When Anna Hazare’s movement was at peak few months back, one fine evening, I saw a notice on my Society’s board requesting residents to join “candle march” coming Saturday. When that Saturday evening I heard loudest possible slogans “Mee Anna Hazare”, “Annaji, go forward, we are behind you” and so on, I could not hold back my curiosity and went down to see the march.
It was a group about 30 male and female residents in middle to old age group (out of 500 families, who live in our Society) holding candles and some wearing white cap painted with slogan “Mee Anna”. I saw that highest pitch among participants was that of an ex-government official, who seems to be having assets disproportionate to the position he had held. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. Then, there were some, who have known liking to hear their own voice, paying little attention to what they actually speak. Others were those, who like to create obstacles in good work, our Society would propose.
I felt pity on an old lady, who was not able to walk properly and raise her voice. I could not resist asking her why she is troubling herself. Brightness came into her eyes and she explained enthusiastically “I want to teach lesson to our society’s security supervisor, because he is corrupt and takes money from contract labor working in society’s premises. That is what I have heard from other residents; but managing committee is not doing anything about it. When Annaji would be successful, I would drag this fellow to Lokpal”! Next day, one of my friends told me that his driver wants to take leave and go to New Delhi to strengthen hands of Anna and his team to get billions of dollars of black money from foreign accounts back in India. He believes that when such money comes in, he would get some being backward class and would lead richer life.
I felt this candle march with its participants is a true image (at micro level) of anti-corruption movement at large! It left me wondering can Gandhinian ways of protest be applied to solve an issue, which is so deeply ingrained in our system and enact legislation with threats?
It is tempting for some to raise public frenzy and fury through brinkmanship. But then, expectations of people are also raised sky high and if these are not managed properly, such movement or strategy is destined to fizzle out! This is what seems to have dawned recently in Mumbai and enthusiasts of candle march in my society now!
Corruption in all walks of life needs to be tackled with strong will and for that, realism and foresight should descend on our leaders. Corruption is an ailment, which not only requires treatment through well thought out laws and honest practices; but it would also need preventive measures like teaching Ethics in every school, college, institution and enterprise and implanting same in the minds of people like a Faith.