Opinion » Lead

Updated: April 24, 2013 03:14 IST

Be wary of false prophets

Harish Khare
Comment (65)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

The fact that Anna Hazare is no longer on the list of the most powerful shows that people are more sober today and sceptical of tall claims made by so-called crusaders

The weekly, India Today, has just published its annual compilation of the most powerful people in India. Such lists inevitably contain some degree of arbitrariness as well as an element of subjectivity. But in the capital city which gets its kicks on gossip and patronage, such listings are sacred rites of reaffirmation. These yearly snapshots give a reasonable idea of how power is deemed to be shared among the prominenti. What is most astonishing about this year’s Power List is that social activist Anna Hazare, judged the most powerful person in India in 2012, does not find a place at all. The man who a year ago was declared the mightiest public presence has been reduced to a big nothing. Even Arvind Kejriwal, that energetic major domo in the Anna clique, who figured prominently at no. 47 last year, does not make the cut this time.

Fascinating subject

The exclusion of Anna Hazare should be a fascinating phenomenon to every student of Indian political sociology. Was his canonisation last year totally misplaced or is his exclusion this year a reflection of a distorted notion of “power” and “powerful”? After all, only 12 months ago, the man was serenaded as our saviour for his anti-corruption campaign — a man who inspired millions of fellow Indians to raise their voice against a flawed system. It cannot be anybody’s case that India has become significantly free of “corruption” within a space of 12 months, or at least has become so much better that we no longer need the Anna Hazare ministrations. Or, have those who responded to Anna Hazare’s call to come out to the streets seen through the game, have become wiser, even a bit cynical?

Or, have those who promoted him in the first place and crafted a halo around him, given up on him, having achieved whatever elbow room they were looking for themselves? Has the “political” class beaten back an honest crusader or has the democratic legitimacy of the political system finally prevailed? What has changed in India that the man who was hailed as leading us to our “second war of Independence” is almost forgotten as a fallen hero?

All these are troubling questions and there are no easy answers. And the absence of easy answers points, once again, to the complicatedness of our collective woes, as also to the inescapable unpleasantness inherent in maintaining and sustaining a state order, in this exacting age of borderless capital and borderless terror.

Admittedly, the story is yet to be told of who decided that Anna Hazare be pitch-forked on to the national stage. All these years, the Gandhian activist was content to play the role of a minor nuisance to Maharashtra’s highly contaminated politicians and bureaucracy, that too with only patchy results. He never did set Mumbai on fire, yet he was now pencilled in for the role of a prime time insurgent. The powerful people with motives and resources who bankrolled the “movement” too were cognisant of his limited mind space. His only asset was that he was perhaps the only one around who still donned a Gandhi cap.

Moment of frustration

But for a while the Anna show was a great hit because the moment was ripe. It would be totally unimaginative to negate the national mood that provided the backdrop to the Anna Hazare movement. It was a moment of national frustration. A strange sense of helplessness and paralysis was visible to the vocal middle classes, who needed to have someone to blame for their globally induced economic miseries. So much so that a leading intellectual even allowed himself to suggest that Anna Hazare’s rambling speech at Ram Lila Maidan was more inspiring than Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” oration. Such was the middle classes’ desperation and disenchantment with the A K. Antony rate of decision-making in UPA-II. As far as the middle classes were concerned a “Jan Lok Pal” was the abracadabra to make all the corruption go away and with it their miseries.

Not a ‘movement’

The Anna campaign was never a “movement” and it petered out because the very process that made it a “movement” lacked the integrity and moral stamina for a long-distance journey. To begin with, the TRP-jihadists saw a potential in Anna Hazare and adopted him as a long lost cousin. As it were, a number of media personalities came to invest heavily in the Hazare phenomenon. Some of them wrote fawning books, some cheerfully strategised with the India against Corruption crowd. They joyfully crossed the thin line between journalism and political partisanship.

For a while, corporate advertising support was available for this jugal bandi. The same telecom giants who figured dishonourably in the “2G” scam were in the forefront of providing the requisite advertising help to this “revolt of the masses.”

But then all good things do come to an end. And the media barons are not without greed. The eager-beavers who were leading the anti-corruption crusade were themselves caught on camera cutting deals with the “corrupt” corporate personalities. The spell was broken. A year later, the citizen is today much more sceptical of tall claims made by crusading matadors on the nightly shows.

Quest for good governance is a noble aspiration among citizens, not just in India but all over the democratic world. In response to this aspiration, the Manmohan Singh government has taken a few baby-steps towards instituting a new accountability structure. The Prime Minister had the wisdom and the humility to acknowledge and salute Anna Hazare, only to be greeted with arrogance and hubris of petty politicians. But thinking citizens do understand the soundness of the constitutional scheme of things. The Anna Hazare-backed solutions were located outside this constitutional arrangement. And if he is a forgotten man it is because the great institutional equilibrium is in the process of recovering its centeredness. It was only in the fitness of things that the judiciary as an institution should have become alarmed at the excessive extra-judicial vigilantism among its ranks. And, when the government gathered the courage to seek a Presidential Reference in the 2G matter, the judiciary grabbed the opportunity to undertake a course correction. An errant Comptroller and Auditor-General, who whetted our appetite for conspiracies and corruption, lost his bite as he increasingly painted himself in a partisan corner. No institutional functionary can be effective if he chooses to give an impression that he believes that all the bad men and all the badness are located on one side of the political divide. Partisanship begets partisanship, and the institution loses its respect and prestige.

The energy and anger that sustained Anna Hazare have not dissipated. But the Indian citizen is much more sober today than he was a year ago. Indeed, the Hazare sales-pitch was predicated on our weakness for the myth of a single man as a solution to all our collective ills.

Manufactured cult

This is essentially a Bollywood-isation of national imagination. Too often a determined clique is able to manufacture a halo around a man, promising to set things right, and then all the self-styled defenders of democratic values and democratic space effortlessly rush in to enlist in manufacturing a personality cult. At the height of the India Against Corruption crescendo, Kiran Bedi used to argue, as if in a trance, that “Anna has never failed.” The same infallibility and inevitability is now being chanted about another entrant to the Power List, a certain Chief Minister from Gujarat. The same players and strategy that were in play during the Anna “movement” are furiously at work again. But India is wiser today and has moved beyond the Anna Hazare temptation precisely because it can see through false prophets, and the sales-pitch made by them and on their behalf.

(Harish Khare is a veteran commentator and political analyst, and former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh)

More In: Lead | Opinion

As Mr Khare article is timely, we should be wary of false prophets and
equally be skeptic of doubting Thomas who have been on payroll of other

from:  Ananth
Posted on: Apr 25, 2013 at 11:21 IST

What is being said is indoubtably important but the who is the speaker
is also important.
Here Anna Hazarre seems to be more important than the movement and the
response to the movement by people and also by the 'democratic'
governement. Similarly, the article is awsome if the reader checks the
name who is the author.
Present politics hails it!

from:  Love Gogia
Posted on: Apr 25, 2013 at 11:11 IST

The reader senses a glee in Mr. Khare's writing that Anna Hazare and his
movement are both spent force now. And why not, the status quo is maintained
without any blemishes to the establishment.
Spin doctoring is evidenced by Khare's statement on Global economic woes being
the main cause of people's sentiment against the government. Really? How did you
manage to miss the elephant in the room? Corruption scandals one after the other.
And incidentally, who are the false prophets of India's destiny? Dr. Singh and
Sonia's family or the poor people rising from humble backgrounds daring to raise
their voices against corruption, pathetic leadership and lack of vision for India?
Someone needs a reality check.

from:  Anamendra Bharati
Posted on: Apr 25, 2013 at 10:16 IST

As the response to the article reveal one can easily conclude that there
are false prophets in media too as they never feel the pulse of the
people nor know the mindset of the common man as they confine to star
comforts in the company of VIPs without any knowledge of ground
realities which some times cannot come out.Readers are loosing faith in
Harsih khare'S views.Hope he changes his mindset after going through the
majority views of the readers.

from:  JP Reddy
Posted on: Apr 25, 2013 at 09:14 IST

Kudos to Mr Khare for writing such an article full of venom, snide
and vituperation. Judging from the number of responses and what is
said in those responses, he was succeeded in reminding the readers of
The Hindu to the fact that Anna Hazare's movement has to continue to
press its demands. The corrupt and self centred politician banks on
the firm conviction that public memory is short. Thanks Mr Khare for
the timely reminder.

Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 16:16 IST

Mr. Khare, The anger is very much there still, it is simmering and you are not aware of it since you are defending the Congress party. Winning a battle does not mean winning a war. While Anna continues to battle non-politically, his protege, Arvind Kejriwal has taken up the gauntlet thrown by the politicians to fight elections.
He will fight the next elections from Delhi and Haryana where we have witnessed the maximum corruption.
It is a small beginning but remember even Mahatma Gandhi too made a small beginning. Who would have dreamt that the half naked fakir would drive out the British? Let him win from both these states and then we shall see if people have forgotten corruption.

from:  Radheshyam Sharma
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 16:15 IST

I have to admit I was one of those who had roundly criticised the
Anna-Kejriwal-Bedi show for their intransigence. But in dismissing
Anna, Khare is dismissing the public mood of the time. Then, he goes
on to allege an unholy nexus between Team Anna and corporates. This
may well be true, but the delicious irony, of using corporate
association to vilify civil society when the government he defends was
literally bending over backwards to please its corporate masters, is
hard to ignore.
If anything, coal-gate and the latest fiasco with Ashwani Kumar just
shows the government and Manmohan Singh in pathetic light. When
attacking the CAG of being partisan, he also completely ignores the
JPC report which makes a ridiculous attack on the CAG, gives UPA a
clean chit and accuses the NDA government of corruption. And, the non-
partisan Khare doesn’t forget to take a final swipe at Modi and his
followers, while sidestepping the canonisation of Rahul Gandhi by the
rank and file of the ruling party

from:  Suvojit
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 16:14 IST

Excellent article... This was the same opinion many people had when Anna's so called movement(???) started. P Sainath wrote it in The Hindu then....
The middle class, the English speaking Indians and the media needed entertainment...and Anna provided it for for some period... The team Anna (specifically Kiran Bedi) was arrogant and created big drama for short time... Anna himself perhaps had good intentions but people around him made him look like the end, it all turned out to be mere drama.... Thanks for The Hindu for publishing such good articles consistently on the right side rather following the popular sentiments.

from:  Periasamy Sankar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 15:59 IST

I am also a 'Hindu' reader for more than 50 years. There is nothing wrong in publishing all schools of thought. The country is spoiled by hero/heroine worship. It is time we look at all the ideas instead of the bio profile of the people. What is being told is important compared to who is saying that.

Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 15:31 IST

Let us compare the present situation with past. Our freedom fighters fought against British government for nearly 100 years through Swadeshi movement, home rule league, Non-cooperation movement, Civil disobedience and finally Quit India. There was a gap of nearly 5 to 10 years between each movement because "No mass struggle can last for long time" and common man cannot participate in a mass struggle for long period of time as he has to earn for his living. Hazare has done a right thing by temporarily halting the anti-corruption movement. Once there is a sense of public anger due to inefficient, lethargic and corrupt government this movement can be started again.

from:  Madhav
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 15:20 IST

If Harish Khare had tried to understand why Lok Satta Jayaprakash Narayan differed with Anna Hazare team, he would have produced a mature article.

from:  Shravan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 15:09 IST

Unfortunate this article may be, the disappointment comes from the fact that 'The Hindu' which has so vociferously defended the CAG in his quest for accountability gives space to the writer who in a very subtle manner suggests a lot of things otherwise. I am glad that at the end of it the publication remembers to mention that he was a former media advisor to the the Prime Minister. The point I wanted to highlight was that it was after the Anna's movement that the capacity of middle-class to hit the streets has increased. The political conscience of the voters has been shaken and the writer just need to wait for few months to see the outcome of it. The polity was pushed to the corner when they filed a Presidential reference and it was never a matter of courage.
I will wait and so should the writer to understand what is the difference between the forces at play behind Modi and Anna.

from:  MKumar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 13:21 IST

It is regrettable that Khare is allowed the columns of the Hindu to
spit venom on honest persons.Can any long time reader recall such an
instance in the distant past?It tantamounts to insulting the
intelligence of the readers.It does not matter when Khare is found
unworthy of reading.But it can not be so with the Hindu.
Khare's comments on CAG is derogatory.Khare,like his political
masters,must be angry with CAG for unarthing scam after scam involving
Manmohan and his colleagues.Manmoohan's veil of honesty has blown
away.Manmohan's humility was on display when he reacted to Advani's
remark of 'weak PM' and also when Manmohan discovered Arun Jaitley's
envy.There is vast difference between pre-2004 Manmohan and PM Manmohan.
The former was honest.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 13:18 IST

I am a subscriber for the last 40 years and having read harish khare's long winded article even during the days while he was in your payroll.I am of the firm view that carrying such articles would undermine the integrity of esteemed Newspaper,we chennaites almost adore.Ethics in Journalism is not only about paid Journalism.If the editor discerns that the report expresses the reporter's affiliations to a political party such reports should not merit publication.This bloke is abusing the people who overwhelmingly supported Anna Hazare and in a way you are acting as a surragate to propagate his views.Did you carry any editorial questioning Harish Khare when he as Press adviser to the Prime Minister of India,arranged the GANG OF 5 Journalist for the First interview with our PM.By this act he not only tarnished the image of the Prime minister but also of the Congress Party.When the Congress gave him the Job of Press adviser he not only messed it,brought down the image of the Congress .

from:  sankaran
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 13:00 IST

Ideas live...values survive...people advocating it,fighting for it come and go.Anna came and fought for it.The day he and his team showed diversion from the basic idea and the value for which they were actually supported the lost there glory.
New advocates/leader/prophet/person will come to take the tourch of truth and honesty forward and will be supported and praised.

from:  Mukund
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:59 IST

I dont want to comment on Anna Hazare. But dont you see Harish Khare is media advisar of PM. He is Pro-congress and put only only one side pro-congress by demeaning all other.
The Hindu known for its articles with wisdom. Please dont give chance to such one sided authors in OPINION page that too on subject like this where both sides have enough valid points
Disappointed with the Hindu rather than Harish Khare(such a negative person)

from:  Sagar Babar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:49 IST

No idea of the methodology used by ‘India Today’ in its ‘Power List’. But Mr. Harish Khare should not have moulded his scale from the same methodology for gauging the political popularity that Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal enjoy among the people. In a World of paid news, ‘many’ media-groups feed the masses with ‘Manufactured Consent’ (Noam Chomsky) to portray the dynastic-political legitimacy as a suitable State-modality within ‘constitutional scheme’, while the Constitution itself needs thorough revision to include ‘Right to Reject’ and ‘Right to Recall’, and to prevent families from using democracy as ‘job-market’ for their daughter-in-laws and sons. The Congress, having exhausted Gandhianism, is afraid of Anna’s Gandhi cap and his ‘Right to Recall’, and the Lokpal Bill of the Aam Aadmi Party. Common people do not gossip on power abuses in the same manner as the Page-3 Industries do; rather they use their understandings for emerging as political force in determining the system.

