A poverty-stricken young, wayward and inconsistent Kisan Baburao Hazare forsook his studies in 7th standard on the plea of abject poverty. Mysteriously enough, his childless aunt who brought him to Mumbai to have him educated was left spellbound when he decided on his own that poverty did not allow him to further his schooling. So much for the logic of a rustic lad on his having abandoned education, very much in contrast to Mohanadas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the nation, who achieved the impossible despite all odds and took the nation out of a nasty mess of foreign rule through sheer grit and determination. Kisan Baburao Hazare is said to have taken to street after he bid goodbye to books, in the hope of amassing wealth by selling flowers at Dadar, in the company of miscreants and bad elements, as the newly discovered trade, in his judgment, was more lucrative and rewarding.
Corruption, let us not forget, is a worldwide phenomenon. No human being can claim to be detached from wealth except by people adhering to spirituality. However, the young lad from Ralegaon Siddhi felt the pinch for money, fame and wealth very early in life and moved on to pavement in the company of other misguided youngsters in search of hard cash.
In the present context, past is of little or no consideration but post sure is! By post we refer to the initiative required for stamping out the menace called corruption. Corruption, like any other vice spares no one, and the social worker Kisan Babu Hazare was no exception. His attempts to arm twist democratically elected fully operative government machinery in to succumbing to his pressure tactics was grotesquely uncalled for. However, his blackmail worked and the government lost no time in persuading the 71 years old Anna Hazare on 9th April 2011 from precipitating matters who called off his ‘fast unto death’ undertaken on 5th April, 2011.
Mediocrity in perception and blackmail by individuals like Hazare for attaining one’s objective does not augur well for a nation that has already established a vibrant democracy capable of combating all economic hazards and social evils. It needs to be borne in mind that Indian economy had held its mark even during the recent recession and economic slump. The nation has come a long way and is presently racing towards another century or a millennium as the case may be. The integrity and progress of the nation is hinged on the rudder which is currently steered by some elite group of politicians under the watchful eye of UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. It would therefore, be in the interest of democracy and the Indian sub-continent as well, if people like Kisan Baburao Hazare set aside their ill-gotten wisdom or outdated method of coercing a government that has not ever forsaken the process of dialogue in order to arrive at a consensus in the interest of the masses, rather than adopting loose tactics to attract media or blackmail the government in to hearkening to their newly found woes and tantrums.
The forte therefore, needs to be on getting people of integrity around, with grit and determination, capable of chalking out programs and policies for the nation, people who are fully capable of maintaining equilibrium on the vital issues of luxury and money and are not easily carried away by their individuality and sentiments. People who are prepared to deny themselves for the sake of others, whereby the country could excel in every discipline while upholding the morale and ethics, so as to boost the ingredients of a righteous life viz. physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. In order to excel in every discipline or to bring about brilliance in every aspect, the complete system and governance need to be overhauled. Merely by pulling at loose ends such as corruption, the focus could be lost and opportunity squandered away unnecessarily whereby the very same elements indulging in nefarious activities might try and find out alternate methods of overcoming the hurdles placed in a hurry to keep the evil elements at bay. The country is presently on the right path to progress and development and it should be the endeavor of people and individuals to address the loopholes facing the society, the nation and the world in general.
Coming back to Anna Hazare, it is worth mentioning that he had even contemplated suicide on one occasion and wrote a two page essay on why he wanted to end his life.
Can a person with suicidal tendency hold the reins of a country that has advanced this far prior to or post independence?
On a closer scrutiny, it appears that the initiative to do away with corruption came from wrong quarters. No person with scant education, a maimed mentality, regional approach and petty resolve can move with the time. Anna Hazare made a bonfire of all that the democracy stood for, by deciding to undertake the arm-twisting method to bring the government around.
