Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ok, I am awake……now what?

 

To start with, a mass drive to encourage people to join NGOs can be initiated. They can be made aware of their responsibilities towards the society and individual and collective capabilities of how a transformation in the society could be brought at personal and local level.

The recent ‘awakening’ of the nation was no less than a miracle. At one point of time it seemed difficult that Indians, could come together for one issue, rising above their self interests, and taking out  some time from their highly busy and ‘productive’ life. But it happened and it happened magnificently. ‘The People’ behaved very responsibly following all principles of a peaceful revolution while asserting their demands forcefully.

The basic fact that everyone understands is we just need a reform of the system, the demands are legitimate and in no way anyone is asking for a overthrow of the state and an establishment of alternative order. Comparing to the freedom struggle of India this is very much similar to the Swadeshi Andolan of post 1905 Bengal Division, when people demanded for nothing else but reunification of Bengal.

The Swadeshi Andolan was a watershed in the history of India, before that Moderates were working through the instruments of petitions, resolutions and pleadings. They were also able to get some piecemeal but substantial reforms in the governance. This could be equated with the RTI and NREGA of our times, which were achieved through same ‘constitutional’ means of lobbying and pleading.

What changed in the Swadeshi Andolan was the unprecedented participation of the masses, and use of ‘extra constitutional’ means (not illegal or unconstitutional, just ‘extra’ constitutional). Same happened in the Anna movement, which is blamed to be of ‘undermining’ the parliamentary democracy but no one could say that it was unconstitutional or illegal. Assertion of one’s rights is a basic human right, no legal maxim could snatch that away.

One more similarity with the Swadeshi Andolan is that the Moderates and the then intelligentsia were apprehensive of a mass movement and were afraid of antagonising the ruling establishment. Same could be observed today with the opposition of Aruna Roy and other Civil Society leaders as well as the legal fraternity to a mass movement of this kind.

The other similarity is rather a painful one.  Swadeshi Andolan though achieved its goal after 6 years in 1911, it fizzled out by 1908. The reason was oppressive techniques of government. The leaders were apprehended and the revolution was left leaderless. The government is trying to do the same today by playing dirty orwellian tricks. Then also a promise of a Minto Morley Reform came to pacify the movement and today also the ‘sense of  the House’ has tried to do the same. Reforms came but nowhere near the expectations, and I am afraid the same is going to happen now.

The thing is that now People’s leadership(I prefer this name rather then Team Anna, which seams like a private venture) has no other option but to wait and watch. Any more time bound persuasion is going to harm the prospects of a strong Lokpal.

But the most important thing which People’s leadership must do is to channelize the newly released energy of the youth and the masses at large for some constructive and reformative work. Leaving it wandering in search of something to do is going to harm the prospects of a mass agitation, which I am sure will be needed in the future.

To start with, a mass drive to encourage people to join NGOs can be initiated. They can be made aware of their responsibilities towards the society and individual and collective capabilities of how a transformation in the society could be brought at personal and local level. Most of the employed class have a five day week and the remaining two days can be used to teach unprivileged children and educating the masses about there rights. There are so many evils which exist at personal and social level like female foeticide, dowry, preference for a male child, education of girl child etc, which if removed are going to help the nation in long way.

People can also be taught to fight for their rights at local level. Since at Panchayat or Gram sabha level, communities are more cohesive, it needs a little training of optimal use of resources and a zeal to develop into a prosperous society. The experience of Ralegan siddhi could be very useful here.

The reforms begin from the individual level, whether its about being corrupt, tax evasion, over pricing or something else. A rational critique and argument should be made to the people, to make them understand that anywrong done to the society is a wrong done to oneself.

The scope to reap in public for the cause of public is much wider than anyone could think of. The moment should be stolen to make it a moment to remember for the History of India.

Remember our childhood?, when Mom used to wake us up and simultaneously used to tell us to get fresh, brush teeth, take bath and get ready for the school….almost everything every morning used to be told to us, even while it used to be the same. Well, we have just woken up and have done our first chore, please tell us what to do next……?