#India- Why Independence is # Blackday15august #Irom Sharmila


Full text: Irom Sharmila's heartfelt letter to Anna Hazare

 

Last year  In  April, While Indians seem to be exulting  when Anna Hazare‘s  started successful fast, far away in Manipur, there was a voice that  was going unheard. Irom Sharmila has been on fast for  11 years. Called the ‘Iron lady of Manipur,’ she is fasting to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives the armed forces wide ranging powers to shoot, arrest and search civilians.

From her hospital bed in Imphal, thousands of kilometers from New Delhi, Irom Sharmila  followed the Anna Hazare agitation closely. She  found   Anna movement inspiring  at that time but somewhat unrealistic. She said  “Our purpose is very different. It’s somewhat artificial, how can we eradicate corruption?”She added, “Also he is a seasoned social activist. I am a simple woman. I wanted to reform society. I had no idea about social activist or social workers.”

Irom Sharmila was invited by Team Anna to join Anna Hazare’s fast at Ramlila grounds in Delhi. But she was not able to go because she is in judicial custody. In an interview to NDTV she hoped Anna  wholeheartedly supported her cause. “I hope Anna is able to come down to Manipur but I cannot press him to do so,” Irom Sharmila said.
Irom Sharmila also expressed her disappointment with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for failing to keep his promise of amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). “I don’t like his (the Prime Minister’s) leadership. When he couldn’t keep his promise, it is a shame”. Singh had made the promise in 2004.

Sharmila response to Anna’s invitation

23 August 2011, Tuesday

10.27am, Security Ward, JN Hospital

Respected Anna,

I whole heartedly welcome your invitation to join the anti corruption rally you are crusading. And yet I would like you to be convinced of the reality of my situation, that I cannot get the advantage of exercising my non-violent protest for justice against my concerned authority as a democratic citizen of a democratic country, unlike your environment. This is the problem I cannot understand.

My humble suggestion is if you feel seriously; please try to reach the concerned legislators (read authorities) to let me get free, like yours, to join your amazing crusade to root out corruption – which is the root of all evils. Or you can come to Manipur, the most corruption affected region in the world.

With full solidarity and best wishes.

Yours,

Sd/-

Irom Sharmila

 

Anna when he was afstings aid the very first thing he will do is visit Irom , he never ever did in last one year. TODAY,  I remember IROM SHARMILA, as Anna’s movement fizzles out and the IRON LADY still going strong against the drconian alw AFSPA

 

Sharing the poem I wrote last august after ANNA fasted for the first time 🙂 he has done many times since then

Irom Sharmila and Anna Hazare

9 April 2011, 7:00 am

By Kamayani BaliMahabal

(English translation by Kamayani follows her Hindi Original)

© 2011 Kamayani BaliMahabal

आज मेरा रोम रोम चीख रहा है
एरोम तुम्हारे लिए
चीख पुकार तो कब से दबी थी
गुस्सा भी चीख चीख के निकला था
vt स्टेशन पे तुम्हारी रिहाई की गुहार लगाकर
मानों तन और मनं ऐसा थरका था
लोगों को तुम्हारे बारे में बताना
लोगों को अफ्प्सा काले कानून के बारे में बता कर
मानो मनं कुछ तो हल्का हुआ था

लेकिन कुछ दिन से इस देश की गुहार देखकर
अन्ना हजारे पर प्यार देख कर
देश के कोने कोने से भर्ष्टाचार के यह एक आवाज़ सुनकर
खुश तो हूँ,
पर मेरा दिल चीख चीख के रो रहा है
मेरा दिमाग, मेरा तन…. इस क्रांति पे खुश है
पर मेरा दिल मेरा साथ नहीं है
मेरा दिल तम्हारे पास है इरोम
वोह तुम्हारे लिए रो रहा है
वोह इस देश को समझ नहीं पा रहा है
आखिर एक दिल है……

 

तुम दस सालसे भी ज्यादा से भूख हड़ताल पे हो
तुम्हारे साथ एक भी भारतवासी नहीं आया
तुम AFSPA के काले कानून के खिलाफ हो
तुम्हें किसी ने नहीं अपनाया

किसी को मत बताना इरोम
यह एक ऐसी पहेली है
जिसका जवाब इंसानों के साथ बदलता हैं
हम अन्ना हजारे के साथ है
यह हमारी देश भक्ति है
हम अन्ना हजरे के साथ है
हम आम जनता के साथ है

जब हम तुम्हारे साथ है
हम देशद्रोही है
जब तुम्हारे साथ हैं
हम फ़ौज और जवानों के खिलाफ है
हम इस देश की सुरक्षा के खिलाफ है

भ्रष्टाचार तो बचपन से हमें
हमारी किताबों में भी एक गलत चीज़ है बताया गया है
पर इरोम, देश भक्ति हमें
केवल अपने देश को बचाना ही सिखाएगी

