There was a movie called rang de basanti, which had left me rather under whelmed, while it was creating a mass hysteria. Not in terms of movie making itself, I thought it was rather well made, but in terms of the underlying message.
The conversion from political apathy, to active political activism, is a journey. The conclusions you reach are less important than the journey. ( whether extreme left wing naxalism, or extreme right wing conservatism). At some stage all isms work, at another they can all fail. Heck, with a good guy at the top, you could even make dictatorship work. What you end up believing in, could depend on the influences, the processing you do, and ( if some neurologists are to be belived), even the way your brain is wired. However, irrespective of what affiliation you make in the end, either the leftist of hazar chaurasi ki maan, or the right wing Salim of Khamost Pani, you process certain inputs, think, draw conclusions, take stands. That is your journey.
What didn't sit well in RDB for me, was the complete lack of that journey. Misdirected rage, does not a political movement make. Each candlelight procession of public anger does not a freedom movement make. Why am I reminded of this today? Because the parallels between RDB and whats happening on the roads today seems uncanny. Yes I'm sure there are many who've taken that journey, and made an informed choice. More power to them. But I seem to meet a lot more people, who are determined to let Anna do all the thinking for them, and are willing to believe every absurd type of propaganda floating around. Yes we're all frustrated with the corruption, but don't we all have to do some hard work to think for ourselves?
I've always been rather apolitical, never having made those journeys, never having much political awareness. My stands were usually taken on limited areas like individual freedoms and equality. I gave a wide berth to civic functioning and economic policy, having litte understanding of both. However this is one time, it just seems impossible to not take a stand, on an issue which most of us have a really limited understanding of. So where does one begin? Well for one, you try and understand what is being proposed, what are the issues, what are we rallying for?
I'm growing increasingly tired of the simplistic jingoism, and the hero worship of individuals, as a substitute to doing some hard thinking on your own. I'm also tired of the simplified battle lines that seem to have been drawn, as if every person agreeing with the bill, should also agree with the methods adopted by Anna to pressurise the govt. As if every person disagreeing with the bill has to necessarily villify the proponents, laud the governments stupid 'preemptive' moves, and denounce the so called 'blackmail' methods.
As of now, I'm quite unconvinced by the bill, specially the way the campaign promotes it as 'being a solution to all varieties of corrupt practices in our lives' which I think was a massive understatemet. ( by none other than Aruna Roy herself). I'm open to discussion, and willing to be convinced about its effectiveness. I'm reading everything I can on it. But please, give me a major break from these human chains, I am Anna, and the 'social' movement against corruption. Lets be clear about what we're trying to achieve here, and understand that once we've got it, and the initial euphoric years have passed, it will be mighty hard to change it again.