Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Hazare Phenomenon

Is there a lesson for Bangladesh?

A heretofore little known man from Maharashtra is making the headlines in India. Anna Hazare has gone on fast to force the Indian government to formulate a more stringent anti-graft law because he feels that the one the government wants to put up in the parliament is not tough enough. And he has given ultimatum to the government to accept his version of the bill or leave.

Hazare's strength stems from the well of popular support that he has been able to garner over time for a cause that affects a very large segment of India's population. 

We are certain that Hazare's position against graft touches a common chord with most of the public in Bangladesh. Although one may not agree with the stiff position he is displaying in spite of his willingness to talk to the Indian government, it is the moral content of his action that one cannot but commend. 

Here is person who is trying to address a social ill that pervades the Indian society in a cancerous form and the only way to attract the attention of a seemingly unresponsive government is to express moral revulsion in a collective manner which he has done quite successfully.

For Bangladesh too we feel there is a need for similar manifestation of popular revulsion against corruption, on which the government has at best been soft-pedaling. And it is through movements such as Hazare's, peaceful yet demonstrative of the popular sentiment that will not only generate public debate but also induce the government to move decisively against all forms pervasive ills in the society.

We would hope that the civil society in Bangladesh will come out in support of anyone who takes the lead in this regard, as indeed one person has to stop indiscriminate issue of driving license.