“I will continue my fast for as long as I have life in my body. As long as I live, I will live for this country, and when I die, I will die for this country”, roared Anna Hazare, addressing cheering crowds at the Ramlila Maidan.
In a ‘new’ India mostly obsessed with cricketers and where Bollywood movie stars are wildly idolized, Anna Hazare has emerged as the unlikely face of an impassioned people’s movement in India.
I felt ashamed of being an Indian when a Hong Kong-based business consultancy firm ‘The Political & Economic Risk Consultancy’ reported that India ranked at number 4 in Asia in corruption after Philippines (8.9 points), Indonesia (9.25 points) and Cambodia (9.27 points) as latest as by March 29, 2011.
However, the thought of Anna ignited a hope dormant inside me that a day would surely come when India would raise its head in pride for being a corruption-free country.
I completely agree with Anna when he says, “This is the beginning of second freedom struggle”. Yes, I truly believe that it is the beginning of a struggle to attain freedom from corruption, bureaucracy trapped in red tape, and corrupt state administration.
I know it may take decades to attain such freedom as ‘Rome was not built in a day’, but it gives me immense pleasure to witness that at least the struggle for freedom from corruption has begun in right earnest.
It has to be agreed upon that no politician today matches the moral authority that Anna Hazare possesses. He has brought a swarm of humanity on one common platform to protest against rising corruption.
And, he has finally made it. He has won his first battle as the government has agreed to his demands by passing a resolution in Parliament on the Lokpal Bill.
Government tried to budge him, cynics questioned him, but he kept waving the tri-colour flag with full valour just as he started on Day 1 of his fast. It is the victory of the man who continued to ignite the fire in you, me and many others. It is certainly the victory of a national fervour.
Now, the question that arises is, though Anna has managed to make the Parliament agree to his demands, but no pre-assumption can be made as to what final shape the Lokpal Bill will take. It is a victorious moment, nevertheless. It is a historic moment and it doesn’t matter which draft will be approved, but, the menace of corruption must be curbed and eliminated and public grievances must be addressed.
I hope the government remembers that our Constitution says ‘We the people of India’ and not ‘We the Parliament of India’. It is the people who are supreme and, believe me, they are ready for reform.