Of Hunger Strikes and Fasts unto Death

Cynical voices have been on the rise ever since Anna Hazare came about with his I-am-going-to-go-on-a-hunger-strike-drama, which somehow seems to have dwindling number of takers as the days pass by. What started as a fast-unto-death later got modified into an indefinite fast (I still do not understand the difference between the two) as was clarified by Kiran Bedi and he has kept almost all of his followers on the brink of suspense as to when he shall really be coming out of Tihar.
When all the conditions imposed by Team Anna were more or less agreed upon by the Delhi Police, one wonders why is there a delay on his part to go ahead with his plans, come out of Tihar and proceed to Ramlila grounds.My sentiments were echoed by a septuagenarian, Hema Raghvan on the Hindu and I sense she has a point here:
Read along: 
[Source: The Hindu]

Dear Shri Anna Hazareji,I am a septuagenarian like you. Like you, I fight for principles and fight, following the Gandhian way of satyagraha. But you may not include me as a member of ‘civil society’ as we differ in the means to be adopted to secure the ideal ends.Gandhiji never resorted to coercion to have his way. He never used fasting to blunt his opponent to accept his views and ideals. He never abused the British whose rule he fought against (except for one odd remark about a ‘gutter inspector’). But you call the Prime Minister a ‘liar’ because he has accepted the Cabinet decision not to include the Prime Minister within the purview of the Lokpal.Dr. Singh is a team leader and does not impose his views on his Cabinet. This is functioning in the true spirit of democracy where the collective wisdom of the majority is respected as against one’s own personal views. Did Gandhiji ever tell the British: “Come on, jail me,” when he went on fast. No, because he did not want to deny the British government its right to action. Aren’t you whipping up mob hysteria and anger just because the government has not accepted six out of your 40 clauses? Do you mean to say that there can be only your thinking and there shall be no alternative? Your silence about the mining scam in Karnataka is baffling. But you choose to vent your righteous ire on the Prime Minister and his government!You say you are not against democracy but against the government. The government, elected by the people can be thrown out at the next hustings. This is democracy. If you are in favour of democracy, why are you against a democratically-elected government that is given a mandate of just five years to govern?You did a yeoman service, pushing the government to table the Lokpal Bill in this monsoon session. But you cannot say that ‘it should be my team’s version and nothing else.’ You want to bring all three main pillars of democracy — the legislative, the executive and the judiciary — under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal to function as an effective single pillar for deciding on crime and punishment. The dance of democracy unleashed by you and your team has every danger of destroying our democracy.(The writer’s email is: hema.vr@hotmail.com)    

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