Sunday, August 28, 2011
I remember, a couple of years ago, during one of the Group Discussions in college, I spoke vehemently against the effectiveness of “Gandhigiri” in the modern times. But today, I am happy that I was proved wrong. When the Movement Anna began- I had not heard of it. It only remained a “lunch time” topic at work place. But the turn of events, the arrogance of the “people in power”- forced me to think about the issue in a different perspective.
I am not very optimistic most of the times. The system perhaps, has made me cynical. I remember the six hours I stood outside the passport office and was denied one, citing reasons, unfathomable. Peoples’ mindset was changed. Most people, when asked what they would do if caught by police for violating traffic rules, they reply- “I would pay Rs. 200 or 300 to the traffic police”. No one knows the actual procedures anymore. I had always felt that we had no one to show us a way. The vicious circle of corruption all across the nation, the series of scams, the incompetent government, made sure that there was no hope left in the minds of the “Aam Aadmi”.
Then came Anna.
My involvement came in unexpectedly. One day, at office, a friend said that he was going to 153, LB Road, Adyar, where “India Against Corruption” (IAC) protest was happening in Chennai. Something spoke to me that moment and I decided to be a part of it. I am still sceptical about the execution of Jan Lokpal, for I do not trust the politicians of this country. I believe that they can deny anything that they say, any moment. Why, even during the historic debate in Parliament, on Lokpal- Lalu Yadav said, “Doctors should research and write a book to reveal the secret behind Annaji's stamina for standing such a long hunger strike”. Why Doctors? I say- the secret behind Anna's stamina is Moral strength, will and dedication towards a "Cause" with no personal axe to grind. Alas! None of these could be explained to Lalu, for he wouldn't understand the meaning of any of these! My complain had always been about “nothing actually happening”. And here, when “something” was indeed happening, it would only be right, to be a part of it. Now here was someone, a leader- who earned his respect. But I must confess that it was not Anna Hazare, but Kiran Bedi, who was the main reason for my motivation. She has always inspired me. The clarity in her speech and thoughts- is something very genuine! My father says, “If there are two people in this country who are really efficient- they are Kiran Bedi and T.N. Seshan”.
153, LB Road, Adyar. Here was a glimpse of “Ramleela”. The “Ramleela” ground- such an irony in the name! Like Rajnikanth says in the film “Padayappa”- they were not crowds who were paid for. They were crowds who came voluntarily! People like you and me. The Aam Aadmi. Young, old, children! It was amazing! Students-it was their enthusiasm which was drove the entire movement here. There is one incident which I would cherish forever. There was a mother, a housewife, who had brought along, her 5 yr old to 153, LB Road, for the IAC protest. She had made him hold a small Tri-colour. The kid pointed to the LCD, which was playing the news and asked who the man in it, was. The mother replied- “Athu thaan Anna thaaththa” (That is Grandpa Anna!). This was a sign that this Nation has made him, its own!
Today, 28th August, 2011. We, my father and I, went over to 153, LB Road. There was a small group of, say 30 people. We had all gathered around a laptop to listen to Mr. Arvind Kejriwal’s Vote of thanks, cheering and clapping whenever we felt like it. When Anna Hazare ended his fast after 13 days- with a glass of coconut water and honey, offered to him by two tiny little girls, the whole Nation, it felt as though, spoke with one voice. This voice- the only antidote for pessimism and cynicism that has been absorbing the Nation, so far- it is called- "HOPE".