Friday, August 19, 2011

the dream seller

And the fight/andolan/uposhan/people against govt/ drama/attention seeking behavior - whatever you want to say- continues. For last 3 days, Anna has been rocking. There is no other word. He is rocking the nation, and well, the govt hits the rock bottom. There are so many people out on the streets protesting, that it makes a really great sight to watch. Photogenic- camera-genic, for one. But no no, I am not sarcastic. So many people coming out to fight for or against something is really a wonderful thing. That too in today’s apathetic set up, great. And now, if we are done celebrating/ crying our feelings out with a great fervor, can we flip the coin?

Last three days showed us the dearth of sensible people who have their heads on their shoulders.  Before the fast and the drama began, initially I thought Anna and the team was stretching in, then I thought people are blindly following it, and now I am firm that the Govt of India has lost all it’s sense and its balanced heads. It seems that the govt is not at all clear about the way they want to deal with Anna and the team. Initially, the govt is hellbent on imposing regulations on team anna, then they capture and arrest them, then the home minister justifies the act, then suddenly anna is released from jail, then our PM can’t defend the act, and now probably they all are waiting for Rahul Gandhi to rack his brains and find some solution. Well, Probably they were not expecting that it would turn into such a mass movement, probably they never paid so much of importance to Anna, probably they were too sure that nobody will challenge the way they deal with a situation. But they failed. Nobody could foresee the way common man reacted to Anna’s appeal.   And now government is dumbfounded at the public hue and cry, and is wondering about a suitable way to deal with the situation. Trapped between a rock and a hard place, poor they!

But the greater and the hidden problem is different. What exactly is it that people want? What are people protesting for? Name a goal that all these protesters want to attain. Can we? Is there a single, tangible goal? People want to get rid of corruption. People want to have the jan lokpal bill. People want to have right to protest. People want to show that they love anna. People want to show that they love country. People want to die for the country. People want to become martyrs. WHAT????  What is it that you want to achieve and want govt to grant you? Unless you can name the objectives, it is very unlikely that you can act as to meet them. I understand that there is a great fervor for supporting Anna, and I also understand that mass protests always have a high emotional quotient. In fact, mass movements cannot function unless there is an emotional base attached to it. This works all over the world, and can be seen repeated oft in history.  The emotional appeal ensures that people turn to it in huge numbers. The emotional appeal is what brings common man to the streets, and it is seen in this case also.
More often than not, that only defies the logical base of a movement. As I have stated, people tend to forget the aim of this movement in all the emotional outburst. If we think carefully, we have to admit that PM and the team has got the point. Please understand that passing any bill is a parliamentary process, and does not depend upon somebody’s whims and fancies. You have to carefully draft a bill after a thorough discussion, it has to be accepted and validated in the parliament and then it could be put into use. ALSO, the parliament can make amendments to the bill later on. The bill does not necessarily remain constant. Now, being adamant on your own draft of the bill, saying that it has to be accepted without making any changes whatsoever and fasting if it is not done, makes Anna look a dull boy. I accept that it is high time that govt has ruled like a dictator and is not responsible for anybody, so its time to teach them couple of things. They have to realize that it’s people’s government and people have to have a say in whatever ways possible. When the traditional ways do not work, or got is too blind to see them, the protests happen and they are justified. But protesting so that all your demands are met, I expected better, Anna!
Moreover, team Anna has two ex- civil service officers. Kiran Bedi and Arvind kejriwal used to be in civil services. It is surprising that even they continue with this weirdly adamant stand. They perfectly know how the govt set up works, they have been part of it. I respect both of them, in fact I am quite in awe of both, but this adamancy coming from people who have been a part of govt is weird. Or is it that they are so fed up with the govt that even they want to discard that set up?
I have a feeling that this all is getting converted into a dream selling machinery. It is, in fact. Why has the common man come on roads? It is because he is shown the dream that the protests can change the system. Why have so many, across classes, have joined the movement with such fervor? What does all this extra enthusiasm of people show?  They have a dream, and they say it too. That it is our dream to have a corruption free country. And it is one of the nicest dreams, but still. The base of the mass movement becomes emotional, they operate on the dreams that are neing shown to them, and there we see the romanticism. The same romanticism that was present in 1950’s in India. The more you involve the commoners, the lesser is your protest logically driven. It has to have a huge emotional component. And now, doesn’t Anna come across as a dream seller, although in a different sense of the word? Well, India has had many of them. Raj kapoor, and Anna hazare, dream sellers to commoners. Although in different ways, both appreciated by common man, and both had media going crazy after them.
Happy protests anyways!