You are currently viewing Anna Hazare forgot Mahatma Gandhi – Beating Alcoholics in Public – 28 Nov 11

Anna Hazare forgot Mahatma Gandhi – Beating Alcoholics in Public – 28 Nov 11

Last week India read something that many people could not believe to be true. Anna Hazare told how he thought alcoholics should be treated and how he had treated them before in his village. To everyone’s surprise he appreciated the cruel method of beating alcohol addicts in public.

He, the anti-corruption fighter who was seen like a second Gandhi for some time, told that the common treatment for alcoholics in his village was to warn them three times that it was not good to drink. If he still got drunk, the villagers would take him to a temple and make him swear to God that he would not touch alcohol anymore. If he nevertheless was caught drinking or drunk, he would be tied against a pole in a public place of the village and be flogged.

You can imagine that this statement created quite an uproar in India. He, the man who was even worshipped just a few weeks or months ago, for his Gandhian way of fighting corruption, talks about violence against alcoholics! Of course the political parties, the Congress and the BJP, who were previously trying to convince the public that they are not against Anna Hazare, immediately gave their statement that they do not support this way of treating people at all. Those who have previously felt threatened by Anna Hazare’s campaign now have a good point to use against him. A spokesman of the Congress said these were Taliban method and you would need to beat up ‘half of Kerala, three-fourth of Andhra Pradesh and about four-fifth of Punjab’ if you followed his advice. I guess it is safe to say that his image of the Gandhian non-violent fighter is gone forever!

I was supporting the cause of fighting corruption by my writing. I wrote a letter to Anna Hazare, one letter to Manmohan Singh and appealed to people not to oppose him because we needed to come together as one in the efforts to stop corruption. From the beginning however I also told that it was wrong to worship the person, to get fixed on the idea that this man will end corruption. When listening to news and interviews with him and his team, I felt that the worship of the individual had already started. The issue of corruption had become less important than the person Anna Hazare. I felt ego in him, too, to be in this role and the media was supporting this ego by focusing on his person instead of the issue. To me, it was clear from the beginning that I support a cause, the fight against corruption, and not one individual person. I supported him because an opposition would have weakened the cause but I cannot agree with such statements in any way.

He has disappointed those who saw him as a kind of holy individual. There are no holy people who don’t have faults and if you expect a person to act as holy, you will be disappointed. He showed what he really thinks and obviously it has nothing to do with the loving, non-violent approach that he displayed earlier. He is frequently shown sitting at the Raj Ghat memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, meditating there. Do you think Mahatma Gandhi would be in favour of this method? Now everything he did in this way simply looks like a big drama.

Alcoholics are actually poor people. They have an addiction. By beating them or making them afraid of public humiliation, you cannot cure their underlying problem. You have to understand how they got stuck in this addiction so badly. If you know that problem, you can do something against it. Violence and cruelty will not help you in this task though! It could have been nice if he had suggested a meditation for those who really have the wish to leave their addiction but no, he suggested violence.

It is of course ridiculous to even discuss this kind of idea and a man speaking about national problems and solutions for them should know this. It is the way how villages have always treated problems – they set up a village court and a bunch of people who were thought to be the most important ones passed a sentence which often included beating or another physical punishment. It is an old-fashioned way that does not fit with modern civilization. With this statement Anna Hazare managed to ruin his reputation.

This does not mean however that now all hope for an end to corruption is gone. No, it was never about Anna Hazare, no matter how much the media and people tried to worship him as the savior. People have power when they get together and I want to tell everyone to please unite against corruption to finally erase it from our country.

More blog entries about Anna Hazare:

Anna Hazare arrested – Game of Politics and Corruption – 16 Aug 11
Anna Hazare fights Corruption like Gandhi fought the British – 8 Apr 11
Privilege Notices to Kiran Bedi and Om Puri – India losing Freedom of Speech – 2 Sep 11

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Strong Mike

    Any day there will be NEWS of assassination of any leader and that Illiterate ANNA has been instigating people that beating was not enough ????India will Burn 🙂

  2. Saksham Talwar

    Alcoholics should be beaten in a public place! Damn..! Anna has lost his way. Alcopal!

  3. Ashvini Kumar Saxena

    I agree with this post Swami Ji Balendu. Beating is no answer to solving an issue. There are a lot of reasons why people become addicted. Most of them are psychological. I think Anna probably needs to think more on this issue. Your meditation methods , full psychological analysis, removing poverty are the only ways this can be removed. Beating will not do anything at all

  4. Swami Balendu

    Dear friends,Anna Hazare’s controversial statements about his blogger Raju and then about alcoholics and his ego and now recently came in light Kiran Bedi’s name in corruption have disappointed many people and her silence about this creating very wrong effect. She need to give immediately explanation about accusations not only in court. Thank you.

  5. Ashvini Kumar Saxena

    ‎Swami Ji, Frankly I admired Kiran a lot. She is the best police officer we can have ever. I think all of us make mistakes but to have repeated mistakes(if they are mistakes) is really bad.Also I do not think we need to worry about Anna’s ego. His contribution to nation are immense compared to small frailties of human nature. He will probably realize that somethings he says or do are wrong and need to be changed ( like he did on Sharad Pawar’s issue). We have to remember that he is fighting for a corruption free India and he is an excellent leader. His sense of duty as a soldier is strong

  6. Swami Balendu

    Dear Ashvini, You know, I also admired both of them a lot, that’s how I supported and wrote many articles in their favor. I think a mistake happens in unawareness and when it is repeated, it is no more a mistake, it becomes crime. Silence is not good now.
    I think his ego is a very big problem and that has affected the real issue very much. People got off from him because they think he wants to be like God. His changing statements also show he is doing politics like other politicians. I really doubt his leadership, you can see how even many of his close people left him and he could not keep them together.

  7. Kiran Trivedi

    My main grudge against Team Anna is their attitude and ego, not the charges being trumped up against them. Kiran and Kejriwal have become hugely egotist after the fantastic success they got to their movement. Propping-up of Anna as the face of movement brought in the right-wing elements in it. K K not opposing these elements and actually favouring them shows their rightist political side. That’s why they run roughshod over a lot of democratic values. That’s dangerous trend and we are already seeing the Anna-effect on society.
    The kind of corruption charges they are facing are matter of approach to run NGO activities. Getting funds, using it and diverting some to some other activities because not all activities get funds etc. Saving on air-tickets is also part of this. But as they claim higher moral ground, they will have to face these brickbats.

  8. Ashvini Kumar Saxena

    ‎Swami Ji Balendu I know what you write about them. Infact all of us want a great leader to lead the country. Hopefully, people understand that

  9. Udayan Chauhan

    The time demands urgent attention and efforts for reduction of crime and corruption. No person but important and independent organization. specially to control corruption through political channel and political posts! from policy making,signing contracts and execution!

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