First of all, I do support the Jan Lokpal Bill. Many Indians would, because we have seen corruption from small to large scale here in India and got tired of it. I do like the fact that there is this one man, Anna Hazare, who could mobilize people across country to join in support of him against corruption. I thank him because not many would have been aware of this Bill if it wasn’t for his efforts. In the end, at least it seems like this could be a beginning of change though the irony is that the government in charge is the most corrupted one in the history of India.
The support that Anna Hazare has got from the public was praised as the beginning of Indian middle-class involving themselves in national issues. Media celebrated a more politically active middle-class and it’s youth. “War on Corruption”, “People’s Victory” – the new headlines kept popping up in the news channels every hour. People were tweeting, changing their Facebook profile picture, putting Gandhi caps and some even did fasting for a day in support of Anna Hazare.
But there is something that stinks about this middle-class political activism. It is because the selective issues that the Indian middle-class and it’s youth choose to fight. From the days of “Youth for Equality” to “War on Corruption”, it is quite evident that the Indian middle-class activism is centered on an India where they have an upper hand. Where they will have their future built (and it is this middle-class India that the upper-class can also bank upon hence the support from the top notch CEOs, Industrialists and celebrities). That is why corruption, terrorism and reservation are the favorite subjects of these middle-class crusaders (yes, corruption is an evil that all classes of India would want to root out, but for the middle-class and their nationalism, corruption is a shame before international community, not an evil in itself). And issues like North East India, Dalit, Tribal, etc never come to their focus.
There is a Manipuri woman who has been fasting for the last 10 years here in India, but those who shed tears for Anna Hazare chose to ignore her and her cause. Why? Because she is not a proclaimed Gandhian and she is not from the mainland India. Her cause is often described as anti-India while what she fights for is justice to the common man. This proves that the Indian middle-class ignores everything that is propagated as anti-India. Their morale is not built around human values, but a pseudo-patriotic feeling. In their quest to bring “justice”, they do not care about the details of the human right fights. So they easily tag the fights of Manipuris as separatism, Binayak Sen for them is a naxal apologetic and every single tribal who complains against the government is a naxal.
What we see right now is a biased urban Indian middle-class fighting “their” cause and trying to downplay the larger issues exist in India. For some of them, it is just a passing-over exhibition that is inspired by the authentic fights of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. An attempt to do a cinematic remake of these other movements worldwide. After all, our activism is always inspired by Bollywood (Munna Bhai style Gandhigiri, Rang De Basanti style candle light vigil etc) than life and it’s reality.
PS: After a fight that is said to bring more “power to people”, comes this comment from Shanti Bhushan – “Ultimately, the power is with Anna, so whatever Anna says has to be accepted.” Birth of new demi-Gods in Indian system?