No one would have taken the list of the most powerful people in India, published by India Today, as seriously as Harish Khare (“Be wary of false prophets,” April 24). He wants us, sober Indian citizens, to believe that the Manmohan Singh government has taken a few baby-steps towards instituting a new accountability structure. Where exactly is the “accountability structure?” Even a minor nuisance to the government at a time when people are being crushed under the ever increasing burden of corruption is welcome. Every social movement has different phases of development; it does not necessarily have to set Mumbai or Delhi on fire.
Satya Veer Singh,
Writing off Anna Hazare as a false prophet is akin to Ellen Wilkinson writing off Gandhiji as the best policeman the Britishers had in India. Mr. Hazare’s movement awakened people. The Delhi protests are a fallout of the India Against Corruption movement.
Sameer K. Gupta,
Anna’s crusade against the corrupt system in general, and the UPA in particular, will not lose relevance just because he does not figure in a magazine’s rankings.
What does the writer have to say about the very same magazine ranking Narendra Modi as the second most powerful politician in India?
It is not as if people have forgotten the significant contribution made by Anna Hazare in awakening our consciousness. If people gathered and protested for weeks after the gang rape in Delhi and are protesting now over the child rape, it is because of the momentum generated by Team Anna’s movement against corruption. No politician or industrialist on the lists of the most powerful has contributed in any way to awakening the collective will of India as the Anna clique has.
Anna led a mass movement in which the youth participated enthusiastically, hoping that corruption could be brought to an end. The protests we see on the streets of Delhi today are the cascading effect of Anna Hazare’s movement. We do not need a leader whose name figures in the list of the most powerful.
The building of an aura around Anna, which happened in the course of his movement, might have been excessive. But let us not undermine the honesty behind the movement, which definitely triggered the mood against corruption across the country.
The fundamental flaw in the article is the characterisation of powerful men based on a magazine’s ratings. Ratings and rankings mean little to laymen and the middle class. Anna Hazare was responsible for the upsurge of the Indian middle class against the governance deficit in our country. He has certainly made the middle class a substantive voter constituency.
I am reminded of the article “Up and Down with Ecology: The Issue-Attention Cycle” by Anthony Downs published in The Public Interest in 1972. He says there are five distinct stages in which a society reacts to its domestic problems. The first stage is when the problem exists but has not yet captured public attention; the second stage of alarmed discovery is accompanied by euphoric enthusiasm that the problem can be solved in a relatively short time, often with a new law; in the third stage, citizens realise that solutions are not only costly, but also require major sacrifice by people themselves; the fourth stage sees a gradual decline in the public interest; and the fifth stage is “a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.” India should address its domestic problems from the grass roots level rather than through an emotional outburst.
P.N. Vinod Babu,