देश, फ़ौज , पोलिस—देश भक्ति का अटूट अंग बन गए हैं
वह मेरी तुम्हरी लड़ाई में हमारे दुश्मन बन गए हैं
भ्रष्टाचार में लाखों करोड़ों के घपले हैं
पर अफ्प्सा , जैसे काले कानून के कारण
इस देश भक्ति के कारण
लाखों करोड़ों देशवासी मौत की नीद सो गए गए है
उनके मरने से उनके परिवार भी मर गए हैं
और हम सब उनको आतंकवादी के नाम देकर….
देशभक्ति का प्रमाण देकर कहीं सो गए

इरोम, हम सरकार की इस बर्बरता को
देशभक्ति के परदे में देख नहीं पाते
कब हमारे देश वासी जागेंगे
और हम देश वासी बाद में , पहले इंसान है
इस एहसास को जान पायेंगे

कब इरोम कब
कब हजारों लाखों तुम्हारे साथ भी
भूख हड़ताल पे जायेंगे
कब इरोम कब
हमारे देशवासी
इस देशभक्ति का
मुखोटा हटाएँगे

अन्ना हजारे तुम्हारी जीत हो गयी है
तुम्हारे ८५ घंटों के अनशन से
लोकपाल बिल आएगा…….
इरोम शर्मीला के दशक के अनशन पे
AFPSA हटा नहीं है
अन्ना क्या आप इरोम के साथ बैठोगे ?
क्या आप कानून के नाम पर जो लहू बह रहा है ?
उसको रोक पाओगे ?

Today every pore of my body is screaming
For you Irom
The screams were suppressed since when…
Anger was coming out in my screams and protests
As I was screaming and shouting for your release at VT station
My being had shaken within
To tell people about you, what you stand for
To tell people about draconian law AFPSA
I felt lighter

For the past few days the country has been screaming
I am happy to see
All the love being doled out to Anna Hazare
To hear voice against corruption
From nook and corner of each city
I am happy to see
But my heart is crying
My brain is happy thinking about this Anna revolution
But my heart is not with me
My heart is with you Irom
It is crying for you
And it is unable to understand the sentiments of this country

After all it’s a HEART
You have been on hunger strike for more than a decade
But not a single Indian came with you
You were against the black law of AFPSA
But no one owned you

Do not tell anyone Irom
This is a riddle
Whose answer changes with people?
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are true patriots
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are with the common people

When we are with you
We are traitors
When we are with you
We are against our army, our soldiers
We are against the national security
Corruption has been embedded as a bad trait
Since our childhood in our text books

But Irom, patriotism
Only teaches us to defend our country
Nation, army, police are inherent features of patriotism
They have become enemies in our fight for freedom

There have been many scams of crores under the banner of corruption
Because of AFPSA, BECAUSE OF THS PATRIOTISM
Lakhs and crores of Indians have been killed
Their families have also died eventually
And we have given them the certificate of terrorists
Very conveniently and gone to sleep in the bed of patriotism

Irom, we are unable to see the human rights violation of government
Under the garb of patriotism
When will my countrymen awaken, to the fact that
We are humans first, and Indians later

When Irom, when
Lakhs of people will join you in your hunger strike?
When Irom, when
Will our people remove the
Mask of patriotism?

Anna Hazare, you have won
After 85 hours of your FAST
The Lokpal Bill will be implemented
After a decade of your fast
Still the AFPSA has not been repealed
Anna will you sit with Irom?
Will you be able to stop the bloodshed
In the name of law?

I have recited the poem here–You can listen here

ANNA-MORPHOSIS – The Kejriwal Conundrum


 

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 33, Dated 18 Aug 2012

 

Arvind Kejriwal had tapped into a crucial anger. As chief architect of the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, he could have leveraged real change despite political resistance. Revati Laul assesses what his sudden change of course means

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

PERHAPS IDEALISM, conscience and a keen sense of righteous rage are not enough. Perhaps intransigent ego — even a modicum of megalomania, a small zone of blindness — are necessary traits in a would be revolutionary. How else can one make the leap and believe powerful vested structures can be overthrown overnight and supplanted with one’s own?

At THiNK — TEHELKA’s event in Goa — last year, there was one man international guests like The New York Times columnist Tom Freidman and astronomer Mike Brown wanted to meet more than any other. A short, stout, earnest man in trademark loose grey pants and chequered shirt. And an even more trademarked earnest face. A man around whom zealous crowds had swelled last year, teeming seas of humanity, shouting anti-corruption slogans in ‘I’m Anna’ caps. All along though, it was clear to everyone that the real face of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement wasn’t Anna Hazare. It was Arvind Kejriwal. Anna was the mascot. Arvind was the architect.

In cruel contrast, in July this year at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Arvind the architect was no longer the most sought-after man. As he sat on an indefinite fast from 25 July, a reluctant media, tired from last year’s breathless coverage, turned up in a tepid trickle. Cameras dangled searchingly from cranes to reveal pockmarked aerial shots of much thinner crowds. Critics pronounced the Anna movement as last year’s story. Until halfway through the fast, it didn’t even make the headlines. Arvind, diabetic and weak, was losing weight and his health rapidly. Then the weekend was upon him. Anna joined the fast. Even so, a sceptical media continued to ask: if the Lokpal Bill wasn’t the agenda this time, what was the fast really about?

