Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Anna's Fast is Famous and Sharmila's Fast Still Finding the Grounds

The recent fast by Anna Hazare in Delhi at Ramlila Maidan has found the massive support. Also called second freedom struggle, August Kranti and other names by various media; the movement has gathered unprecedented momentum.

All over the country people are organizing processions, human chains and protests in whatever way they can. The so called middle class or salaried class which is considered politically dormant has come up openly to support the movement.

Any fast would be compared to the ten year plus fast by Irom Chanu Sharmila of Manipur. She is fasting for the repeal of AFSPA from North-eastern (NE) states of India. Critics have drawn flak over negligible support for Sharmila in other parts of India. Her demands are graver and her fast so long that it has passed any standard benchmarks of fasting. The debate will continue, however the reasons for little support for Sharmila's cause and massive support for Anna's need to be pondered:

Communication With Masses: She is being kept in judicial custody. This has cut her from the public contact and the media. While Anna is in continuous communication with media. Team Anna even appeared on reality and competitive shows on TV which are watched by masses.

Specific Cause: Her demand for repeal of ASFPA which is applicable NE states goes unnoticed as it hasn't affected the masses in India. Its sad but true that masses do not connect to Sharmila's cause.

Lack of Proposed Solution: Anna proposes a solution to corruption as Jan Lokpal. Repeal of AFSPA is a very legitimate demand. However Sharmila's demand doesn't put a solution about how the insurgency and extortion happening in NE states should be tackled.

AFSPA: This is a vicious circle. People cannot come out in support of Sharmila like they have come out for Anna. Forces can simply disrupt any protest without the need of a reason.

Team Anna: Anna is surrounded by able and experienced people who are capable of handling various aspects of mass protest. Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhusan, Shanti Bhushan, Santosh Hegde etc. have managed the various aspects of the movement like [see this]. Their insight and knowledge about working of government, police, media and law kept the authorities at bay . The protest went like clockwork as if all steps were already well planned and considered heavily. Remember how  protest by Baba Ramdev went haywire.