“Having said that, what has amazed me most in recent days is the blanket refusal of the media to discuss the main agenda of Kejriwal’s latest outbursts: the Corporate Corruption”, says the author.
The media says that Kejriwal is using “illegal” methods to attract attention. I have also been looking with some disbelief at some of his methods that appear to be illegal. But even if they are illegal, like many other methods of protest traditionally adopted in this country and elsewhere in the world, they remain legitimate methods in democracy.
Seen from purely the legal point of view, almost all methods of “democratic” protests are illegal. These include fasting unto death (attempt to suicide), rail roko, raasta jaam, dharna disturbance of public order) and jail bharo, which again is achieved through defying the public order. All these protests are organized to attract attention. Those who organize them claim that they are aimed at attracting the attention towards their genuine demands.
The opponents allege that the organizers are interested in their own publicity. If this is a common practice, then why so much hullabaloo on Kejriwal’s defying the “Model Code of Conduct” and an attempt to justify it and the protest at Delhi BJP office “without permission”? These should also be accepted as “legitimate” “democratic” “methods of protest”. Of course, violence cannot be condoned, and all those involved in violence should be adequately punished. But again the violence has unfortunately been an integral part of protests with buses, cars, and other objects often burnt, people beaten and lathi-charged and sometimes shot at.
Unfortunately, all these acts of violence are justified for one reason or the other by the side that indulges in them, and more often than not, the culprits got Scot free. Having said that, what has amazed me most in recent days is the blanket refusal of the media to discuss the main agenda of Kejriwal’s latest outbursts: the Corporate Corruption. Till when he was labeling charges against the “corrupt” politicians, he was being hailed as a hero by the media. The Anna Movement in fact appeared to be a corporate driven movement. As soon as he shifted his attention to corruption in corporate world, he has rapidly been transformed into a villain. Not a single debate on TV channels has focused on the charges against Mukesh Ambani. No one is interested in debating the truth behind the charges against the richest man of the country.
There is total boycott of the issue in the media except reporting what Kejriwal has uttered. And of course, there is absolutely no debate on the larger role of the forces of economics in influencing the political and socioeconomic scenario. I have been campaigning for more than 15 years against what I call “economic fundamentalism”, particularly the role of corporates in monopolizing the wealth, accentuation of economic disparity, influencing the governmental policies (corporatocracy), commercialization of human weaknesses and hijacking of all social institutions. Despite all attempts, I have failed to highlight the issues in the mainstream media. When my book “The Killer Sex” was released – Kuldeep Nayar did the honors – some of my friends in the media tried to get it reviewed in Times of India and Hindustan Times.
I was later told that some very critical reviews were written but even those were not allowed to be published because even criticism could have given publicity to the book. I sent a copy of the book to Khushwant Singh. Interestingly, I got an instant reply saying “I am looking forward to reading the book. Hopefully it will make an exciting reading.” He was perhaps stimulated by the title and hoped that it would help the cause of his hormones. He did not write again to me because he might have found the book exactly opposite to what he had anticipated. Irrespective of his political fortunes and the impact on the future composition of Parliament, if Kejriwal can sustain pressure on the role of corporates and uses his strategies to that effect, he will have done a great service to the country.
My only fear is that the more he hounds Ambanis, the more he will be hounded by their minions in politics and media. My advice to him would be that while targeting individual corporates may not be an unwelcome exercise in order to attract attention towards the issues, what he needs more is to understand the philosophy behind the dominance of the corporate lobbies in all the affairs of the country and their hugely destructive effects on the people. He has to understand that it is this philosophy which is largely if not wholly responsible for all the evils: Poverty, Crimes including crimes against women, corruption, social vices of all kinds and the fast degeneration of moral and family values.