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Is Anna a failed ‘Mahatma’?

Friday, 14 March 2014 - 11:08am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
After shaking the entire nation with his anti-corruption movement, Anna Hazare became the darling of the common man and people started looking at him with great expectations. Of late, he has started snubbing and throwing all kinds of tantrums at his proteges including Arvind Kejriwal, V K Singh and Mamata Banerjee. What is the social activist up to? Should he maintain a distance with politicians and stop flip-flopping on his views? dna finds out...

Don’t forget his contribution to anti-corruption movement

Anna is a good person at soul but misguided by the people around him. He should keep his attitude and maintain consistency in his opinion to retain respect in people’s mind. People do respect him even now but they are not showing the same trust in him like before. Whatever movement he started earlier and how he was successful in capturing the nation’s attention is not happening now. However, we should not forget his big contribution to the anti-corruption movement. We may have our differences of opinion with him, but it would be too harsh to call him a failed ‘Mahatma’. Anna has devoted his entire life to social activism. However, he should keep a distance from actual politics and should only mentor with clarity.

—Sushant Pol, volunteer, Art of Living 



People no longer have the same openness about his credibility 

When Anna had started his movement, he had touched everybody with his conviction. However, recently he has lost his focus. I think there are so many forces pulling him and he does not know what he wants to do. Releasing that now he does not have many followers, he is now retreating and taking steps cautiously. People supporting Anna started with his ideology but now except for Kiran Bedi every body has abandoned him. Anna should get a grip on the situation and then take his stand firmly. People now are not having the same openness about him and his credibility. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) movement started on his ideology, and now as he does not support AAP’s political agenda Kejriwal had to take a different direction. Anna should rethink and be firm on his stance and make a movement like he did earlier. 

—Murlidhar Patkar, senior citizen 



Anna always listens to his inner voice and is not a team player

I know Anna since 1985, when I had studied his work from 1975-85 and published a book. He has done commendable work in his village Ralegan Siddhi and was always open to fight corruption. He coordinated in the implementation of state’s Adarsh Gram Yojana in around 300 villages. While implementing the project, he came across a lot of corruption. His relentless movement for the Right to Information (RTI) Act also bore fruits. Anna was very good at anti-corruption activism. The problem started when he got associated with people like Kejriwal and took wrong stands. Anna’s style of functioning is that he listens to his inner voice and is not a team player. When he takes up a cause he gets into it with full force, but when he realises it is not right he withdraws. Anna is a very honest person but his style of working in politics looks like he is very fickle minded. In my opinion, he should remain at people’s level and not get into politics.

—Ramesh Awasthi, chairperson, People’s Union of Civil Liberties, Maharashtra 



He wants fame and has become addicted to media attention 

The way Anna is behaving nowadays looks like he is cheating himself. First he sits on a fast with Kejriwal and the next moment tells that he neither wants to get into any kind of politics nor supports any movement. Anna calls himself to be a Gandhian, but looking at his behaviour it looks very suspicious. When he initially shook the entire nation with his anti-corruption movement, people started looking at him with great expectations, which he has left half way and drastically fallen short. In the Delhi rally with Mamata Banerjee, he did a vanishing act finding no presence of crowd. It looks like now Anna is craving for fame and has become addicted to media attention. You cannot compare Anna with Mahatma Gandhi, who was very firm with his decisions, views and focus.

—Dilipsingh Vishwakarma, president, Apan Punekar



There are lots of contradictions in Anna’s views and actions 

In the first place, I don’t think it is right to call Anna a ‘Mahatma’, he is a social activist. Whatever projects he had undertaken, never reached their fruitful end as he left them midway. Also, people don’t stay with him anymore be it Arvind Kejriwal, VK Singh or now Mamata Banerjee. Now people do not know what he is up to. There are lots of contradictions in his views and actions and he does not take any cause to its end.

—Nandu Deole, management consultant


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