Conditions in the country are not just fragile, but frightening. India is standing on the brink of chaos, rebellion and violence. This may not be visible to someone who is blind, but otherwise the truth does not change by closing the eyes. The country’s political powers are confined to and concentrated in a few families. These few families have hijacked the country’s democracy. Most of the parties have become a limited company of some or the other politically powerful family. Whatever remains in the name of democracy, that too is fast heading towards being getting shrunk in some family or the other… It has to be said with great sorrow that in the last 67 years, India has defrauded its own Constitution.
Anna Hazare’s Jantantra Yatra, now underway, could be a super flop because several people believe that the people of India are not concerned about the country. They worry more about food to fill their stomachs and the future. Everywhere, people are divided by caste and creed, everywhere it is a fight between ‘backward’ classes and ‘forward’ classes. It is a fight between Dalits and backwards classes. Even amongst the Dalits, there is a fight between the Dalits and the Mahadalits. In the ‘forward’ classes too there is a fight over who is the biggest ‘forward’. Everywhere in society, conflict is going on. Every one is fighting with every one. Besides, the youth segment which could be the agent for change, is in a state of stupor and has no ideals or models before it. Persons like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif are the models for the youth of today. The youth have now stopped thinking about the country, therefore in India, the fight of the ‘janta’ of the people cannot be fought. Now, there can be no ‘andolans’ no Movements in the country. Given such a situation, the conclusion can easily be drawn that Anna Hazare’s Jantantra Yatra could be a super flop, but is that assessment correct ? If this Yatra flops, then what will happen?
Conditions in the country are not just fragile, but frightening. India is standing on the brink of chaos, rebellion and violence. This may not be visible to someone who is blind, but otherwise the truth does not change by closing the eyes. The country’s political powers are confined to and concentrated in a few families. These few families have hijacked the country’s democracy. Most of the parties have become a limited company of some or the other politically powerful family. Whatever remains in the name of democracy, that too is fast heading towards getting shrunk in some family or the other. Democracy remains in name only, because today, a common man cannot fight the parliamentary elections are a far cry even local ‘Mukhiya’ (‘Pradhan-Sarpanch) elections. In fact, political parties have deliberately made elections so expensive that the common man cannot not even think of fighting elections. As for the economic arrangement, that too is shrinking between a few select families. The Government accords priority to policies that will destroy and ruin small traders. By feasting foreign capital, the Government has picked up the gauntlet of finishing off the country’s companies. It is surprising that political and economic power can be seen affecting even social and cultural institutions, because here too the influence and sway of brokers runs. It has to be said with great sorrow that in the last 67 years, India has defrauded its own Constitution.
Our great freedom fighters had got freedom for the country and made it independent so that political and economic powers should stay in the hands of the people, nobody should remain poor, there should be no unemployment, and the exploitation of farmers and labourers should stop. The meaning of freedom was that there should be development for every village, town and poor person. The freedom fighters had also adopted democracy, because they were convinced and had faith that democracy would become a strong, solid tool for development and change in the country, but who knew that the political parties of the country would wreck the dream of Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar and Maulana Azad ? In the last 67 years, political parties have made democracy a means, an alternative for corruption, inflation, exploitation, loot, dishonesty, anarchy rape, unemployment. And today’s leaders and political parties too have made that tool for development and change into a means, an alternative of corruption, dishonesty and loot. What the political parties and Governments call development is just an illusion, a beguilement. Eighty five per cent of the people are deprived of benefits of any kind from development and progress and now they have no hopeful expectations either from this Government. All the malls that can be seen, all the cars that can be seen and all the houses that are being built, they are all for fifteen per cent of people, because all the money in the country is getting accumulated with these fifteen per cent of people. The result is that in more than 200 districts of the country, Naxalites armed with weapons walk with impunity day and night. Here, the Government’s police force does not reach and neither does the administration. The Naxalites hold ‘jan adalats’ public courts and hearings without any fear, hold meetings and exhort and call upon the people to take up arms and stand against the system. This is the surprising thing that people too are siding with them. The amazing thing is that in these areas, Government officials, to save their lives, even pay money to the Naxalites. In fact, here it is not the Government that rules, but the Naxalites. It is even more surprising that neither the Government nor the Opposition parties are concerned or bothered about this situation and state of affairs.
India’s democracy is in the grip of twin dreadful dangers. On one side, the country’s political and economic power is getting concentrated in a few families, and on the other side, due to violent movements, a civil war like atmosphere and environment is being created and the populace is being crushed between these two dangers. In such a situation, the people’s confidence and faith in democracy is evaporating. The people’s faith and confidence in political parties and the Government has already evaporated because the relentless beating from rising prices has made the people of the country helpless. People’s displeasure and anger increases when scams of lakhs and crores of rupees surface. The political parties have made shamelessness hit rock bottom. Corruption has made the entire system hollow, but neither is responsibility fixed on anyone nor is anyone punished. It is a matter of shame for those who run the country that the people of the country have accepted corruption as a life-style, a feature of life. People have become discouraged and cynical and that is why they have now started saying give corruption validity or legitimacy, so that all corrupt people and those who take bribes can do so and pay taxes on the money thus ‘earned’ and make it white.
