Tue, 27 Dec 2011 08:42:12 GMT | By E Jayakrishnan, India Syndicate

Anna’s Gandhigiri: Refuting some slurs

He is no Gandhi you know, he is just a publicity seeker who has manipulated the media and the Middle Class through his fasts, to fashion a flawed movement which seeks to subvert Indian democracy and indeed Parliament itself. You know, the Lokpal is not going to eradicate corruption and all these fasts are just theatre. Plus, you know who is behind this? The RSS. It is actually the Saffron Brigade that is underwriting the Anna movement.

Anna’s Gandhigiri: Refuting some slurs

This is what the UPA, the Congress and the government will have you believe about Anna Hazare!

And, there are many who take the bait. The blogosphere and the popular media are agog with pundits weighing in -on Gandhi vs Anna, people vs Parliament, Team Anna vs the Constitution, et al.

He is no Gandhi, they proclaim. It's a false and flawed attempt at Gandhigiri.

Let's take a look here at what we know and see beyond the allegations of the hidden agenda behind the Anna movement.

Allegation 1: Anna is no Gandhi

Well, he is not. And, he has never claimed he was one. Gandhigiri -- using symbols, techniques and forms of protest made famous by Gandhiji does not necessarily mean that the person has to fit the exact mould of the Mahatma. How many in this country can be held to the exacting standards of the Mahatma? So why is Anna Hazare required to measure up to a different scale.

Also, it is not as if Anna discovered Gandhi recently and was putting it on for the media and the middle classes to wage a proxy war against the ruling coalition.

His experiments at Ralegan Siddhi, inspired by the Mahatma, date back three decades and more. His achievements in his village scanned a wide canvass - transforming irrigated land from 70 acres in 1975 to 2,500 today; abolishing tobacco and introducing prohibition; energy sufficiency though solar power; creating a grain bank for food security; ending discrimination against the Dalits, etc. No mean achievements these, considering that all was done employing the Gandhian model -- small-scale, village based, through the voluntary effort of the community.

Plus, in 1991, his protests against corruption in Maharashtra forced the resignation of as many as six cabinet ministers! And, what was the method used - an indefinite fast!

If he makes a powerful case in Delhi and it has a ring of conviction it is because backing his "threats" are three decades of achievements in service to the community.

He may not be a Gandhi, but he is indeed Anna - no pushover and or a "proxy" as Digvijay Singh would have us believe. Therefore, the comparisons are odious. Much more designed to put the media and the well meaning off the trail to an effective Lokpal.


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