Monday, September 19, 2011

Indian Public Wary of Copycat Fasts?

Was Anna's fast immoral? Was it illegal? If not, will others try and arm twist the government in the same way to justify any old demand?

On the 14th of August, 2011, Manish Tiwari, Congress spokesperson, had declared the fast illegal. He'd asserted that Anna had "violated basic courtesy" and that he "had a lot to answer for" without substantiating those vague accusations. He'd declared Anna corrupt. Everyone knew that was the politicians' plan A - discredit team Anna and malign their characters.

Gandhiji's words making it clear what fighting anyone in power entails

Besides Mr. Tiwari, many Indians had written in the papers declaring the fast illegal. They blithely ignored the fact that most Indians felt
  • cornered, angry and helpless by the daily harrassment they faced from the municipality;
  • by huge amounts of tax payer money disappearing into the abyss of individual politician pockets; 
  • that it was the result of sixty years of rule by all parties in power at various times in those sixty years and none bringing in the anti-corruption bill as it did not benefit them personally - just India and the common Indians. 
To want an anti-corruption bill with teeth that benefitted India and knowing that the only people who had the power to make it into law were against it, was a very hard place to be. Team Anna knew what they were up against. The fast was the only way to bring the issue of wanting strong anti-corruption laws to the fore. They did not know for sure how many Indians would support them but there was a groundswell of support for Anna's fast. If they ensured the protest was peaceful and non-violent, they were within the law to protest by fasting. It was perfectly legal.

Deciding to take on this machine of greed was hardly immoral. Team Anna was obviously not doing it for themselves, for glory or for power. They were doing it for a better, less corrupt India. Team Anna had the backing of so many Indians because of their impeccable reputations. Indians felt they could trust team Anna and came out in their droves to support the fast. The common Indian's desire for noncorruption in government might not be in the interest of individual MPs greedily slurping up tax-payer money, but whether politicians like it or not, Indians have, once again, realised
  • the power of uniting for a common cause, 
  • for laying themselves on the line, to be counted for and 
  • for ensuring, through well organised groups, that tax payer money is spent by the government on India - not on themselves. 
After all, whose voice is clearly heard? A billion lone individuals or a billion strong force?

As for fasting to arm twist the government to bring in a law that benefits all of India except the corrupt few who won't allow it to happen for sixty years, you tell me if that isn't justified. Besides, the government has only allowed for it to be discussed and sent to its standing committee for final approval. Their decision will be made on the 24th of September, 2011. All of India and Indians the world over are waiting and watching closely to see whether they still try to get away with bringing in anti-corruption laws with no teeth so they can continue looting the country. 

One word of caution - only exceptional, well organised people of high moral fibre are able to get away with such "arm twisting" - if you'd like to call it that! It happened after sixty years of various individuals trying through the normal channels. It shouldn't be tried by lesser mortals unless they don't mind being the butt of amused jokes and light hearted ridicule. People aren't fools. They are wary of someone fasting for their own individual benefit and not for the common good of all Indians and of India. Don't expect them to come out from all corners of our country in support.They did this time because  team Anna's cause was their cause too and the team had impeccable credentials.

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