November of 2000 is when Sharmilla started her fast. She was fasting against the tyranny of the Indian state for implementing AFSPA in Manipur. AFSPA, as manipuries say, jolted them from inside. It took away their peace & instead gave them a life filled with daily abuse at the hands of the armed forces & local police, daily killings of both criminal elements as well as of naives. She started her fast & brought it to the parliament. She even remained in front of the President's house for a long time before she was forcefully evicted. Her battle is running for more than a decade now but nothing different has really happened. Forget about talking to her, not even a sense of any urgency has been shown by our so called politicians. Who is responsible for what is happening in Manipur, nobody knows? One may say, people to an extent, atleast I would certainly say that like in Kashmir, but more than that I would as well call it an inefficient & immature handling of the issue by the Indian government. Instead of dealing hard with the insurgent groups, we have been arranging to set on treaties with them for ceasefire. Who is paying the price instead, the people. After all, Manipur doesn't really impact the national politics or its fate so why to worry about it? But Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev do, how? read below.
They have touched an issue that has found their admirers across India. Impact could be as high as loosing elections. So what if the government had to make its key ministers talk to these guys to try to convince them not to start any "Anshan". They did however. One (Anna) is done, another one (Ramdev) to start. There are lot of people & with them, comes their thoughts. Who is right, who is wrong? Is it right for civil activists to hold a democratically elected government to ransom? If they want to do something, they shall get elected or make their voice heard thru their elected representatives or other channels like the courts? They are not entitled to harm the democratic fabric of the country! Baba Ambedkar, "Constitution Rachaita", was against all such "Anshans", why are we promoting them, then? At the same time, there were voices like "Anna tum aage badho, hum tumhare saath hain". Both arguments were valid in a way. Validity for the people against this kind of Anshan is that if you have any issues, get elected & propose changes. Be the change but let people first select you so that you represent a group of people. People in favor of this campaign were correct too, to the extent that if the government has turned a deaf ear to the campaign against corruption, how do people survive? Time after time, government showed its un-willingness to act against the corrupt, what shall the people do then if not take to streets. I am not sure what was your reading of the whole process but mine was simple.
"Intellectual Democrats" want a process to be followed for any policy change. They think that the civil society is keeping a democratically elected government at ransom. Come what may, irrespective of whether the government is listening to you or not, whether the police atrocities are on a high or not, whether you are continuously being harrased by some individuals in the government or not, whether or not you get the adequate labour charge for your job under MNREGA, whether you get the job itself at the first place or not, you have to follow the process. If you don't, you are going the wrong way & hence it is against democracy. In short, whether you may even live or not, is not material, what is material is that you follow the electoral process. You shall exercise your vote & select the right person to be your representative in State Assembly or Loksabha to speak for you. OR, for that matter, you yourself be there, if you want the change. If in the event, you voted but still you or your "GOOD" representative couldn't get selected because he didn't belong to a specific caste in that region dominated by or he didn't have enough money to advertise himself, that's your problem but you have to follow the process. You may eventually die before you see the change, but not following the electoral process will make you an "Idiot" in front of the "intellect Democrats". It doesn't impact them as much as it impacts you (normal public) so why shall they bother, after all. for them, giving a 2 cents of Gyan doesn't take long.
The other learning can be, those who want change but don't have the resources to go thru the electoral process, feel "Anshan" is the right way to affect change. We made you (parliamentarians) sit there but, that you are acting like a Eunuch, what shall we do because parliamentary doesn't allow to recall you. Even if we recall you, there is no gurantee that we would be able to fill the gap with a good candidate, given the type of party system that we have or even the candidates within them with criminal profile & indifferent attitude towards public. Why should I die without putting a battle? If Ambedkar was so correct (read his views on "Anshans"), he should have opposed Gandhi tooth & nail to abort all non co-operative movements & rather should have adopted all Democratic ways to get independence. Moreover, when he created the constitution, he should have made right policies for Governance. Nobody pressurized him to loan the policies from other governments. For that, I won't regard him more than a "Intellectual Global Gyan" preacher.
Anyways, lets come back to the topic. So there are 2 aspects of this discussion. First being, why Sharmilla's Anshan is not as important as that of Anna & Ramdev's & second being, what is more important, be always a democrat or change the system thru any means, if it desires so. One the first issue, I have done the explaining, as I think right. On the second one, only aspect left, apart from the background that I have highlighted in my third para above, is that the politicians need to buck up before it gets too late. In a democratic society, it's important that everybody plays his part as efficiently & effectively as possible. So it's equally important for civil society not to give bribe to get a job done quickly. It will automatically discourage the people to ask for bribe over a period of time. In the latter's case, since the government & politicians didn't change per the needs of the people & their demands to instate a civiic society, the people are now turning the tables & heat back on them, obviously not all. Any developed society where the government has been working rightly, these type of "anshans" don't find any space within the civil society. There is one more solution. Be like China, North Korea or Junta organization to crush any such movement but then that will be again against the tenets of a democracy, right "Intellect Democrats".
All in all, It's time for Manmohan, his ministers, his government or the state governments to come to terms with the reality & start acting in accordance to avoid such embarrsing moments in the days to come. There is no gurantee that tomorrow you will not have another Anna or Ramdev. Some call it ransom tactics, I call it, the real Democracy.
Categories: Politics, Critique & Activism