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I support the cause of the Jan Lokpal movement, but am concerned by Arvind Kejriwal's latest statement.

This government will be responsible if anything happens to Anna: Kejriwal #lokpal
starnewslive
August 25, 2011

I believe that this is false and incites anger against the government. I think it weakens Satyagraha to lose its insistence on Satya.

 

The following are my thoughts on the subject.

I disagree that govt is responsible if anything happens to #Anna. He made a choice. Team Anna made a choice when chose this means of protest
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
However, I think there needs to be skilled handling of the issue, considering conditions in the country. Feeling pessimistic about govt
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
If the govt had handled the protests well, when Kejriwal said "you are responsible", they could look in eye and say "no". Now, kid gloves.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
It is not the way of truth to blame others for our choices or consequences. Kejriwal was wrong and misleading to guide a country into blame.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
At the same time, the govt should not overreact to Kejriwal's words and hold the bigger heart. Compassion, not threats.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
The govt is negotiating. They are not very bright, but they can't be held responsible if someone starves himself to death.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I still support the IAC, but this blame game must not happen. The citizens made a choice. They can break fast and choose another protest too
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Time for citizens of India to think deeply about the nature of Satyagraha. It is a choice, not a compulsion. The govt compelled no one
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
If govt responsible if anything happens to Anna, then govt must have right to make him eat. Can't b responsible for what they don't control.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Satyagraha is acting from our deepest truth. Our truth is that the govt couldn't prevent Anna starving himself. Don't stray in tough time!
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I'll get lynched for this, but Kejriwal's words are sedition - inciting people against govt. Very wrong. Also insult to Anna's integrity.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I demand that Kejriwal withdraws his statement. Must not use support for Satyagraha for blackmailing. This is corruption too!
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
If the govt is to be blamed for the consequences of a Satyagraha, then its achievements are also govt achievements.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Satyagraha is about asserting rights, needs in a peaceful manner. The idea is not about blame games, but sacrificing as much as needed.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I am not against Anna. I believe in this movement for the Jan Lokpal. I believe that Kejriwal's statement is wrong and weakens it.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I don't believe in blame games. I don't support them. That is my truth. @AmritHallan
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I accept that it is an emotional time for all. I accept worry and hurt can make us lash out in blame. It must be evaluated and withdrawn.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Agreed. RT @crguna: @Vidyut Expecting the corrupt to hang themselves did not work. The only alternative is a long struggle.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Absolute power corrupts. It is not only the govt responsible for it. Arvind Kejriwal derailed today.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
A good way ahead for Team Anna right now is to think calmly and carefully. Ask Anna who should be blamed, if need be. He knows. His choice.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
Now is such a bad moment to find out IAC supporters understand Jan Lokpal Bill well, but not Satyagraha. Very important. Tough time ahead.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
I don't remember if I called it blackmail. It is not. You can't blackmail with an opinion. You just have it. Contd
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
But it is false and ethically wrong. Weakens satyagrah. What is a satyagrah without satya? A person's responsibility belongs to him.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
The responsibility of Anna's actions lies with Anna. Concern, fear or grief can't change that. That is my truth.
Vidyut
August 24, 2011
It is also an insult to anna to call his powerful choice something he was forced to do. I would hate it if my sacrifice were called that.
Vidyut
Published on Categories Politics & Political CommentaryTags , , , , , , , , ,

2

Difficult moment in the Jan Lokpal struggle. Arvind Kejriwal says that the government is responsible if something happens to Anna.

When a much needed movement goes wrong, my greatest service is to speak up.

It is a difficult moment. A small movement struck an unexpected chord in the country and became an inferno. It built momentum till it forced the government to recognize the people's need. It was powerful enough to reemerge like a phoenix after months of silence at the moment of need. It is a powerful movement. Those steering it hold a lot of power. It makes it important that all follow the path impeccably.

When a crowd this large comes together, all it knows is that it is a peaceful protest. But a satyagraha is more than that. It is a philosophy. It is insistence that what is right be done. That is what gives it power. If what is being asked for is not rightful, then the power is destructive. It is also weak, because people can't logically arrive at the same false solution.

The tremendous success of this movement was because what was being asked for is a genuine, burning need.

