August 27, 2011 : The Anna Fever

My country, India, the third world nation with the second largest population in the world, after 64 years of oppression and systematic denial of individual rights has finally woken up to the fact that there is indeed something rotten within the state. The urban middle class’s slumber has been broken by one semi-educated old man lovingly known as Anna (brother). After years of subjugation in the hand of the elected dictators, the visible population has now realized the fact that corruption has riddled all parts of the bureaucracy. The white elephant is indeed eating up all the crops. The Anna fever is the obvious symptom of the virus that is slowly (not always, though) but steadily corroding the country.

Symbolism works very high in this nation of sheep where the ghost of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has steadily refused to leave the urban imagination. Popularly known as Mahatma (saint) or Bapu (father), the idea of Gandhi has always been of the David fighting Goliath. Often credited for driving the British away from the shores of Hindustan, Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and  Quit India movement were quite instrumental in creating an ungovernable society for the British monarchy. Henry David Thoreau‘s 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience” (Resistance to civil government) was highly influential in  guiding Gandhi to formulate a nonviolent resistance movement. A nation grinding under the boots of a cruel master must revolt. The oppressive conditions were pertinent to the development of an anarchic Satyagraha Movement (Self-rule Movement).

The state evil is not the cause but the effect of social evil, just as the sea-waves are the effect not the cause of the storm. The only way of curing the disease is by removing the cause itself.” : Gandhi


August 15, 2011 greeted the people of India with the image of a thin frail bespectacled man sitting cross-legged on the grass in front of the Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat (the place where Gandhi was cremated). This was Anna. Kisan Baburao Hazare (later to be known as Anna Hazare) has become the new Gandhi to many. And through self comparison of this movement against corruption to the Independence Movement, Anna has inevitably hinted at the new savior imagery. But one can not blame this bunch of individuals for assuming the reigns of this movement and highjacking center stage, for one must remember that they are but just the faces of the voices of the millions and millions who are fed up with the successive corrupt governments that have exploited the powerless for decades and decades. The rights of the individuals have always been brutally squashed in the alter of representative politics. The walls of the parliaments smells of the cadaver of the individuals.

The dictatorship of the select few has so deeply convoluted the relationship between the center and the marginals that powerless marginals are now caught in a directionless mire that has corrupted their very idea of identity. In it’s show talk ways the center has created an illusion of dispersed power which has played the have-nots into believing that this system gives each an equal and just opportunity. And democracy in its all encompassing nature has allowed the politicians a full hand of cards and dealt the poor none. The corrupt has become more corrupt. The rich has become richer. The individual has been striped all individual dignity. He is either a part of a vote bank or he is nothing at all. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

After centuries of foreign invasions, a land that had thrived on it’s diversity has become an homogenized nation of mute followers and bootlickers. The politicians who were supposed to guide and fulfill the need of each individual has failed repeatedly for the last 6 and a half decades. The system is riddled with the vermin that are biting away the country part by part daily. And the saddest note to all this is that the writing has been there on the wall for a long time now.

August 15, 1947, the freedom from the Britishers after years of tyranny overwhelmed the newly drawn country with hopes and a sense of euphoria that would sadly end up only fulfilling a symbolic need. Even before the country is able to breadth properly the free air, the power struggle starts. Religion derived politics forces mass exodus of people from either side of the border. This was independent India’s first corrupt democratic move. And as years worn off, one tragedy after another competed to grab the horrified imagination of the nation. With the very decision to uphold the sanctity of the democratic process, the rights of the individuals were sacrificed to fulfill the whims of the majority. The so called independence of 1947 divided the country into two alien religions, Hinduism collapsed on itself and influenced by Islam took a defensive and decisive form. It become a community. A community with moral codes and conducts, and a strange need to defend the Gods. The effect of British invasion was already visible with the (unfortunate) necessity to form a homogenized nationhood and a sense of strict nationalism. This gave rise to patriotic fervor and at times to jingoistic pogroms.

A land that was for centuries independent of any overarching and stifling notion of religious and national identity was now, a country deeply divided in it alliance to different religions and ideologues. Gandhi had a hard task but least he knew the identity of the enemy. Today Anna fights a romantic war against a system that is rotten to it’s core. Emulating Gandhi in each step he takes on to fight this invisible but omnipresent monster, Anna is sadly disillusioned if he thinks that he is fighting a democratic war. The system has failed us. Democracy in it’s romantic imagery of equality for all has hoodwinked the nation and its poor for a very long time. The politicians, the high priests of this system have imbibed each corner of this quagmire into dens of corruption.

This country in the name of a free democratic society has snatched away even the bare hopes of dignity of life from every individual. This fight is not against some archaic notion of corruption. This fight is the fight against the democratic dictatorial process. This is a protest against the hegemony of the elected. It’s right that even one million or two million Anna supporters will not make the majority. But this is not only Anna’s fight. People have spontaneously come out to protest. People in thousands around the country are coming out to show their power. The power of the individual citizen that has for long been marginalized by the central authority. Many may argue that most people don’t even understand what the Jan Lokpal Bill(People’s Ombudsman Bill) entitles. But that’s the very point. People are utterly disappointed and sick of this system where the rich goes richer and the poor suffer. Where lands are grabbed by the people in power and justified as economic growth. When the government assumes that it is not accountable to each and every individual for the wrongs it has committed in name of elected power.

Democracy in India is just a romantic imagination that all are equal and the government is taking care of the people. But in fact the system in run by the corrupt who bear the burdens of representation. In the name of social development and equality, the marginals become legitimate pawns in this game of representation. Immediate appeasements are the poison fruits of this system. And very often the minorities (as a group) fall for these dole outs and mistake these dens of corruption as protective democratic sanctuaries. This democracy plays the same game as the external masters. The brown skinned puppeteers flash out the minority card, dividing the nation just like the white skinned did. In this cruel game of representation and parliamentary politics which is ruled as per the sanctity of the power, religion has come back to raise it’s cruel head again.

Imam Syed Bukhari of Delhi’s Jama Masjid blasted Anna’s campaign for not having a Muslim representative on the protest board and Mayawati, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was angry at the lack of reservations for ST/SC and OBC amongst the protesters. This is the perfect example of politics pervading the common intellect and trying to stop this simultaneous uprising against the power holders with direct diktats from the politicians themselves. People have to get rid of their narrow ideological bearings and birth to come together to fight against the oppression that the state has dealt out to all individuals equally. This is not a fight within the society, this should be a fight to take off the masks of representations and pimps of ideology. Don’t let them fool us anymore.

It’s a duty to ourselves (the highest of all duties) to protect what is rightfully mine and protest if i am wronged. And as citizens of this nation, we have been repeatedly battered, disfigured and maimed into submission. This ANNA FEVER WILL NOT PROVE SUCCESSFUL. And like any fever we should be hopeful that it doesn’t. But virus needs to be destroyed and this uprising is just the amber that will light up the whole society together. This isn’t a fight for Anna. Nor a fight for Mullahs. Nor a fight for the Swamis. Nor a fight for urban middle class. This a fight for yourself. You have been wronged. It’s your fight.


4 Responses to “THE ANNA FEVER”
  1. nice effort. indian anarchism has a long tradition from the vedic times. so compiling something on ancient and contemporary anarchism in india is a very important project.

  2. Anarcho-Individualist says:

    Hey, I don’t know if you are still active, but if you are, please contact me. I’d like to help develop the anarchist movement in India.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: