Few Thoughts on Mass Movement

People have already started calling Anna Hazare as second Mahatma, but I don’t subscribe to that idea. It is too early to make a mahatma out of him – it’s like stitching the shirt even before baby is born. He has ignited a movement but this movement is urban-centric and is heavily advertised by the media neglecting the very soul of any movement in India i.e., rural people.

If a mass movement in India has to succeed then that must begin in villages and mobilize villagers. They are the worst victims of corruption. The recent agitation which I witnessed myself at the very site of protest consisted mostly of people drawn from the cream of the urban society, students from nation’s reputed universities, activists from few NGOs and the heavily biased electronic media.

Mahatma Gandhi was able to mobilize millions of people because of his innate strength to strike a chord with the villagers. He knew that without their participation India would never have got its independence. He travelled extensively to the villages, interacted with the people and inspired them to participate in the freedom movement.

To fight corruption we must start that fight from villages. We need Anna Hazare to lead us but not from the Capital. We don’t need a Tahrir Square like situation to teach our government a lesson. Bring the real voters – the villagers on to the streets, and then even the deaf will listen to them.

Neglecting the most neglected will lead us nowhere.

I wish Anna Hazare would start a satyagraha to seed fear in the hearts of corrupt officials by inspiring people to not to pay bribes. If an official harasses a man for not paying the bribe then he must be insulted by making the issue public, by going for hunger strike at the door step of such offices. For this other people must lend support, and to garner their support they must be made aware of their rights and how they have been exploited all along.

We need a Mahatma who can inspire us to come out of our comfort zones to take the corruption head on in its own territory.

Because we want our work to get finished first, because we are selfish that for us our own work to get completed is utmost priority – we are letting this monster of corruption to grow fatter and bigger.

Solution to this problem lies within us. We don’t need an all powerful Lokpal to fight corruption if the root of the problem is addressed. What if the very Lokpal is corrupt? Creating another institution which may become corrupt itself in future will be a mockery of ourselves. Even assuming the Lokapal works honestly and efficiently, how many people would it be able to punish? Already our courts are busy with counting the number of pending cases they have, and then can one Lokapal who has to look after Judiciary, MPs and MLAs, and Bureaucracy is able to resolve each and every case honestly and efficiently?

My argument is that instead of again going for the Top to Bottom approach, we must build a movement from the Bottom to the Top. Let the people be involved in this. Let them realize that we have a system that can deliver even without bribing.

They say change must come from within. Let Anna Hazare be the catalyst for that change. This is the time to bring the change. It is the right movement to begin individual satyagraha – and to do this we need a leader who can inspire us. Imagine how people braved the mighty British empire to deny paying taxes, to burn foreign clothes and to protest and protest for fifty years.  That’s why we have only one Mahatma.


  • https://disamajikahitari.wordpress.com/ Nikhil Sheth

    I should say what you have expressed here totally agreeable. Your efforts of being independent thinker unaffected by atmosphere around are really worthy of giving a thought. But I guess there are two points missing –
    1. You can see the same thing from opposite perspective. There is a section in the society, (urban, middle-class, neo-rich, students) which generally remains aloof in India and refrain itself from participating any socio-political issue. Is it not happening after long time that they are coming united on the streets for something? Albeit there may be some other more grave issues, some other ways of protests and awakenings, may be this is happening because its the problem they face in their life, but nonetheless its happening. I would say its a good sign.
    2. It would be helpful if you see the history of Anna Hazare. I totally agree that its too early to call someone Mahatma. Thats fine. But there are different reasons for that. What has has done in last 50 years before coming to Delhi will be really worth reading. His most of the fasts before and major works are in a small village called Ralegan Siddhi in Nagar district in Maharashtra. He hardly ever goes to Mumbai/Pune for his actions. Rather I would say it was for the first time that he concerned himself with this section of the society and coming to Delhi.

  • http://insightsonindia.com Vinay

    Hello Nikhil,

    Very good insights. Ya, I missed these points :)

  • Laxmi Prasad

    Majority of Indian population lives in poverty. How many from this lot might have even heard about the anti-corruption campaign. I go to my village and people haven’t even heard of Anna hazare or the campaign driven by him. These are people who strive and work hard for their living. They are too busy and occupied to pay attention to such campaigns. How many of them read newspapers or watch news to stay updated ?? They feel contended if they feed their family for the day.
    Even though such campaigns are aimed at resolving their problems, how do we make them understand about the importance to fight against corruption. Why would someone listen to me if I ask them to support anti-corruption, how will they realize what is good for society(and there by good for them) when they are plagued by problems with regard to fulfilling their basic needs.
    A lot of people take life on a day to day basis, how will they visualize what is good for them 5 years down the line. If they could, then they would have started with keeping a small family. This is something every Indian citizen/bureaucrat/politician knows about, population is a problem for the whole world and not just India. But how many governments acupsc portalt towards it ?? Society is a mixture of a lot of problems. We can live in equality making sure no one goes to sleep empty stomach by fixing these basic issues.
    JanLokpal bill to this effect is a very good start, something is being done by someone at least. We can only wait and watch how the how episode culminates, hopefully it will be on a good note.