption. Leave the utopia.
Hi, Thanks for reading the post and taking time to give your comments/views. I appreciate.
“For Team Anna’s movement to take a shape of a majority party is asking for India to win 20 Gold medals in the next Olympics! ”
Couldn’t have said it any better….
Although I disagree with a lot of things said here.
Team Kerji will win at least 5-10% of the seats (being conservative here) wherever they contest. Just like right-wing groups always have a support of at least 10-20% of the population (Shiv Sena, MNS, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) and it keeps increasing/decreasing based on public sentiment – I believe there is a space for anti-corruption parties as well. Especially for one that has emerged as a clear leader and made itself the face for ‘anti-corruption’ throughout the nation.
What seems difficult is – just being able to field enough (honest) contestants, gathering party workers and creating an organizational structure from ground up within a year. But wherever they decide to contest from, they are certain to win at least 5-10% of the seats without any effort. Mark my words on that.
Very nicely written article (not one-sided towards any side, like so many others). And thanks for the clip to Yuva 🙂
Ayush, Thanks for taking the time for reading and commenting on the post. As I mentioned and as you have also rightly put, it will be a herculean task for the erstwhile Team Anna ( Now Team Kejriwal ) to be a majority force. They ofcourse will get a set of votes and seats. In which case they will to play jockey to one of the dominant fronts ( which they have been accusing of corruption ) in order to push thro their ideals. This will be the irony.
Superb article..Thanks Sir for giving significant and great info from this.
Rupam, Many thanks for your valuable feedback !!!
sir this is 100% fact that kejiriwals &co are not the ones for social cause they want to” make ash while sun shines” their goal is fixed one from starting they have changed their game plan as they are now saying we have no option to float a political party we have to notice aravind”s arogance speech right from the starting. he said that gov makes fool as the gov is aggreable to certain points made by them the remaining we will consider give up the fast he said and taken the name of hon”ble minister kapil sibal that he himself lawyer he is making fool What happned now it is that he will contest against mr kapil sibal in the forth coming election so their idea is clear that they want publicity and they want to harvest the publicity no to a cause for common man and they are in their right step of their own agenda and making dramas within themselves people to decide?
Thanks for reading the post and posting your comments !!
I fully agree with Arving Kejriwal in his decision of making a political party. I still wonder why Anna is not with him. If both the teams were together, it would be a strong third front.
Hi Kapil, thanks for your perspective on this. Appreciate taking your time to read the post and feedback.