Arvind said it was to get the UPA government to set up a special investigation team against 15 Cabinet ministers whom Team Anna had accused of corruption. This did not quite meet the eye. Why would a government that had spent all of 2011 playing combat games with Anna and Arvind over the Lokpal Bill now give in to demands that even affiliates saw as mere posture? That too under pressure from a team whose previous fast in December 2011 had been a complete washout? As one hard day of fasting rolled into the next, even Arvind sounded like he expected nothing to happen. So, as he kept reiterating his favourite line at Jantar Mantar that he had no faith in the government, the question that kept surfacing on the same TV screens that had propped up the movement in the previous year was: what on earth was the point? On the other side of the split screens, smug politicians said to cameras — “Let them do what they want.”

And then, sure enough, something did happen that forced the TV cameras back into position. In a masterstroke that enabled him to save his face and end his nine-day fast and Anna his five-day one, Arvind announced that the IAC crusade was now going to morph into a political party. Some called it the death of India’s most watched anti-corruption movement. Others said it gave it fresh blood. Arvind and his co-strategist Prashant Bhushan termed it as total revolution. Anna ambiguously blogged his displeasure. And two days later, disbanded his team.

It was clear to everyone that the real face of the IAC wasn’t Anna Hazare. It was Arvind Kejriwal. Anna was the mascot. Arvind was the architect

So, what really had happened? Why had the crowds fallen away from Arvind in the past few months? Was this round of fasts a premeditated exercise to moult a skin that no longer fit? What changed in one day, and how, is not just a straightforward story of the Anna Hazare movement in a new bottle. It’s a complex and paradoxical account of the inner workings of one man. Arvind. And his ability to conjure a crowd from a consumer class and a party from a people’s movement.

FOR ALL his purist rhetoric, a great irony that dogs Arvind Kejriwal is that, in many ways, he exactly mirrors the qualities he criticises in the political class. He is a canny strategist: that is what helped him build one of the most high-visibility movements in recent Indian history. But for all his talk of extreme transparencies, virtuous processes and absolute truths, he can be very expedient and fluid with the truth himself. And consensus building is clearly not his strength. This is what made him blow the movement he had built.

Arvind’s sudden decision to float a political party has scattered the IAC, dismayed many of its core members, and brought simmering frictions into the open. According to Arvind, the idea of sitting on a door-die fast this time had a dual purpose. “It exposed the government’s injustice in the eyes of the public and also prepared the public for the next stage of the battle.” What was this next stage? Was the decision to turn the movement into a political party then taken much before the fast and not spurred by popular demand as he had claimed at Jantar Mantar? Was the fast merely a stage prop constructed to provide the backdrop needed to announce his party? “Not at all,” says Arvind vehemently. “It was not planned from before.”

But several IAC core committee members have a different story. Activist Akhil Gogoi, one such member, says the idea of going political was seriously discussed at a meeting on 22 April, three months before Arvind’s latest fast. “I opposed it. At least five other core committee members agreed with me. Then there was a second core committee meeting where this was decided. I wasn’t present and wasn’t asked.”

Justice Santosh Hegde, another key Team Anna member, also admits he was against starting a party and was not consulted about the decision. “I cannot tell you how much I regret the disbanding of this movement. The Lokpal Bill that is under consideration in Parliament is not everything we wanted, but it was 70 percent there. We could have accepted it and slowly built pressure to amend it bit by bit. But I think some psephologist told them that there is an Anna wave in the air, so you can win if you float a party.”

Perhaps Gogoi and Hegde were genuinely outvoted by other team members but what their statements confirm is that the proposal to form a political party did not unfurl entirely as Arvind pronounced at Jantar Mantar. It also raises another important question. If forming a party was being considered as far back as April, why was this not shared with “the people” Arvind claims he works on behalf of?

It’s a question many disgruntled core committee members are asking. Devinder Sharma, a veteran grassroots activist, in fact, goes a step further. He says Arvind paradoxically has a lot in common with Sonia Gandhi, his key adversary, in how he runs his team. Sharma says he had dived into the Arvind crusade with great enthusiasm only to find that “here too, it’s only the high command that decides”. High command: The words are intended to sting Arvind, who has often shrilly denounced the Congress’ top-down style of functioning and claimed the IAC has no such power structure and is driven purely “by the people’s will”.

The sudden decision to float a party has scattered the IAC, dismayed many of its core members, and brought simmering frictions into the open

Is Arvind the crusader and anarchist then most well suited really to be a politician? Insight comes from a fourth core committee member. Sunita Godara, sportsperson and activist, and winner of the Asian Marathon in 1992. In 2010, when Arvind was looking for a suitable sportsperson to file a PIL on corruption in the Commonwealth Games, Godara came handy. “Inclination towards a mainstream political formation was there for the past six months,” says Godara. By her reckoning, the idea was Shanti Bhushan’s, former Union law minister and Prashant’s father. “Shantiji always used to say, till when will we keep fighting like this? If they are not changing the system, we will have to get into the system to fight.” Arvind puts this down to “various discussions” the team had, part of the “churning process”. However, he insists the decision to go political was finally taken only on 1 August.

But even on that day, according to Godara, the crucial decision was taken only by a few. “It was clear that only a select lot — two or three people — will decide whether we go political or not,” she said.

