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Galvanising animal spirits
Randeep Wadehra 

Is a fourth front in the offing? The question assailed TV mandarins when Team Anna declared its intentions to enter electoral politics. Later, Times Now aired the news regarding Team Anna’s disbanding while The Last Word (CNN-IBN) discussed its implications. On NDTV’s Buck Stops Here and Big Fight, some panelists expressed disappointment although others were cautiously optimistic but felt that Anna Hazare’s latest gambit is without any roadmap to its political destination. But, aren’t we witnessing the infusion of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called in the economic context, the ‘animal spirits’ (a Keynesian term denoting a spontaneous urge for action) into Indian politics?

Incidentally, Team Anna’s "withdrawal" of fast invited mudslinging, reconfirming that in politics, smudging is inevitable; you can either be a selfless crusader or a not-so-selfless politician; when you try to be both, you become mealy mouthed and tetchy when TV journalists ask uncomfortable questions. Feral animal instincts were evident at Jantar Mantar where Anna’s followers attacked mediapersons after Shanti Bhushan’s rather animalcular speech, which was repeatedly shown on news channels. TV news highlighted beastly instincts in full play: massacre in Assam, violence in Manesar, moral vigilantes tormenting girls in Mangalore and molesters pushing another girl from a speeding train elsewhere in Karnataka, teachers stripping a girl in West Bengal, deaths of Geetika and Anuradha (Fiza) in Haryana. The ensuing politics will make even an insensitive beast blush. The Tamil Nadu Express train tragedy elicited similar reactions.

Mercifully, beastly instincts have a spirited foe in Ranchi’s indigent but large-hearted Husn Bano (Akhtari Bai in the TV show Lakhon Mein Ek on Star Plus), who adopts baby girls dumped into municipality’s garbage bins.

In London Olympics, when India opened its account with a piddling bronze, everybody behaved as if we have toppled China from its perch at the top. Celebrations and congratulatory messages were aired with infantile zeal. On the Games’ conclusion, there was a familiar pattern — excuses turning into long-winded explanations and eventually sinking into a vicious blame game. There is something terribly wrong with the way our sports are being managed. Will we ever feel mortified enough to introspect over our chronic mediocrity? Would the authorities do something to galvanise animal spirits among our sports federations and administrators?