I am not and can never be Anna!!!

The thought of writing this blog struck me after I read Vinita Nangia’s blog in Times Lifestyle.

To be a Gandhi or an Anna, you have to inculcate the ideology they preach, not just wear a Gandhi topi and carry the national flag!!! Well this is my opinion!!!

All during Anna Hazare’s fast at the Ram Lila Grounds, I did not wear a Gandhi Topi or wear a T-shirt which said “I am Anna” nor did I  carry the National Flag while driving my car or my bike!! Of course since I live and work at Hyderabad I could not visit Ram Lila Grounds to have a first hand experience of what was going on there or what went on there!!

I had sumptuous meals all along, unlike a few people whom I learnt and personally checked on Facebook were updating their status messages that they could have anything to eat because Anna Hazare was fasting!!! (I seriously felt – What!!!!). Well, I always believed and would agree that we need to eliminate corruption. I never felt that I have to belong to the breed of people who declare on social networks and micro-blogging sites that we HAVE to end corruption!!! Haven’t we had dozens of movies on this subject and haven’t we always wanted this?? Of course we do!!!

I want to tell another fact here – I was getting frustrated and irritated to watch the continuous intrusion of Team Anna and his fasting into my personal space – it was everywhere – Television, FM, Radio, Newspapers, Internet, Social Networking, Micro-blogging and even regular tea and lunch conversations. Amidst all of these, I really was amazed to realize that here is a Super human, who beyond a reasonable logic was going very strong  even after 12 days of serious fasting. I feel drained when I fast on tuesdays and festivals like Janmashtami and Shivrathri!!. More than himself, was I curious about his supporters – the people who have sacrificed their professional and personal commitments to camp and fast in support of Anna?? Were they all free of issues at work and home? Or, was this just taken as a welcome diversion?

Why were mothers pushing and jostling to showcase their kids in khadi and Gandhi topis in front of cameras? How each and every single person at Ram Lila was available for a slogan and quote on the camera? Why were students bunking classes to dance and sing? For heaven’s sake, why was the formidable former cop Kiran Bedi swaying on stage holding the Indian flag? Why was Dr Naresh Trehan addressing the nation from Anna’s stage (it’s scary when a competent surgeon is away from his scalpel!)?

Does this all mean that these people love their country more than me? Does waving flags and wearing Gandhi topis make them more nationalistic and patriotic than me? Are these people willing to sacrifice for the greater good? Does participation in the rally and fast make them have a greater sense of integrity? I have so many questions because, all I did during the Anna’s show was to live my normal life – going to work daily, doing my job and minding my business!!! I think, rather believe that I am not qualified to make a comment on the bravehearts who are “fighting for the new independence”. I am neither an admirer nor a critic of what they are doing. All I am is curious about from where they are drawing their inspiration and motivation.All I understood is that Anna has tapped an undercurrent of rising expectations and aspirations for a level playing field and a cleaner system.

Anna’s fight and fast gave a lot of food for thought for people who were waiting for such an opportunity.  The Aam Aadmi, in search of an identity, a better quality of life, took the reins of the movement, after feeling empowered and energized by Anna’s call for duty – fight for the new independence – ” I am a part of the change  and I am the change”. In a generation where making your mark and identity is just not a wish, but a necessity, Anna’s movement came in handy. Cameras are rolling continuously non-stop to feed the 24 hour news hungry channels with lots of feed.

Obviously, all of us are against corruption, especially when it hurts our pocket and delays our work. But why did it need an Anna for us to act? If we have not been fighting corruption every day, at every step, do we really believe that just the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill will put an end to corruption forever? It will not, not till all people supporting Anna go back with the larger lesson that Anna’s crusade teaches. The lesson of stepping up and speaking out. Of standing together against what you do not believe in. Everyone must resolve to end corruption in their daily lives and to realise that we are guilty not just if we are corrupt, but also if we participate in or turn a blind eye to others’ corrupt practices. Why must you find your spot in the sun by declaring “I am Anna”? You are Anna or Gandhi, whoever you wish to be, if you are brave enough to follow the principles espoused by them in your daily life. So long as you do not leave behind your flag, your topi and your cry of “Vande Mataram” when you leave Ramlila Grounds finally, but carry them around with you in your heart, every day of your life as you go about your daily chores!