Anna Hazare and his team, as the media term them, have been arrested. The government represented by a few ministers are into damage control mode to make sure that the situation does not go out of control. Anna is obviously much needed as an instrument for the media to keep things going. One man surrounded by dedicated followers is a time tested formula for success. The government cites rules and security as why this protest cannot take place in the capital of the country.
Country after country has gone back to the people to earn the right for change. Change from the top cannot be a representation of the mood and feelings of the people, be it the government position or the movement of a certain section of civil society. Many referendums have given the mandate to people representatives to go ahead with ground breaking reforms and changes.
Why not ask the people of India on what they feel about corruption in the country and what they would like to be done? This could include a variety of issues, including salaries of parliamentarians, the work they should do, how government offices should function, what action should be taken against corruption and so on. Elections should not just be to elect candidates but should also be for charting the future course of the country. Who should decide that? Some politician from the top exclusively or the people of this country for whom these policies are being charted out?
The present protest is confusing. How many are in favour and how many not? Is this what the people of this country want or is protest being imposed upon them, making it a word which the government detests and treats negatively? A referendum should of course involve seeking the opinion of each and every citizen and person in this country. The media which are quick to do opinion polls and exit polls come election time are not seeking to know the public mood in the country at this time. The public does not only include the affluent middle class, middle class and those who have access and the opportunity to travel to the national capital.
One should appreciate to an extend what is happening in Delhi. People are coming together for something. Is this right or wrong and are people practising selective protest needs to be looked at again? Is it too difficult to do a sampling of the opinions of the people across the country? If we are serious about democracy this should not be too difficult an exercise. 64 years after independence this is indeed a good thing to happen in India. But it is also something which should happen more often and for all community concerns and not just as part of small conspiracies and political equations