|Source: The Hindustan Times|
Now that a 72 year old man is not fasting unto death, skeptics feel emboldened to snark at the spiritually slanted and RSS tinged anti-corruption protests initiated by those obnoxiously self righteous civil society types and embraced by those jingoistic roly-poly urban middle class couch potato types. Other reports point out, through first person interviews, that for the poor, livelihood is a bigger fight than corruption
To the first view, I say, corruption is a bigger common fight than religious or spiritual grounding in this multi-cultural secular nation of ours. At this point, this particular people's movement does not merit squabbles over tone and the type of public figures lending their support to the cause.
To take on a duly elected government over a watchdog issue like this, one has to build genuine mass momentum through any and all means possible. Do you know how difficult it is to create the ideal set of conditions to allow the maximum number of people to join a cause they already believe in? If you believe in this cause, how can you object to timely endorsements from massively popular spiritual leaders? Anna Hazare extended an open invitation to anyone and everyone who shared this value to join him in body and spirit at Jantar Mantar. If we are serious about turning motivation and effort into results this time, how can we criticize the people who answered this call? Don't forget, government only listens when it can hear you.
To the second view, I say, you've got the wrong goggles on. How does one expect a 12 year old boy working at a juice shop a kilometre from Jantar Mantar to know anything more than his immediate world? In India, the poor fight and lose the battle with corruption every day to eke out any sort of livelihood, whether they know it or not. Everybody lives within the reality of the world with which we are presented. What Anna Hazare is trying to do, is to change that reality for all of us. Can't you just do me a favour, and let him do you this favour?
I submit, both of these views are too narrow to adequately capture more than a tentacle or two of the multi-headed multi-armed beast that sucks a billion bloodstreams. There are many forces that divide us and very few that truly unite us. If you've read my blog (or the last line of the previous paragraph), you know I love snark. And when it comes to civil society, I'm all for scrutiny and caution and even a certain amount of suspicion. But for the love of all that is constructive and hopeful, please, don't tear down a rare, delicate, national concurrence. Not on corruption. Not now.