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:48 IST

Mr harish khare seems to be highly biased himself,having been the
media advisor to the PM at one time. For a moment even if we accept
the manipulations and machinations behind the anna movement,the
backing of the certain lobbies in the corporate sector, whose
responsibility is it to unravel the truth.
Is it not correct to say that whatever the background of Anna or the failures of his movement, he did successfully highlight the corruption at the top levels of this government.And as per Mr. Khare what should the CAG do, genuflect in front of the greedy,immoral politician and actually act like one.It needs courage to behave like the way Vinod Rai and not dilute his present job profile in the hope of getting some crumbs thrown at him in the future, by way of governorship,diplomat
etc etc.>
Mr Khare please do not expect everyone to behave like poodles when caressed, it is time to call the spade a spade.

from:  shailendra
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:43 IST

Anna Hazare's 'limited mind space' is enough to envisage plans and ways to become a better society because the complex and massive amounts of 2G,Coal-gate,Commonwealth scams is out of our simple minds to comprehend.

from:  Amit Joshi
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:43 IST

Few men suddenly waking up, following one individual, coming to street
and blaming only politician and expecting corruption going away in a
year is just a dream.
Corruption is a cancer which is spreading slowly and persistently. It
probably accelerated recently and created uneasiness to many. The time
it took to spoil the nation, more or less the same time it will take
to cure.
Anna's name disappeared from powerful men's list is exactly explains this. He came fast and disappeared fast. Corruption came slowly and it has to go away slowly.
People who are upset over corruption are they all clean? Are they not contributing to corruption directly or indirectly in all our social interactions? How many reluctantly pay bribe (in different names) to get things done and accept that as norm.
Anna and others are welcome and glad to see they created awareness. But it is "every individual" who need to change. Not just few bunch of politicians.

from:  Dakshinamurthy
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:24 IST

Mr. Khare you are a learned personality do you not know that mass
movement by nature can not continue for extended period of time
continuously, there is mass fatigue but that is not the end, the
resurrection takes place when the need arise. The problem of
corruption is very real and accepting wrong in system can not be
called maturity of masses... the frustration is surpassed not vanished
and will depict itself again in time. By Calling a constitutional body
doing its job efficiently errant you show your depth of anlysis. I
hope in future we shall see more balanced articles in the hindu.

from:  vandita
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:14 IST

The Author being media advisor to P.M. has done his homework well.The
fact that Anna Hazare is still respected as an ICON because he stood
against the Corrupt policies of State which common person has to
face.The scams have erupted on yearly basis in every ruling government
.The CAG had highlighted them makes it worse for author to go against
both of them in a single shot.

from:  Anirudh
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:10 IST

Your article starts with India Todays list, a magazene which always prompted a
question in my mind everytime i took it in my hands, is it what india is today ?
The most powerful list is nothing but a jolly read and has less to do with realities. Your inferences about a false prophet, kiran bedis remarks to the mass and others do not leave any impression. You seem to sound optimistic on subdued protests, results of last years agitation and a weak lokpal bill with your arguments. You may not have liking for the leaders of the agitations, but it seems even the cause doesnt interest you. Sir, how can this be. Please dont mock on the efforts of middle class.

from:  GUNJAN
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:09 IST

For me, the artical is too sceptical to be believed and perhaps the
most insignificant, written in the tone to castigate the cons of the
veteran social leaders like Anna Hazare and Kejriwal .Indeed, a person
can never be a solution to an insurmountable problem such as
corruption but the writer forgets that Anna Hazare is not a single
person. He is a voice to millions of Indians who are frustrated by
this disease of corruption. Those Indians who are unwillingly infected
by the this disease.Those Indians who want to work honestly but are
restricted because of someones self interest.Twas not Anna Hazare or
Arvind Kejriwal for whom public joined the movement but they joined it
for themselves.They joined it because they can associate with it. And
to the underlined question of the writer that why isn't Anna seen
recently in these activities I would like the writer to be little
logical.Perhaps, Anna Hazare is too old and weak and for leading the
movement from front.

from:  Mayank Uniyal
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:07 IST

Anna Hazare's popularity might have come down but,bringing awareness in the people is not a small achievement of Anna.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:06 IST

Who says and lists the powerful people. It is again some paid media. Who pays? Parties such as UPA and BJP? Kindly dont equate Anna Hazare with someone who just was wearing a Gandhi topa. Anna was and is clean. He just does not want to enter the ditch which our politics is and clean the filth. Kejriwal is attempting to enter the ditch even though it is stinking with filth.
Hindu please disown such articles. These are corrupt attempts to dissuage people. As one other gentleman rightly pointed out, people are angry and one day it is going to blast you all. Police or Army cannot stop people of billions who have been raped and looted for 60 years.

from:  Honga Singh
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 12:03 IST

The author has presented a nuanced position on Anna Hazare's exclusion from the list. However, i have my doubts as to the legitimacy of this "Power List". Is Mukesh Ambani(ranked no.1) really more powerful than Sonia Gandhi?
The year Anna was ranked no.1 marked the climax of an unique social movement. This year Anna does not figure in the list because that movement has gone to the background now. The problem of corruption still exists but the institutional inertia has taken over. Media spotlight upon the issue has also receded which has greatly hampered the visibility of the anti-corruption movement. Besides, Kejriwal's parting of ways did not help either. But, the political class must be aware that the common Indian is very much angry at the affairs and another movement can happen under some other leader.
Lastly, The author's take on CAG is unfortunate. we should all hail Vinod Rai as the "T N Seshan of CAG".

