On 5th of April 2011, 71 year old Anna Hazare started a 'fast unto death' to exert pressure on the Government of India to enact a strong anti-corruption act as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill, a law that will establish a Lokpal (ombudsman) that will have the power to deal with corruption in public offices.
People across India supported this movement and Bangalore was no behind. Four citizens went on indefinite fast in front of Freedom Park. Few of my office colleagues wanted to be part of this and so after work, we arrived at the location. Here we joined thousands of others who had arrived to support the movement.
We filled forms that asked for our name and address; collected candles and stickers from other supporters and walked to the pathway to join the other supporters. The air filled with several slogans such as – “Bekke Beku Lokpal beku” (Lokpal is a must); “Gali Gali Mein shoor hein Sarey Neta choor hein.” (Voices in every street say, all the politicians are thieves) “ Vande Mataram” (Mother, I bow to thee!), “Jai Bharath Matha Ki.” (Long live India) “Kodolla Kodolla Luncha Kodolla.”(No we won’t, no we won’t, Give bribe) and so on.
There were people from ever genre and every age and we all lit the candles. I saw the frustration turn into revolution in many Indians who rather see their tax being spent on development of the nation and not the politicians.
After few hours of slogans, we had talks from the citizens fasting who expressed their agitation towards Government and corruption. Some comments such as – “A king with power and no responsibility is dangerous. I am a common man without power but responsibility.” Were direct blows even without names being mentioned. Together the crowd sang the national anthem and “Hum honge Kamiyab….” This morning we woke up to good news that Government has agreed to the demands and Anna Hazare would break his fast. It was a great movement and I am glad I was able to be part of it.
The initial aggressiveness of young software engineers, reminded me of the French student revolution or a German Baader-meinhof red army factions emerge but then I realized that we have been blessed by the principles of Mahatma, which teaches us non-violent ways of protest against injustice. I am glad we have this history and learning’s that hopefully would prevent us for a long time from taking fanatic approaches that usually does more bad than good.