The whole nation watched with bated breath while Anna Hazare, a rank outsider in Lutyen’s Delhi, a person who had neither the political backing or the political lineage came to Jantar Mantar to fast for the Jan Lokpal bill, something that politicians lacked the will to see through. At first there was just Anna and few supporters. The cynics sniggered.
But something about this man captured the imagination of middle and upper middle class. The people who know that they would have to shell out 5 lakhs and above to get a job, even though they had qualifications. The people who know that even to claim their PF or insurance, even to get some licences which they deserve, they will have to pay a bribe. These are the people who want a corruption free India, because they are directly affected. And the crowd grew.
I was cynical about it. Until I saw that this man and his followers did not allow politicians to hijack the movement. Until some politicians were shooed away, so that they did not tarnish the citizen movement. I wanted to witness this, imbibe the atmosphere of the place. Last night, Anna and the Government reached an agreement. But that did not deter me. I went today to Jantar Mantar. I am so glad I did.
The energy of the place was unbelievable. I echo Wordsworth here
Bliss it was that day to be alive
But to be young was very heaven
Who is this young mother and her children?
When I reached there, Anna Hazare had already broken his fast. I did not get to see him. I saw Swami Agnivesh and Kiran Bedi. And I saw people who were celebrating. Someone came and put a chandan tilak on me. Then another person came and gave me a tiny piece of laddu. A third handed me a glass of water. Some one came and put a lal tilak on me. There was joy all around. Near the stage people were dancing the bhangra to the Lokpal song LOL!
Even though it is tough to dance the bhangra to Lokpal, Lokpal, Pass Karo Yeh Lokpal!
I went further and was made to sign a whole lot of signature campaigns and given a lot of paper, still have to read those things.
And of course the havan mandap in which Brashtachar was being symbolically burnt
At any given time, you see beggars and eve teasers in CP. I did not see any at Jantar Mantar. What I witnessed was throngs of people coming, congratulating each other, walking around happily and then leaving. Some people came from far off, folk were there from Jammu even, they were organizing a bus to go back. And of course little kids wearing “I am Anna” caps. They looked adorable but could not take a pic, they would not stay still.
Then in the evening we organized a candle match in our town
Well, frankly it has. It has given a platform for fighting corruption. But more than that, what it has done is this … It got the middle class out on the street, it gave the youth a voice. If something captures the imagination of the youth, it brings about change. They are uncompromising and they are idealistic. And they are impatient.
J. P. Narayan woke them up once, but the nation failed to capitalize it … happened a long time ago.