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Anna international

Hazare has said yes to an invitation to Pakistan. Gaza, Libya, Sierra Leone... here he comes.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2011 22:20 IST
Hindustan Times

We have a new weapon which could improve Indo-Pak relations. And it does not involve materials that glow in the dark.

It is an amiable arrow called Anna, which Pakistan’s civil society desires as much as its army covets Kashmir.

A Pakistani delegation of human rights activists and civil society members met Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi recently and invited him to Pakistan to raise awareness on corruption and the power of a non-violent struggle.

Now, cynics among you may wonder if corruption is the main problem in Pakistan today. To the wild-eyed jihadis who prefer depriving themselves of their own lives (rather than of food), Anna’s methods of fasting and gheraos must sound like some vaudeville act, their preferred method of settling issues being setting off a bomb or opening up with an AK-47.

But we think that we can utilise Anna’s appeal in a more holistic manner. Of course, he must go and set a Gandhi cap among the jihadi pigeons in Pakistan. But equally, we see no reason why he should not hotfoot it over to the Gaza Strip and try and solve the Palestinian issue.

We can quite see old Anna telling the Hamas brothers about non-violence as the route to peace. We might well see the Anna Accord instead of the moth-eaten Oslo one if all goes well.

If he is lucky enough to get out in one piece, we could export him to trouble spots in Africa. This would earn us brownie points and as far as Africa goes, this would be one in the eye for the Chinese.

Since Anna has said he will go anywhere for the sake of peace and the poor, the world has reason for renewed hope. The government should have a vested interest in encouraging Anna’s peregrinations.

It is when he’s in Ralegan Siddhi that subversive ideas come to his mind. But if he’s in Tripoli or Sierra Leone, the UPA would have a lot less to worry about.

First Published: Sep 22, 2011 22:19 IST