I have written at each stage of smaller successes or failures, that this will get a lot worse before it gets better. There are powerful sides. There are powerful motives, there is a lot of effort. Whether right or wrong is irrelevant. What "should" be is irrelevant. Ground reality is that this was never going to be a cakewalk. We knew it going in. Anna knew it going in. It was a choice we had, and we made it. We were proud of the heroes who chose to publicly suffer hunger as a manifestation and symbol of the suffering the group was expressing.

Now we are hitting the difficult parts, and our integrity is falling apart. We must keep our eyes on the path and not get incited by our fears and anger.

When people sat for a fast unto death, death was always on the table. Today, a man died. The "death" from "fast unto death" just became more real. We are into the rough time. But nothing else has changed. We are still on a non-violent protest, our volunteers fasting are still making tremendous personal sacrifice out of free will.

Today, Kejriwal said something that was untrue. He said it publicly. He said the government would be responsible if anything happened to Anna. I can understand that as the person managing the initiative, he is under tremendous pressure. As a leader, he had a man die today. Frustration, anger, grief could have caused these words and the same sentiments in the followers are making them echo widely.

This blog has dozens of posts I wrote in support of the movement. I am no opposer. But, I see us going down the path of untruth, and I must speak up. A person is responsible for their choices. Good or bad. No matter the consequences. You can't say, "Oh, if we get the Jan Lokpal, then Anna chose to fast, and if something happens to Anna, then the government made him fast". Without free will, there cannot be satyagraha. As such, no matter how difficult times get, it is important that we keep in mind that no matter what wrong we are protesting, no matter whether someone agreed to demands or not, no matter whether there is success or failure, our actions are our own.

History has shown us that when people lose sight of this fact, frustration and anger cause failure. Think Gandhi and Chauri-Chaura. If Gandhiji hadn't called off the Satyagraha, use of excessive force against protesters would be justified. That was his moment of truth. The movement had derailed, and he made a historical ethical call to call it off at its peak.

Today's statement takes us in that direction. We are at our peak, and in a moment of weakness, a target has been set up for public anger. This is very dangerous for the country. While I understand that it wasn't a good day to be talking with introspection for Kejriwal, I do hope that he sees the falsehood in that angry blame and withdraws the statement and brings attention back to the reality. We set out to protest peacefully, come what may. We set out to sacrifice come what may.

It is an insult to the sacrifice of someone to present it as something they were forced to do. It is false that anyone can be responsible for what someone else does. Government or not. Anna is responsible for his choices. Not Kiran Bedi or Kejriwal, nor the government. He made that choice. If we suffer its consequences, they are because we love him. Let us not abandon our pain from our feelings for him as anger at government. When he lies physically weak, he needs us to enact his strength. We must not fail him by turning our actions from assertion to blame. We must not fail him by not bothering to understand the philosophy of the Satyagraha, because anger was easier than caring and hurt.

It has been a long and difficult day. I hope that people rest at night as well as they can, and think calmly and wake up with the moral strength it takes to see that the unwavering belief of Anna's that led this movement to this point is still his, not government property.

My hope is that Team Anna has consistently shown humility enough to admit statements made in error after reflection. Kejriwal has been angry and said things he shouldn't before. There have been retractions of incorrect statements after facts were reflected on. Ego never forced Team Anna to remain stubborn about wrong words. I am hoping that this is one of them. I hope that at this crucial juncture and under pressure, he still demonstrates that skill only Team Anna has shown among public entities - to self-correct with dignity.

I could have simply turned sides and asked for the movement to be stopped. But I believe in it. I am not against the movement. I am not against Anna. I even have great admiration for Kejriwal. All I am saying is that this recent statement takes the Satya out of Satyagraha, and doing my duty as a supporter - sharing my ability to see for our collective well being.

What is a satyagraha without satya?

I believe that when the going gets tough, and seeing clearly becomes difficult, those who can must help others see so that we move forward with purpose and not fall off the track.

So, when I see our ethics derailing, I am digging in my heels, and speaking up.

I will not step out of the path of Satyagraha, even if I stand there alone.

14

No. It is the attitude that is insulting to women. The name is just a word.

We have a lot of tongue wagging happened in our country about naari shakti and such nonsense. Truth is, it is a lot of fragrant air, but when you're walking down the street, that isn't who you are. You ARE "maal", "item", "sexy" (in a lusty, invasive way). No one is looking at you with respect. They are calculating your bra size. They are wondering how they can brush past you so that they can rub themselves against you. There are people scanning the street for eye candy and it isn't about the girl being cheap - it is about entertainment. We women are entertainment for whoever wants to take a mental masturbation trip right there on the road. And the irony is that we are the ones labeled "cheap", "whore", "Besharam", etc.