Arvind rebuts these accounts, placing the onus of the decision to go political on Anna and narrating with standard polemic why things unfolded the way they did. “The government was not passing the Jan Lokpal Bill,” he says, “because there are 15 ministers in the Cabinet with serious allegations of corruption against them.” In the meantime, Anna had got some damning feedback that people were saying they still had faith in the movement’s leadership but had lost faith in the movement. People were asking, what was the point of a fast? “When hope dies, people stop coming out on the streets,” explains Arvind.

For all his purist rhetoric, a great irony that dogs Kejriwal is that, in many ways, he mirrors the very qualities he criticises in the Indian political class

Amidst this pall of despondency, came the letter signed by 23 eminent citizens, including political scientist Yogendra Yadav, former army chief Gen VK Singh, former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh and journalist Kuldip Nayar asking for the fast to be called off. This letter, suggesting that Team Anna come up with an alternative form of politics, was projected as the main catalyst.

A message went out via TV channels to Arvind’s largely TV audience. Twenty-four hours later, a Zee News poll came back with a verdict he had hoped for: 96 percent in favour of a political alternative. It didn’t seem to matter that by “a political alternative”, these eminent citizens weren’t necessarily suggesting Team Anna transform themselves into a political party.

Nayar, in fact, told TEHELKA, “This has completely shifted the goalposts away from what they were fighting for until now — a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.” Nayar added further that the team would need to go to the masses and build itself patiently bottom up instead of what it is now — top down. But Arvind wasn’t interested in the fine print. At 5 pm on 2 August, he sipped a glass of coconut water, broke his fast and announced the formation of a political party. A seemingly disastrous situation had been turned by him into the springboard for his next big step.

Focal point Arvind Kejriwal holds an early morning meeting during Anna Hazare’s fast at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in August 2011Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Devinder Sharma blogged that this decision was a “death warrant for social movements”. But Arvind says without a trace of self-reflective irony: “You see, the core committee is not important. The people of this country are.”

As the announcement broke on the networks, many of the 2,000-odd volunteers in the IAC team were deeply crestfallen. Suddenly, without warning, all their goalposts had shifted. For a year-and-a-half, Arvind had made the Jan Lokpal Bill seem the most redemptive tool in Indian public life, but having gained serious momentum, he didn’t seem to have the patience to fight it through. For a year-and-a-half too, he had mocked the government and spoken headily about a new democratic form of functioning — where supra complex decisions would be made only with feedback from the people, and websites would solicit consultations.

Now suddenly, from Bhagat Singhs and Che Guevaras, without being told, were they all to become part of something that would one day look like the establishment? The IAC movement had been built on the backs of many people. Were they to be disbanded without even a jan sunwayi? Arvind and Prashant had to gather volunteers in a quick damage-control meeting. Insiders say it has had mixed results.

If forming a party was being considered as far back as April, why was this not shared with ‘the people’ Arvind claims he works on behalf of?

But disgruntlement among some IAC volunteers had begun to kick in even before this announcement. One of them, Shivendra Singh Chauhan, wrote his list of woes to Arvind; the letter was leaked to the media. The gist of Chauhan’s grouse was that he had been happy to work back-breaking hours to create IAC’s Facebook page, but over time, it had become subject to an increasingly centralised style of functioning. Another disgruntled volunteer told TEHELKA they had wanted Arvind to set up an effective grievance redressal system within the movement itself. “We wanted to know how the core team was being chosen,” says the volunteer. “And why the donations and funds received from October 2011 onwards were not up on the website yet? But, the more questions we raised, the more difficult it became for us to function.”

Mastermind Kejriwal is a canny strategist who has succeeded in drawing support from both mass leaders and disgruntled people from across IndiaPhotos: (L To R) Shailendra Pandey, Tarun Sehrawat

The story of Arvind then seems to be the story of double gyres: the capacity for creative energy, expansion and decline all locked into the same diagram. Over all of the past year, Arvind was able to whip up a public storm like few others in recent times. He was also able to corner the government into promising and tabling the Lokpal Bill. Yet, he seemed incapable of spotting “the peaking moment”, beyond which things can only go downhill. When the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, he could have urged his co-team to claim a victory, short of the absolutes, and build on it. It would have given people hope, a second wind. But by insisting on his maximalist positions, Arvind seems to have lost the entire movement. It’s not a loss that is his alone. For many Indians who believed in him and his extravagant promises, he has just made it more difficult to believe again. A new party may be birthed. But the infant movement is dead.

TO FOCUS only on the decline of the IAC, however, would be to flatten a very complex picture. Over 14 months and four fasts, Arvind repeatedly managed to draw crowds from what many derisively call the unthinking middle class. How did he do this? What pulse did he catch?

Sunita Godara describes Arvind’s earnest anger management on stage. She says he mesmerised people with lines such as “Are we going to trust MPs who lie and steal our money?” While on a campaign across Haryana with Arvind in July this year, she said even in a small town like Bhiwani, there were more than 5,000 people waiting after 8 pm just to listen to him.

