Monday, August 15, 2011

Will India Ever Be Free?

Another birthday of a great nation, another occasion for celebration of the spirit of Freedom, freedom gained through countless sacrifices, wrought in the pain and sorrow of thousands of patriotic Indians, is upon us. The hopes, dreams and visions of a country that beckoned in the horizon during those heady pre-independence days, and which dreams propelled men, women and children to march undaunted in the face of the severest of colonial atrocities, have taken shapes and forms very disparate from the originals, which seem to have moved further and further away with every step this country has taken, like a rainbow after a rainstorm.

Even as India celebrates its 65th anniversary of Independence, with the symbolic parades and the customary address of the Prime Minister from atop the Red Fort, on a rainy and gloomy day in Delhi, and his words of promise and assurance sounding more unconvincing than ever before, the bleak prospect which the Prime Minister must have surveyed through the safety of his bullet-proof enclosure, seemed an apt presage to a tempestuous future, the ever darkening shadow of which must have been palpable to all and sundry on this historic day. Even as the Prime Minister unfurled the National Colors, his mind must have been troubled by a flurry of thoughts, as the events of the past few days flooded his mind, and the events that may unfold over the next few days, which may put all his promises and assurances to test. In fact, more than today’s celebration of Independence, he would have been thinking half the time about Anna Hazare and his “Second Struggle For Independence”, and would have made him feel very much like a foreign tyrant hell-bent on subverting and crushing the will of the people. However, he knows he is no foreign tyrant, and he knows that Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption is selfless and legitimate. Yet he finds himself in direct opposition to Anna, and realizes that the next few days may force him into taking actions that will definitely transform his image from that of an affable, rational technocrat to a merciless dictator. He knows that his government has tried every trick in the book to thwart the old man, and each trick has only blackened the image of the government, and his own. Yes, today’s Independence Day celebrations would have been farther from his thoughts than thoughts on ways and means to prevent Anna Hazare from kicking up a social storm that might very well blow his government away. The Prime Minister’s able front-men, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh and Manish Tiwari have so far failed to nail the Septuagenarian, in spite of employing all the means at their disposal – defamation, lies, insult, threats - to scare him into submission. They have tried convincing the people that Anna is a fraud, that he is corrupt, and that he is misleading the people for his own publicity; but even that ploy has fallen flat

The desperation of the government to nip Anna Hazare’s movement in the bud is making it more and more evident to the people that eradication of corruption from the country, especially from the higher levels of governance, will be a gargantuan task, and that the government will do all in its power, and that includes contravention of democratic and constitutional norms if need be, to stop Anna and his followers from achieving it. If Anna’s support base widens, and that is very likely to happen as more and more people come out in support of his cause, the government will have to face a revolution of no small proportion. Going by the stance taken by our honorable Prime Minister and his colleagues, it may well be that a revelation is round the corner. This government has shown signs of resorting to the most underhand measures to protect the corrupt. Will it reveal more of its darker traits as time passes, and prove itself capable of more tyranny and ruthlessness? Only time will tell. This Independence Day may well mark the end of the first phase of Independence for the people of India.

Trapped in The Web

With the turn of the century, I graduated from inland letter cards to email; from landlines to mobiles; and from social visits to socia...