May 10, 2021
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The Activists' Dilemma

The Activists' Dilemma

Mukul Kesavan in the Telegraph:

The political question that confronts all of us, activists, politicians and citizens alike, is whether the virtue of being against corruption (instead of for it) is reason enough to ignore political differences to sustain the breadth and solidarity of the anti-corruption front. So should Swami Agnivesh and Prashant Bhushan, core members of Hazare’s lok pal bill ginger group and stalwart pluralists, take issue with Hazare’s stated admiration for Narendra Modi’s governing style, his enthusiasm for capital (and corporal) punishment and his instinctively authoritarian leadership style or should they play down their differences with Anna Hazare on these issues in the larger interest of the anti-corruption struggle?

...The Janata Party’s necessary struggle against Congress authoritarianism in the election of 1977 involved the participation of the erstwhile Jan Sangh and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Is this much-touted crusade against corruption as significant as that earlier struggle for democracy and have its constituents subordinated their individual agendas for the sake of the larger cause?

...Is it enough for Kiran Bedi or Anna Hazare or individuals like you and me to distance themselves from [the] bizarre positions [of oddballs like Ramdev] or does there come a point where you say, no, I can’t endorse or support a movement that harbours dangerous oddballs and scary political outfits? And if you do the latter do you split the single-issue movement to keep it kosher or do you abandon apolitical single issue mobilization altogether and return to more complex political engagement?

Read the full piece at the Telegraph: What's In A Name?

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