The clean Gandhian aroma of ethics, morality and ‘Satyameva Jayate’ hangs in the air at Jantar Mantar where Anna Hazare has begun his fast unto death. He is, undoubtedly today’s Gandhi, fighting against corruption and demanding greater public participation for the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.
Hazare has finally broken through 62 long years of negligence by successive governments, to publicly raise his demand of finding a solution to the issue of corruption. He has demanded that responsible members of civil society must be part of the committee that drafts the Lokpal Bill. This has not gone down well with the powers-that-be for obvious reasons, as the corrupt are among the Group of Ministers, drafting the Lokpal Bill, leading the way to an anti-corruption body without teeth and claws.
Anna Hazare has proclaimed that he is ready to die for the cause but will not give up his fight for justice. Before starting on his fast, he led a march from Rajghat to India Gate, ending it with prayers for the well-being of the nation.
He has found many supporters for his cause, from the renowned Magsaysay awardee Kiran Bedi, to Medha Patkar, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh and the 157 people who are fasting with him.
Gandhian songs like ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ pervade the atmosphere where the group sits, as thousands of students, farmers and social activists wave the tricolour to support the crusader in his endeavour.
The light of hope that shines in Anna Hazare’s eyes for a better tomorrow is reminiscent of what Gandhi said about India on his return from South Africa in 1915. Gandhi said, “I see around me on the surface nothing but hypocrisy, humbug and degradation… yet underneath I trace a divinity I missed in South Africa. This is my India. It may be my blind love, ignorance or a picture of my own imagination. Anyway, it gives me peace and happiness. It fills me with hope and courage, without which no man could work.”
It is this hope and courage that Anna Hazare demonstrates in his speech, his silence and his penance at Jantar Mantar.