In fact this frustration and deep disappointment of the people is not proper, not in the interests of the country’s democracy. In such a situation, a question mark itself will appear and stand over the country’s democracy. Why can’t the political parties and leaders understand this, why are they unable to understand it? Do the political parties want that people should catch hold of their party workers and ask, tell us, what has your party done for us in the last fifteen years? That the people should shut their leaders in a room and ask them, tell us, what sin have we committed that the spectre of inflation and rising prices is dancing on our heads? Do our leaders want that youths should snatch the arms of their security guards and demand an answer to ‘why are we unemployed’? What offense, what misdeed have our parents committed that despite so much hard work we do not get ‘roti’? What crime has our sister committed that because of dowry she is not able to get married? Is it that political parties want that wherever their leaders pass, people should pelt stones on their vehicles and driven by fear, those leaders should move around only after removing the party flags from their vehicles? Do political parties want that the way lakhs of people forcibly entered the Duma in Russia or what people did recently in Egypt and Syria, all that should happen in India too? Do they want that people in lakhs should forcibly enter Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Supreme Court? If our political parties and their leaders do not improve their behaviour, character and image, then in fact nobody can stop the questions that have been posed from being converted into reality, because in the last 67 years pain and suffering have not distanced themselves from the people. Political parties will also have to understand that in the last few years the percentage of voting has increased suddenly. In the recent elections 70 to 90 per cent of votes were polled. However, though it is a matter of pride that the people even today believe that through the election process their problems could be solved, the way every Government that is elected indulges in loot and plunder also increases the anger of the people. If conditions don’t improve it will seem to the people that holding elections makes no difference. It is also a bitter truth that the insensitivity
of the political parties to the problems of the people is inviting the people to become violent and it is this which is currently the biggest danger.
Amidst the dangers looming on democracy and the frustration and deep disappointment of the people, when Anna Hazare went on a fast at Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi, there was an outpouring of people throughout the entire country. This fast shook the people of the country. In lanes, colonies and localities all over the country, men, women, children and so much so that even old people came out on the streets and began openly opposing corruption. That 13 day fast of Anna Hazare accomplished just one thing and that was that people understood that there was some power in him. People realised that if they unite and stand together, the Government and political parties can tremble. Otherwise too the effect on the political parties was evident and could be seen clearly. Seeing the people together, Parliament got scared and sitting till midnight had to pass a unanimous proposal. This proposal was the same as Anna Hazare’s demand. The Prime Minister had to give a written assurance after all to Anna Hazare. Despite this, the Government and the political parties could not give up their double dealing, character and double facedness and they ultimately went back on the proposal passed in Parliament. In place of the Jan Lokpal, a Lokpal was proffered through which neither will corruption be reduced nor will punishment be given to corrupt officials. It seems that political parties have lost contact with their workers, because the power despots and dictators of democracy sitting in Delhi do not have news of the conditions under which their workers are surviving and how they are insulted and humiliated on a daily basis by the people. Actually, the connection of political parties with ground realities has now ended.
Anna Hazare is on a Jantantra Yatra amidst inflation, unemployment, the insensitivity of the political parties, the dangers looming over democracy, with India standing on the verge of rebellion and anarchy and the people frustrated and deeply disappointed. He has set out to tell people that democracy means development, faith, employment and total change. Anna has set out to explain that democracy means giving strength and power to the people, the youth and the poor. Anna has set out to make people realise that if they stand together, the laws made by the British will end in the country. Laws will be made in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and the expectations and hopes of the public. Release will be obtained from unemployment, inflation, corruption, exploitation and oppression. Nobody will be able to grab land from farmers and nobody will be able to loot minerals. The country will have the right over water, forests and land. In this system, the weakest sections of society, and the oppressed, exploited and poor from all sections will get lawful share and participation, and villages will be developed in the form of an autonomous, self governing unit. This is the beginning of a Jan Andolan, a people’s movement the aim of which is to establish a true democracy in which Parliament will be directly answerable and accountable to the people and provide a Government which works in accordance with their expectations and aspirations, so that nobody remains hungry in the villages, nobody stays unemployed, in fact everyone can get together and be able to transform the country into the strongest power in the world.
Whether Anna Hazare’s Jantantra Yatra will be a super flop or a super hit will be known from the support it receives from the people of the country, but it cannot be ignored that it will be meaningless to expect positive change from the political parties, because neither will they improve themselves nor will they make any attempt to improve conditions. So will the public in this country keep watching democracy becoming the puppet of a few select families, will it allow loot of the country’s natural resources, will it keep taking a beating from rising prices, will it push its children’s future into the darkness and allow those who are corrupt to do as they please? When Anna conducted a movement against corruption, its impact was visible, therefore this time Anna has set out to change the system. He is on a Yatra to brighten the future of the youth of the country. So the people of the country will again have to support Anna, because his Jantantra Yatra is perhaps the last opportunity to bring about peaceful change in this country. It is the last opportunity also because in the democratic system and tradition public opinion is the biggest weapon for change. Whatever change has to take place has to happen now. People will have to understand that nobody has seen Heaven or paradise after death, therefore the people of the country will have to fight now and immediately. They have to wake up themselves and wake up others as well.