10 days ago not many people knew the name “Anna Hazare” including myself. As the cricket craze ended, and we drenched in India’s win, here started the new IPL, Indian People’s League, by Anna Hazare. Now as we near his win, as he is about to break his fast, I do not think there is even one Indian who doesn’t know the name “Anna Hazare”!!!
He no longer requires an introduction, he yearned for a change, he strived for a change, he fought the second freedom struggle for India, this time against corruption. He is 75 years old, fought for India’s freedom along with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and it took the same man of 75 years to start a fight against corruption. He single-handedly started fasting and became successful in getting the government to agree to all the demands for a stronger anti-corruption law, something that no Indian ever dared to do.
How did he do that? Was he a magician? Was he a god? No, he was as normal as anyone else in India.
All he strongly wished for was a corrupt-free India, to be implemented in the form of the Jan Lokpal Bill, a law that acts as an ombudsman and has the power to deal with all forms of corruption in public offices.
As his “fast unto death” started at Jantar Mantar on April 5th, 2011, millions of people lent their support in person /on the net/ in various cities organizing campaigns, candlelight marches, and participating in the fast themselves. Never was such an immediate public response witnessed in any cause.
Facebook, Gtalk, and Twitter were completely filled with support slogans for Anna, status updates on the government’s response, and various marches conducted in various places. The support came from various fields too including Bollywood, corporates, writers, and sports. This was an unprecedented response.
After n number of rejections, drafts, counter drafts of the Jan Lokpal Bill by the government and Anna, finally, the government lent in and accepted all the demands of Anna to appoint a chairman and co-chairman for the proposed joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.
He rejected the government’s offer of setting up the committee by a law ministry’s letter. Jan Lokpal now would be set up with Pranab Mukherjee as the chairman, Shanti Bhushan as co-chair of the joint committee, Anna Hazare, Justice Hegde, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal the members from civil society, to draft an effective Lokpal Bill.
This is a victory, not just Anna’s but the entire nation’s who stood beside a non-corrupt freedom fighter fighting for a new India, one that could be free from all the corrupt-netas. As Anna gets ready to break his fast tomorrow at 10 AM, this is our tribute to Anna, for initiating the change that we never thought could happen, for making us realize that we as a people can contribute too and bring about change, in whatever small ways we can, for making us realize that there is still hope for a better and corrupt-free India.
Jai Ho! Anna, we salute you!
Let April 8th be marked not just as Anna’s day but every Indian’s day!
For more information.
On Jan Lokpal bill: