Anna Hazare, a noted ‘Gandhian’ and an activist, who has earlier played a role in fighting for Right to Information Act has taken up fast to bring more teeth to Lokpal Bill, an instrument to curb the corruption at highest offices in this country. Many urban middle class Indians have come forward to support him in this cause. Relay hunger strikes have sprung up in many cities in India. Artists and intellectuals lent support. It is heartening to see so many yuppie Indians coming out onto streets to voice their opinion against corruption. Not many movements in the recent history have seen the urban middle class coming out of their secure careers and gated communities to take the streets in protest on a universal and overarching cause. At the most, the urban middle families are known to fight for their selfish needs like parks for their kids, or against reservations for lower castes, or for stopping the government from demolishing their illegal houses.
The government has indicated that it is ready to succumb to the pressures from these agitations and embrace some of the demands Anna Hazare is proposing. Already there are detractors. Some people ask if these ‘extra-constitutional’ methods, like coercing the government through agitations and protests, should be encouraged to get the desired results. On CNN-IBN show with Karan Thapar, journalist-editor Kumar Ketkar and bureaucrat-turned-editor Sanjaya Baru said that we should not resort to ‘blackmailing’ a ‘democratically elected government’ through ‘unconstitutional’ methods like fasts and agitations. Sanjay Baru equates the fast of Anna Hazare to that of KCR holding the government of India to ransom. To make a case against the methods Anna Hazare and the urban middle class Indians are resorting to in their fight against corruption, they cite Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of Indian Constitution, who said in his last speeches to the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949 the following [emphasis mine]: