Finally, the Anna Hazare saga may be near an end. He relented from a “fast to the end”, though a member of his band created interesting grammatical possibilities by making a distinction between an “indefinite fast” and “fast to death”.
Beyond this quibbling about meaningless numbers—days on fast, number of supporters allowed at the site of the fast, etc.—lies a bigger question: A fast to what avail? The way things look, it appears nothing much. One can safely say the government—advised as it is by excellent lawyers—has “priced in” the effects of the fast. Business as usual is right around the corner. As to the possibility of moral suasion influencing lawmakers by fasting, that too can be ruled out: in a Parliament voting at the tip of party whips, the less said the better. In any case, there are doubts about a “strong” Lokpal. The last word belonged to the Prime Minister: there ain’t no?magic?wand to waive corruption away.