Sunday, September 11, 2011

Learning From Anna Hazare

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India’s divine land has bore many sages. The transcendental teachings of these esoteric and learned saints and monks have enlightened us in different garbs. As miracle workers, some of these orange clad holy beings have been wandering high in the Himalayas, while some have been literary genius residing in the plains and sharing their spiritual knowledge through their profound speeches or writings. Few others have sustained the sanctity of society through their ideals of social service. 


In the diversity of their philanthropic mission, these sages have glorified humanity with love, selfless service, and contentment. The moral teachings of these saints are paragons that have helped us to upkeep our personal and social values and have sometimes even encouraged us to the path of self-realization. It would be iniquitous to deny that some of these ascetic qualities seem to be present in Anna Hazare who has created an enigma of social change throughout India. Anna’s values of simple living and high thinking have not only resurrected Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy. But have also awakened a nation to the savagery and malice of man against man in the form of dishonesty, bribery, and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable. 

Anna’s beliefs that ‘manav seva is madhav seva’ (service to man is service to God) imbibe similar principles as propounded by our ancient scriptures and swamis. Anna says that life is an illusion, which we often spend in self-indulgence. He believes that instead of internalizing the simple pleasures of life, we externalize them through obsession with material gains and selfish interests. Anna’s emphasis on moral values has indeed brought forth the essence of collective responsibility to social justice and has encouraged many to evolve out of caste bound prejudices. Inspired by Swami Vivekananda, Anna encourages everyone to have purity in thoughts and actions. He asserts that the more we have the capacity to bear other’s scorn, the better individuals we become by transforming our egoistic visage and molding it to serve the mankind. 

Anna’s social movement imbues a monumental mission. It has kindled the need for change not just in polices and procedures, but has instilled the thought that ‘ask not what we can take from others, but what we can give to others.’ Such cognizance comes with self-introspection and with a conscious effort of limiting ourselves from an overwhelming desire for more, be it in terms of money, power, or earning privileges of life at the cost of oppressing the needy. Anna’s crusade for social change has certainly swayed the nation by his impulse for ‘parivartan,’ which he believes is initiated by altruistic actions to liberate ourselves from bigotry and injustice. With austere means of subsistence and abstinence from physical desires, Anna in many ways has truly lived up to the quote of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

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Photo Courtesy:  Manish Swarup/AP

21 comments:

  1. A nice post Barkha. Your post is a peep into the role of saints in the Indian scenario. Indeed Anna Hazare seems like a natural and true follower of Gandhi's beliefs. Let us hope that all his recent efforts for the fight against Corruption will soon see a legal win.

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  2. Equating Anna with a saint brings a touch of spirituality to his personality that he deserves. Unlike the politicians who only preach but don't practise, he does both and in that he stands tall.

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  3. Hey Barkha - nice post! While we have reverence for such a man, I think we should also look at him as a human being. He has achieved a lot as a normal human being.

    He has made "Normal" do Miracles!

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  4. Very well written! It is definitely not easy to be the change we wish to see in the world. The work that Anna has and is doing is indeed valuable and we can surely learn a lot of values from him.

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  5. Hello Barkha, its been a long time...back on your blog. Hmm....I couldn't have agreed more. Anna has done a great job...at this age of 75...you don't see this too often!! Anna looks to be a selfless human being and his kind of work has been simply exceptional...I am in a complete awe of this man. Long live Anna and Long Live his Work..!!

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  6. Looks like admiration and reverence for Anna is spread through out the nation :) Hope and pray that the drive against corruption does not stop with revering Anna or with the Jan Lokpal bill. India needs improvement in quality of living and sense of workmanship.. leading to a stage where anyone from a daily wage labour to the President give importance to work satisfaction, and not to hoarding money beyond their means. Anna's approach of handling corrpution is thhe top down approach. A bottom up approach to prevent corruption is very much needed, one that involves personal transformation across India. I personally feel we have a long long way to go...

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  7. Corruption was promoted to a large extent by the british according to me to win over turncoats while they reigned India, it became a habit. Now it will be long drawn battle to get rid of this vice as it were. Anna Hazare has just shown us the way for a long arduous journey in battling corruption. Good post Barka Dhar.

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  8. Thanks Abha. Yes, the legal face of Anna's fight may take some time. But his reformist ideals sure have started a bright fire.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Yes Zephyr, Anna's ideals inspired by the likes of Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi have been long forgotten by our politicians. Perhaps it is time to relearn!

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  10. Very true Desh. People in orange robes are normal human beings like us, but it is their moral principles that distinguish them from us. Anna, however, in his white attire has done a phenomenal job in spreading the message of peace, non-violence, and change that many great philosophers, leaders and saints have proffered in the past. As you rightly said, he has made normal do miracles! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Couldn't agree more with you Arti. Anna has revived the principles of reverence not only for the nation, but mankind in general. His ideals of change have shown us the capacity that each human being has to engender change.

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  12. Yes Zephyr, the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi have been long forgotten by our politicians. Perhaps it is time to relearn!

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  13. Thanks for stopping by Aswani. Looks like we are on the same page here. Anna's remarkable efforts to awaken the people of India to various forms of nepotism is certainly a rare sight.

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  14. Iniyaal, that's one good suggestion you have made. Making it a dual intervention approach to end corruption would make things more transparent. And yes, along with systems change what we need most is a change in our mind set. Because change will only happen, if we want to make it happen.

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  15. Thanks Deguide. Yes, corruption has become a habit and we all know that old habits die hard! But jokes apart, I believe that if we make an effort to change, we may not achieve a leap. But our move would certainly be an incremental step. Thanks for your comment.

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  16. Iniyaal, that's one good suggestion you have made. Making it a dual intervention approach to end corruption would make things more transparent. And yes, along with the change in the current system what we need most is a change in our mind set. Because change will only happen, if we want to make it happen.

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  17. Anna Hazare has been in the news for quite sometime now. His work at Ralegan Siddhi is worth an applaud. The magnitude and quality of work he has done for the people of this village with his water shed development project definitely speaks a lot about his committment and vision. In retrospective analysis of this previous achievement, it does appear that the principles he has adopted will give a much needed strength to this new mission of anti-corruption. Whether or not the lokpal bill will bring about the magnitude of change we want to see, is not the question.

    The question is "are we thinking about it?".

    A well done post.

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  18. From day one the Anti Graft Movement ( Lokpal Movement ) has started, the Congress Government has no will to allow it to become a law. Congress will try with all possible means to scrap the bill or will see that it will never be effective and serve it's purpose as it will affects them the most.

    There is no doubt about Anna Hazare's good intentions behind his Anti Graft Movements & the overwhelming support he got from the public, but congress will misuse their majority in parliament to ruin the Lokpal Bill & at all the bill will pass, Congress will see that it will never be effective.

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  19. Good Morning Barkha ji. Haven't seen your posts for quite a long time. Your post for Anna has been really appreciated by many of Anna's followers.
    Here is the trailer from Anna's upcoming biopic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNn7FSppy7k
    I hope this movie also projects his beliefs that ‘manav seva is madhav seva’ (service to man is service to God).

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