Myths and misconceptions
Prasanna Mohanty | April 8, 2011
Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death against corruption has, predictably, unnerved many.
The ruling clique is annoyed but has used mild language to denounce him. The spokespersons of the Congress, which leads the UPA government, have described the fast as “unnecessary” and “premature”, never mind 42 years of prevarication in setting up a Lokpal that Anna wants to fight corruption in high places. Anna’s demand comes in the wake of a series of big-ticket scams – CWG scam, 2G scam, Isro spectrum scam, CVC appointment scam, Adarsh scam, Hasan Ali and his blackmoney scam and so on.
But it is the acolytes of the government who have gone the extra-mile to demonise Anna.
One editor was piqued enough to write “A comic revolution of an obsolete man”, saying among other things that “We must not underestimate what television can do to an absolute farce”.
One newspaper editorial was headlined “They, the people” with a sub-head: “Illiberal, self-righteous sound and fury isn’t quite the weapon against corruption”.
A policy wonk wrote “Of the few, by the few”, saying: “Sometimes a sense of unbridled virtue can also subvert democracy” and that “There is something deeply coercive about fasting unto death. When it is tied to an unparalleled moral eminence, as it is in the case of Anna Hazare, it amounts to blackmail”.
This policy wonk went on to add “But B R Ambedkar was surely right, in one of his great speeches, to warn that recourse to such methods was opening up a democracy to the “grammar of anarchy””.
There it is. Anna’s fast amounts to nothing less than “anarchy”.
Spokesman of Samajwadi Party Mohan Singh added his bit by declaring the fast as “Fascist tactics”.
So what is so wrong about one man’s fast to pressure the government to set up an apex corruption watchdog?
Surely, a functional and proud democracy like ours, which is beset with corruption of a very high order – involving ministers, bureaucrats, even high court and supreme court judges - deserves a corruption watchdog to fight the menace. What’s so alarming as to headline it as “Activists call for Lokpal as Supercop, Superjudge”?
The burden of their arguments is this:
It is easy to expose the hypocrisy behind this stand. Here is how:
Don’t believe me? Ask the prime minister.
By the way, this is how “anarchy” is defined by the Oxford dictionary: 1. A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems; 2. Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.
Origin: mid-16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- 'without' + arkhos 'chief, ruler'
And here is a quote from the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics by Lain Mclean and Allister McMillan, 2009 about anarchism: “The earliest developed theory of anarchism, although not by that name, was An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) by William Godwin. He said that the governments keep their power only by misleading and corrupting their subjects. As individual human reason and judgment grow, and they lead necessarily to justice and rights, governments will become less and less capable of doing this. They (governments) will eventually vanish.”
Think this over.
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