It’s this ability to channel a sort of collective catharsis for people’s frustration that made a beat constable come up to Arvind in August last year and say, “I have been taking bribes for the past 16 years. But in the past 10 days, I haven’t taken a single bribe. And I have never experienced such bliss before.” It also made a car thief return a stolen car this year with a note saying: “This car had Anna posters on it. I don’t want it. I’m sending it back.”

With his earnest, unyielding zeal, that is what Arvind most was: a figure of hope. Yogendra Yadav has called himself a friend of the movement for precisely these reasons. He said the tenacity and positive energy of the movement was a force to reckon with. Later, reacting to criticism levelled at the movement, he said in the Indian Express, “In a choice between two less than pure sides, I prefer the protesters’ infirmities to the rulers’ intransigence.”

Abhinandan Sekhri, a friend and a fellow traveller in the IAC, explains Arvind’s charm. “The clarity with which he speaks and his ability to simplify issues of governance sets him apart from the policy wonks.”

This is what makes the story of Arvind and what he’s brought to the theatre of political and social movements in the country most interesting. (And most riddled with paradox.) He tried to awaken political consciousness in a class that doesn’t care. It’s a class the Congress, with its focus on the common man, has traditionally ignored. A class that the BJP, in forcing into the Hindutva right-wing box, has also managed to alienate many sections of. Many argue the political potential of this liberal middle class is a space that was almost completely ignored till the IAC movement. Intuitively, Arvind seems to have cracked how to speak to them: not for them the slow dialogues of democracy: street action here had to be accusatory, instant, high on spectacle and emotion. And short-lived. Basically, a vent for anger. But trading on their impatience, Arvind was also trapped by it. When you sell instant and miraculous change overnight, two years can seem a galactic age.

For many Indians who believed in him, he has just made it more difficult to believe again. A new party may be birthed. But the infant movement is dead

Arvind was not always an impatient man. But growing up in Hisar, Haryana, in the 1970s and ’80s — in the era of Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man — Arvind has always understood the power of anger. An honest taxman in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), his own anger and frustration with the system kept building up. In 1999, with no alternative in sight, he started an NGO called Parivartan that began by sorting out people’s tax problems. Amongst the hundreds of cases Arvind looked at was an old woman who hadn’t got a tax refund since 1978. In 2000, finding it difficult to juggle his job with his activism, Arvind took a long sabbatical. Parivartan expanded its role from taxes to municipal problems and adopted two slum resettlement colonies — Sundernagari and Seemapuri in West Delhi.

Post-2002, Arvind began to use RTI for much of his social and political action. Though they now walk very divergent paths, Arvind acknowledges Aruna Roy as his most significant mentor. Having won the Magsaysay Award in 2006, Arvind used the money to start yet another NGO — Public Cause Research Foundation. In the same year, he formally resigned from the IRS to plunge into a full-time career as an activist.

Manish Sisodia, a key IAC member, who joined Arvind in 1999 to set up Parivartan, describes him as an obsessive worker, waking at 2 am to make notes and redraft policy. By now, a decade of wrestling with the system had made Arvind restless. He was waiting for his Rang De Basanti moment. 2010-11 brought exactly the canvas he needed. It was the year of scams. The CWG scam; the 2G scam; the Adarsh Housing Society scam; the Bellary mining scam.

Arvind, however, recognised that to launch a large-scale agitation against corruption he would need many things. Unlike other social movements built on communities linked through common causes of livelihood or gender, here there was no clear impact group. He needed symbols, glue, amplifiers. This is when he thought of approaching Anna Hazare — aware that, at least in his optics, he would resonate for middle-class Indians as a sort of modernday Gandhi. But how could he ensure people would turn up?

Arvind went to people he knew could mobilise huge masses. Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. For purists from social movements, this seemed heresy, and allying with them has often made the IAC look like moral contortionists. But Vijay Pratap, a political activist who has known Arvind for a decade, believes it’s with this out-ofthe- box thinking that Arvind really scores. His success stems from his capacity to have a brilliant strategy without an overarching ideology. What Yogendra Yadav characterised in an interview to TEHELKA, as “the politics of anti-politics”.

New rules With Anna staying away from the political party, Kejriwal will have his task cut outPhoto: AP

No one, not even Arvind, expected this to work on the scale it did. Or for people with such disparate political beliefs to be able to come together and stay together. Prashant Bhushan from the political left, Arvind who many see as liberal. Kiran Bedi who some see as liberal right.

Possibly, this is why the draft Jan Lokpal Bill the team came up with also seemed so full of contradictions. It spoke to the left liberal when it recommended that grievances should be sorted out at the local level through a decentralised system. At the same time, it also sounded decidedly centre- right in recommending that the Lokpal be an overarching institution checking corruption at every level. It’s also the reason why the IAC could not build consensus amongst civil society groups.

Arvind clarifies that the movement against corruption will continue alongside building a party. But the stakes for him just got much higher

Many veteran grassroots leaders are extremely critical of this. PV Rajgopal, a land reforms activist, joined the IAC core committee in April 2011. He says since the movement was chiefly propped up by the middle class, he’d joined in to make sure the campaign could be sustained even if middle class interest waned. But the flipside, according to Rajgopal, was also a middle- class malaise. Arvind was a man in a hurry. From day one, the IAC movement was ratcheted up in volume, promises, expectation and assault. Social movements can’t be run like that, Rajgopal explains. They take time and unfold slowly. If they are to overturn old, well-set systems, it must have patience and the moral muscle of a long-distance runner. Since Arvind had built his movement like instant noodles on short-term goals and expectations, it was almost inevitable that it would falter. When Rajgopal saw the first signs of the movement taking sides in party politics — in their anti-Congress campaign in the Hisar by-election, he bowed out of it.

