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Not missing a beating

Anna Hazare's advocacy of a new form of instant justice could just score a palpable hit.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2011 23:21 IST

This may be a slap in the face of all those who believe in non-violent methods of protest, but our latter-day Gandhian Anna Hazare is clearly made of sterner stuff.

None of that turn-the-other-cheek codswallop for him. When he incredulously asked ‘just one slap?’ after Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was assaulted by someone, he really meant it. His spinmeisters may have made him recant, but you really cannot keep old Anna down. So back he comes saying that if it is for the betterment of society, violence is not wrong. After all, he has been known to lay about them in Ralegan Siddhi if anyone is partial to a drop or two.

This should serve as enough warning to our political class. If our politicos don’t pass the lokpal according to the tenets laid down by Anna and his gang, they may be in for more than just a tongue-lashing. No, it is quite possible that the offenders will be administered six of the best by the Gandhian and his cohorts. And here it comes in useful to have a former police officer on your side. It is clear that Anna has seen how tardy our politicians can be and has decided that he must beat them into shape. This should be a little worrying for the judiciary, for given Anna’s penchant for instant justice in the form of a slap for starters to those allegedly shortchanging the people, no one is likely to seek legal recourse.

The trick now is to determine the number of slaps that should land on the offender that would be commensurate with his misdeeds. For example, how many slaps would Anna recommend for fudging air ticket bills, as the worthy Ms Bedi is alleged to have done? In Annaland, we don’t wait to ascertain whether allegations of corruption are true, the idea is to slap first and then verify. Given Anna’s popularity there will be many who will want to take a whack at this new system of justice. Yes, it will prove to be a big hit.