After the publication of Narendra Modi's emotional letter to Anna Hazare last week, this is his follow up- "It is not that only Anna Hazare is being targeted for talking about me. Today, many feel that whoever signs an MoU with the Gujarat government is sure to be raided by the Income Tax sleuths. I am saying this fearlessly. This is disgusting."
This put me in mind of the Justice Sawant Commission report, in which the name of a clean and pious philanthropist I happen to know was featured. However, the account given in that document might be considered to raise questions regarding the probity of, or indeed to defame, that worthy and his family. I won't give you specifics but the link is here.
Hazare has already been put through the mill- and, whether we like it or not, found unclean. Yet he persists with his campaign- that too at the national level. Why? From the Commission's findings, it becomes clear that he and his trusted associates did not comply with mandatory procedures laid down for the voluntary sector. However, the question must be asked- can an honest unbiased person, with experience of the voluntary sector in rural areas- really read the Sawant Commission Report as holding Hazare to have acted mala fide and purely for his own fiduciary gain? Incompetence, arrogance and stupidity are scarcely out of place in a grass-roots activist- especially a self-professed Gandhian. The very word 'brashtachar', or corruption, points to a falling away from a previous high standard. Mad dogs pointlessly biting each other and barking are not examples of 'corruption'.
The other problem- viz. how a voluntary grass-roots movement can prevent 'entryism' by tainted people- is more serious and must be addressed by Civil Society. Clearly anti-corruption Crusades, as well as the proposed office of Lok Pal, are a great way to extort money and build a political base. Billions of 'bahiskrit samaj' (excluded Society) people in village areas are wholly reliant on subsistence Anti-Corruption campaigning. The question that naturally arises in this context, bearing in mind recent very promising developments in for-profit Microfinance, is whether astute Venture Capitalists like Vinod Khosla, working perhaps with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, can pro-actively engage with and catalyse the vast market for, and potential capital gains from, for-profit Anti-Corruption Campaigning, properly benchmarked for Environmental Sustainability, Emotional Subsidiarity and Incontinent Transparency.
The bottom line, however, remains-and this is the National Tragedy in which Anna Hazare is playing the part of Hamlet- is that we have a model of rural Development and Empowerment which institutionalises corruption, stupidity and availability cascades of the silliest sort. Thus, if there is a way forward, it is to be found in Modi's Gurjerat, not Hazare's Maharashtra. Otherwise, yet more momentum will be given to the great rural past-time of everybody forming his own Brashatachar Andolan and filing f.i.r's against everybody else in the village for assault, battery, anal rape, abetment to suttee, being pissed on from a great height, having one's land encroached on, not washing hands after doing tatti etc, etc.
The greatness of Anna Hazare is he finally ran away from the village and came to Jantar Mantar and sat down and declared a tatti bandh and humbly fasted till he got something or the other which would keep him out of the mad-house of N.G.O overpopulated Indian villages and their tremendous moral integrity and pure Gandhian values.
The extract from the Comission's report given below features a complaint by an aggrieved bus-conductor who started up his own Brashtachar Virodh outfit. Truly, we so called 'liberal' middle-class Indians have much to learn from Hazare and his ilk about the real meaning of 'Hind Swaraj'.