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What is anarchy?

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.