12 April, 2021

1974... Is This Really As Real?

The raging storm for Anna has past parallels: in its flaring up, and probable blowing out

1974... Is This Really As Real?

Of course there’s a big difference between JP’s movement and that of Anna’s. And I’m not talking of how one was led by a seasoned politician—however ambiguous his ideology and political affiliation—while the other, Anna Hazare, is more like a “neighbourhood elder”, as Ashis Nandy memorably puts it: “familiar, unassuming and perhaps slightly dumb”. It’s something else that separates them—Jayaprakash Narayan stumbled on his movement, almost by accident, weeks after it had started—a spontaneous outburst of public rage against corrupt politicians. Anna, however surprised he might privately be by the enthused masses he’s attracting, is certainly not hanging on to the tailcoats of youthful protesters. JP claimed he was inspired by Gujarat’s student protesters. Anna, on the other hand, is the inspiration behind his own movement.

JP’s movement was sparked off not by JP but by a bunch of engineering college students in Ahmedabad whom we’ve long...

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