Others like Madhuresh Kumar of the National Alliance for People’s Movements say the crossroads Arvind has brought his movement to could either boost grassroots movements, help them occupy more space in the political mainstream, or it could serve as a warning of where not to tread.

Many, like Medha Patkar, have also pointed out that the success of social movements cannot be measured through short-term goals like the ones IAC set for itself: “Give us the Lokpal Bill of our choice in the next 10 days or else…” The Narmada Bachao Andolan, for instance, got 11,000 displaced people settled, another 40,000 are still waiting. Meanwhile, the movement has changed the discourse on land reforms and people’s struggles on the whole.

Nikhil Dey, another rights activist, points out that, in his stridency, Arvind seems blind to the success his campaign against corruption has already had. Its constant pressure on the UPA has brought the battle for transparency and accountability forward; the Grievance Redressal Bill is now with a Standing Committee in Parliament. So is the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill. A little more sustained pressure would also probably yield a strong Lokpal Bill.

But Arvind’s failure and success are inextricably bound. Having tuned himself so loud, he is unable to back down. He cannot seem to accept that no Bill can get passed without building some degree of political consensus. That persuasion must be as much a strategy as accusation. He cannot seem to see that in August last year, and in December and now, as the Parliament sits in the monsoon session, opportunities to leverage what he has already won have been lost.

What choice did we have, Arvind counters. “It’s wrong to say we should not be result-oriented. If we had continued in the same manner as many other NGOs, we’d be running the movement for the sake of the movement.” He clarifies that the movement against corruption will continue alongside building a party. But the stakes for Arvind just got much higher than the do-or-die predicament he put himself in at Jantar Mantar in July.

As he kills his avatar of the anarchist to try and be ruler, people will now ask the same of him that he has asked of his political adversaries. To deliver on all the promises he makes. Including the Lokpal.

As architect of a people’s movement, Arvind Kejriwal has left a very messy blueprint. To criticise him, however, is in no way to condone the venality of the political class in general, or the malafide of the UPA government, in particular. Rather, it is to ask what state have we brought ourselves to that a public warrior must speak so loud and hard to rouse our attention?

Building movements is difficult business. Building a political party will probably be even tougher. But if there’s one lesson Arvind ought to take from his fight against corruption, it is to remember that when one is shaping the future, it’s good to have both a chisel and a hammer. Good also to appeal to the better self in your adversaries than declare them incapable of change.

Revati Laul is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka. 
revati@tehelka.com

 

Team Anna disbanded, blogs Anna Hazare, creating surprise and regret #Janlokpal


 

Edited by Abhinav Bhatt | Updated: August 06, 2012 18:11 IST

Team Anna disbanded, blogs Anna Hazare, creating surprise and regret

New DelhiIn a blog that appears to have bewildered his closest aides, activist Anna Hazare has said that Team Anna stands dissolved. Three days after aides like Arvind Kejriwaland Anna ended their latest hunger strike, 75-year-old Anna writes that “The time for fasts has ended. It is time to give people a political alternative.” Sources say the announcement indicates that Anna will play a limited role in the political party to be launched by his associates.Plans for that party were in fact made public by Mr Kejriwal and Anna on Friday, before they ended their latest fast against corruption. Anna said his aides would enter politics; he stressed he would not contest elections or be a member of the party, but would support it. Mr Kejriwal asked the public to help pick the party’s name and manifesto in preparation for the next general elections in 2014. Both voiced concerns about how to pick upright candidates, keep power from corrupting them if they were elected, and raising the substantial funds that campaigns are known to quickly devour.

So while Anna’s blog may be, to some, an elaboration of his comments on Friday, to many others, it signals that between the lines of his blogs is a discontent with his aides’ political interests. Looking distinctly unhappy, he told NDTV before heading to Pune this afternoon, “Team Anna’s job is over. We are separate now. They will form a party. I have nothing to do with it.”

All members were kept in the loop on the decision to disband Team Anna,” claimed Aswathi Muralidharan, the media coordinator for India Against Corruption (IAC), the movement that was led by Anna for the last 18 months. But Team Anna member Kiran Bedi confirmed there appears to be a disconnect. “Read Anna’s blog. Do not know what all it means? For we all had very useful preparatory meeting with Annaji wherein he gave useful guidance!” she tweeted early this evening.