Any person like Anna Hazare, with a dubious background, having been associated with unsocial, reserved and bad company that made him a drop out from school during his early years, became aggressive enough to lead rowdy groups and elements in to forcing people in to his way of life, one who is prepared to even blackmail a democratically elected government in to accepting demands for his own narrow or regional ends can as well divide the nation under one pretext or the other. The so called social work carried out by him was only a part of the activity by the bad company he kept, whereby he ruled his village with an iron hand, which allowed him to overrule decisions of elders, to the extent of touting liquor vendors etc. by means of a wrong attitude he nursed within and which made him opt out of his aunt’s house in search of freedom; the mediocrity he nursed in life that made him opt out of his studies; his joining the Indian army as driver at 23 but again quitting the job under the guise of voluntary retirement at 35 unable to hold on to a disciplined life, all of these instances reveal the wayward ways to which he had got accustomed to. It is also worth taking note of the fact that he ensured that law did not catch up with him on account of his aggressiveness or bad company he kept. By ganging up with street urchins and bad elements, he succeeded in making out a larger than life portrait of himself but reduced the very concept of democracy in to a blackmail apparatus. It was much of hoodwinking people and the nation in to believing that he, as a poor man could have undertaken social activities which he could have done as a fully educated person as well. But education for him was a sour tablet and could not swallow it. Having been associated with unsocial elements throughout, the only way for him out of the dilemma in life was to convert his activities in to philanthropic ones! So meet the man – Anna Hazare from Ralegaon Siddhi, on the outskirts of Maharashtra, the Padma Bhushan awardee of 1992!
The Padma Bhushan awarded to him in 1992 was precisely a magnanimous act by the Government of India. It was precisely an attempt to motivate people and individuals in to becoming ideal citizens rather than wasting their time and energy indulging in unsocial acts of omissions and commissions. It was by no means an award for upholding his wayward past; rather it was an incentive to bring stray elements around to a path of hard work and righteousness.
Suicide or an attempt to do so is illegal in a country that has seen many instances of hijack, blackmail, kidnap, public fury and devastation of national property, besides dowry deaths, wife burning, molestation of women, communal frenzy, etc. These are instances of highhandedness in a society which calls itself the largest democracy in the world. Mohanadas Karamchand Gandhi resorted to fasting unto death on three occasions as a measure of appeasing the grouse of a party or a community but here his name has been unnecessarily dragged in to blackmailing a democratically elected government in to accepting a unilateral decision by a select few individuals. To defame Gandhi or holding his name as ransom in order to force a decision on any entity or to use democracy as an apparatus to blackmail a government in to succumbing to a particular school of thought is the latest cult which calls itself a part of social work. Here the very logic of democracy which calls for discussion and diplomacy went down the drain with Anna Hazare deciding to force a government in to accepting his demand to enact a strong anti-corruption act as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill, a law that has since established a Lokpal (Ombudsman) for purposes of eradication of corruption.
A person is most trustworthy and best cut out for leadership if he has acquired knowledge, enhanced wisdom and inculcated values in life right from his shy years of innocence, be it be under the guidance of parents or not. But the young Baburao joined the street after forsaking his studies for a shortcut to popularity of lesser denomination. This approach only conforms to narrow objectives, not cut out for a free nation of diverse communities spread out in 28 states and 7 union territories. Errant youngsters, who take to streets from young age, normally take to feminism and indulge in unruly activities. Such an attitude normally dispels the organized mindset within or the ability to concentrate on issues of common interest. So was it with this youngster, whom today the nation acknowledges as Anna Hazare.
His overall life appears to be inconsistent and not in tune with his determination as portrayed in his attempt to eradicate corruption. Frankly he does not portray himself as being any the intelligent, diplomatic or of shrewd mettle that can stand against corruption in a system deeply embedded by Hindu culture and mythic beliefs. It is also worth taking cognizance of the fact that human values, education, morality and proper attitude alone can work in to the core of corruption and not mediocrity, stubbornness or aggressive and revolutionary measures. Mohanadas Karamchand Gandhi lived through an era where he had a popular support – call it national. But the 21st century has traversed several generations away from those prehistoric years when the government was yet to be restored to a democratic rule.
As per the latest input, a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) has been filed in the Delhi High Court alleging charges of corruption in a trust run by him. More would follow in due course as matters proceed in the court.
Throughout his life, Kisan Baburao Hazare was inconsistent and never stayed put in any particular field. As such, with all odds against his past, the future of India in his hands only looks bleak, if not impossible. Let us not forget that corruption is the work of brain and muscle power. To annihilate this plague of a menace or to bring about reform among people, one needs to foster ethics and bolster the morale of the nation. Threats, blackmail or waywardness cannot carry an appeal in an age in which suicide squads have become the bane of extremism haunting today’s world? Then how does one attach a string of ‘fast unto death’ for blackmail in order to achieve a formidable task of routing corruption out of ‘Hindustan’?