The entire world has unanimously declared the year 2011, as a historic year, a year of Revolution. In fact, the ‘Time’ Magazine named ‘The Protester’ as the Person of the Year. Here’s a list of some groups of protesters:
1) Arabs, sick of the tyrannical ways of the dictators.
2) Middle class Indians, sick of the overly routine and inevitable place corruption has taken in their lives.
3) Americans, sick of something (about which I know very little, so do not want to say much!).
There were definitely more groups of protesters, but, these are the ones that come to mind first, when you think of this year’s events. There is a reason I have written the three groups in this particular order. I was looking at the names of these three groups in a newspaper editorial, when a thought struck me. It might sound bizarre, but the three groups could represent a history of the evolution of systems of human civilization in the last few centuries. The Arab Spring represents the birth of democracy, which has today, prevailed in a good part of the world. The Indian Lokpal movement, represents the beginning (I repeat, only the start) of the rise of a truly responsible, aware and proactive middle class which, I think, reflects the strengthening of democracy in a society. Lastly, the American ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest is in my opinion, the result of the yearnings of the middle class of an old, strongly democratic society. It almost sounds like its a story of one civilization, through its birth, formative years and reformative years – All in one year, 2011!
Coming back to Indian polity, the Indian protest movement against corruption and to bring a strong Lokpal Bill to tackle corruption might be clubbed with the other protest movements in the sense that a common ‘protester’ was involved, I think it was significantly different compared to other movements. First, our movement had a single leader who all the protesters could connect with, Anna Hazare. Second, because of a strong leadership and solid guidance, we not only knew what we were protesting against, but we were also clear that our movement was aimed at making the establishment provide us with a solution to our problem. In contrast, the other two movements were largely leaderless (especially the Egyptian revolt) and didn’t have as much clarity about exactly what they wanted. I am not, however suggesting these were drawbacks of these movements.
The most important thing to understand in all of this is that the year 2012 is not going to see an end of these movements. On the contrary, I think these movements have set precedents for all the dictatorships, corrupt societies and societies hit with glaring disparities to try and achieve what they do not have in order to attain a better future. So, anyone who has written off the Lokpal movement after seeing reduction in the crowds to support Anna Hazare should do so at their own risk as the fire has been lit and there is no dousing it until there is a tangible result.
At the end of a hectic, inspiring-for-some, disappointing-for-some 2011, I was disgusted by what happened in the Rajya Sabha. But then I saw a Cola company’s tagline – Believe in a Happier Tomorrow! That’s what I thought I should end the last post of 2011 with.
(I am not not promoting Coke, but I really like this TV commercial that they came up with to end the year in optimism!)