| by N.S.Venkataraman
(October 29, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In recent times, the agitators in India appear to have become highly skilled and some of them seem to have turned professionals. The day may not be far off , when the management institutes in India will start a special course on “agitation management”, teaching the students about launching agitations in a scientific way backed by sound logistics and appropriate strategies in tune with the ground realities. A money spinning opportunity appears to be awaiting the management institutes !!
What is striking is that many of the recent agitations all over India have been “successful”, with the state and central governments yielding to the threat and succumbing to the pressures of the agitators and consequently giving an impression to the citizens that the agitators could be right .
Now, the agitators in the country seem to be measuring and testing as to what should be the ultimate intensity of agitation to paralyse the administration and bring down the government or any other agencies to their kneels. Given their recent “successes”, many agitators seem to think that whatever may be the cause, the agitators would be successful, if they could organise ten thousand agitators in one strategic place backed by money power and skillful media management.
In a country like India , organizing ten thousand agitators is now a cake walk for the political parties and agitating groups and all they need to do is to acquire adequate money power and media support. In such circumstances, the successful groups organizing the agitations first organize the money power and media support before venturing into the job. In the strategic planning of the agitators , they also take into consideration the quality of the political leadership and their lack of credibility which they exploit superbly working out the timing of the agitation and in framing their pamphlets and speeches.
Let us analyse the anti corruption fast of Anna Hazare. A careful study of the Anna Hazare’s fast in Delhi covering both the pre planning and execution of the fast ,clearly indicate the enormous level of strategic planning that have gone in to this . While may be there are twenty thousand agitators sitting along with Anna Hazare during the fast in Delhi and may be around fifty thousand persons in different cities all over India, the fact is that the number of agitators who really participated actively in Anna Hazare’s fast could be less than 0.01 % of the Indian population. People in the lower income group who are the real sufferers due to corrupt conditions and who constitute around 30% of Indian population (more than 300 million people) were not participating in Anna Hazare’s agitation. Perhaps, many of them in rural areas might not have been aware about this fast at all.
Nevertheless, an impression was spread around the country by the skillful agitation managers as if the whole country is behind Anna Hazare and the Government of India was brought to its kneel. There must be lakhs of Indians who disagreed with the coercive methods adopted by Anna Hazare but they were “silenced” by Anna Hazare’s strategists by making more noise.
Similar to Anna Hazare’s fast is the present agitation against Koodankulam power plant in Tamil Nadu which is also “highly successful”, where a group of agitators by their skillful planning and methods have been able to stall the entire progress of the massive power plant , with the state and central governments unable to deal with them. They are also managing the media very well by constantly ensuring that the media focus would be on them by their methods which include even disrupting the meetings that would support the Koodankulam power plant.
Matter of concern:
This trend of a small group of people skillfully ogranising agitations by their money and muscle power can seriously retard the stability and progress of the country in the coming years. No doubt , India is a very liberal country , unlike other countries like Singapore and China where such agitations would be put down with heavy hand mercilessly. All of us should be justifiably proud about the liberal Indian democracy and the freedom of expression enjoyed by the citizens. At the same time, in the interest of the progress of the country, it is necessary to ensure that frequent agitations by dissenters would not become the order of the day.
On every cause, there could be different opinions and view points. The constitution has given the rights to the citizens to remove those in power by due electoral process, if majority of people would dislike any action of the government. But, resorting to coersive agitations using methods like so called satyagraha and fast at the drop of a hat can only lead to mobocracy and undermine democracy and create counter productive conditions and unrest in the country. This seems to be the unfortunate scenario in India today.