Ab Kya Hoga Anna?

By Dr Oscar Rebello
24 August 2011 12:40 IST

Our generation is witness to a truly historic and transformative moment of our times (cynics will argue, it is a TV revolution, but then cynics will be cynics so let’s brush them off. Bad gas can never compare with the rose fragrance of freedom)

But no politician worth his salt (or iron ore) can ever nonchalantly dismiss the “Anna” phenomenon as just another passing storm in India’s tea cup. The anger is real; the grievance is genuine; the frustration was overwhelming and now the near liberation is exhilarating.

Did flowers ever bloom in India, before, in the August rain??

India and all her future generations will always remain in debt to Team Anna; They did it honestly; They did it sincerely;  With enormous courage and conviction and importantly they did it for us!  Folk heroes and legends get born this way.

However, doubts remain. The Jan Lok Pal bill (some provisions of which I am in disagreement with) is akin to a dash in a 100 meter race. Exciting; Energetic and Effervescent and we the people would probably win that race considering our opponents are bumbling, crumbling Congress clods masquerading  as clever spin doctors. The naked truth is sometimes harder to handle, than a TV debate or a legal argument.

My doubts though remain about the sustainability of this movement, to solve India’s million mutinies, tough and intransigent as they are. And make no mistake! This is what those teeming millions thronging around Anna are looking for in their Messiah. A complete deliverance from Hell. So is Team Anna up to that challenge??

And whichever way you run through the maze of possible solutions; the only one that crops up like a relentless, dogged monster is POLITICS. There is just no other goddamned way. Remaining apolitical keeps you a pure “ virgin” destined for heaven, I guess, but it is only politics, that like good or bad sex, lets you produce the desired result:  The “ birth” of a new democracy for India.

Sadly, there are three political ideologies and systems that hound us in our current predicament and I’ll give you the analogy of dining out at a restaurant.

So, imagine all of us citizens of Team India out for a meal, paid for in toto by us, at this restaurant and here we encounter our celebrated, decorated chefs.

(1) THE CONGRESS CHEF: This is the kind of seedy character who’ll serve everyone at the table, alright, with a beatific alligator smile on his face but the dal will be studded with pebbles; the curry will be cooked in swamp water, and the fish will be stuffed with mercury or iron ore paste. Everything will be adulterated and corrupt but since you’ve elected this mutt - that too willingly – for 5 years – Eat it!

(2) THE BJP CHEF: This is the sanctimonious, virtuous, holier than, thou type: They may serve you a less corrupted meal but they have their own bigoted preferences for their guests though all are paying the same price for the meal. So if there is a guest with a beard and a skull cap ordering biryani on a Monday or another guest who makes the sign of the cross before the meal and has a beef steak as his dish, chances are these guests would be clobbered or at least their cutlery smashed. And if the chef is in a particularly foul moody (or Modi?) he’d probably roast you on his frying pan. Sunny side up!

THE COMMUNIST CHEF

This is the most comical one of all. If a guest orders an asparagus, celery and  feta cheese salad even though he can afford it, the chef will insist that he has only a dry paratha with a raw onion on it, to express deep and abiding solidarity with the proletariat. So if even you can afford to eat it, DON’T eat it! Got it! ‘Marx’ my words!

So hence the minefield that Team Anna is treading is so very very dangerous and challenging.

Because, we the people led by Team Anna want our menu and only our menu (delicious as it is) but we are outsourcing the job of cooking the meal to these three afore mentioned incompetent chefs who have made a hash of our diet for the last 60 odd years.

Team Anna must remember that their menu on offer, for the country, cannot begin and end with only the issue of corruption. It also has to address far more complex and divisive, but vital issues that plague our society.

Issues of minority and Dalit and Adivasi rights; issues of environmental protection; the management of our economy; the scourge of jihadi Islamist and homegrown right wing terrorism, the reform of our two pivotal fulcrums of the judiciary and the police; of education and women’s empowerment; the kick starting of an agriculture economy. The menu can get to be pretty much endless, as much as India is diverse.

Therefore, after the din and euphoria of these last few days ebbs, and a stronger Lok Pal bill gets introduced in Parliament (hopefully), the bloody painful hangover of humungous expectations will haunt  Team Anna.

And team Anna will have to decide if they are prepared to take on the chef’s ladle and how?

Because the movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill will always be the appetizer. What the people seriously are waiting for is the entrée or the main course.

Because they believe that it is only the main course (that is political power) that will give the corrupt rodents infecting our meal, their eventual just desserts.

This is easier said than done and it may be unfair but there is no other way out!

At the Olympics, after all, the 100 meter dash may be the most exciting one to watch but the pride of honour, of all the sporting events there,  is always reserved for the Marathon.

As the Thakur in ‘Sholay’ would say “Loha Garam hai, mar do hathodda.”

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Dr Oscar Rebello

Dr Oscar Rebello is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

all these guys are basically against Anna`s success.they want to dilute it with some vague arguments.they pretend they do not understand the bitter truth that the mother of all our problems,is CORRUPTION.the examples of chefs ,he has given are also wrong.what happens when a hindu diner is served with a beaf steak ?a jain with a non-veg ?a muslim with a PORK vindaloo ?a jew with a non-kosher meal ? this example hurts.the chef is immaterial here.what is served is more imp.otherwise its SACRILEGE to eat what is not permitted by ones religion.i request the editor by folded hands not to publish anything that hurts the reli.sentiments ,like this piece.

- abdool aziz, valpoi,goa | 04 th September 2011 11:50

 

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