Reflections on Jantar Mantar revolution
By Jehangir Ali
So we had an insouciant, television revolution in Lutyenâ€™s Delhi. How peaceful it was! It took just four days and no bloodshed! No Gaddafis here, no bombing of â€˜revolutionariesâ€™, no martyrs, a pure pep talk on corruption and its â€˜harmful effectsâ€™ and lo, our moment has come, â€œIndia has shown on TimesNow tonight that enough is enough! It is a peopleâ€™s movement and we have wonâ€, thunders a brutally honest Arnab Goswami. A wild dog suddenly starts barking in our street. There were more journalists and onlookers at Jantar Mantar than the actual number of protestors on more than one occasion over the last four days!
I had the pleasure of meeting a â€œphilanthropicâ€ (that is what his visiting card says) on Wednesday night, one Mr P Rajdeep, the â€˜official media coordinatorâ€™ of Anna Hazare campaign, at Jantar Mantar. Most of the journalists, who covered this â€˜campaignâ€™, must know Mr P. He has the same story for everyone; that he owns four Rolls Royce cars and has never travelled on a passenger flight. He also runs â€œSwabhiman Foundationâ€, an â€˜education and equality foundationâ€™ in Thane, Maharashtra. He has contacts in government too and may help you out, just in case, â€œI book a chartered plane for myself. Who do you think I am? I havenâ€™t come here for money. I donâ€™t need money, yaar. I want to be a part of the system and change itâ€. In the same breath, â€œIf you want, I can fix an appointment with any bollywood actress you want. You look very handsomeâ€! Bollywood actresses are now going to bring me revolution. Sure sire. Why not!
India looks reformed on news channels tonight, a society just cleansed of all its ills and ready to lead in the new â€˜Indianâ€™ century. Protest marches, candle light sit-ins, signature campaigns on social networks, are all going to do wonders for us. We wonâ€™t have to do anything, just agree that corruption is bad, â€˜Likeâ€™ a Facebook page and ridicule the elected government on the rapacious media Thatâ€™s it. â€˜Our momentâ€™ will come. Cheers. Now whatâ€™s wrong with this woman at India gate turning down the offer of a TimesNow bite, â€œI am sorry but I am here with my family on a picnic,â€? Thats defeatist. So what? Canâ€™t you go for a picnic and enjoy a little revolution too! Now why did you take a sudden break, huh Ornab? What a miserable sight!
I won’t allow myself to be misled by this farce. The way this â€˜revolutionâ€™ has been enacted in a corporate media whose members are accused of partisanship and corruption certainly raises doubts in my mind about the people and the character of the movement itself, and it has got nothing to do with Kiran Bediâ€™s endorsement of Proctor and Gambleâ€™s Ariel detergent powder! From where have these creatures popped out suddenly and seem to be manufacturing consent over this Lok Pal Bill? Does the acts of these crusaders of morality mean that our laws are toothless and the constitution is riddled with flaws visible only to this section of civil society, the supposed custodians of morality!
Voila. Sedition, sedition. Itâ€™s a blasphemy to question the character of the elected parliamentarians, an elected government, donâ€™t you know that? We have a set of colonial legislations to prevent such adventures by you radicals, separatists and terrorists who want to break our country. Anna Hazare has earned the mandate of people to question the authority of an elected government. He has been voted on news channels and social networking sites to question the authority of this corrupt government, of a constitution, of a farce called democracy.
Anna Hazare and his supporters including corporate media hoodlums are a fit case for invoking charges of sedition for questioning the authority of a government elected by a peopleâ€™s mandate, a ballot-box democracy. They should be jailed for perverting the constitution of this country!
Oh please, give me a break. Thatâ€™s a cynic talking! Letâ€™s not dig too much into these conspiracy theories. A 76-year-old former Indian Army driver has a corrupt government and its babu fiefdom kneeling for mercy and how! Annaâ€™s life should become an inspiration for our younger generation. Letâ€™s look at the brighter side of things to come. LokPal bill is going to end all our miseries. No one will sleep hungry in this country now. No one will be killed for demanding his/her constitutional rights. We will soon be set free. Women will no longer parade naked to protest the rapes by security forces. Teenagers wonâ€™t be killed for demanding basic human rights. Farmer suicides and malnutrition death are all going to stop. This LokPal bill is going to change it all. We are soon going to emerge as an impervious utopia. Corruption will finally be a thing of past so that we may focus our energy towards more amusing things like IPL and Poonam Panday, or maybe get busy with our own livesâ€.
Why do they call us terrorists then and keep our brothers incarcerated for years without trail in Kashmir when we come out to protest? Oh yes, terrorism and radicalism sound a convenient business in a â€˜secularâ€™ country with a Sikh prime minister! Letâ€™s not live in delusions. This popular opinion that you are witnessing on your news channels is a creation of a corporate media milking the debauched government hit by a series of scams that is struggling to prove its relevance every day in a dangerously divided country. Tis a strange whimsy of the mystical civil society who will like to make us believe that we are living in worldâ€™s largest democracy. I wonâ€™t buy that.
The author is a Delhi based journalist who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweets @Gaamuk