Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Political Noob's View on Politics

When I first heard about the Anna Hazare case, I was interested out of the general curiosity it created. Suddenly everyone on Facebook was talking about it. Everyone in their own way became social activist. Some of us had no clue who he was, some of us found out on FB, some found out about the Bill and some just supported without understanding the details. To know that it was some anti-corruption campaign, was good enough. And their were some who knew it all and either decided to support it or not.

I fall in the category of someone who had no clue about anything. I'm someone who can comfortably call a "Political Noob'. Neither did I know who the gentleman was nor did I have any clue about the Lokpal Bill. So when my husband got all excited about the entire campaign. And saw everyone all geared up to go to Jantar Mantar, I also clicked the 'Like' button.

Somehow after having done all of this, this episode lingered on my mind. A campaign in such a little time, with so much following had no problems in being successful. Wow what an achievement! Phew! Took a lot of doing.

Big things in life make me a little uncomfortable and this was bigger and larger than life. Not mine alone but every Indian citizen. And of course his own, come on the guy was ready to die for the country in a Gandhian way. So my sleuth inside me awoke and I decided to dig in. I mean I had to read up from scratch considering I had no clue about it.

So wikipedia told me that this gentleman is a social activist from Maharashtra who recieved the Padma Bhushan in 1992 for establishing Ralegan Siddhi as a model village. Wow that is impressive. He fought against alocoholism and managed to drive the government a ban against cigarette, beedis and tobacco.I mean the list is almost endless with the man's good deeds.

Some more digging told me that he he has gone on fasts even before. Why were we not able to support him before? Oh right.. There was no Facebook, Twitter or You Tube. How would we know? Simple answers.

I have this intrinsic trouble of believing my instincts and all of this looked like more than just a simple anti-corruption act. I don't mean to demean the act of his courage. He is extremely noble and rather simple. Simplicity can be more dangerous at times than complexities. He wanted to go on a hunger strike but I could not help but think about how it became a campaign?

Jantar Mantar like India Gate was a perfect background when the media would cover it and the catharsis that it raised among the citizens. The time was even more perfect after the World Cup victory when the country was feeling all the more patriotic. The credibility of the Anna Hazare is undisputable but this was more than a man's view of changing the country. It was more like a great background trying to achieve something different in the name of anti-corruption.

It didn't look like a spontaneous activity. It looked like great planning of details went into it. The day he went on the strike, there was a website and a phone number in place for people to call in and register and if you would remember it was quite an easy number to remember 45678910. I understand that in social media word travels like fire so everyone knew about it quickly. But how did it get on facebook considering the supporters who started with him sat with him and no one was carrying a laptop. And it was a great strategy, no two thoughts about that, a lot of celebrities getting involved added glamor to the event and modesty in their fan's views.

And most importantly let's not forget the variety of celebrities who were a part of it. From baba Ramdev to Malaika Arora Khan they were all there. Celebrities are either associated with a campaign from the beginning or they support them actively through Twitter or commenting through newspapers. This was one step further, they were physically present there. What great PR can do. Evolution of campaigns I must say.

Political allegations are of course prevelant when Digvijay comments about the funding of the campaign. We are still dealing with the blow of Commonwealth fiasco and here is a 4 day campaign which is 32lakhs or 50lakhs( Difference of 18lakhs don't really make a difference). Or does it? And then there is Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr Raj Thackrey who are being supported by him, as if we have not had enough them.

Alls well that ends well. We were victorious and that's what matters. Whichever PR agency handled this, hats off to them. Well Done. Oh but wait! The bill is not passed yet.. So what happened to the fast until death till the ENACTMENT of the bill as Wikipedia quotes..


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. And there are very righteous people, also on face book, who explain that they have to pay mortgage and put children through school.
    There is pressure to select leadership, new and clean, so we can all go and rest again.
    There is a limit to the number of times one can hold lit candles. The traffic jam on the way to India Gate and the chores on the way from work are also to be taken care of.
    Easy to click the like button- which btw is required here!