Though the author makes it clear where his sympathies lie, he is sensitive to the faultlines in the Anna movement.
Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India
By By Ashutosh
HarperCollins | Pages: 256 | Rs. 199
It was around this time last year when Anna Hazare became a household name for people outside Ralegaon Siddhi. The movement against corruption began to gain momentum as the capital’s Jantar Mantar played host to Anna and his band of warriors who took on the government. Chronicling the movement was a reporter’s dream—it promised all the elements that make for an exciting story: the frail man who threatened fast unto death, a new-age Gandhi, the scheming UPA government, the infighting among various civil rights groups and the academic’s cynical take. From those hopeful days in April till August when the Ramlila Grounds became the stage for a grand protest, Ashutosh, managing editor, ibn7, was at hand. He puts down his experiences in Anna: 13 Days That Awakened India. Though the author makes it clear where his sympathies lie, he is sensitive to the faultlines in the movement.
Ashutosh acknowledges that the same media that had wooed Anna turned cynical as time passed by. The clenched fist, the all-too-familiar rhetoric, slowly began to pall before the cameras as a reluctant government moved in to sabotage the movement. The powerful ministers working on the sidelines and planting stories—Ashutosh doesn’t name them but drops enough hints. The author even hints at a plot to overthrow the UPA.
In the end, the author doesn’t mince words when he says that Anna was a new product but by the end of the year, consumer fatigue had set in, and he needed to reinvent himself. In this age of media supremacy, Ashutosh doesn’t let us forget that a creature of the media’s attention has to refocus his strategies if his movement is to strike a chord...again.