from:  Mukut Ray
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:55 IST

Though I always love to read Mr.Harish Khare's articles which are rich in content and language, the intentions leave a lot to be desired. His articles always present Congress as the only alternative to the British to rule us. This apart, this specific article while gunning for civil society leaders, does not present a solution to the corruption issues. In India, apart from politicians (everyone from left, right, center-right,etc), bureaucrats, and filmi people, rest of the population are always treated as second class citizens.

from:  Kamal
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:52 IST

"a certain Chief Minister from Gujarat" - I could not help laughing.
Hardly worthy of The Hindu brand. I have been reading The Hindu, and I
have seen it as an outspoken newspaper. But this article looks th be an
attempt to slander the entire section of society that may not be
successful, but which is attempting to restore some ethics in the

from:  Balaji S
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:50 IST

There is opportunity for an investigative journalist here.
It has been widely known the politicians do media management at the time of elections and the list by India Today is also part of the same.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:43 IST

The credit goes to Anna Hazare for making people vocal and strong enough, that the attackers of a five year old poor girl are in police custody.
If not for him, the elite of Delhi, which Mr. Khare is part of, would not have heard of the case.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:41 IST

corruption in india is very deep rooted. i was very clear that Annas movement will be doused slowly as the anger in common man suppressed by his other needs. i agree with one of the comments that common mans anger is not extinguished rather covered by a
thick layer of his lively hood. at some point in future it may errupt like a volcano.

from:  venkat ganji
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:38 IST

Excellent piece of commentary on the ongoing Socio-political discourse
in India. This not only reflect the imagination of masses of India but
the writers, columnists and thinkers who are involve in making and
shaping of imagination of citizens of India. Independent and Induced
both sections of writers and commentators have shown continuous some
or other kind of lack foresightedness in sculpturing personality cult.
The larger question is, can India be free from this social psychology
of personality cult? Do we have really dearth of social and political
ideals or we often fail to spot the real one? In other case, Do we
overestimate the charisma and competence of projected ideals? We
should not undermine the fact that these personalities have revered
and rewarded in many public occasions by independent organizations.
The question occurs to me, Do we have adequate mechanism to discover
our genuine ideals or we still rely on our colonial and neo-colonial
lords to pick best from the lot.

from:  Aditya Samdershi
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:25 IST

Rather than concentrating upon why "false prophets" are being sought
and welcomed, Mr Khare has chosen to shoot-down a genuine struggle -
bordering on hatred, trying to malign an honest, dedicated citizen.
Anna movement had more success than any other in last few decades, it
changed the feeling of helplessness into one of struggle. Lets not
forget it was not a well-planned coup, but a conglomeration of diverse
personalities, and a unique experiment in itself. Anna had health
issues and "allies" aimed higher than they should have. Mr Khare, its
not analysis but propaganda. Would request Hindu to edit such biased
pieces more rationally.

from:  Arun Pilania
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:25 IST

You have declared CAG as partisan? Just analyse your piece of writing,
It is the best example of how you can without naming a person, party
again and again can justify its wrong deeds. Indeed, The Indian public
has become cynical. Thanks to the two time UPA govt in the center,and
their newly appointed "young" VP, who at the time of 2009 elections,
talked too much about infusing the young blood into the politics and
improving the center stage. Indeed, the Indian public has become sober
today, and can understand the motives behind the Govt's decision to
slash the cooking gas, petrol,oil etc prices just before the General
Elections. Indeed, because of this awakening of the Indian masses, you will see a better change in 2014. Amen!!

from:  Yatin Chauhan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:19 IST

This is precisely the reason why India needs less of 'intellectuals'
such as the author of this piece and more Anna Hazares.
Why did Anna find the kind of support he did? Because government and
political class in general has defied all limits of public propriety
and corruption shamelessly. If not for anything else, Anna is responsible for waking up the collective conscience of crores of Ordinary Indians (Aam Aadmi). He
and his team played a stellar role in giving voice to scores of
Indians who are angry, have grown frustrated at the hands of by far
the most corrupt government in Independent India.
You may fault Anna and Kejriwal on the solutions that they have offered. They are indeed not perfect. But, what has government done. Shamelessly looted national exchequer in 2G, Coal and other scams??
Instead of attacking Anna, it would have been prudent if Mr. Khare were to present his own solutions unless he thinks his only job to trash the opponents of his previous boss.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:18 IST

Looks like Mr. Khare is trying to
his level best to save the face of the congress. He might be successful
if he was a bit more balanced [at least for name sake] in his
assessment. The language, the content clearly exposed his intent. Isn't
the media adviser[former] to the PM is aware of a simple logic that it
is easy to figure it out the underlying intent, if the op-ed so biased?

