I AM THE NATION!
Nobody became an ‘Anna Hazare’ just by donning that ‘sexy’ Gandhi topi! Nor did the scourge of corruption go from this country… No, the Black Money worth crores and crores of dollars, stacked in those Swiss lockers – as the folklore goes – has come back to India. No, not yet. The Delhi fast ended… and, we thought Anna had won. The Mumbai fast flopped… and we thought Anna got cow-dung on his face!
Yes, in this great national pastime – the ‘tamasha’ - we are either with the Government or with the opposition or with Anna.
We are seldom with ourselves!
We are seldom with ourselves!
We expect Anna to do the ‘the scavenger work’ for us… Clean this mess. This ‘S..t’ called corruption!
We are fools of the first order… We have pinned hopes on Kasab. Means: When he is hanged, our nation will be free from terrorism! Now, we have pinned hopes on this old man, Anna… Means: When he fasts, the Government will pass the Bill… and, Bingo! Phut goes the corruption!
Anna has promised us this Paradise… The Fools’ Paradise!
“Who has time to waste in a Maidan?” a typical Mumbaikar reacted without even blinking. “Are you going?” I had asked him, when the Mumbai fast was just about to take off.
“Will Delhi show repeat?” I further pushed him.
“Delhi? Those fools have no other work… no other entertainment. Here, we worship our trade and train!” he was blunt.
And yes, this Mumbaikar was right.
I was in Mangalore when this Mumbai ‘tamasha’ was going on and the great Parliament debate was going on and on till the mid-night. I had decided not to read any newspapers or watch TV… I wanted to stay away from depressing drama. I did not want to take sides and jump at the end of the match: “Yey! Anna won… Or Yey the Governent won… Or, Yey, the BJP!”
But, wherever I visited in my hometown, I was surprised to see the people glued to TV like a cricket match! The young kids had an opinion on it. Dan is just in tenth standard, and it was crystal clear that he was very alive politically. He ‘hated’ Anna’s arrogance and, he wanted his show to flop. When it did, I heard him shout, “My First Communion had a bigger crowd than that!”
“Wow!” I thought, “What a way of telling Anna and his fools – ‘Enough’!”
Well, you may ask me: Where have I put my money? On Anna or the Government or the Opposition?
On none of them!
I have put all my money on me!
I am corrupt. And, yes, when I say that I am honest!
In the thick of the Delhi show, about five hundred young and enthusiastic medical students, young Docs, of a famous Mumbai medical college had approached their Dean. They wanted leave and permission to join the on-going Anti-corruption rally in Mumbai in support of Anna. The Dean agreed on one condition. He made them assemble in the college campus, raise their hands to their chests and made them take these Solemn Vows:
“As a Doctor, I shall be honest to the core,”
“I will not overcharge my patients,”
“I shall not take commissions from the labs and other doctors,”
“I shall not take commissions from the Medi-claims,”
“I shall not perform sex-detection tests,”
“I shall not evade Income tax,” …. And so on!
At the end of this assembly, none of these young Docs wanted Anna to end corruption!
I am corrupt. Let me fast unto death… to free myself of this scourge!
Yes, the Kingdom of Heaven lies here – here within my heart!
This is the only Paradise… Till it doesn’t come, nothing else will!
I don’t need an Anna to tell me I am corrupt!
I am the Nation.!
I am not Anna!
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.