Okay, so it's 17th August and Anna Hazare's much publicized fast ended even before it began.
Thousands of people protested across the country and even courted arrest in Anna's support. But as it is evident, it didn't bring in any change in government's stance and all the protests went wasted.
One big problem with the campaign not bearing any fruit was govenment's stubbornness on the issue. But also, another major reason was lack of information among the common man.
Ask yourself - How many of you know the intricate details of the BOTH the drafts of Jan Lokpal Bill - the one prepared by Team Anna and the one by govt? What is the actual, core difference between them?
I asked myself the same question. I said the govt must also be wanting to curb corruption. I mean, of course, the issue of bringing PM and judiciary under the ambit of the bill was a topic of debate. But the govt must have not made many major changes to Team Anna's draft. That got me thinking. Anna is getting most of his demands met, then why all the fuss?
Then Team Anna held a press conference few weeks ago, and discretely spoke out the details while answering one of the question. Forget the judiciary and the PM, even the higher levels of central and state govt employees are out of the ambit of Lokpal Bill. That is not even 50% of what Team Anna is asking for; it clearly shows govt's lack of will to tackle corruption in the country.
Now when I see Anna behind bars in Tihar jail, I think of all these things and try to analyze - What went wrong with the campaign? What could have they done better? The answer comes rushing to my mind.
I think of how the democratic revolution started in Egypt. FACEBOOK!! Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager in Google, started it all by creating a page on Facebook to make the youth of Egypt aware about the issues and the need of democracy in the country. [see the main piece on Egypt here]
Did Anna Hazare do anything like that? NO. Yes, there were unofficial support groups and pages on Facebook. But nothing was directly from Team Anna. There was no significant support on Twitter either. I mean looking at the scale of the revolution against corruption in India, Anna Hazare should have been trending on Twitter practically EVERYDAY. But that didn't happen.
Team Anna even came out with a "referendum" of sorts and declared that out of 76K they polled, 85% have rejected the govt's version of the bill's draft. I mean, SERIOUSLY!! You call the opinion of merely 65K people as PUBLIC OPINION...in a country of 1.3 BILLION people?? geez, you gotta be kidding me!!
There was no real support from the people because people were confused. They were unaware of the truth.
Social Media, rather its absence, is the real reason why the campaign wasn't able to get the required public support in WHOLE of India.
Think of how much support the cause could have got had Team Anna made an official website for it and published all the details of both drafts on it. They could have even asked the questions of their "referendum" as polls. They could have got response from 76 MILLION people in India.
The reach, the possibility, the POWER of social media in unimaginable these days. Gandhiji's methods sure are good, but they alone are not sufficient in today's world. You've got to go with the times.
Team Anna did all the hard work. But they didn't do it smartly.