Sunday, 6 October 2013

Drama on corruption.

and his corruption drama

It’s good that Anna Hazare’s circus company now wants to play a party natak. But whom do they want to convince now that they were not in politics earlier?
A person called Govindacharya wrote a drama called “Corruption”. Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan are acting in it again and again on the same stage. The hero is called Gali, who stands for no corruption; the villain is known as Theresa, who is known as the most corrupt person sending money all over the world.
The audience, of course, is mostly mediapersons. By chance, a dalit (Telangana) farmer lands up there, and says, “The drama is too well-known. The actors are unwanted, but what to do? Even though we tell them not to enact this drama again and again, as the characters themselves are not good, they keep enacting it.”
Well, they want to come on stage in changed costumes now. In Telugu villages, there is a saying, “Asalu veshale bagalevante kotha battalu kattukoni vaste yetla” (We didn’t appreciate their previous actions… and now they are wearing new clothes and coming back to us. What difference does it makes?) It appears that Anna’s circus company is doing exactly the same. They once again failed in the “unto death” natak (drama). Now, they want to play a party natak.
It’s good that they want to do that. But, whom do they want to convince now that they were not in politics earlier? Who does not know that they will eventually form yet another canal to get into that Rashtriya Swayamsevak samundar (sea)? But this new canal — they want us to believe — will carry “pure non-corrupt Ganga jal (water), the Bharatiya Janata Party; something that a real Ganga itself is not able to carry. Yes, some bodies keep floating in that Ganaga, quite visibly.
We have to believe that no such body will slip into this nullah (canal). What a natak? Like, say, those drinking toddy by closing their eyes think nobody can see them. If these worthies contest — not their chelas; they themselves — even in a village panchayat or in a municipal corporation, there they will face the real hero — the aam aadmi (the common man).
Do not fool some gullible onlookers, who came to the Ramlila Maidan to contest, and you remain outside that real dangal (arena)? Seriously, get into it. You, the dramatis personae, represent a “three+one” (three men and one woman). That one is the Bharat Mata and the three are the Bharat Pitahs. Now, there is going to be a bigger stage than what you had at the Ramlila Maidan.
We know that you do not believe in caste at all. You believe only in the presence around you of the evil called “corruption”. You, then, fight the election on the agenda of corruption versus all other issues. Suppose you name this new sacred party as Anna Party (AP). The 2014 elections, in that case, will have to be fought between this AP versus all other Ps. One can guess quite easily that all national (read English) channels would show the AP as being ahead of all other parties.
Unfortunately, in the electoral field, a majority of the votes are with the OBC/SC/ST segments and the minorities. At the same time, a majority of the corrupt leaders are from among the other segments — segments that are influential and mostly calling the shots.
So, now, these four character-actors will have to negotiate with the aam aadmi in the real dangal. However, from drama to dangal, it is a real metamorphosis. Among the majority voters, who happen to be poor as well, there is an opinion that those who are entering this dangal are muscle men/women and they are what they are: the “sab chor hai” ones. When chor comes to their door, they naturally say, “Paise do, paper lo” (Give us money, and we give the paper). Now that there is no paper vote, some would rather say, “Botal do, bottan dabayenge” (Give us the bottle, we will press the button). Anna should tie them to trees and ask our best police officer to beat them, because that is Anna Party’s moral philosophy, if not political philosophy. Of course, the believers in state violence would realise that there is an aam aadmi’s counter-violence out in the field.
Be that as it may, Gali keeps financing their election campaign from his hard work of digging gold out of the womb of the Bharat bhoomi. He keeps financing the election because it is the so-called nationalist election.
Earlier, their drama directors (sitting in the office of India Against Corruption funded by a friend called Ford) argued that reservation is mental corruption. Their great grand fathers Manu and Kautiya had propagated that even giving education to “those people” (who form a majority of the present-day voters) is tantamount to moral and spiritual corruption. Now, there is a cultural compromise. These worthies allow the children of aam aadmi to get desi education. But even this desi education corrupting their minds is a problem on hand.
The anti-reservation India Against Corruption, as a vote mobilisation agency, wants to ask votes of the dalit/OBC/ST and minority segments, on behalf of the Anna Party, for a “one world” call programme — the Lokpal. Having failed in all other forms of struggles — the main one being “fasting” as Mahatma Gandhi did in colonial India — they found to their dismay that their best ally — the BJP — has also turned against the fasting. And these activists also love their life. Otherwise they would have persisted with something like what Potti Sriramulu did in Andhra Pradesh — fasting for a cause until his death. But since there are materialists, including the multinationals, all around them, these “actors” are rather entering the electoral ring.
The other side of the country — village India — understands the notion of corruption differently. For them, corruption is a culture. All around them, those who speak more about corruption were/are the ones who are more corrupt. The Anna Party asks the aam aadmi (each one of them has a caste of his or her own) not to vote on caste basis, but by judging candidates on a corruption scale. In turn, they would ask AP leaders to give a blueprint for abolition of corruption and poverty. The conspiracy of anti-poverty consciousness among the villagers was planted by none other than Theresa herself. Hence she should go, says AP.
Those who accompany this Anna Party into the villages would not be labourers; they would rather be landlords-turned bureaucrats, businessmen, contractors etc. The problem is, the villagers know these very same people are corrupt — exploiters — and are the ones who are responsible for their abject poverty. AP’s slogan in the election would be: Poverty is fine, but corruption is killing. “Down with Theresa,” “Jaibolo Galiko”.
The hero in the corruption drama and the leader of the anti-corruption party finds a counter-hero in the village. He is poor and in rags. He asks for some money or for a bottle of liquor — not to buy a car or drink; but money to repay his debts, and a bottle to forget the problems of his family. The AP beats all of them. But, they would beat the AP back in the elections. All deposits are lost. The troupe will come back to Jantar Mantar — and say, corruption is really confusing, let it go on as it is. People taught them a lesson.
The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

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