Though I am pressed for time and have stopped writing blogs quite for sometime, I thought I can atleast do this to support Anna. In recent days, it has become a rhetoric for experts and activists to question the method adopted by Anna. Prominent among such critics are Aruna Roy, a social activist and an ex- civil servant and Andre Beteille, a famous sociologist of India. The major concerns have been that such an act by Hazare and the civil society is an act of usurping the power that is the legitimate subject of the legislature. It is also said that Hazare activism will lead to anarchy and destabilising of the nation.
First of all, experts and academicians are using a structural-functional perspective which is criticized by many because of its tendency to always attribute ‘good’ functions to the structures that exist in society (Political institutions, economic institutions etc are called structure). Let me remind the critics of Anna that the structures including the democratic institutions in India are not ‘ideal’. Democracy itself is not representative because of first past the post system. Here we have a group of legislators who would pass a legislation to increase their salaries unopposed but would not pass a bill to make them accountable to Lokpal. A Lokpal which will not have jurisdiction over the legislature and judiciary is of no use and that exactly is the point made by Anna and the civil society. There is an unholy nexus between the legislative-executive-partly judiciary when it comes to making ill gotten wealth. It is a well known fact that you do not take permission from a goat before sacrificing it 🙂 This is exactly the situation where the legislators are required to pass a law that would bring their illegal activities under the scanner of the Lokpal.
The reasons provided like breach of privilege of members of parliament, creation of anarchy, etc is a ruling class ideology if I were to use the Marxian perspective. The dominant class here are the legislators (particularly the ruling government). Such ideologies are used to justify wrong practices to create a false consciousness among the ruled. Aruna Roy and Andre seem to be the victim of such false consciousness. If I were to use a functional perspective, I would say that Anna campaign has channeled the power of the youth to question the wrong practices. After independence, this is probably the first time that the youth of this country have come together in such large numbers. Thus, this is rightly called as the second war of Indian independence.
The fear that this will create a wrong precedent is unjustified because there are hardly few or I would go to the extent of saying that there are none like Anna Hazare who have that charismatic authority to unite the country against vices. We all know very well about the baba Ramdev fiasco.
Since when did we start calling the civil society demands as anarchy. Till today, I have been thinking that civil society is one of the most important pressure group. Moreover, this is no longer a part of the civil society as the whole nation is with Anna. Critics should stop underscoring the importance of structures and methods because no methods are followed when making ill gotten wealth. Moreover, this is not the right time for their criticism.
Lastly, I liked a placard at ground zero (Ramlila maidan) which said “Saari yuva yahan hain, Rahul Gandhi kahaan hain”. Not just Rahul, this is for all those ‘young’ MPs in our parliament who are in the parliament not because of their capability but because of dynasticism.