Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anna's movement today

While the goal of India against corruption movement was for getting a strong, independent and accountable Lokpal, its purpose was to galvanize the people to fight for their rights. While the goal is still incomplete, the purpose of raising the consciousness of the people against corruption has been extremely successful.

Movements are not about quick victory or loss. It is a continuous process of raising voice against injustice and an oppressive and dysfunctional system. If one studies the major movements all over the world, they are long-drawn and consists of waves and momentum in their popularity. To take an example, Mahatma Gandhi, back from South Africa, started the first campaign against British misrule in Champaran in 1917. India got independence in 1947. It took the nation 30 years of intense struggle and sacrifice of millions to gain independence from the British who at least had a nation to retreat. We are fighting an equally entrenched and probably more vicious system manned by people who do not even have the luxury of retreating into another nation. So, the struggle is going to be more intense.

I have been travelling and meeting people around the nation thisitself one more time and in larger force. The movementis not just what is visible on the roads or on TV screens year and I see the same, if not more, palpable anger and determination to transform the nation in the eyes and words of the common people. Though there is a definite feeling that the corrupt forces have outfoxed and outmanouvered the will of the nation, it seems temporary - till the will of the people asserts again . The movement is in the hearts and minds of people. What one saw on the streets of the nation is just the manifestation of that anger. And that manifestation will be visible again and again as the movement takes a decisive and more intense turn.

If you study the independence struggle, we would realise that there used to be large gaps between each agitation of Gandhiji. Sometimes 6 years, sometimes 8 and between the agitation in 1930 and the Quit India movement of 1942 - the gap was 12 years. And our movement had 3 agitations in less than a year. Between these agitations, there used to be lots of organizational structuring works as well as constructive activities like social and cultural transformations. So, there is a need to create a strong organization right down to villages and mohallas. Thus,we need to slow down and regroup.

The first phase of the movement is now over. The supporters and volunteers in this phase came on their own, without any organization or structure. The mood of the nation against corruption was built for the past five years, by Baba Ramdev's constant reminders every day, by a proactive judiciary led by Sarosh Kapadia, vibrant, incessant and loud reporting by the media and of course, the in-your-face corruption by CWG, 2G and the Raja and Kalmadi gang. In this mood, once  IAC came with a solution "Jan Lokpal", the nation erupted in an unprecendent anti-corruption movement.

For the second phase, now we need to create
1. An organizational nation- wide structure. Surely not a heirarchical structure with posts, positions and perks, but an identification of the people who have been associated in the movement and who are capable.
2. Two way Communication between IAC decision makers and its supporters.
3. Constructive work for social reforms

The forces that want status quo will try its utmost. But over 90% of India want change. Status quo is not acceptable. India will assert its collective voice again and again, till it becomes not the largest democracy but the best.