My visit to India in August was full of excitement as so much that was happening was cataclysmic.
I attended the 50th convocation of IIT Delhi and heard Vindi Banga speak to the young passing out class of engineers about what will make them stand out and be successful in life – belief in their own vision together with a moral compass. This was played out by Anna Hazare and his team forcing the usually insouciant government to stand up and take notice. Everywhere people had taken positions on Anna Hazare – it was difficult to find a neutral or an indifferent voice, though my friends in politics tried to pass it off as a storm in a tea cup led by vested interests with RSS links, or just a middle class movement as if that group did not amount to much, or a media show by channels hungry for sensational news. Friends from business passed it off as ‘unparliamentary’ and subversive to democracy and its various institutions.  Couch intellectuals and celebrities despaired ad nauseum about the problems with the Jan Lokpal Bill and what next. I am glad that the Egyptians did not stop to ask so many questions as they were marching to Tahrir Square; they might have  missed spring entirely.
My bureaucrat friends see this as a step change and talked about the RTI as the biggest game changer. I think dire straits call for dire measures – we needed this and what is parliamentary about our elected government and the emasculated institutions anyway? Is the Anna movement going to lead to the ultimate cleansing of the Indian back alleys? I think so.