Fasting is blackmail. That’s obvious but again, there’s logic and there’s sense. Blackmail is decided by context, by who is the blackmailer and who is being blackmailed…I don’t see the fast as blackmail. If you do, I guess we disagree…
Youth supporters of Anna Hazare who are mocked for being gullible and making silly gestures like fasting for a day, three hours or even just a meal. The gesture matters because it creates noise and thereby, visibility. It makes a protest visible. Anyone who doesn’t see this is either too cynical, stupid or finds happiness in being different…
One solution, I’m told, is that everyone must follow rules and be good citizens. This doesn’t solve corruption at high levels, at best it deals with traffic cops…Not being corrupt is the duty of a traffic cop; not giving him a bribe is not your duty. To borrow from the analogy of positive and negative rights, the cop has a positive duty because he is a paid employee, but you don’t have a negative duty.
To summarize, Anna-doubters and Anna-cheerleaders both have some of it right and some of it wrong. Whether you agree or disagree with me on the efficacy of his hunger strikes in the past, depends on where you set the bar for efficacy in a country as rife with corruption and a lack of accountability as India. Whether you agree or disagree with me on the ethical issues with hunger strikes depends on your moral compass and the ends-v-means debate.
One thing we can all agree on – Anna Hazare is a strong, motivated, and morally gigantic individual, whose self-control and passion for a cause is something few of us could even dream of emulating. Agree or disagree with him, you have to doff your hat to him.