from:  Naresh
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:09 IST

The author has picked up bits and pieces from the timeline to build up a story which contains very strong and perhaps biased opinion without the facts backing them up.
Apart from that regarding the baby steps mentioned, if it takes a government 10 years and more than 10 scams, each one of them thousand crores to take baby steps, I believe the people in that government are intellectually and administratively not fit to rule this nation.
The constitutional arrangement referred to in the article is intensively slow due to clash of interests among different parties involved in corruption to various extent.
As a common man, I have lost belief in the current parliament and am ready to go out of order to achieve an efficient body which makes sure the constitutional arrangement is still as efficient as the proposers wanted it to be. That is what Anna and others tried to do, but you can only do so much in a country which is divided on the basis of casteist and religious insecurities.

from:  Dheerendra
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:03 IST

The Anna Hazare movement has left a seed each in a million heads and
hearts to germinate. The movement against corruption is not a waste.
Though it did not take revolution proportions, it did bring us the mango
people of this country, the idea that the power of change is in our
hands. Now the moment to exercise our power is coming upon us. The true
result of Anna's movement will really be effected only then.

from:  Ajit Menon
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 11:00 IST

Arvind Kejirwal is not a nobody, we also know how the media houses have been bought to black list him. Come now, u must be aware of this?
We definitely needed Anna Hazare. All he asked for was good governance. He did not ask for any post for himself nor is he indicted like most people in current government. As regards to PM, he is a joke. We had so much hope from an educated and so called clean person but alas now we have come to the conclusion that he might not have been blind-sided in all the murky deals but may have been a willful accomplice all along.
People like you, who go around pointing and denigrating others, instead of having the guts to confront and clean up the rot in your party and government, are but hollow individuals. Education is wasted on ppl like you and the PM who can not stand for the truth and goodness.

from:  jramhyd
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 10:59 IST

An excellent article by Mr.Harish Khare which should serve as an eye opener to the "Modi crazy" netizens whose obsession with him borders on fanaticism. Anna Hazare did not have the PR machinery in his command, but had to depend on the "TRP jihadists", but Modi has a multi million dollar PR machinery which can unleash a blitzkreig as they did in the Gujarat elections.
The urban Indian middle class who have benefited immensely from the liberalisation policies of Dr. Manmohan Singh see a messiah in Modi who will take them to even greater heights(of wealth). Their anti corruption tirade is just a mask which hides their greed for more wealth by alienating the poorest of the poor and the oppressed. Modi is exactly what the doctor ordered for them, and in their quest for Moditva they are helped by the corporates who are willing partners to the "TRP jihadists".

from:  C Balachander
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 10:51 IST

Anyone who has read Mr. Harish Khare's article in today's The Hindu would feel that while accusing the CAG,the media and last year's civil society disobedience movement of political partisanship,he himself comes out as biased.The CAG in its reports about the allocation and use of national resources indicates how these were used and how these could have been used better so as to ensure minimum or no loss.If this is 'partisanship',then one would say his very job is meant to be so.The media,minus the section with corporate sanction,too is doing its job of making the public aware of the state of our polity.If anyone railing against the ruling class is labelled as a 'partisan' and thereby persecuted,who will come forward to sustain the spirit of healthy opposition?The term partisanship should be strictly political and not extended to the other subsets of our society which strive to make
it wholesome and objective.

from:  Aakash Gupta
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 10:07 IST

Anna Hazare might have moved out of the aforementioned list and people of this
country may look mature sitting at home right now, but it's not long before another
Anna-esque agitation takes place. It is an accepted fact that Aam Aadmi just doesn't have enough time, reserved for earning livelihood, to come out for yearly agitations. People have lot of anger and frustation within, we should not consider it as their weakness.
What purpose, does this sui-generis democracy of India serve, if it doesn't uplift poor masses? Aren't we better of with some other constitutional structure?

from:  Siddharth Pandit
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:58 IST

To the editor, pls avoid Harish Khare. After first few lines of observation, which are well told by TV channels. He just spat venom.
Before reaching the end of article, I was already expecting some un-wise authors name. Last time Hindu published his article, his introduction figured out in comments and it well-explained the intention of article.
If nothing else - Anna has made people vocal, charged enough to come to street for a collective solution. His courage and calm are beyond my words. I am not inclined to follow, but I too followed his instructions - to protest on streets and challenge the elected on clear answers.
A deep study of Jan Lokpal draft is worth a read. It answers the puzzle of why this democracy doesn't feel like democracy.

from:  SKShukla
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:55 IST

A wonderfully well written article that portrays what the Anna Hazare
phenomenon was really all about. Kudos to Mr. Harish Khare!!!

from:  Karthik Prashanth
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:55 IST

The reason Anna Hazare is no more on the powerful list is that he only wants to do dharna and bhook hartal, but not interested in coming to politics and make real change happen. If he is not providing an alternate to the existing corruption how can people entertain him any longer?

from:  Sriman Narayana K
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:47 IST

Good analysis and climax is ultimate. I remember, when Arundhati Roy wrote an article in THEHINDU titled -'I'd rather not be Anna', there were more than thousand comments , almost all denouncing her views. We can see the same type of comments whenever someone criticizes Mr.Modi. The authour has rightly predicted how the future is going to be for the 'certified deshbhakts'.

