24 hours in a Democracy: A Comedy of Errors

A Ten Act Play Spanning ~24 hours


Anna Hazare announces an indefinite fast to begin on August 16, 2011 in order to convince the Government to strengthen their weak Lokpal bill and really fight rampant corruption in this country.

Act I

August 16, 7:30 am – The Government of India, in the guise of Delhi Police, swoop in and arrest Anna before he ventures out for the fast. Anna’s message to the people: Jail is not going to stop this movement. You should protest, but do it peacefully, always.

Act II

August 16, mid-morning – Word spreads like wildfire about Anna’s arrest. 24×7 news channels, facebook, twitter are all super-active. People are enraged. People are engaged.


Early Afternoon: Meanwhile, Anna is moved from one secure location to another in the capital city of New Delhi. The impotent PM denies any involvement in what has transpired. Government leaders meet and strategize. They come up with a brilliant plan: Send Anna to Tihar Jail (where the most corrupt of corrupt politicians currently are held). Stupidity appears to prevail.

Act IV

India erupts!

Act V

7 p.m.:  The queen is currently ill and out of the country. But she has left the Prince in charge. The Prince meets with the PM and other Congress leaders. Virtuoso that he is, he says to them: This was a strategic mistake. Look at the support for Anna. Let’s release him from jail. (small print: with some conditions).

Act VI

Later that night: The benevolent government (in the guise of Delhi Police again) tells Anna in Tihar Jail that he is free to go (small print: with conditions on what, where and how he fasts).


Anna listens patiently.  Then, he says: No, I am not leaving jail until I can leave unconditionally. When I leave jail, I am going straight to JP Park to continue my fast (which he started in jail).  Checkmate.


11 pm: Meanwhile, not just the country, but Indians around the world are chanting “Anna Hazare Zindabad”. The news channels are flashing headlines that say “Victory for Anna” and “Poeple for Anna”.  There are interviews upon interviews with “experts” representing various opinions. They include the ruling party; these people, caught with their pants down, sound like bumbling, clueless idiots. One expert gives some good advice: I think you people in Congress should stay out of public view until you have figured out what your message is.

Act IX

24 hours after Anna was arrested, he continues to be in jail, refusing to move or budge until he is freed unconditionally. Meanwhile, crowds outside Tihar Jail, across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and even the smaller towns, in New York, New Jersey, London, Dubai…everywhere that Indians live, their voices are getting louder against the government and against corruption.

Act X

August 17, 12 noon: The Prime Minister of India announces the facts and justification of why arresting Anna was the right thing to do for the nation. Match this with the high emotion of people on the streets. Idiocy continues to prevail…


The End  To Be Continued



Posted on August 17, 2011, in india, politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ha, ha, ha…truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The Govt talks about a “foreign hand” helping Anna’s campaign. But given what the Govt has itself done to help Anna, I suspect it really wants Anna to win! But why would the Govt want Anna to win? Could it be that Anna is actually Sonia’s man and has been propped up to distract the nation from Sonia’s swiss bank wealth? Or could he be Kapil Sibal’s man, planted to distract people from the 2G mess? Why else would the congress help him so much. Hmmm…sure sounds like a conspiracy to me!

    • I had a ball writing this one…not sure where it came from. Well, actually, the inspiration was from the desperate and public acts of a clueless government. Each time they did something stupid (and they did a lot!), Anna won. Let’s hope he doesn’t just win all these skirmishes and battles, but that he wins the war!


  2. The very same cluelessness of Manmohan Singh & Co to tackle the issues of governance (corruption, insurgency, price rise etc) is causing them to screw up the way they handle Anna. Come to think of it, it’s divine justice.

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