ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not an Either/Or Choice

Neera Chandhoke’s critique of the anticorruption movement led by Anna Hazare in “Our Latest Democratic Predicament” (7 May 2011), is commendable. It is an eye-opener for many of us who were carried away by the hysteria the movement created, not realising that it had some major flaws. As rightly pointed out in the commentary, the movement also challenges some of the basic principles of democracy like separation of powers and review by other stakeholders.

However, glorifying the right to information movement and looking down upon the anti-corruption movement is not called for. It is unnecessary to make a choice between the two. There is always the alternative of dialogue and debate to iron out differences and come to a consensus. Besides, it would not be surprising to find many ordinary citizens supporting both the movements. Thus, instead of a choice, the suggestion made to integrate the anti-corruption movement into the larger movement of the right to information makes a lot of sense. After all, the two movements are intimately linked, as greater accountability and transparency would lead to less corruption. And is not referring to Anna Hazare as a patriarchal big brother another unnecessary criticism? Hazare’s methods and ways are surely open to criticism but extending the same to his person is committing the fallacy of ad hominem.

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