Who is Anna Hazare?

Why did countless Indians not know, or may not have bothered to know Mr Hazare until he splashed as a positive tsunami in their lives. 

Mr Ram Gopal Verma popped the question “Who is Anna Hazare ?” and over the last few days many of us have asked this question too. Some may have found their answers in action, some in friends, others in media and a good majority in online sources.

Those who have not will get their answers in the history books of their children. If we pause a minute and reflect, this question is a bit unsettling and although it make look irrelevant now. 
Is it the sheer focus on their work? Is it the utter lack of General Knowledge or Is it plan apathy to public life. The very same people who cheered the Indian team on their victory against Pakistan or talked of 26/11 killings passionately did not know about Anna Hazare. This is a story of how civil society’s champion are so unsung in India. NGOs are not the most talked about words on the dinner table, rather they are always a suspect, most often people find themselves as givers and the NGOs as takers.
Fundamentally all of us are made to be happy when we live for “others”, for some “others” means a family, for some it means the society. What makes the difference in this choice? A person for whom the circle of care is only the family has probably higher degree of happiness quotient in comparison to those struggling for beyond family issues. This is because the latter make greater sacrifices of the immediate family sometimes to no great result, this makes their happiness quotient lower, further lowered if it does not match their expectations of impact. This leads to a premise: being rational, some people would not pursue issues beyond their family because it may ultimately lessen their happiness and this risk of stretching for goals that look beyond realms of accomplishment. This being said a case can be made where a person who thinks beyond his family(may be for short periods) for larger societal goals succeeds exactly as he thought. This would bring in far greater happiness than anything else for people who try and suceed in this . This success of the India against corruption is all about this happiness. 

However having  said this a  a lot of people may not have acted now, their threshold of acting for a higher degree of happiness is still much more higher and these are the ones “Who do not know Who is Anna Hazare” even today.
The movement we witnessed is an ongoing one, are we aware of the higher happiness we can seek for. This needs all of us think beyond ourselves and our families. We did well this time and we need to do well continuously. Anna and countless other civil society member need you, they may be examples for few of us but in the end we are examples for our friends. Our friends are more likely to think “it is possible” if you think so, rather than some idealist whom they did not know 5 days earlier and would not have known if you did not tell them about him. Anna motivated a lot of us but as all movements are, this one too is about people being motivated by one another and believing that the tipping point is near. 

Forget the Lok Pal for a second, it is the sheer impact of Anna’s work in his village and his crusade for RTI that we as a society need to stand up and appreciate. Civil society’s work is not cared about until they storm the media. Environmentalist are looked as hurdles to development. Why does this happen? Why do we not track and follow their good work?
Fundamentally what makes so many people uninterested in the work of civil society is that it is hard, it is dusty and has few rewards for the comforts of life, it is inherently “not happening” in the very regular urban sense of the word. I would argue that we do not see such work being done by people who are one among ourselves. We see them nobler in spirit, too ideal in thinking and something what we would not do due to compulsions of our daily lives. We disassociate ourselves to the idea being worked out until its very last moment. We love to play low bet games. This bothers civil society workers everyday, they push for participation, they sometimes succeed but most of the times have a hard time. 
Yes it is obviously a matter of a person’s choices that he wishes to know about Anna or not. He  has no choice but has to know him when he sees the hue and cry all over. Most of today’s India is coming through a generation of middle class, who have fought hard for their education. A lot of them think their role in a broader sense, while a lot of them are focussed on having a better family than their parents. For some it is the best possible life. For some fervent pursuers everything else is a distraction, incidently their movies are not meant to influence their thought but only to entertain them and refresh them for the next work week, their friends are not meant for a support system but are hang outs buddies that change as they hop cities. Its the over arching theme of materialistic goals, with a desire that when all of this is achieved, there will be a time for other things i.e the civil society.

We need to think is it so , is this not the time when we are at our best and we can make the future of coming generations the best. Its a personal choice but one that needs more reflection. We ought to know “Who is Anna Hazare?” if not for ourselves then for our children. 

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