What is anarchy?

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It has been a while that Aam Aadmi Party has been called anarchist. But this word keeps popping up almost every time there are protests large enough to rattle the government, ranging from anti-nuclear protests to the Janlokpal Andolan. Every time protests get loud enough to make accountability inevitable, a few status quoists peddle the idea in media that what is happening is anarchy. Sub-text being that anarchy is evil.

What is government and media trying to say when they call protests anarchy? Anarchy essentially means going against structures, breaking them. It is the opposite of constitutional. I call this blog intellectual anarchy, because it routinely holds views that go against established thought. Are we saying that protest – which is a part of our fundamental right to free speech, is anarchy? Are we saying that people in India do not have the right to protest?

All change is not anarchy. India provides for people’s representatives to act on their behalf to the point of amending the constitution if adequate consensus is achieved. Demanding a change in police control is not anarchy. Anarchy would be demanding that the police force be disbanded or disrupting it or preventing it working, for example – something that the structure doesn’t provide for. Yet.

In my view, anarchy is an important and integral part of democracy, just as democracy evolves from anarchy. Calling anarchy evil is about as logical as calling Shiva’s tandav evil for being destructive or the practice of burning off dead and dry shrubbery on mountain slopes to encourage fresh growth of green grass come spring. What has passed its time, what has started rotting, not working…. needs to be destroyed before new growth happens. If politics is making enough people unhappy, then it has lived past its claim of being representative. Rules that no longer express the people’s best interest will need to be broken for them to be evaluated and something more appropriate to be born.

77% of calls to Delhi’s anti-corruption helpline are against police corruption. 6 months of resident complaints of drug trafficking and prostitution racket did not see police procure a warrant and the lack of warrant was used to refuse to conduct a raid. The elected chief minister’s protests were stopped by a center controlled police. All this clearly points to the capital of India being a place where their security is not in the hands of the people, nor in the hands of elected representatives of the people. In fact, neither the people nor the elected representatives of people have any power to demand action or accountability from their police. Demanding that this change and police be accountable to those they claim to protect is hardly anarchy.

But what if protest is really anarchy?

What if the real rule of law IS that police be a perk available to the home ministry to pull strings to facilitate political or profitable goals? If this is an agreement in the political class that is known to media, then obviously the demand will seem anarchy that threatens these noble objectives.

Join the Intellectual Anarchy!

About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

6 Comments on "What is anarchy?"

  1. Anarchy is not the absence of rules, but absence of rulers. i.e. Absence of leaders. That is what Bal Gangadhar Tilak wanted – Swaraj. One may call him an anarchist too in that context. Britishers also used to use the same argument against Gandhi and his satyagrah, his dandi march etc.
    However that is not important. The main question is, do we even have a democracy? I would strongly disagree.
    What we have in India is a strange form of republic Feudalism. People elect feudal lords every five years who crush protests of people in the name of managing “Law and order”, while the law is never followed by the feudal lords.
    Such arguments spring out of insecurity of the people from a change. Not only these arguments illogical (as they are a form of generalization, which coincidentally is also the logical explanation of racism), they also show how cut off the person making the comment is from reality.

  2. Anarchy is not the absence of rules, but absence of rulers. i.e. Absence of leaders. That is what Bal Gangadhar Tilak wanted – Swaraj. One may call him an anarchist too in that context. Britishers also used to use the same argument against Gandhi and his satyagrah, his dandi march etc.
    However that is not important. The main question is, do we even have a democracy? I would strongly disagree.
    What we have in India is a strange form of republic Feudalism. People elect feudal lords every five years who crush protests of people in the name of managing “Law and order”, while the law is never followed by the feudal lords.
    Such arguments spring out of insecurity of the people from a change. Not only these arguments illogical (as they are a form of generalisation, which coincidentally is also the logical explanation of racism), they also show how cut off the person making the comment is from reality.

  3. Illogical and immature thoughts! Shriman Kesariball knew (at least should have known, if he had any GK) even before the polls that the Delhi Police was not under the control of the Delhi CM. So, his supporting a mad minister of his cabinet in claiming in-subordination by Delhi Police (that too in a context of illegitimate actions on the minister’s part) was a show of utmost immaturity, and leading a “dharna” in violation of Sec-144 and causing immense inconvenience to the public (and holding the RD celebrations to ransom) was an unforgivable act in a democracy! (I am not even touching various other aspects like abusing, making anti-national comments, racist abuses, inciting mob-violence etc here!)

    So he certainly behaved as an anarchist (he admitted to it in clear words, himself too), and if he has any shame, he should dismiss his fat law minister, and issue unconditional apology to the people of Delhi!

  4. Dr. Bijendra Singh | January 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Reply

    The main problem originates from inherently partisan party governments which inhibits impartial decisions and actions at administrative level. Most decisions are determined from standpoint of benefit/loss to the ruling party or its image. The supervision of elected representatives on executive is also impaired as govt has a majority in the house. There is little separation between our executive, legislators and judiciary as is required in true democracy. Party government makes partisan laws, Anti defection law, exclusion from RTI, disqualification of convicted, shaha bano etc. party govt also has full control of executive & police. our executive right from tehsildar onward have their court and pass judgement and also have powers to arrest a citizen and jail him. All these can be influenced by party in power just for political benefit. This is in addition to the corruption involved in decision making. As public good is compromised at every stage it breeds peoples growing dissatisfaction.

    • I agree completely …Do you have alternate model of democracy where it is possible without dal or party ..???
      Please if you have any idea related to it….!
      Please do reply .!!

      • There are many possibilities that would disengage from this circus and allow for democratic expression. A structure of nominating representatives from the ground up – by consensus is a possibility. We don’t need a two party system. All the elected leaders can simply rule and all decisions can be by consensus or other methods. A majority vote can be seen as a last resort rather than default method.

        Lack of parties would also mean that campaigns would be local and candidates would be free to adopt any ideas they thought would help their people. This would also strengthen decentralization and accountability, as a minister would be accountable to the whole parliament instead of it becoming a gang war that focused more on retaining the power than examining the accusation.

        Localized would make private flights and helicopters and such unnecessary and campaigns would be cheaper and the Election Commission could probably afford to enforce rules better without belligerent parties hell bent on retaining manipulative tactics not ganging up on it.

        One simple step that will change many things is not having elections so often. Most of a politician’s elected time goes in preparing for elections. What if elected leaders had no maximum time to serve and were to continue as long as they lived/retired or were taken out for corruption or other misconduct by Parliamentary or judicial methods or resignation (of course)? Politicians would have less need to cater to power vendors to stick to their own power. Election expenses as well as distraction would be dramatically reduced.

        This would mean that when the Prime Minister is retired or otherwise needs to be replaced, you could have nationwide elections with each Lok Sabha candidate being eligible to enter and every citizen of the country could have a direct say in who their Prime Minister would be.

        Many things are possible, but there will not be support for this in a culture of political parties fighting gang wars to control the country rather than govern it.

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