It is the dirt in the heads of the predators in the society that we are forced to carry. It has nothing to do with clothes. Your mother in her most ordinary clothes has people rubbing their bodies against her in a bus. There are small girls and boys raped. There are communities that will order women raped - for crimes they didn't commit, but their "men" did. There are women who suffer acid attacks for being beautiful. There are women who get violently raped. There are 10 year old girls who get dragged under escaping cars of eve-teasers who get scarred for life. There are accusations that these people invited trouble on themselves.

You have policemen not taking complaints seriously. You have policemen blaming women for the clothes they wore if they get raped, when they know full well it is women in conservative clothes getting raped more. You have eve-teasers enjoying full freedom and the support of silence in a society and you have generations of women unsafe on the streets.

If you think this is naari shakti, you are out of your freaking mind. This is the women of the country being entertainment in a bloodsport. The name reflects that, not a fantasy of how this creep show should be called. And it seems it also makes people angry if this truth is called out. People think you are shameless for the choice of name of your protest. They want you to continue pretending some bullshit concepts that they will go "accha-accha theek hai" and on their way home, see if they are finally able to grab the butt of their neighbour's daughter.

The names are correct because they reflect reality. They are ugly, because they reflect reality. That is our reality - we are ugly with our women, even though we have created some very nice sounding words to cover it up with.

The slutwalk is a protest, not a popularity contest. The idea is not that you like the name we choose, but that you understand why it is so. I hate the name too. Which is exactly why it must stay - the ugly truth slapping our face. If women were respected, the protest would be unnecessary. And so would an ugly name.

Here are some of the prevalent objections I came across about the slutwalk, since I started speaking up in support:

  1. Women parading naked on the streets is going to increase harassment. I have no clue why these depraved minds imagine only naked women, but whatever, that is their imagination, and it can only be countered by reality as it unfolds. However, I refuse to rule out nudity, unlikely as I think it will happen. Whoever thinks it will make things more dangerous needs to study the impact of the activists stripping naked in protest of rapes. It worked better than all previous protests combined. So yeah, they became safer.
  2. Why do you want the women to dress cheaply? I don't want anyone to dress cheaply, but I refuse to label anyone's choice of clothes as cheap.  This is exactly the thinking being questioned. What they wear is their right. I may or may not like their choices, and that is my business. They are not required to pander to my desires. Nor is my  choice somehow more respectable than another's.
  3. Feminists and assorted bold women have made life unsafe for all women. Not true. They have protested what is happening, not created the incidents they protest. As for protesting increasing violence against women.... you'll need to show me some statistics, because I think this is a load of bull shit.
  4. It is useless. Men will not change. This is self-defeating. And it is insulting to our men to call them incapable of doing the decent thing. Not to mention this is outright acceptance of victimization of women. Quoting slightly modified from another post, :"It is an age-old trick to prevent protest by brainwashing/dominating someone into believing it is futile. I hope you see through it... They have been intellectually and emotionally abandoned as animals and unquestioningly pampered for having dicks. No one expects better, so they have no need to think that any change is needed. It is different from not able to change."
  5. The slutwalk trivializes an important issue and damages the women's cause. I am a scientist by nature. I work with observations, not imagination or assumptions. I see this protest already effective because of the amount of reactions it has caused in society. In support, in opposition, in being vocally neutral.... that only happens when a call for change creates turmoil in minds. If it was useless, futile, etc... it wouldn't get so much attention. It would yawn and sink. Also, I fail to see the trivializing. It takes some of the ugliest attitudes of society and puts them on the table - how is that trivial? I think those calling it trivial need to think more about what is happening in the world around them.
  6. I don't support all this victimization of women, I am not a woman. This is irrelevant to me. Dream on, unless you are saying that you don't give a damn that your daughter, sister, wife, mother, girl friend, school teacher, etc are routinely harassed. If you don't support these attitudes, all the more reason for you to walk in support and serve as a role model. Think beyond your couch for once.
  7. It will destroy our society if women start wearing whatever they want. Good morning. Women often wear whatever they want. The idea of the protest is to prevent their victimization for it. I don't see how this will destroy society.
  8. If you think encouraging nudity is.... ever wonder why your mind shorts and is unable to progress beyond the nudity? THAT is what we are protesting. Get the fuck off your obsession with us nude. It is not your business. If it gives you an uncontrollable urge to start raping people, I suggest that you close your eyes tightly that day. Or walk in the protest and learn a more respectful way of being.
  9. I don't think this is the best way... Every way doesn't have to meet your approval. You really need to stop having such a high opinion of yourself that anyone thinking differently cannot be allowed.
  10. I am scared my daughter, wife, etc will suffer at the hands of lecherous spectators of the protest. All the more reason for you to walk along them and keep them safe and endorse their call for dignity.
  11. You call this Satyagraha? You must be joking. Actually, I am not. If the Satyagraha is about the right to insist peacefully and protest injustice, I see this as a far more fundamental satyagraha than a freedom struggle or fight against corruption. It is about the right of women to not be victimized. For children to not be used for sexual attacks. To not be objectified. To not be an entire country's porn projection. It protests hate crimes pretending to be moral policing, repressing half the country's population and spreading moral decay in the pretense of moral superiority.

