Do you remember the movie, Hindustani? Kamal Hassan appeared in double role, playing an iconic revolutionary fighting against corruption, and the son of that revolutionary busy in material enjoyment and fuelling corruption. Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare, more popularly known as Anna Hazare, appeared at Jantar-Mantar in the role of that revolutionary character of Hindustani, but peaceful and non-violent. Anna, who started his career as a driver in the Indian Army, remembers his old days when he alone survived the border exchange fire during the Indo-Pak War of 1965, and declared a non-violent struggle against the Government of India.
The Marathi hero and well-known social activist emerged in New Delhi on 5th April 2011, and launched a Satyagraha movement against corruption. Anna commenced his fast-unto-death at Jantar-Mantar in order to exert pressure on the central government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen Ombudsman Bill). This is a strong anti-corruption law that will establish a Lokpal (ombudsman) sufficiently empowered to deal with corruption in public offices. The main demand of this movement is to form a joint committee of the government representative and the civil society to draft the new law with stronger penal provision and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas.
The Prime Minister of India rejected the demand and Anna started his Satyagraha. The Jantar-Mantar became India’s Tahrir Square after the famous Egyptian revolution that took place in Cairo, for last week it suddenly became the destination of people from all walks of life. Everyone thronged there to support the Satyagraha launched by Anna Hazare. All these supporters demand the government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill as soon as possible. The agenda of the movement seemed preposterous in the beginning but the support of common Indians’ made it the voice of the nation.
The demand of this non-violent protest is strong anti-graft Lokpal bill that coordinates with the provisions of originally drafted bill, devoid of any changes that the Government of India plans to introduce in it that can make the Lokpal yet another advisory body with no actual power.
I am an ardent supporter of Anna Hazare and his causes. Therefore I chose a symbolic fast to support him against corruption, and to participate the movement that now known as India-against-corruption. I see here the huge support of Indians against corruption, within a short span of time the movement became global. I have encountered there an old lady walking with stick, who says, “After the J.P. Movement this is the next big movement in India.” On the fifth day of the Fast-unto-Death Sonia Gandhi, the super prime minister of India emerged as a supporter of his cause.
The government already started sessions of dialogue with his representatives— distinguished social activist and spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal, who is known for his contribution to the Right to Information Act. Today, Congress President Sonia Gandhi urged Anna to end his fast with the following statement: “There can be no two views on the urgent necessity of combating graft and corruption in public life. I believe that the laws in these matters must be effective and must deliver the desired results. I am sure that Anna Hazare Ji’s views will receive the government’s full attention as we move forward to fight this menace.”
The government offered to announce the committee on the conditions of Anna and his supporters. Anna Hazare responded to it and said, “This is a victory of the people.” Anna himself declared that he won’t head the committee, he is better in the capacity of one of its members, and that is not enough for the millions of Indians who placed their faith in him. I remember Lakhnavi’s sher here:
Husn ki Bajm-e-khas mein jakar kya hoga
Koi naya paima bandhange, koi naya wada hoga
Let’s wait and watch the outcome of the second freedom struggle of India.