Monday, October 3, 2016

The Triumph of Indian Activist Anna Hazare

Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare is an Indian Social activist and sociologist. He is known to have participated in the Indian anti-corruption movement in 2011, adopting methods that seem to derive from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He cannot be described as a Gandhian activist since his vision of society is authoritarian, with sympathies towards the right moves and calls for the death penalty for corrupt politicians and other positions definitely not Gandhian.

He is also known for his contribution to the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Parner taluka in the district of Ahmednagar, in the state of Maharashtra in Western India. He worked to make it a model village, and in 1992 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, which is the third highest civilian award of India.

The crusade of India Against Corruption, the anti corruption movement promoted by the Indian civil society in 2011, has all it takes to be branded as the most extraordinary in the year. Basically, out of nowhere, an old village chief of Maharashtra become within a few weeks the clean and transparent avatar in India that the Indian people had tried to mold since independence.

In front of thousands of supporters, Anna Hazare harangued the crowd against the corrupt political class who was bringing India to disarray, presenting the magic recipe for the change of course with the creation of Lokpal, an independent institution above politics who could investigate, indict and prosecute by law every politician in the country, the local representative or the prime minister.

Due to immobility of the political corridors of power in Delhi, where democracy has given a display of all its decision limits when subject to small and large blackmail of an old fragmented and corrupt political system, the fresh breeze of India Against Corruption immediately conquered the hearts of that famous Indian middle class disillusioned by the politicians and hungry for justice.

Like any movement that has to do with the modern means of information, it was necessary to find a symbol of a man that embodied the hero from a billboard who was able to camp on the front pages of the newspapers without risking boredom. The first attempt was in February 2011, when the guru Baba Ramdev became the protagonist of a first uprising against the black money that Indians deposited in tax havens.

Unfortunately, his unconventional ideas like sex education in schools should be replaced with yoga classes and homosexuality is a disease, but it is treatable with yoga among many emerged too quickly to be able to pack a myth to feed the Indian public. So India Against Corruption was formed by Kiran Bedi, well known to the Indian public as a police officer, Shanti Bhushan, former Minister of Justice and Arvind Kejriwal.



Anna announced the first hunger strike, to the bitter end in April, forcing the government to form a joint committee to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption law. On the first day of fasting in front of Anna Hazare there were only a few hundred onlookers, but thanks to the national television, huge crowds followed in front of the new Gandhi which in fact happened in the following days.

When thousands of people crowded into the space of Jantar Mantar in the Indian capital and over 150 activists followed the old Anna in the hunger strike, he was born a hero. Immediately were developed a website, Facebook account, and Twitter account to spread the word about Anna.

The hunger strike with endless crowds was repeated in July and August, finding its climax with the arrest of the activist, accused of illegal demonstration on public land. At that point the moat that separated the good from the bad guys had been dug, allowing Anna Hazare and his close associates to let go for frontal attacks against the Indian Congress party, the ruling party accused of filibustering the law intended by the people.

Things get complicated in the month of December when the anti corruption law by the government would be discussed by the two chambers and possibly promulgated by the new year. Team Anna decided to tread in the hand by calling people again to rally to a final event in Mumbai, in conjunction with the discussion of the bill in Delhi.

The magic of Anna Hazare seems to have had its day and the press does nothing but talks about farce, divisions within the Team Anna and the dream ended for the Indian middle class.
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