Pawar assault: Sadly, Anna learns from politicians

Anna Hazare's reaction to the news that Sharad Pawar was slapped by an individual, "Ek hi mara kya (only one slap)," suggesting that Hazare was sympathetic to the assailant and the action has, obviously made it to the front pages.

Later, perhaps realising the impact of his comment, Hazare said, “He (the attacker) may be very angry. This is not good. Anger is not good. Our Constitution does not tell us to be violent with anyone."

When this statement did not help matters, he had to further distance himself from the slap.“I was addressing a daily gathering of people when someone sent me a note informing about the attack. I wanted to know whether it was just a slap or there was some other kind of violence.”

Later still, he backtracked further.“However, if it is perceived that I have said something wrong, I am ready to apologise,” he said.

The Gandhian has retracted his statement against the NCP leader who was attacked. Reuters.

Now let’s get to the litany of what Hazare has learned from politicians.

The first is that he has learned how to make irresponsible statements, glorying in the grandstanding before a battery of news TV cameras.

Politicians of all hue do this day in and day out, only to backtrack as negative reactions come in.

The next is that he has learned to lie. Yes, lie. Hazare very clearly asked "Ek hi mara kya", and for a wonderful TV moment, enjoyed his great ‘joke’. The truth is there for all to see; nowhere is there a suggestion that he wanted to know if a slap was all it was and he wondered if there was more. Make no mistake about it — Hazare lied.

The third learning is the art of the non-apology. Hazare has not apologised — he has stated that he is ‘ready’ to apologise. That offer, too, is conditional —  he will make good on it ‘if it is perceived’ that he has done something wrong. Politicians are masters of the non-apology and Hazare is a quick study.

So Anna Hazare
• makes an irresponsible statement on live TV and then,
• tries to undo the damage done – the projection by the initial statement that he supports such behaviour – by making a u-turn in the form of a second statement that he condones such behaviour and then,
• lies about the event and then,
• makes a conditional offer to apologise – but does not, in fact apologise

One could expect this behaviour pattern from a politician, but not from a self-proclaimed Gandhian such as Anna Hazare.

Unless, of course, Team Anna has political ambitions and they need to get to a level playing field.

Anna was not alone in his lie-for-cover-up. On Anna Hazare's comments, his India Against Corruption colleague Arvind Kejriwal said, "Anna is not justifying it, he has already clarified it. I think it was misunderstood, he has already clarified it."

No, Anna did not clarify. He lied. Just as the politicians, for whom Team Anna has so much contempt, do all the time.

Watch video of Team Anna discussing Anna's statement

Updated Date: Nov 25, 2011 11:37 AM

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