No one among the dozen odd friends and family I am regularly in touch with in Bangalore has been anywhere near Freedom Park or have wanted to participate in the so called victory march yesterday. Neither has our domestic help or the driver of the cab services I use after shifting out of downtown into suburbs. Among the 42 families that stay in our apartment block I am yet to spot one Anna cap or even the national flag that I see supporters waving on television channels.
Yesterday I went out to meet a couple of friends. I was warned that I will encounter plenty of traffic jams because of the procession. Surprisingly, the streets wore the usual Sunday look. The only crowds and jams I encountered were on a busy street in Basvangudi while coming back. ‘They have come to shop for tomorrow...the Gauri Ganesh festival is starting’ said the driver.
Back home I switched on the television. The news channels as usual were full of Anna. One of them had Kiran Bedi being interviewed. She was asked whether she regretted making statements like Anna is India, India is Anna, something that had not found favour with even her comrades in arm, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan. ‘Haven’t I been proved right?’ she countered. ‘Every single Indian is proud today,’ she preened. Looking a little like Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies gloating after punishing Harry for something he hadn’t done.
Sorry Ms. Bedi...I am an Indian and I am certainly not proud of how the democratic processes were subverted. Two wrongs don’t make a right as far as I am concerned.
The interviewer asked her what she had to say about Santosh Hegde expressing his disillusionment with the Anna movement when the fasting zeal was on. ‘He was a status quo ist,’ she waxed eloquent. ‘Now he has learnt from Anna how pushing the envelope helps.’ She went on to thank Advani and BJP before concluding the interview.
Until I followed Bedi’s interview yesterday I was all set to vote against the Congress in the next elections. I was open to giving BJP another chance. In the past few months, I have begun to despise the present government for its corruption, for its arrogance, for its double speak. I wished for mid- term polls and a defeat that was worse for Congress than its ally DMK got in Tamil Nadu.
Bedi’s interview was the ‘game changer’ for me. For the first time all the ruling party’s ‘mobocracy’ arguments started making sense. Bedi made me recall Advani’s rath yatra, the Babri demolition, the Gujarat genocide. I started feeling scared.
Manmohan Singh...I hate you for endorsing corruption on a scale never witnessed before in this country but at least you have never ordered the massacre of a community...you have not destroyed the secular fabric of this country...you have been more Gandhian than any of these self appointed heirs of Gandhi in your private and public life. So I have decided to cast my vote for you and your party in the next elections.
For in this great country of ours, it’s never about the greater good. It’s always about the lesser evil.