When I made the blog post about “The Anna Hazare Show” (courtesy: Open Magazine) yesterday, my focus was on the hypocrisy of the Indian middle-class for being selective in their so called activism and it is being celebrated as the rightful political activism. As the day passed, more stories kept popping up, some of them from the yester years, and they point fingers at the man himself – Anna Hazare.
What irked me from the beginning itself was the photo shown above from Anna Hazare’s fasting stage (courtesy: another blog). When I saw this photo, I felt that the so called Gandhian is reinstating the pseudo-nationalist concept of the nation as a religious symbol. The goddess with the India flag. The so called Bharath Matha that all the hardcore and softcore Hindutvavaadis have perpetuated right from the old days. The same symbol that sent M F Hussain in exile. But I didn’t write about it because his cause seemed more important at that moment. But then comes the following.
At first Anna Hazare was in praise for Narendra Modi. He said the Gujarat model “[…]should be emulated by all other chief ministers. I am saying this on the basis of the kind of works Bihar and Gujarat CMs have done in the field of rural development“. We have heard Modi being praised for “development” a lot but hear what another Gandhian, who is less famous than Anna Hazare and has spent 18 years working with tribes in the troubled Dandewara region of Chattisgarh, has to say. If Anna Hazare was garlanded by the media and several VIPs came out to support him, Himanshu Kumar was treated a bit differently for his work. When he took up the human rights cases against the police and the notorious Salwa Judum, his ashram was simply wiped away.
He spoke about how ‘Golden Gujarat’ is not so in tribal areas and in the villages of the state. He said that it is the Gujarat govt. that is now engaged in building dams in a river downstream and diverting the water to Narmada and industries around Miyagam Karjan and Ankleshwar. The fact that this will displace over 150 villages, does not bother the government.
Well, Hazare did not stop there. He went on to say this – “I have described these chief ministers as good only partially. I will call them 100 per cent good only when they also accept the Lokpal kind of system.” So the only thing that Narendra Modi is lacking to achieve the 100% good ranking by Anna Hazare is the acceptance of Lokpal system and nothing else? Later when his statement became controversy, the good Gandhian added what his non-Hindutva fans needed – “I am equally opposed to any form of communal disharmony“. What a good soul!
Manu Joseph, editor of Open magazine that published the infamous Nira Radia tapes, wrote something that the media bandwagon wouldn’t dare say. In his article aptly titled “The Anna Hazare Show“, Manu wrote this –
But what kind of man is he, really? Haima Deshpande, a senior political writer with Open, has met him several times. About 10 years ago, when he went on a fast to protest against corruption in the Maharashtra government, Deshpande covered the event. She was a bit surprised when he said that he wanted to end his fast because journalists from the English media were finding it hard to reach his village. He wanted to end it on a Sunday.
“Two reporters told him that since the Pune Cantonment elections were to be held on that Sunday there would be no space in the newspapers. So it was mutually agreed between the journalists and Anna that he would give up his fast on Monday at 1 pm.”
And that was what he did. Now, the media wants a revolution and there is a good chance that Hazare will not disappoint.
But that is not all. Hazare had sympathy for the MNS chief Raj Thackeray during his campaign against non-Marathis. But as usual, the media icon Hazare did not forget to mention that he did not support “everything that Raj Thackeray does”. But still not a straight forward “I-condemn-the-MNS-violence“, but merely that “If violent means are adopted by MNS, it will not be in interest of a united India.” If violent means are adopted – as if that is something he never heard of them doing.
That is Anna Hazare for you. The new Gandhi of the Indian middle-class. Well, you get what you ask for.