The agitation led by Anna Hazare demanding the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill has led to serious debates regarding our parilamentary democracy, modes of protest, civil society, roots of corruption etc. We present here two views on Anna Hazare and his movement by two leading Left intellectuals.
Writing in The Hindu, on 24th August, Prof Prabhat Patnaik wrote:
"The government's flip-flops are indicative of incompetence; the Anna group's flip-flops arise because of the compulsions of a particular style of politics on which it is embarked, which can be called “messianism” and which is fundamentally anti-democratic. The fact that it is striking a chord among the people, if at all it is (one cannot entirely trust the media on this), should be a source of serious concern, for it underscores the pre-modernity of our society and the shallowness of the roots of our democracy."
Prabir Purakayastha's response published in Newsclick says,
"Unfortunately, this removes the focus from the current crisis of liberal democracy, which has given rise to the current anti-corruption movement. And if we delve deeper into 20th century history, messianic figures arose out of the crisis of liberal democracy......That people have turned to Anna as a saviour is due to the weakness of conventional resistance coupled with a Government which is not only seen to be corrupt but also has lost its legitimacy. "