from:  james
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:45 IST

1. Mr. Khare's criticism of the CAG is perplexing, since Mr. Khare is
extolling the constitutional scheme of things and the CAG is widely
seen as ONE constitutional authority who is doing his job properly. If
CAG's audits are critical of the incumbent government, does that mean
he is therefore partisan?
2. The author's own partisanship is at times in question. Also the
remark "the A K Antony rate of decision-making" is unwarranted;
sensible readers know the allusion is to the unfortunate "Hindu rate of
3. Although Mr. Khare's skepticism for personality cult in politics is
a good warning, he overlooks the fact that our own momentous struggle
for freedom was built around the personality cult of a certain man from
(again!) Gujarat, and he did altogether contribute "something" positive to our nation and the world. So individual crusades may not always be
for the bad. 4. For all the rhetorical questions Khare asks initially, he concludes that Indians have grown wiser in a year!

from:  Arjun Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:15 IST

Mr Khare, what facts you have to call the CAG errant. Since when did a constitutional
institution become errant simply because it asserted its authority, spoke its mind and refused to toe the govt's line. By your account, even Mr TN Seshan would qualify to be an errant CEC. Before Seshan, not many had heard of CEC and certainly no one cared about it.
Similarly, before the current incumbent not many knew what the CAG was and what's it's function. CAG has done a commendable job in exposing systematic looting of public wealth of this country by the triad of netas, babus and crony udyogpatis. Corruption has become the dominant discourse today largely because of Anna Hazare and CAG. Of course, UPA sympathisers and apologists like you would belittle Anna Hazare and CAG at the cost of further institutionalising corruption and eroding the same democratic values that you accuse others of ignoring. Look at the recent example of PMO and Law ministry blatantly interfering in CBI's coal scam report

from:  R Kumar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 09:10 IST

The Author should do something before making mock of Anna Hazare. Atleast he has agitated the conscience of indian people, rest we should look into and take call for next step. The all phenomenon we are seeing today like never before protest seen in case of Nirbhaya and also now recent days is all becaause we people now learnt one thing that we can not sit idle and seeks for change. What I'm saying whoever is doing lit bit from his/her side atleast learn to appreciate them.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 08:28 IST

Age of the crusader, the DNA based apathy of the populous and the well oiled corruption addicts of the middle class who got their needs met through the back door, killed the movement! With such a mindset of the middle class, India is destined to be one of the most corrupt country until a day the stench is too much to bare and the middle class would find inflationary tendencies in the rate of bribe requested curtailing their affordability! As it stands,nothing will and can change. There would be a revolution, but not just yet! Things have to get much worse for it!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 07:18 IST

totally frustrated article in which author is blaming everyone;
whatever dude ANNA is better than you,at least he is working and
and you,just criticizing everyone who at least take steps to make
a change in a society.
From your point of view there will not be change in system. second thing,ANNA ANDOLAN has made a great impact on indian politics,as now you can see people taking about rotten dynastic and criminalized politics.
There are noumber of people like you in the society who just do nothing for the bettermet of society and nation;and if someone takes steps then you start to criticize them and surprised to see The HIndu has published a CRAP wrtten by you.
About middle class,I think you should go to people and personnlly ask them about ANNA HAZARE rather than just imaging with your gloomy mind

from:  vijay
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 07:06 IST

I feel the article is biased and pro-UPA government, which fits the writers former job description. Looks like he is still working for Mr Manmohan Singh and thus trying to boost his imgae.
One magzine is not representative of 1 billion people. If Anna is not coming on news or not in news focus these days, it doesn't mean that his influence has got diminished. He is a person of Integrity and does not need a political analyst to vouch for the same. This article is no better then a paid news!!!

from:  Shelendra
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 07:00 IST

" His only asset was that he was perhaps the only one around who still donned a Gandhi cap." it is a silly observation. as none was seeking a symbolic gandhi cap wearer as a crusader. it was his honesty, straightfarwardness,though lacking political skill, that attracted the frustrated by rampant corruption people of the country. right, he was used, rather well, by vested intrest holding people who were not interested in any reform. no wonder, people got more frustrated and currently are seeking the coming of some new prophet to lead them out of the mess. high hopes indeed.

from:  balvinder
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 06:58 IST

I would refer to the last two lines of Mr. Khare's splendid analysis. It is somewhat odd to see the comparison that is sought to be made between Mr. Anna Hazare and Mr. Narendra Modi Mr. Narendra Modi is a proven administrator. Mr. Anna Haare is a crusader of the masses. Mr. Khare is has added himself to the list of Modi bashers.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 06:38 IST

Not a very good article at all.
The common citizen was bewildered by Anna Hazare's flipflopping on every issue. But Arvind Kejriwal and others have taken the IAC enthusiasm forward by saying that you have to be in the system to change the system. So far, they are slowly working to understand and address the problems of Delhi. That is a welcome result of the frustration of last year.

from:  L Naren
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 06:32 IST

Anna Hazare faded. Aravind Kejariwal and AAP will also disappear.
Now it is Modi Vs Gandhi, again an unnecessary debate.
India is much bigger than Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi. Most of the comments and support to Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi are biased, based on political leanings of the commenting individuals.
Please allow Mr. Modi to make Gujarata a Model State. He can definitely do that. He is the undisputed king of Gujarat. But, as PM, he will not be effective as his dictates will not work in most of the states, even that ruled by BJP.
Let Mr. Gandhi grow up and get matured, before venturing to become the PM. Mr. Gandhi seems to be interested in managing the party affairs now. Please leave him to do that.
I repeat, please look beyond Mr. Modi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. We will find excellent alternatives. Both BJP and Congress have much better, and capable leaders to lead the nation.