These are the most common ones picked from tweets, comments, emails and other conversations. If you find more, let's use the comments to get talking about this. The more important ones, I'll add to the post as updates, so people find them easily.

11

It is well presented. Two old men, calling for freedom for their respective lands through protests against the occupying powers. Both with names starting with G and ending with I. Both having a big role in the struggle for freedom. It is a big fat lie. It is an insult to India's Satyagraha movement to accept this without objection. I haven't seen many people bring this up, and I think it needs said.

Let me begin with saying that I am biased. I think Geelani is one of the most evil people to exploit Kashmir in its history since 1947. Gandhi had his faults, but he never called for something he himself wouldn't do. Gandhi and his close associates stood at ground zero with protesters, not issued calendars. Gandhi had his faults - who doesn't, but using the success and recognition of the Satyagraha movement to legitimize organized rioting is an insult to India and a gross misguidance of Kashmir, which isn't going to help the moral fabric of the state whether in India or free or in Pakistan.

Some points that come to mind:

  • Gandhi didn't have an agenda to free India from the British and hand it over to another country. This can't be called a freedom struggle. Particularly when the country itself has a far worse human rights record and thinks nothing of killing Kashmiris as a part of their strategic depth.
  • Gandhi did not have hoodlums 'enforcing' his protests.
  • Gandhi had protested Hindu-Muslim riots, and empathized with the pain of both, not led the persecutor.
  • Gandhi did not excuse violence as a part of the non-violent movement. The entire nationwide non-cooperation movement was called off at the peak of its success when ONE incident at Chauri Chaura resulted in clashes between the police and the protesters and three protesters died. Geelani, what's your score? If hot blood was resulting in stone pelting and deatths, what did you do to prevent those innocents from dying? To ensure that the morality of your movement was beyond reproach?
  • Most importantly, Gandhi was a protester himself - out there on the street, courting lathis, courting arrests, risking his life like any other Satyagrahi. When was the last time Geelani stood defiantly asking for his rights along with his people?
  • Gandhi did not expect the British to see to the safety of the protesters. Six decades later, Geelani still reacts with expectation of not evil from people whom he declares evil.
  • Gandhi was of the people. There was no threat in contradicting him. He lived their life, ate their food, suffered their suffering. Did Geelani go hungry this winter because he was busy protesting in the summer?

It is sad today that India's activists who claim to stand for the rights of the people apparently only stand for the rights of people already vocal against the state. It is sad that they legitimize this kind of corruption of not just India's image (which is comparitively minor) but the spirit defining one of the worlds most successful and ethical resistances that inspired movements around the world.

As long as Geelani sits at home and declares days of protest in full awareness that the protesters will face bullets, he is nothing more than your garden variety gangster manipulating local events for fun and profit. A leader assumes responsibility for the well being of his people, not sets them up for situations likely to risk their lives.

Yes, the soldiers have done many wrongs. Yes, India has been unable to find a political resolution so far. Yes, India is guilty of neglect. Yes Kashmir is suffering. This doesn't total up to a butcher who sets Kashmiris up for more suffering to be their hero.

When dead bodies are advertisements, there is some organization also profiting from the results of that advertisement. I doubt if it is the person who died, or the others lined up to become advertisements.

And no, I'm not a Congress supporter. The congress of today is irrelevant to Gandhis satyagraha movement.

No, I'm not a Gandhian with a pen either. I'm only looking at the leadership of one successful mass movement.

I AM a fan of the concept of Satyagraha, which is what I am defending.