Anna Hazarre And The Indian Spring
By Umar Waqar
17 August 2011,The Times of India headline flashed, Anna Hazare arrest: A million mutinies Erupt across India,one of the bloggers under the news story exclaimed, India is now in a silent revolution after Independence under the leadership of Gandhian Anna Hazare to implement a strong Lokpal Bill to eradicate corruption from Indian society . It is the need of the hour!
From Guardian in London to Times of India in New Delhi, and from the cyber world of Youtube and Facebook to the Streets of Allahabad and Bangalore, Anna Hazare has earned a reputation of a maverick figure, whose Jihad against corruption has been acclaimed within India and abroad. As per Guardian, “Anna Hazare whose real name is Kisan Baburao, is a former soldier with a long history of campaigning. He is an old-style Indian social activist – evidenced by his spotless white clothes, the white cap (topi), popularised by activists including Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, and the pen in his top pocket as a marker of literacy. Hazare's vision of India is both deeply conservative and reforming. A strictly teetotal Hindu, he has banned tobacco, meat and cable TV from the village where he lives and has campaigned against caste prejudice. Hazare also played a part in setting up India's revolutionary right to information laws. He does not have a mobile phone. Earlier this year, his topi briefly became a sartorial icon with supporters wearing similar caps bearing the slogan "I am Anna Hazare" in English and Hindi. He is popular among the middle classes, the liberal elite and in the bigger cities.”
Anna Hazare’s message is simple and unambiguous; for too long the people of India have lived under artificially created poverty, the corruption is gnawing at the roots of the Indian Union and cannot be allowed to persist any further, time has come for people to come out and hold Anna Hazare’s old hands and lead India out of morass of corruption. How deep is the corruption in Indian polity and public life, any body’s guess! It is estimated that Indian Black money stashed in foreign banks could be a staggering 1.5 Trillion dollars. As per Wikipedia, India tops the list for black money in the entire world with almost US$1456 billion in Swiss banks in the form of black money. According to the data provided by the Swiss Banking Association Report (2006), India has more black money than the rest of the world combined. To put things in perspective, Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are worth 13 times the country’s national debt. Independent reports published through 1991 to 2011 calculated the financial net worth of India's most powerful and traditionally ruling family (the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty) to be anywhere between $9.41 billion to $18.66 billion, most of it in the form of illegal monies. Harvard scholar Yevgenia Albats cited KGB correspondence about payments to Rajiv Gandhi and his family, which had been arranged by Viktor Chebrikov, which shows that KGB chief Viktor Chebrikov sought in writing an "authorization to make payments in US dollars to the family members of Rajiv Gandhi, namely Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Paola Maino, mother of Sonia Gandhi" from the CPSU in December 1985 .
Recent discoveries of corruption in Dr ManMohan Singh’s (read Sonia Gandhi) UPA government were blasted by the media, The Hindu supporting the stance of CPI(M) ran the story on 13 Jun this year as, “The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday hit out at the United Progressive Alliance government, saying it lacked credibility to fight corruption. The party advocated inclusion of the Prime Minister in the Lokpal legislation”.
Why has the leftist India including the Naxals, CPI (M), members of the civil society (lawers, students, teachers, factory workers and peasants) as well as Dalits supported the call of Mr Hazare? Because the capitalist giants like Tatas, Ambanies, Mittals and Birlas along with their cohorts in Indian politics and civil-military bureaucracy own 90% of India’s wealth, where as the rest of India reels under abject poverty. The factory workers and peasants toil in the sweat shops and humidified paddy fields for a paltry sum of 2$ a day, whereas the rich and famous build billion dollar villas right adjacent to the slums of Mumbai and Bangalore. While the ‘islands of prosperity are being built within a sea of misery’, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government as well as the rich to justify this great divide.
So enters Anna Hazare…an old man with a spirit of a tiger, shaking the very foundation of the Indian house of cards built on rampant corruption, injustice and inhuman cast system. Can the downtrodden and suppressed Naxals, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs and members of the civil society hold the wrinkled hand of Mr. Hazare and march to New Delhi for a final show down with the flag bearers of the most corrupt system in the world? This is a million dollar question. Anna Hazare’s movement is picking up the momentum, if you closely watch the videos and messages of Anna Hazare on the Youtube and other social networks, invariably his message is followed by revolutionary poetry, Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ famous poem ‘Hum Dekhen Gay’ has become very popular with the call for the time, when the mightiest rulers are de-throned and their crowns are tossed in the air .Incidentally entire South Asia (fed up with the scourge of corruption) is gazing at the horizon for the advent of a Messiah who could liberate the masses from the clutches of corruption and usher in an era of true democracy. If anti corruption Jihad of Anna Hazare succeeds in India, it may become a catalyst for positive change within entire South Asia. May be the History honors the old Anna Hazare with the title of the biggest Anti Corruption Jihadist of our times?
Umar Waqar is a young and upcoming freelance journalist who has been regularly writing on contemporary issues. He is trying to specialize in demographics, western culture, Middle East, India and development of young leadership in Pakistan. Has attended National Media Workshop at National Defence University Islamabad and seeks to become a professional journalist and true Pakistani.