Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Gandhian legacy !!

Over the past year or so I have been keenly aware of the power that is being vested on the common man all over the world to finally come out and make his word heard . Power to mark a change is shifting from the hands of the select few to the masses . It all started in Egypt , then came Iran , Libya and finally India .

It feels great to watch history when it is being created rather than try and imagine it through videos , books or movies. As I was watching the protests in Egypt and Iran , I was wondering if India would ever have a such a revolt and if so what would it look like . The difference between these regimes and India is that the former were dictatorial regimes where the common man had very little say and every little attempt at freedom of speech was curbed down . India on the other hand is very different , we do have freedom of speech , ours is not a dictatorial regime and secular forces rule in India , there is very little Moral policing if any .

So my first thought when the Anna Hazare phenomenon hit India was that the realization that the power of change lies with the common man has finally hit India and as I watched with great interest the unfolding of this massive change phenomenon , one thing that struck me was the Gandhianess of all of it . And I am not exactly talking about the Satyagraha part of it here but the fact that a protest could be done in a peaceful manner and the fact that democracy and freedom of speech still prevail in India. Leaving aside the one stupid attempt by the Govt. to arrest Anna Hazare , overall the change was brought about only by the power of language and discussion and not by the use of military power. And no matter how much we blame the Indian govt on most accounts , I have to give them the credit for keeping up the spirit of democracy and not resorting to the use of military power to kill the protests . We might not think of that as a big achievement but if we were to just look around ourselves , most of the world right now is under shackles of a few power hungry people and things like peaceful protests are a far cry for most of the people around the world . Any attempt to protest usually would either land them in jail or have the death sentence written over them.

This reminded me of something that I read in the Biography of the Myanmar leader Aung Sang Su Kyi long time back . She was asked why was she resolving to the methods of non - violence in her country when it was clear that it was not bringing about a change in a quick enough manner and why was she not considering overthrowing the current regime by the use of power and she replied " I do not want to set a precedent where people would think that use of military power is the only way around any problem in their lives , that was the issue with the earlier revolution in the country , all the power was put in the hands of the military and eventually the military came to believe that might is stronger than anything else in this world".

So on this day my jubilation is more about the affirmation that democracy and peaceful protests are the one and only way to ever bring out a every lasting change in any system and we have to thank our Father of the Nation for having set this precedent for all of us .

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