When India won the world cup this year, people were out on the roads with Indian flag in their hands, cheering, rejoicing, hooting, dancing and doing erratic things one can only imagine, but never do. Nobody knew anybody, but everybody knew what was up with India! The entire time I was out on the streets that night, I kept thinking to myself, if such a time would ever return? If people would ever be stimulated with so much of passion? I thought it would take us another world cup to get there, but I was wrong!
India’s fight against corruption has amassed the people of the nation in a manner that has left the cricket craze way behind! Calling it our second freedom struggle would not be an understatement at all. I witnessed it for myself today as Anna sat on yet another fast. Raj Ghat, possibly one of the most peaceful places in Delhi was unusually beaming with people. They were roaring, cheering, clapping and dancing in support of the movement, the agitation that was started on the 5th of April. The amount of support shown by the people was simply overwhelming, from youngsters travelling from various parts of the country, girls and boys as young as fifteen feeling the anger and betrayal that is generally seen in working adults, rock bands singing bhajans and mobilising the crowd that had gathered to the young volunteers trying to discipline and guide people. The only quiet place in the entire area was the pordium. There sat a diminutive Anna Hazare, unperturbed by the noise and hustle-bustle. The image of him is as peaceful as meditation itself. He sits on the podium clad in white from head to toe, looking like a saint and in composure.
It was fascinating and intriguing to see a gathering charged with emotion to become completely silent (well at least for a while) as soon as Anna picked up the mike and reminded people that they had gathered at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, a place for peace. It sounded a little odd in the presence of police fire wagons and hundreds of police men manning the area. After the Ram Leela Maidan episode, the police seems to be on the vigil, but it hardly bothered Anna or the people who had shown up. Anna openly condemned the act of the government, comparing it to Jallianwala Bagh and the people too didn’t shy away from shouting ‘Anna re, tu he re!’ in his praise or hate slogans for that matter for the government and the Congress party.
What happened at Ram Leela Maidan was an act to shoo the people away to separate them from the movement but it has had a counter effect and motivated people to support it in larger numbers. The face of this movement, Anna Hazare seems to be in a mood to change the face of politics in this country, where corruption is widespread, deep rooted and ages old.
One can love Anna, disagree with him, hate him, despise him, ignore him (well that’s a little difficult to do now a days) but one has to agree that his magic is working. Anna is the only man in the recent past who has been able to get the people together under the same roof irrespective of caste, creed, gender or religion, in a country where votes are won on the basis of these so called pillars.
The line, is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta is as famous as the slogan mera Bharat mahaan! The country seems ready to delete the former and live by the latter, so let’s see for how long does the government turn a deaf ear to the noise made by the 1.21 billion people of the nation!