As someone who believes in the spirit of democracy, it was heartening to see the country rally around Anna Hazare, and how! As a frail, old Gandhian took center-stage built on the hungry pedestal provided by the national media – it seemed in a long time the country had found a collective voice, it seemed that the concept of our government being “of the people” hadn’t lost it credibility. The government literally bought down to its knees, politicos for once running to take cover from the junta, it just seemed that this was the one bright spark of political activism the country so badly needed!
And yet, a couple of weeks on from the moment Anna took a token glass of lemonade, it seems we’ve had our full – of political activism. Feels as though, the token lemonade was good enough to satiate our hunger for change, our clamor for riddance of graft & corruption.
Alas, sad it may sound, but scratching a little at the surface of our collective political activism, it smacks so badly of hollowness; of complacency and herd mentality. And it will be these very reasons that once again, the politicos will be proved to be smarter than the junta. They have thick enough skins to see an adverse period through, and we don’t have enough gas in our activism engine to outlast them. As junta, we eventually have to come back to worry about our dal-roti while the neta can slug it out even though he currently looks silly with an egg on his face.
The fact that so many of us supported Anna, because it just seemed to be the “in thing”… heck how could be seen “left out” shows the herd mentality of our times… just lending a voice to the much hyped-up campaign was a sort of no-brainer that one would be foolish to miss – shows the little understanding we have of political activism. Tweet, blog, text and re-tweet, we did all … and with such gutso as though it was the end of the world. Sadly, as collectively as we got behind the septuagenarian, we also failed to capture the fact that merely lending our voice wasn’t ever going to be sufficient.
How many of us can confidently claim to have opposed offering bribe in the last two weeks? Whether its twenty bucks to a traffic constable or a lavish praise to an ego hungry babu… we all have and continue to bribe our way through our system! The reason why our politicians take us with the pinch of salt is the fact that tokenisms work wonders with our public – whether it’s a glass of lemonade or an heaps of empty promises that we seem to buy time and again.
Heck, who cares and needs an Anti-Corruption Watchdog, if as a nation we become Anti-Corrupt – be it politician, governance, system, people … anything! We’re too easy to mend, and therefore too easy to corrupt! As a public we’ve become spineless and therefore our country a puppet in the hands of the corrupt.
We’ve all given ourselves a pat on the back for seemingly have brought the government to its knees, but even while all the brouhaha over the Lokpal played over in the media… the Corruption machine kept milking our nation away – and many of us gladly provided the fodder – in an act of super-hypocrisy – that betrays at the very heart of our collective conscious.