This has happened before. Started by Gandhi, followed by Martin Luther King, Lech Wałęsa and Nelson Mendela. The means adopted were similar, Non-conformance through Non-Violence.
I had written on Lokpal when the crusade had started. Now I feel to re-visit the theme.
We will start with someone who started it all. No it’s not Gandhi. It is Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). He published an Essay – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. This crisp piece has radical thoughts backed by some logic. Gandhi was impressed and he wrote a synopsis in his Newspaper “The Indian Opinion” and started his own Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930.
We are quick to jump here and add that – well, the British were Foreign Powers. Agreed, we had the rights to reject British Laws. But, did we reject British Laws? Till date our Justice System are descendent from the British. Or are we missing the point.
Gandhi, a lawyer himself, knew that the law must prevail but not unjust laws. Now, who is supposed to decide if the Laws are Just or Un-Just. A common fervor flowing in this country today is – the Parliament must decide. Yes, The Parliament must decide. Even Gandhi would agree. Because Gandhi did this. How? Let me explain.
Gandhi’s focus was Independence – Self Rule. And he used every “trick in the political trade” to achieve that aim. His “Civil Disobedience” was more towards rallying his crowd. Gandhi did many more things to arouse mass support. He made “Salt”, burnt “laundry”, went on “Crash Dieting”. Also he cleaned “latrines” and roamed around “half naked”.
Imagine you are living in Gandhi’s times and you see Gandhi doing all of these tamashas. Won’t you think he is crazy. I would. But, finally we got what we (He) wanted – Independence. The word (He) in parentheses is important. Gandhi kept his intentions within parentheses.
Gandhi, through his crusades, was actually targeting the British Parliament and influencing their Poll Arithmetic. Gandhi made many good friends but his best friend were the British Electorate. Slowly and subtly, Gandhi was influencing the area which mattered most. Such is the beauty of this Person.
Winston Churcill, the hero of the Second World war and the “enemy” of Indian Independence, was wiped out of power in the General Election just after the War. The New British Government introduced the The Indian Independence Bill in the Parliament which soon became an Act. And Gandhi had the last laugh, so to say.
So, Parliament is supreme. But it does not imply that we, who are outside, do not have any handle to control the events within. Gandhi showed us that if the activities disturbs the Poll Arithmetic, then it’s a precursor to change. Now, the question is – Can Anna do it?
If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849