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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lessons for Anna Hazare from J.P. Movement

The Hindu : Looking back at the Emergency HARISH KHARE Sunday, Sep 21, 2003 Magazine IN THE PAST
In Bipan Chandra's perspective, J.P. had stumbled upon a misguided mission. J.P.'s agenda was "mere truism"; he was a prisoner at times of "woolly thinking" and at other times of "hazy, naive, and unrealistic thinking". The "total revolution", a concept that J.P. preached, was "at best a romantic notion or a matter of mere rhetoric", " vague and indicative only of good intentions"; J.P.'s economic ideas were "utopian", characterised by " a lack of coherent and concrete programme". In other words, a harbinger of anarchy and disorder. Yet the historian does not feel provoked enough to indict him for failing to understand what forces the destructive potential of mobs and crowds. The only flaw that invites Bipan Chandra's disapproval is J.P.'s gullibility in letting the Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh (RSS) take over the "movement". Once the RSS is located as the prime mischief-maker, then Mrs G's temptation for authoritarian sin becomes understandable, if not excusable. …
Even if J.P. had not blundered into uncorking a "movement", some other event or individual would have provided the spark for re-working the paradigm with or without a spell of anarchy, which no body could necessarily, hope to calibrate. It is here that Bipan Chandra's narrative offers useful lessons for political leaders and rulers: they must understand that their excessive partisanship would have consequences, which may not always be amenable to reasonable sorting.
If history has to indict, as it must, J.P. for embarking upon a path for which he was neither organisationally nor politically nor even intellectually equipped, then what was Indira Gandhi's excuse for resorting to an extreme solution?
In the Name of Democracy: J.P. Movement and the Emergency, Bipan Chandra, Penguin paperback, p. 384, Rs. 350. Tusar N. Mohapatra  -  5:22 PM 

State vs Anna Posted By  Jug Suraiya   TOI 16 August 2011, 10:49 PM IST
Is Anna Hazare a saviour of democracy or is he sabotaging it? This is the crucial question facing India days after it celebrated the 64th year of its independence from foreign rule. The Congress party and the government have attacked Anna Hazare and his...
Critics – and these include not just those in the Congress party or in the government, but also those who while sympathetic to Hazare’s professed ideals of cleansing corruption from our society have doubts about his methods – have pointed out the danger to democracy posed by what might be called ‘ad hoc vigilantism’. Today it is Anna with his campaign against corruption. Tomorrow it could be another rebel, with or without a cause. If constitutional institutions like Parliament are bypassed how long will it be before our much-touted democracy becomes a mobocracy, presided over by demagogues with self-assumed power?

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