from:  Majeed.A.K.A
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 06:06 IST

"Partisanship begets partisanship, and the institution loses its respect and prestige." Doesn't this apply to Journalism too ? How would the author regard this article, if not partisan? I wonder if the motive of the essay is about negative propaganda on a particular individual who is mentioned in the last paragraph. A case is built on why Anna Hazare is a false messiah. The same arguments dont hold true for the Chief Minister whom he claims to be a false messiah. This individual comes through a democratic process and has proved himself worthy of administration. The author should argue systematically why Modi is a false messiah and how the current
administration is the best any "sober and wiser" Indian can get.There is no single man solution to collective ills. However, a single man can lead people to correct their collective ills if he has the vision. What the current administration lacks is visionary leadership.

from:  sudhish
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 02:07 IST

Harish, former media adviser to PM, paints all and sundry except the
PM and his govt with same brush.. Even chooses to call CAG biased and
politically motivated!! the citizens movement has not died down but
its the chill before the storm.. time and again, around the world many
corrupt regimes have attempted to underestimate such public anger as
just the whims and fancies of elite few, but it need not be reminded
that with Jasmine revolution already many nations have seen regime
change and in India, it may not be violent but a complete annihilation
of present day govt is on the cards.. this burning desire is
contagious and an offshoot of the movement being replicated in
Bangladesh should be sign enough for naysayers like the author of this

from:  Srikar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 02:00 IST

It is unfortunate that a former employee of The Hindu can stoop so low
as to even accuse the CAG of political partisanship and ridicule his
report, just to please his ex-boss while The Hindu itself has been at
the forefront of exposing all the conspiracies in the 2G scam. The
Hindu's deputy editor Shalini Singh through a series of well researched
articles, has painstakingly exposed how the PMO itself was aware of the
entire scam. But here a former employee is bringing down the standards
of such a newspaper by attacking a constitutional functionary.

from:  Shiv Ganesh S
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:54 IST

shame on this article!! Social workers who have sacrificed his life
for you and your children is facing critism. Its very easy to write
such non-sense but so difficult to sacrifice your entire life for good
of humanity. Salute Anna Hazzare, Arvind Kejrival, etc for all ur
efforts. Lowering down Anna Hazzare and Arvind Kejrival in India
Today's list doesnot at all mean that they have lost public support.
Who created this list?? Was any referendum done to create this list -
Ans is NO. You are true - people now have become very inteligent and
cynical, they know what the truth is about this paid article.

from:  akhil
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:50 IST

Such a funny article, bettered the last one..looks like, lot of vent
up emotions have been released just at the opportunity of India Today
ignoring Anna Hazare.. But what transpired for the authors comment -
'An errant Comptroller and Auditor-General'. Could author please
explain how and when CAG office lost its reputation and just because
the govt of the day is head-deep in corruption, and this lone warrior
had the audacity to stand-up against the system of institutionalized
corruption thanks to CONGRESS mismanagement of past 55 years, author
chooses to malign him.. Not just CAG, author must be reminded that
highest court of the nation, Supreme Court has time and again
lambasted and took exception to extremely corrupt state of
governance, not starting with CVC P J Thomas appointment. the saga of
corruption continues and new facts in light of Law minister vetting
CBI report has come to light.

from:  Rohit
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:48 IST

Remember the incident of summer last year when Arvind and Anna sat on fast for fifteen days? All media coverage we got was that crowd was not turning up and the fast ended without much results, despite the issues he was raising were with solid documentary evidence.
Suddenly Arvind became a hero in coming months. Everything he did was covered everywhere, triggered inquiries, led to resignations, promotions etc. So why was media quiet in the summer? The author will know it better because his former employer was to face the heat along with his powerful leutinents.
The end of 2013, and 2014 are not far. There are undercurrents. I hope that they make a mark in the months to come.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:46 IST

I had an extremely vague or unclear view of corruption in my before years(youth) now as i grow up i understand there are many corruptions in the indian society. The monetary corruption everybody feels about requirement of bribe to make things happen and pay money to escape punishment. Now i know that there many corruptions socio - economic corruption, harassment of social minorities by denying social development opportunities - caste sytem, marginalization of religious minorities, non political representation and marginalization of linguistic minorities - tamil eelam problem, denial of justice to the poor, limiting digital technology access only for urban population and etc are also common corruption practices in Indian society which needs to addressed with same importance as that of monetary corruption perhaps with a high priority than monetary corruption.

from:  derick gannon
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:41 IST

In my opinion Anna Hazare's movement never really had a chance of success because the demands were unrealistic and undemocratic. He was asking for absolute power.
Mr. Khare is doing a fine job of hiding his true intentions in this article. This article is an indirect reference to criticize Mr. Modi's presumed stance of being the messiah (the chosen one) and uphold the philosophical view point of Mr. Rahul Gandhi who wants us to believe that he is not the messiah(the chosen one).
Unfortunately Mr. Khare (as you said in your article) Indians will see through your sales pitch.

from:  NIkhil K
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013 at 01:12 IST
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