The PM keeps repeating his statement ‘govt has no magic wand against corruption’. Well, why don’t they ask Suzy? Suzanne Arundhati Roy is a single-window system for all your problems. In a post titled India’s worst journalists I had stated: “She is India's only global journalist. Be it a politician, a minister, head of state, saints, print journals, tv channels, everyone relies on her to deliver considered and scientific opinion on everything. And she never fails. Be it literature, nuclear threats, dams, environment, maoists, naxalites, mining, rocket science, environmental problems on the moon and mars, saving martians from pollution. She knows everything!” But we will come back to Roy a bit later.
While there is a huge support for Anna’s anti-corruption movement there are also a good number who criticise him for undemocratic ways adopted by him. It’s hardly possible to have a mass movement without its critics. Some of them are quite fair in their criticism but some are extending the Manish Tiwari line of dialogue, with a bit more sophistry though.
Sample some excerpts from this one from C.P. Bhambhri in a piece called ‘Spreading Canards….’ From The Pioneer:
A democratic system of governance cannot survive or, for that matter, thrive if people are conditioned in believing that every ‘elected representative’ is corrupt and misuses his power to appropriate public resources………Historical evidence clearly shows that democracy can be subverted and sabotaged by anti-democratic military Generals or fascist and Nazis like Hitler of Germany or Mussolini of Italy or General Franco of Spain or near home General Ayub Khan of Pakistan if the ‘public mood’ turns against electoral process which is projected as villain of the piece because democracy is labeled as a breeding ground for corruption.
First of all, I am yet to hear anyone, I repeat anyone, even remotely saying that every elected politician is corrupt. No, not even Anna Hazare says that. If there is anger against politicians as a community it still doesn’t imply that all politicians are corrupt or misuse power. It is fair, though, to believe that a majority do misuse power in some way or the other. The ‘maoists and anarchists’ comment by Manish Tiwari is still fresh but here is someone just putting it differently with subtlety by invoking Mussolini, Franco, Hitler and Ayub Khan. So the canard is now flowing both ways. Democracy was never meant to be a breeding ground for corruption, Mr. Bhambri! Unchecked power and greed are breeding grounds for corruption. If those in the ruling class can’t find the conscience to fight corruption, people will have to defy parliament. We are still lucky that unlike the Mideast people haven’t pulled out guns and swords. So Bhambri’s imaginary threat to democracy is as much a canard that he accuses the protesters of spreading.
Anna Hazare is leading an anti-corruption movement that has a fascist overtone because even Parliament, which represents political diversity of India, is being commanded to accept the so-called Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by Team Anna. Parliament is the pillar of Indian democracy and every Bill gets democratic approval or rejection on the floor of both the Houses of Parliament….The demand to ‘accept’ their Bill or ‘face’ public anger which is manipulated by undertaking emotive steps like ‘fast-unto-death’ is not justifiable……It is bizarre, to say the least, that Anna Hazare is adopting coercive methods to achieve his goal. He is challenging the constitutional and legal rights of elected representatives to perform their legitimate functions.
There is definitely truth in stating Anna Hazare is pushing Parliament a bit too far by forcing the JLP and imposing deadlines. As bargaining chips protesters throw up the weirdest demands. But really, he has only half the blame to share. If the govt itself constituted a joint team to draft the Lokpal bill, then the right thing to do would be to present a bill that is drafted through consensus. They could have taken longer to reach that consensus. Playing tricks on the civil group and presenting a unilaterally drafted bill is bound to force such agitations, especially after the extreme step of arresting Anna, lathi-charging protesters earlier and displaying extra-ordinary arrogance. Very few people in print or TV are actually discussing the merits of both bills or the many versions of bills that are floating but instead focused on which side will blink first. This is the Bhambri version of Anna’s fascist approach. Parliament and government deserve to be respected. But the moment the government becomes arrogant, extremely corrupt and intolerant, it is the duty of citizens not to tolerate the intolerant and corrupt. Throwing out a corrupt and intolerant government is not the same as throwing out democracy. We have seen state and central governments thrown out before on many different issues. All this ‘holiness’ about parliament can only go so far!
There are reports today that around 26 MLAs from Andhra have quit over the CBI raids on Jagan Reddy. Why is it that these raids are happening only now? Was the Congress totally unaware of the corrupt YSR Reddy government? This is hardly the behaviour of a government that people should tolerate. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed in a democracy. But it’s usually the government and politicians that cross those lines first. Helpless citizens keep watching endlessly. Someday, the protests were bound to get threatening. It is not people who started the Franco and Hitler trend. In this case it is the government that started it and will now have to pay the price for it.
That brings us back to sister Suzy. She says ‘I am not Anna’ in an article in The Hindu. Thank God for small mercies. Frankly, you wouldn’t mistake her or her ideology for Anna even if you met her under a nuclear mushroom glow. She calls the whole JLP draconian. In the whole rant against Anna Hazare and the JLP she does not provide one single clause in the JLP that she finds draconian. She does not challenge anything in the JLP. The entire exercise is to merely poke holes into the character of Anna. The strange part about such lunatics is that they believe that anyone who stands up and fights for a cause should also fight for causes that are dear to their critics. Where does such sick thinking come from? Only from sick minds like Arundhati! So here is the sample from her article which should tell you everything that Anna isn’t:
Who is he really, this new saint, this Voice of the People? Oddly enough we've heard him say nothing about things of urgent concern. Nothing about the farmer's suicides in his neighbourhood, or about Operation Green Hunt further away. Nothing about Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, nothing about Posco, about farmer's agitations or the blight of SEZs. He doesn't seem to have a view about the Government's plans to deploy the Indian Army in the forests of Central India.
Well, to be honest, not everyone is as bright as Suzy to be knowledgeable about every single problem that confronts us. I sometimes wonder why the PM doesn’t talk to her. Is there any problem on earth or the universe that Suzy can’t solve? Because he didn’t talk about Nandigram he shouldn’t talk about corruption! Because he didn’t talk about Posco he shouldn’t protest about corruption! Because he didn’t talk about Singur he shouldn’t talk about anything! If you observe carefully there is only a thin line dividing the Bhambris and the Suzies. If the PM cannot find a magic wand why don’t they talk to Suzy! Anna’s ‘emotional blackmail’, as some people call it, can always be matched by Suzy’s emotional nonsense!