Is Team Anna a threat to democracy ?

A disgruntled auto driver slapped agriculture minister Sharad Pawar,  brandished a knife, and yelled his head off reflecting aam aadmi’s frustration over price rise and corruption at high places.

Mr Pawar reacted, politically correctly – ‘we should not make much of this’.

Anna Hazare,  politically unwisely,  blurted out impulsively, Ek hee mara ?  (‘Just one slap’). Anna has since been hard put to it,  to put his remark in perspective.

TV news channels made a meal of it, re-playing the action shot right through the 24 hr news cycle,  prompting BJP MP Smriti Irani to take on  the electronic  media that,  she said,  thrived on sensationalism.  Mr Vinod Mehta of Outlook, on a Times Now talk-show,  weighed with his editorial observation   –  ‘it’s the biggest story of the day’

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, to the media hanging out at Parliament House VIP exit: “where is the country going to”.

Prashant Bhushan-to-Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN:  “Democracy has to be freed from a  oligarchy of politicians and higher bureaucracy”.  Another Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal,  at the same talk-show,  dismissed the anchor’s suggestion that the angry young aam admi with penchant for attack on political netas might have been influenced by  strident stance adopted by  Team Anna members .  Kejriwal countered Sardesai – ‘do you want us to have our lips sealed ?’  To protest was one’s democratic right, though he did mention, for the record, that physical violence was not acceptable to Team Anna.

Talk-show host Sardesai wasn’t the only one to have given expression to a thought that Team Anna, in its self-assigned role as a ‘saviour’  in a democracy,  may well become  part of the problem. Britain’s academic and a Labour peer Bhikhu Parekh, in a recent lecture  on the crisis in Indian democracy,  is reported as saying,  a growing public support for Anna Hazare-style protests, led by unelected campaigners, bode ill for Indian democracy.  In his 2011  address – in the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture series – Lord Parekh reckoned that democracy was in danger of losing legitimacy,  if elected politicians failed to meet public expectations,  and people,  in frustration,  started mobilizing around “leaders” who had no democratic mandate,  but could have plenty of self-serving agendas.

I don’t know if any media other than The Hindu  reported Lord Parekh’s address in London recently.  In his thought-provoking talk Lord Parekh raises eminently arguable issues –  the very stuff of which prime time talk-shows are made.  Wish the Kanwal’s,  Goswami’s and Sardesai’s of our media  take note .


One Response

  1. The media is the same.. then and now.. Prashanth Bhushan was also slapped a thousand times…

    blaming Anna instead of our politically correct politicians is not right I believe.. before more people are slapped around, Congress party needs to be politically right in not just talks but in action too…. Anna is here to stay until then…if it was shoes and slippers that were thrown before – Pres. Bush and PC.. people seem to be getting more innovative…. and in a democratic country this not right.. but I do not at the moment see anything else right too in this set tup.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: