Monday, September 05, 2011

Shiv Visvanathan on saving the Hazare process

Excerpt from Hazare vs Hazare: A Scenario as a Warning by Shiv Visvanathan:
"The question is how do we move from the critique to construct and salvage ­another impressive movement from going underground? How can we prevent the good Hazare from losing out to the bad Hazare? Let us face it; every movement has the possibility of eventually making an ass of itself. His core team is not very reassuring in terms of presence or competence. I am not saying they have not ­surprised me so far but I have a sense that the group is heading towards the usual ­inertias of such struggle.

To open up the playfulness of Phase II requires some change in mentalities. First, Anna Hazare has to move from being prophet to sage, while guaranteeing that his disciples do not become the high priests of legislative reform. Second, the group must break the clich├ęs about the State and governance. The State is often seen as wooden and unresponsive. But of late, whether on the RTI or the debate on ­genetic seeds, the State in collaboration with NGOs, has sought to experiment with partici­patory frameworks where stakeholders openly debate the politics of expertise. For instance, Jairam Ramesh in collaboration with sensitive environ­mental activists like Kartikeya Sarabhai at the Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, created the dialogic possibilities of such controversy, letting scientists, farmers and seed manufacturers debate with each other. We need to create sites for such debate so that governance can also be seen as a ludic exercise at least in terms of the future.

Dogma also has to yield to method and particularly methods of resolution. The politics of movements need to be captured as ethical norms or as institutional methods. What is the goal of the movement beyond the holy grail of the Lokpal? At what level does the Lokpal operate? Or are we creating an alternative behemoth, a byzantine bureaucracy more Kafkaesque and inquisitorial than the current structure?"

No comments: