Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:03:49 GMT | By Murali Gopy, India Syndicate

I’d rather be with Anna Hazare!

… On why a customer of democracy must not look down on Team Anna

I’d rather be with Anna Hazare!

When a 74-year-old man, who is without a biological successor, goes on a hunger strike to end a social evil as basic as corruption, four kinds of men start burning their brains: the sociologist, the psychologist, the historian and the philosopher. The sociologist does this because he knows that there has to be something gravely wrong with the social system that prompts a 74-year-old and not a 24-year-old into challenging the government. The psychologist, because he knows that most septuagenarians have this geriatric desire to mock the young but not all have the moral conviction to do so. The historian could take it as the harbinger of a "political correction" (that seems to happen in this land every 100 years), but then he would be puzzled at the way it has started, the point of reference being a 74-year-old. The philosopher would be mighty impressed by the sheer life energy that this man exudes at a time when those of his age group expect the young to stand up and give them the chair.

Anna Hazare is a standing puzzle to all four.

To evaluate Hazare would be like discussing Hurricane Irene with your saloon boy, while having a hair-cut. To criticize him, one needs to scale up to his heights as a personality. To assess him, one needs to be a brilliant student of the four socio-personal academic disciplines stated above. And to badmouth him, one needs to be... well, a Moron. Hazare, 74, seems to have practiced all his life, to enact a historical moment like this. And the dress rehearsals, it seems, had been going on in his heart and sinews, ever since the time when he was a young, simple man with a penchant for things that are pure.

As is the case with some of the best 'history-changers', Hazare too seems to have had a couple of Damascus Road Experiences. He shares with Mahatma Gandhi the sadness and frustration caused by the irresponsible off springs of a great idea. He seems to share with Adolf Hitler the near-death experience (they both had this on the fields of War) that paved way to a solid personal ideology aimed at bringing in a socio-political change. But unlike Gandhi or Hitler, the young/middle-aged Hazare does not look like a one-man army treading a straight line and taking the system head on. This could mainly be because of the absence of a solid villain that faced both Gandhi and Hitler. If Gandhi had British Empire as his adversary, Hitler had the Jews and the Communists as his. Both these forces were 'unpopular' and waiting to be 'taken on', at those specific moments in history. Hazare has never been bestowed with an enemy as grand as the ones that Gandhi and Hitler had. Having lived his puberty in an India that looked like a painted-for -the-occasion sedan with flowers stuck on it and with a "Just Independent" board pinned to the rear bumper, Hazare seems to have lived his youth with a profound sense of desperation. He did not know his English to deal with the intellectual masturbators of post-Independent India. He did not have the luxury of being part of a socially relevant force let alone lead one. He had no means to air his concerns, which were both tangible as well as intangible, in a nation that was just beginning to stick posters around the world telling others of its release. He had his shop to be taken care of. He had his siblings to look after. The only effective life-changing measure that Kisan Hazare seems to have taken during his youth was to not marry. Thus, having effectively bypassed a nagging better half, this man went into the army and took to the duties of a soldier with devotion, the fervor of which could not be questioned even after a devious RTI application that was honoured to the last alphabet.

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