Justice Santosh Hegde worked closely with Anna in championing and developing civil society’s version of the anti-graft legislation, the Lokpal Bill. The national ombudsman agency that the Bill births is what Anna has been fighting for over 18 months and several hunger fasts. “Somewhere we went wrong,” said Mr Hegde, adding, “I feel sorry (about the decision to disband the team) for the reason that the movement started by Anna for a strong Lokpal was need of the hour…It (the movement spearheaded by Team Anna) had progressed sufficiently and controversy or difference of opinion in regard to whether Team Anna should contest elections or not is unfortunate and which must have led to Anna disbanding the team.” Mr Hegde has also said that Team Anna should have steered clear of politics. (Watch)

From outside the team has come the criticism that those who have worked closest with Anna have always been hungry for power. There are also those that add that since August last year, when Anna drew epic crowds for a 16-day hunger strike in Delhi, calls to action since then have not stirred India. They certainly didn’t impact the government – for the last hunger strike, which lasted ten days in Delhi and ended on Friday, the government made no attempt to persuade Team Anna to end its fast.

Devendra Sharma , a part of team Anna not kept in loop check headlines today video HEADLINES TODAY VIDEO

 

Team Anna lived by the media and is dying by the media #IAC #Janlokpal #Annahazare


 

Anna Hazare on Fast unto Death

Anna Hazare on Fast unto Death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A media creation

 

Sujata Anandan, Political Editor, Hindustan Times
August 01, 2012

 

 

 

When the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, with Anna Hazare at its head, began their protests amid much excitement and frenzy last year, I was among the first to say that it left me cold, reminding me suspiciously of a real life Peepli Live from Jantar Mantar

More than once in this column, too, I have stretched my neck and stated that Anna and his “team’’ are a media creation – essentially the electronic media and mostly by those from outside Maharashtra who had had no idea about what this so-called Gandhian was all about.

The amount of abuse I received from 18 year-olds to 80 year-olds, all of who mistakenly believed that I was supporting corruption rather than pointing out the truth, was truly unbelievable. But while the rest of the world was ecstatic at discovering this so-called Gandhian – an insult to Mahatma Gandhi, given the vast difference between the intellect of the original and the wannabe – at least media persons in Hazare’s home state knew what he was all about: a flip-flop man who sailed with the wind and who believed everything he heard, without checking out the facts for himself and a tinpot dictator in his own village. But more importantly, even in the 1990s, without the advantage of so many TV channels, a media creation by those of us who were absolutely enthralled at the manner in which he seemed to take on the mighty (chief minister) Sharad Pawar. He was then supported by Shiv Sena boss Bal Thackeray but, being easily influenced, he went hammer and tongs at Thackeray, too, in no time at all.

And how he was manipulated by his handlers became very apparent when he thought he was exploding a real estate scam against then deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde – but all that he ended up doing was hurting Munde’s family by bringing his private liaison with a tamasha dancer into the public domain.

However, what took the cake was that while he was exposing corruption against the ministers in the Maharashtra government, his own Hind Swaraj Trust was found guilty of misappropriation of funds – a fact ratified by a judicial commission and one to which Anna admitted and apologised. The media disillusionment with Anna was by then complete. But neither the ministers at the Centre in the UPA nor the people outside Maharashtra knew what Anna was all about. Rather than relying on the three former CMs from the state in the Union Cabinet (Sharad Pawar, Vilasrao Deshmukh and SushilKumar Shinde) to neutralise Hazare, the government was taken in by all the media hype, only to accord the movement the legitimacy it did not deserve.

“They should have made use of me long before they did,’’ Deshmukh told me recently. Deshmukh had Anna’s measure but so did Pawar and Shinde, all of who had played him along through various agitations while at the same time meeting him halfway on his demands that did succeed in cleaning up their governments and getting rid of some corrupt elements (the IAC hasn’t even come close). However, as one senior All India Congress Committee general secretary told me some months ago, “Our ministers just sit before television and believe that everything that is hyped up on this or that popular channel is the gospel truth. They have added to the myth of Anna Hazare.’’

But now that myth has been busted – by those in the media outside Maharashtra (remember how Anna left the Bombay media cold last December, leading to the downfall of his movement?), given that the contradictions in Team Anna are now starkly visible, as are the differences between them, the scams against various members and, more importantly, the dwindling crowds at IAC rallies.

But while people like Shanti Bhushan were quite happy to go along with the very same media `looping’ images of crowds throughout the day last year that made the movement larger than life, they seem to now have a serious problem with the thin crowds at the IAC rallies being similarly looped through the day. And though there are other reasons for the thin crowds (lack of RSS participation, for example), I guess it is only Anna Hazare (and not those who actually abused the media) who apologises because he alone has past experience of what it means to live by the sword and die by the sword: the media, in this regard.

I guess the IAC’s Peepli Live moment is now well and truly over.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Irom Sharmila- My Poem for you


आज मेरा रोम रोम चीख रहा है
एरोम तुम्हारे लिए
चीख पुकार तो कब से दबी थी
गुस्सा भी चीख चीख के निकला था
vt स्टेशन पे तुम्हारी रिहाई की गुहार लगाकर
मानों तन और मनं ऐसा थरका था
लोगों को तुम्हारे बारे में बताना
लोगों को अफ्प्सा काले कानून के बारे में बता कर
मानो मनं कुछ तो हल्का हुआ था

