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Who Guides Anna Hazare?

Recently, Anna Hazare has become an icon. He has the history of going on hunger strike for more than 10 times. Anna hails from a small village in Maharashtra. However, due to his movement in support of “Janlokpal Bill”, he has come to the limelight. At present, he is carrying on a hunger strike at the famous Ramlila Ground in New Delhi. Before giving a call for the hunger strike for the implementation of “Janlokpal Bill”, Anna and his core team, which comprises some reputed advocates, social activists and a retired IPS officer, have participated in the Joint Drafting Committee of the government-sponsored Lokpal Bill, which has been recently presented in the Parliament for further discussion.

Anna Hazare
            However, Anna considers that the Lokpal Bill presented for the discussion in the Parliament as “weak” and says that it does not have “essential ingredients”, which will establish a “strong” Lokpal in the country. Due to such differences, Anna gave a call for a hunger strike, which was started on 16th August 2011. His version of Lokpal is called “Janlokpal”. With the commencement of the hunger strike, Anna has now become adamant on the implementation of “Janlokpal Bill”. He claims that this will completely eradicate corruption from the country.

            Anna has taken the pledge that until the “Janlokpal Bill” is made the law of land, or is at least presented in the parliament for discussion; he will not take food and continue his hunger strike. The manner in which this fast began is more interesting than the discussion whether this bill will be implemented or not. Why? Because, the day of 16th August was very dramatic; first, Anna was taken into custody and put behind the bars right when the day started. As soon as the Delhi Police realized the intensity of the days’ events, they decided to set Anna free. However, Anna, instead of comfortably coming out of prison, chose to remain there and put forth some tough conditions, such as the permission for the hunger strike at any place in New Delhi. The police were caught in a “Catch–22 situation””, and, thus, gave in to his demands. Thus, the hunger strike continued from the Ramlila Ground, a place where the gathering of Anna’s followers is increasing day by day.

            Nonetheless, the noticeable point is what made Anna to decide against the Police decision? Who has directed him to put conditions in front of the police, and furthermore, get them granted? Who has guided Anna to take on the mighty Government of India for the sake of the people of this country? Who has asked him to sit on a hunger strike for the sake of the children of this country? Who has guided him to take on the physical pain, which is caused due to hunger strike, at the age of 74 years?

            Who had guided Anna to join the Joint Drafting Committee on the “Lokpal Bill”, and later on, to pull out of that arrangement? Who guides Anna to direct the affairs of “Team Anna”, a group of just literate and experienced people, who claim to have arrived at the present draft of “Janlokpal Bill” after carrying out extensive research and inviting and incorporating suggestions form across the country and world through a website and mail system? Who guides Anna to handle so much media focus at this point of time, when he is sitting on the hunger strike at the famous Ramlila Ground? Who guides Anna to do ‘what, when, where, how and with whom’? Before we find out the answer of these questions, let us find out who guides the mighty Government of India for whatever it is doing in the current scenario. The following are the main entities that guide the Government of India at several points:

  1. The President of India: It is a well-recognised fact that the president plays an advisory role to the government.
  2. The Administration and Bureaucracy: Known as the steel frame of Indian democracy and administration, the qualified experts not only make or plan welfare programmes, but also hold commendable position for their timely implementation.
  3. Political Parties / All Party meeting: There is a tradition that whenever any government faces crisis of national degree, it calls a meeting of all political parties in the country and decides the steps to solve the issue.
  4. The Parliament: It is the supreme law-making body in the country and has enormous power to rule or overrule any step taken by the government and thus provides timely guidance.
  5. The Constitution: The Constitution of India is an organic document, which has the facility of constitutional amendments, through which the government self-guides itself. This facility has been used many a times in the past by successive governments.
  6. The Supreme Court: Apart from the power to judge civil and criminal cases, the Supreme Court of India has the duty to guide the state and central governments in governing this country, if its advice is sought.
  7. International organisations and NGOs: There is plenty of advisory available with international organizations, such as UNO, and national and international NGOs; however, one has to ask for it.  
  8. Past Commissions and Committees: The record rooms of the government offices are overflowed with the files containing advices of various commissions and committees set up in past to examine and advice on the national level crises.

Considering the resources, it is very easy to conclude that the current government is in a comfortable position to seek guidance on the current crisis of “Lokpal Bill”. However, it seems oblivious of its resources. Or, probably, the current government is exploring all these resources, but the end result of its efforts does not reflect that, at least for now (we assume that in future, government’s efforts will prove their worth). In contrast, Anna Hazare is guided by none other than the vision set by Gandhi ji. The latter envisioned the Indian society where a poor man does not hesitate in approaching the government officials for a petty task, or a society, where the people do not have to face any obstacles to get their work done at the government-run institutions. Gandhi ji envisioned a “Corruption-Free India”. Despite many limitations, such as old age, less money and very few team members, Anna seems to be dwelling upon the vision set by a great man about 50-year ago. Anna seems to be guided by this fact that the Indian society still needs to attain the objective that it set for itself several years ago. Through his hunger strike, Anna has just brought an issue, which was relegated to the backburner by the successive governments, to the centre stage. He is guided by the doctrine of “Greater Happiness for Greater Number”.    


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