Clay Feet

I am an eternal cynic. Each time someone shouts from the roofs about wanting to bring in radical change and make a difference, I grow cold. Invariably such people have vested interests or conflicts that make believing in them so much more difficult, unless they prove themselves over and over again.

I remember writing this about Mr. Anna Hazare in August last year, “And then, when someone promises us a corruption-free nirvana-land, we jump on the bandwagon, unquestioning. As if a new law that brings or doesn’t bring the Prime Minister under its purview will change anything, while we continue to be who we are!  But it’s nice to sometimes delude ourselves and hope that something thrust upon us will hopefully change us since we can’t or don’t want to make the effort to do so ourselves. Hence quick fixes and solutions aimed at “others” become popular and populist, when the problem really is within us! And a thousand Anna Hazares and Lokpal bills are not going to be able to fix that.”

I obviously got panned for this. Readers responded with all kinds of rubbish…including, “if you are not pro-Hazare, you are pro-corruption”. Then a couple of weeks later, there was more criticism when I questioned the big deal that was being made about his fasting, especially when seen in the context of the Jain festival “pajosan” where loads of people drink only water for 8 days or more, without too much trouble.

We all now know what has happened since last August with the so-called Hazare gang. The only thing worse than their irrelevance is the fact that the few good things that were being highlighted because of their movement have all fallen by the wayside. The Lokpal bill we will now get is the one that the Government and politicians will want to give us and all the goodwill and support that we gave the gang has been squandered away, without the slightest remorse…on top of that we have had to watch them consort with people like Mr. Ramdev.

And yet, even with all this rubbish, their messages at least have been upfront and not hidden under the veneer of “socially relevant entertainment”.  S. Anand in a recent issue of Outlook, in the context of the episode on casteism in “Satyameva Jayate” says it so well. “The audience is fed “bourgeois moralism of the most pathological sort,” on a programme where “the only solution turns out to be nothing more than emotional catharsis”.”

I used 600 words last month to try to say the same thing, without quite getting the message across. And since my thrust was on the healthcare episode, I was seen to have a conflict of interest. Anand’s article shows how reality can be distorted and made to fit into the “truth” that the producers, research team and anchor want us to see and believe. And this is scarier than the Hazare-gang antics, given the reach of television and the initial gullibility of people.

The problem is that we want idols and heroes who we hope can deliver us from our sins and the sins of the rest of our countrymen. The true fact is that while such heroes do exist, those who actually work to make a difference do so silently these days, while keeping as low a profile as possible. If you know such people, put them on your pedestal, but without fanfare. As for the likes of all those mentioned in this piece who claim to make a difference…remember that clay feet dissolve and wash away…sooner or later.

12 Comments

  • Dr. Sunil Kamath. Sr. Traffic Warden. wrote:

    Bhavin(ji), You seem to be a Man after My own Heart…

    If there are No GIVERS then THERE WILL BE NO TAKERS…is a well known Fact. But then it is we who readily BRIBE OUR WAY OUT.

    If at all the CORRUPTION has to End, then it has to START from the TOP. The 1st. scam took place in 1948 and Krishna Menon who was the then Defence Minister who was the perpetrator of this crime..should have been PUBLICLY FLOGGED and made an example of..Then this situation would never have arisen.

    With Politicians of all hues and shades indulging in corruption and scams, even after being arrested make a mockery of the system. They are released on bail and give off ‘V’ victory signs and their supporters come with music bands and his release is greeted with Great Fanfare…the message that has been passed on to the common man is…if one has the Right amount of money and the Right Contacts..One can get away with anything..including MURDER.

    We try to Bribe all & sundry…Even GOD has not been spared.

    Would it be too much to ask All those Supporters of Anna Hazare to cross their hearts and ask them to vouch that they have never indulged in corruption (big or small)…I doubt whether we may be able to count more than the no. of fingers on our 2 hands.

  • I couldn’t have said it any better.

