Over the last 2 weeks, a new India emerged, from the shadows of the World Cup. We lifted a cup we can be truly proud of … middle-class India, united with the common man to raise its voice, in an uncommon expression of concern and social activism.
Anna Hazare probably achieved more in 2 weeks than any other political leader or social activist of recent times, and I feel privileged that we still have people like him in our midst. But at the same time, I can not but help feel a little despondent, because I fear that all his efforts will go in vain. It’s not that I don’t trust the political society to live up to their promises, for me that is a given ! I don’t trust myself, and many others who supported the cause, to live by the ideals that Anna proposes. Am I ready to go through the hassle of getting a traffic ticket when I jump the red-light or drive at 80 kmph on JJ flyover ? Isn’t it still easier to give the policeman a Rs 50 note ? Am I prepared to visit the telephone department in Ghaziabad 3 times to get my phone repaired or would I just pay Rs 100 to the lineman and get the job done sitting at home ?
If we truly support the fight against corruption, we have to live by the ideals that Anna fights for … its’ not enough to show up at Jantar Mantar in the morning and watch the tamasha ! We have a Responsibility to Say No, say NO to the short-cuts in life we wish to take, and which every Government official exploits. We have a Responsibility to say No to bribes … if we want an honest society, it has to begin with us. I fear that I am not ready for this, I am afraid I am still the ‘convenient’ Indian who likes to take the easy way-out; so what if it costs Rs 100.
As we fight for our Rights – the Right to Information, the Right to Education, the Right to Work, etc, was wondering whether we also should have the Right to Say No. The Right to tell our politicians that enough is enough, we don’t want to make a choice between the Devil and the deep-sea. If we are electing these corrupt politicians today, maybe it’s because we have not been given a choice. Many Indians still believe in the Indian circus called “Democracy” and will brave the sun, rain and crowds to cast their vote … so what if all the candidates are equal scoundrels ! I am not prepared to do that. I ask for the Right to Say No; to say that I don’t want to vote for any of the candidates. I want the right to express my vote of no-confidence, by voting, and not by not voting ! It might be better to have an empty Parliament because we didn’t vote for any MPs than to have an empty parliament because the MPs were throwing slippers at each other.
Friends, Indians and countrymen, join me in the asking for the Right to say NO, and also in the Responsibility to say NO