Between Gandhi and Hazare: A Stark Contrast
Between Gandhi and Hazare: A stark contrast
“We must become the change we want to see in this world” –Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
“Jo apne liye jite hai vo mar jaate hai,jo samaj ke liye marte hai vo zinda rehte hai” -Anna Hazare
Is Anna Hazare the next Gandhi? Was the anti-corruption movement led by him in 2011 the second Independence movement of India? What were the similarities and differences between Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Kisan Babu Rao Hazare.
Anna Hazare standing against the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi and Anna Hazare in their youth.
To begin with Mahatma Gandhi graduated to become a lawyer from The Inner Temple ,London and then went on to work in South Africa. Anna Hazare came to Mumbai for his education. He studied till the seventh grade and then started selling flowers at Dadar station. He was then recruited into the Indian army. He fought the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965.
Mahatma Gandhi and Anna Hazare
Mahatma Gandhi took a vow and became a Brahmachari meaning to practice celibacy. Controlling his will over carnel desires. Hazare on the other hand did not marry and proclaims himself to be celibate.
As far as clothing is concerned Gandhiji wore a white dhoti with a white cloth around his chest. Anna Hazare keeps his clothes limited to a white kurta-pyjama and also wears a Gandhian cap.
Mahatma Gandhi undertook 17 fasts in total of which 3 were major fasts unto death. His objective to undertake such fasts was to reform the mass and to unite them. Gandhiji never threatened the British government saying that he would end his life if a specific law wasn’t passed or a particular request was not fulfilled.
Though on the contrary Anna Hazare’s objective was also to unite people but to extract specific consessions from the government.His fasts unto death were more like ‘if we die in protest, our followers will turn violent and attack the government”. It is inherently violence, at the end of the day.
Gandhiji’s principles of Non-Violence and Satyagragh inspired eminent personalities like Martin Luther King , Nelson Mandela, Al Gore, John Lennon and Barack Obama including Hazare. Though Anna also calls his anti-corruption movement in 2011 as non-violent, his means to attain certain objectives is questionable.
When Anna Hazare shifted to Ralegaon-Siddhi he found the village in acute poverty with poor ecological balance, scant infrastructure and practically no order. He is credited with the progress and success of the village.His contributions to the town in terms of better irrigation facilities, employment rate, abolition of alcohol , encouraging the role of gram sabha and addressing caste related issues are noteworthy. He transformed the village entirely. It was then that he was given the title Anna meaning an ‘elder brother’.
The abolition of alcohol in Ralegaon-Siddhi saw some revolt from the residents of the village. After the ban was put if a person was found drinking or found in a drunk state , after giving the person repetitive warnings if he still indulges in the same act he will be tied to a pole in the temple and flogged, sometimes by Hazare himself.When questioned as to why he thinks that this was the right way to bring change he says that, “Rural India is a harsh society,if you want change, it’s sometimes necessary to be tough”.
Though on the other hand Gandhiji withdrew the non-cooperation movement after a single incident of the violence at Chauri-Chaura.
Mahatma Gandhi and Anna Hazare delivering respective speeches.
Though all of Gandhiji’s protests were to gain Independence form the British Raj, he never considered them as enemies. The British openly accused him of being their enemy. But Gandhiji considered the Britishers as their friends and said that they should be respected.
Whereas Anna Hazare was protesting for a separate Jan Lokpal Bill because he was unhappy with the way the government was functioning. Scam after scam was being unravelled and the UPA-II was not able to hold its ground. Anna Hazare called the government deceitful and untrustworthy. He says, “Why are you (government) sending the wrong draft? We have faith in Parliament. But first send the right draft, our agitation is against government, not Parliament. The government has overlooked many points.
How will it fight corruption by excluding government employees, CBI and prime minister from the Lokpal’s purview? We were told that both the drafts would be sent to the Cabinet. But only the government’s draft was sent. This is a deceitful government. They are lying. How will they run the country? Now I have no trust in this government. If it is really serious about fighting corruption, why is it not bringing government employees and CBI under Lokpal?
These were some of the stark differences and similarities of the two personalities. Now it is upon us to decide whether one was as great as the other or one merely drew inspiration from the other.