Anna Hazare: Fasting for change

Published: August 19, 2011

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.” PHOTO: REUTERS

Fasting in Pakistan is reserved for the month of Ramazan whereas in India, it has taken on the shape of a non-violent movement under the leadership of Anna Hazare.

Carrying on with the legacy that Mohandas Gandhi left behind, Anna aims to pressurise the Indian government to enact strong anti-corruption laws by issuing the threat of a fast unto death.

The “Gandhian” or the “crusader” as he has come to be known is a 74-year-old veteran who follows closely the words of Gandhi:

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.”

His successful attempts at coaxing the government in the past to yield into the drafting of a Lokpal Bill, has brought him in the limelight in India. And his infectious drive for democratic values has captured mass support from all corners of the country.

While we content ourselves with token hunger strikes, Anna practices an extreme form of social activism which has revolutionised the sphere of public influence on the state in India. Instead of chanting slogans outside the press club, venting out frustration by vandalising private property and observing strikes to halt economic hubs, Anna and his supporters choose to inflict harm upon themselves to subvert democracy which has fallen prey to corruption – a civil society move which has evolved to display maturity.

It requires only one man to change the face of politics in a country, a single selfless move to denounce all forms of injustice and a steely will to overcome all forms of hurdles. At this point I ask myself: could a symbol of morality force the government to revisit its policies and put an end to corrupt practices in Pakistan? Where plundering the state treasury has become a common practice observed by all successive governments, need I mention the NICL scam which has jolted the fundamental pillars of democracy in this country, does this style of agitation stand to succeed?

Although this idea might appeal to all patriots, I must send out a warning signal: when the weathered look on the faces of flood victims cannot muster significant reaction from our government, I presume, it is after all but a risk to announce a hunger strike.

Dilaira Mondegarian

Dilaira Mondegarian

A sub-editor for The Express Tribune weekly magazine

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Chethan

    Clearly it looks to be not people’s government instead it is the government for the riches. The comman man’s sufferings from floods, deplayed/cancelled trains, gang killings, power cuts and many other domestic faults is totally neglected. Recommend

  • http://www.pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    so what was the blog about .. stating a fact .. not really a piece worth reading. Well we as a nation are so numb that even a death from a fast for a nationalistic cause would not address us Recommend

  • Ajay

    What matters is the attitude Of the people; if that is also corrupted then there is no hope. Anna Hazare would have also failed and the thugs in the government would have taught him a lesson inside the jail if Indian People would have been apathetic and not come out on the streets. The political thugs were hoping against hope that the Zameer of the people is dead and Anna’s struggle would peter out. Recommend

  • john dahodi

    Anna’s anti-corruption movement can becomes a dangerous way out for America too. It is still debatable whether this movement will change anything in India but if millions of Americans who are unemployed, on food stamps, welfare and home less can get some inspiration from this movement and raise their voice against America’s capitalist system where only 2% are enjoying all kinds of political, economical and social rights accumulating 80% wealth. Their wealth is growing lips and bound without any restriction and with the help of their sponsored politicians. These uneven, illogical, illegal and unethical distribution of wealth using their lobby power and manipulation in tax codes and loop holes will bring them an unwanted and undesired outcome in America and many other western nations where similar situations are existing. Obama and right wing leaders including Tea-Party members must take a note of this grave outcome.Recommend

  • parvez

    Nicely written and yes Pakistan badly needs a Anna Hazare of our own.Recommend

  • from India

    as long as pakistanis feel proud of HRK showing off her birkin and roverto cavalli to india i dont see any possibility of any such movement in pakistan !! Recommend

  • Asad

    ‘Fasting in Pakistan is reserved for the month of Ramazan ‘ so the Muslims in India don’t fast?
    Also its the corrupt middle class protesting against the government accountability starts from with in how many of those joining in the protest pay their taxes?Recommend

  • Pakistan is the best

    @from India:
    HRK is an incapable minister. Recommend

  • harry johal

    @Asad:
    we in india all pay our taxes, thats why our tax to gdp ratio in 20% not 8% like pakistan. exceptions are always there, we are just trying to clean our politics.Recommend

  • vickram

    SM Krishna has already tweeted about the fast of Anna: ‘Forget Lokpal bill and fasting; get back to competitive tennis! “Recommend

  • Himanshu yadav

    my whole friends are with you sir Recommend

  • http://anwarhyatt86@gmail.com Anwar

    Talk about Raja Jahangir Akhtar – hunger strike until death!Recommend

  • S.Poongothai

    Before 1947
    When most of the Indians were fighting for FREEDOM some Indians(?) supported the British officials for their benefit.
    After 1947, NOW
    When most of the Indians are fighting against CORRUPTION some Indians(?) supporting the corrupt Politicians and officials for their personal benefits.

    GOTHAI, KOVILPATTIRecommend

  • Vinayak

    @parvez:

    Nicely written and yes Pakistan badly needs a Anna Hazare of our own.

    Good sir. Look at the mirror you will find your man.Recommend

  • Hina Fan

    @Pakistan is the best : don’t get too mad .. I am just joking …

    So what if HRK is incapable in your eyes? For us Indians, we like it that she is a good looking westernized neighbor of ours. If she is the face of our western neighborhood, we feel happy. If we open our windows and look to the west and see her face, it is a pleasant start to our day. It is better than seeing the face of the other folks in your govt./military.Recommend

  • Ozy

    @Hina Fan:
    I’m sure you understand my predicament then. When I look east I see Narendra Modi’s face.Recommend

  • Max

    @Asad, you are only partly right…Muslims in India fast in Ramzan, just like they do in Pakistan and world over, but probably you missed out on the sarcasm in the way author wrote here. If Indian middle classes wont pay taxes, they wont be frustrated, they wont come on streets either. It is not a movement of a man, who fasts…he fasts because millions out there on roads are supporting him. Something like this probably does not work in Pakistan because majority prefers not to pay its taxes, like its leaders…Get down to facts in life…by the way, Indians have they way of governance like Pakistanis have theirs. I commented here only because it was factually wrong what you said about middle class in India. Democracy is a tradition here it runs differently here than in Pakistan…:)Recommend

  • Max

    @Ozy, thats your problem Sir, if you see only Modi here…we have more :) and better.Recommend

  • Max

    By the way this movement has succeeded and anti corruption law, ref Lokpal Bill is on the way and no political party can stop it, rest assured. So, the debate is over for now. :)Recommend