  • The Anna movement was basically flawed because it chose to attack the symptom(corrupt politicians) rather than the cause (public apathy and lawlessness at the core of almost every Indian). We get the sort of government/police/medical services/railways/society that we deserve/demand. For example try a simple experiment, walk into the toilets at Hiranandani hospital Powai and then Fortis-Hiranandani Hospital Vashi. Same chain (pretty much) but huge difference in maintenance levels based upon the sort of clientele that visits both hospitals (one demands clean toilets the other couldn’t be bothered), ditto for kirana shops, you could pick up a bar of dark chocolate at most GM shops in Powai or Colaba but will need to hunt for a shop that sells dark chocolate in Sanpada (for instance)…. just the age old demand-supply conundrum. We as a nation do not deserve a better polity because we cannot appreciate a better polity. We accept mediocrity because that is the level of evolution where we’re at as of now, largely speaking (some may be more evolved than others but overall it’s not evolved enough to deserve any better politicians)

    Fixing this country will need a huge upheaval and a change in the intellect of the common man because end of the day we get what we deserve as a collective.

    As for anna and his am twisting cronies well now that they are in the electoral politics arena, may their souls RIP. This is the end of a social movement that might have brought some change had it worked at the grass roots level and built on the success of the RTI campaign. they possibly got over excited by the success of RTI and then lost steam because of the facebook generation that misled them into thinking that the support base was very wide. Unfortunately the FB generation is more interested in Association for copulation (tu bhi Anna supporter main bhi anna supporter lets do Fraandship)!

  • Phiroze Javeri wrote:

    India has survived the shenanigans of scoundrels because of the quiet work and devotion to duty of the simple people from all spheres of life. Unfortunately, the sharpness of intellect so essential for calling a spade a spade is blunted in these very people because of unreasoned faith — be it in their version of god, or their idols with feet of clay. Sincerity without perspicacity self destructs; the spades become knaves, and the knaves, kings.

  • aartimehta wrote:

    Great article Bhavin!

  • kalpana sridharan wrote:

    So looks like you are happy that somebody else also had the same opinion about A
    mir show and Anna Hazare movement failing.You are happy that it proves you right.The whole article made me feel that you have in you that vengeful thing.writing about peoples comments on your articles.Shows an immature mind.Feeling sad Mr.Bhavin.

  • It was a great article,Dr Bhavin.as usual immature and narrow-minded people have called you names without understanding the thought behind such articles.I don’t have to tell you not to bother about them.Please continue writing such articles.you are on the right track.

  • Nitin Tamhane wrote:

    Anna movement may be flawed but the issues raised are not.Since corruption has become a social practice like Dowry etc it is necessary to tackle it outside of poitical sphere and within the social zone for example outcasting some very corrupt people whom we know.

    Other alternative is a strong development prone leader like Narendra Modi who can bring a change though it takes time and he also has to fight the same system

    You are right there is no quick fix.

    In defence of Anna who is basically a rustic man and has been fighting for years for this cause.

    Unfortunately we are all shooting the messenger.

  • Armaity Surendra Patel wrote:

    Thank you for forwarding your article.
    I had missed the issue.

  • Armaity Surendra Patel wrote:

    Thank you for forwarding your article.
    I had missed the issue.

  • anand desai wrote:

    Hi.
    To the extent that Anna started well is known and accepted. He was looked upon as a Man who had nothing to “loose” and had a lot of integrity. then the ROT set in . the Babas and politicians came centre stage. This was the first fatal mistake… then his team members got exposed [ billing for J class and travelling Eco etc etc.] DOWN THE TUBE THEN… Do u wonder why he lost common man’s support sympathy and interest… this is what exactly happened according to me. Now the Ruling party steadfastly ignores the raves and rants… signalling this movement is self destruct… To top it all just b’coz we see say a large support group in New Delhi… we assume we would have votes???? Go bark up another tree ….

  • I enjoyed your last sentence very apt to end a well scripted clip. Well done Bhavin.
    TNM

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