What the disgruntled young Anna supporter should do next
[Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series – my latest take on the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement, also called Anna Hazare Movement. By ‘latest’, I mean it was written two weeks ago and I’m publishing it now since the criticality of the Assam situation has reduced. In Part1, I wrote about Young India falling in love with Anna Hazare and the IAC movement and the eventual heartbreak that happened earlier this month. In this post, I give some unsolicited advice to the young Anna movement supporters — what they should do next to rebound from their heartbreak and move on.]
The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can never end. – Benjamin Disraeli
First love is a little foolish and a lot of curiosity. – George Bernard Shaw
As IAC morphs from a fast-driven political pressure group to a new political party, it will be a while before the dust settles down. Meanwhile, here are six things you can do to prepare yourself when the next day of reckoning arrives – either to support IAC’s new avatar or… hitch your coattails to any number of laudable organizations also working to dramatically improve Indian democracy.
- Introspect. Introspect on why you supported the IAC movement in the first place. Was it Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, or Prashant Bhushan who inspired you the most? Just like Vedanta prescribes different types of yoga for different spiritual personas, there are many ways to engage with the Indian democracy. Understand your political persona and choose your organization accordingly.
- Read. A lot. Ideally from both ends of the political spectrum and definitely from non-partisan organizations like Center for Policy Research and PRS Legislative Research. You might be surprised with the results.
- More gray than black & white. If you are a fan of Arnab Goswami’s brand of TV journalism, may I suggest you look up the word “nuance” in the dictionary? Read this for more details.
- Be skeptical but not cynical. Don’t fall victim to “expertise in one field automatically makes one an expert in another.” Takshashila’s Nitin Pai calls this the LIE – Law of Indian Enterprise.
- Vote. For every election you are eligible for, make your vote count. It’s no longer just the think tanks urging you to. Anna Hazare also wants you to vote for the soon-to-be-floated party. Want to know which candidates have pending criminal cases? Association for Democratic Reforms has this data and much more.
- RTI. In a momentary lapse of reason, the UPA-I government passed this landmark (and underutilized) legislation. Use it judiciously or use it indiscriminately, the RTI on steroids along with PIL and a half-independent media can obviate the need for new institutions and smite mighty blows at corruption in high (and low) places.
- Engage with your city. Don’t know how? Get inspired with this Ugly Indian Spotfix.
If you are an Isaac Asimov fan, you know all about Hari Seldon and the field of psychohistory. Back in the real world, an Indian American economics professor (Ravi Batra), who is a proponent of the law of social cycle (eerily similar to psychohistory), claims that India is ripe for a revolution and Anna Hazare (and Baba Ramdev) might just be a few ingredients in the revolution.
In short, don’t despair, young India! A revolution might yet be nigh. It may not start tomorrow, nor will it last only a few smoldering weeks. So prepare yourself, my friends. Most importantly, don’t forget what Branislav Nusic said – First love is dangerous only when it is also the last.
The IAC is dead. Long live India Against Corruption!