Literary giants have been visionaries. Hardly
has any of them seen his vision become a reality in
his lifetime. Perhaps the failure accounts for a
certain streak of tragedy in them. In some cases, the
very dichotomy between vision and reality remains the
lifeblood of literary poignancy. Every author fancies
being a prophet. And to history, they have remained
Jayagandhan puts on the mantle and does not
look convincing or impressive. Not his fault. Many
before him had tried it - Thomas More in his Utopia,
H.G.Wells and Aldous Huxley.
His picture is clear in his outlines but looks remote.
He does not want any thorough overhauling of a
defective fabric but a corrective force acting from
within. He shuns violence, except as the last resort
for self-defence, and prefers a movement working on
the lines of ideology alone. An "alternative force",
stirring the people by virtue of ideology and
cornering the erring regime with a coup de grace.
Would you call it a "peaceful transition to good
conduct?". That is exactly what Jayagandhan wants.
And his vision is dignified and sophisticated.
Needless to say, anyone not sharing his
sophistication, thinks it is sublime humbug.
His attitude towards our democracy, the second
largest in the world, is ambivalent. He hates its
failures, loves the elections. He loves Parliament
more as a symbol than a living active body. He is
plagued with the question whether the democratic setup
is capable of resolving the social questions. Or
whether it suffers from any deficiency in potential.
He takes it for granted that the institution is great,
only its priests have failed. Incidentally the social
values are the test of its ability. How could the
institution be exonerated of its failures?
The choice, to him, is between Parliament
without purpose and a monolithic party. He is saddened
by the spectre of both, especially when elections mean
mere shuffling of parties in and out of power. Added
to this is the all-pervasive bureaucracy content with
its own perpetuation. Jayaprakash Narayan started a
corrective movement many years ago and nothing is
heard of it now.
Jayaganthan is entitled to his own recipe and
theoretically one cannot quarrel with it. Every theory
needs the acid test of objective validity. He raises a
question but the answer is not in his palm.