लेकिन कुछ दिन से इस देश की गुहार देखकर
अन्ना हजारे पर प्यार देख कर
देश के कोने कोने से भर्ष्टाचार के यह एक आवाज़ सुनकर
खुश तो हूँ,
पर मेरा दिल चीख चीख के रो रहा है
मेरा दिमाग, मेरा तन…. इस क्रांति पे खुश है
पर मेरा दिल मेरा साथ नहीं है
मेरा दिल तम्हारे पास है इरोम
वोह तुम्हारे लिए रो रहा है
वोह इस देश को समझ नहीं पा रहा है
आखिर एक दिल है……

तुम दस सालसे भी ज्यादा से भूख हड़ताल पे हो
तुम्हारे साथ एक भी भारतवासी नहीं आया
तुम AFSPA के काले कानून के खिलाफ हो
तुम्हें किसी ने नहीं अपनाया

किसी को मत बताना इरोम
यह एक ऐसी पहेली है
जिसका जवाब इंसानों के साथ बदलता हैं
हम अन्ना हजारे के साथ है
यह हमारी देश भक्ति है
हम अन्ना हजरे के साथ है
हम आम जनता के साथ है

जब हम तुम्हारे साथ है
हम देशद्रोही है
जब तुम्हारे साथ हैं
हम फ़ौज और जवानों के खिलाफ है
हम इस देश की सुरक्षा के खिलाफ है

भ्रष्टाचार तो बचपन से हमें
हमारी किताबों में भी एक गलत चीज़ है बताया गया है
पर इरोम, देश भक्ति हमें
केवल अपने देश को बचाना ही सिखाएगी

देश, फ़ौज , पोलिस—देश भक्ति का अटूट अंग बन गए हैं
वह मेरी तुम्हरी लड़ाई में हमारे दुश्मन बन गए हैं
भ्रष्टाचार में लाखों करोड़ों के घपले हैं
पर अफ्प्सा , जैसे काले कानून के कारण
इस देश भक्ति के कारण
लाखों करोड़ों देशवासी मौत की नीद सो गए गए है
उनके मरने से उनके परिवार भी मर गए हैं
और हम सब उनको आतंकवादी के नाम देकर….
देशभक्ति का प्रमाण देकर कहीं सो गए

इरोम, हम सरकार की इस बर्बरता को
देशभक्ति के परदे में देख नहीं पाते
कब हमारे देश वासी जागेंगे
और हम देश वासी बाद में , पहले इंसान है
इस एहसास को जान पायेंगे

कब इरोम कब
कब हजारों लाखों तुम्हारे साथ भी
भूख हड़ताल पे जायेंगे
कब इरोम कब
हमारे देशवासी
इस देशभक्ति का
मुखोटा हटाएँगे

अन्ना हजारे तुम्हारी जीत हो गयी है
तुम्हारे ८५ घंटों के अनशन से
लोकपाल बिल आएगा…….
इरोम शर्मीला के दशक के अनशन पे
AFPSA हटा नहीं है
अन्ना क्या आप इरोम के साथ बैठोगे ?
क्या आप कानून के नाम पर जो लहू बह रहा है ?
उसको रोक पाओगे ?

( This poem I wrote last year in april after the Anna illusion began )

English Translation

Today every pore of my body is screaming 
For you Irom
The screams were suppressed since when…
Anger was coming out in my screams and protests
As I was screaming and shouting for your release at VT station
My being had shaken within
To tell people about you, what you stand for
To tell people about draconian law AFPSA
I felt lighter

For the past few days the country has been screaming
I am happy to see
All the love being doled out to Anna Hazare
To hear voice against corruption
From nook and corner of each city
I am happy to see
But my heart is crying
My brain is happy thinking about this Anna revolution
But my heart is not with me
My heart is with you Irom
It is crying for you
And it is unable to understand the sentiments of this country

After all it’s a HEART
You have been on hunger strike for more than a decade
But not a single Indian came with you
You were against the black law of AFPSA
But no one owned you

Do not tell anyone Irom
This is a riddle
Whose answer changes with people?
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are true patriots
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are with the common people

When we are with you
We are traitors
When we are with you
We are against our army, our soldiers
We are against the national security
Corruption has been embedded as a bad trait
Since our childhood in our text books

But Irom, patriotism
Only teaches us to defend our country
Nation, army, police are inherent features of patriotism
They have become enemies in our fight for freedom

There have been many scams of crores under the banner of corruption
Because of AFSPA, BECAUSE OF THS PATRIOTISM
Lakhs and crores of Indians have been killed
Their families have also died eventually
And we have given them the certificate of terrorists
Very conveniently and gone to sleep in the bed of patriotism

Irom, we are unable to see the human rights violation of government
Under the garb of patriotism
When will my countrymen awaken, to the fact that
We are humans first, and Indians later

When Irom, when
Lakhs of people will join you in your hunger strike?
When Irom, when
Will our people remove the
Mask of patriotism?

Anna Hazare, you have won
After 85 hours of your FAST
The Lokpal Bill will be implemented
After a decade of your fast
Still the AFSPA has not been repealed
Anna will you sit with Irom?
Will you be able to stop the bloodshed
In the name of law?

Listen to my recitation at CGNET SWARA

Kabir Suman recites the Bangla Translation of my poem

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

 

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,228 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,844,850 hits

Archives

June 2021
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
%d bloggers like this: