Joy and hope at India Gate candlelight march

Updated: Apr 10, 2011, 09:52 AM IST

New Delhi: Feelings of joy and hope pervaded the air at India Gate in the national capital Saturday evening as supporters of the movement for a stronger Lokpal Bill led by Anna Hazare lit candles and sang patriotic songs.

Hazare ended his fast earlier in the morning after the government agreed to his demand for a joint drafting committee on the long-pending bill and many of those present at the India Gate were ecstatic.

"We celeberated when India won the Cricket World Cup. Democracy has won today. It is my duty to celeberate," said Sheetal, a software professional from Gurgaon who had come to the India Gate with her parents.

As people walked with candles in their hands near the Amar Jawan Jyoti - the monument dedicated to the memory of soldiers who laid down their lives for the country - the evening sky lit up in mellow yellow lights of their hope.

Foreigners passing by were also taken in by the mood.

Maximiliano Sosa, a tourist from Uruguay, said he was drawn by the gathering of the people carrying anti-corruption placards.

Sosa, however, had a hard take on corruption in India.

"From my experience I can say that corruption mostly exists in the upper layers of heirarchy in Uruguay. In India, it seems corruption is prevalent at all levels," Sosa told reporters.

Asked about the reasons for his observation, Sosa said he had been sometimes overcharged by taxi and auto drivers.

There was an impressive presence of college students while some parents came with their school-going chidren.

"It is a great ocassion to make my children learn to fight against corruption. I told them that it was more important to go to India Gate than to watch the IPL cricket match," said Pramod Bhatnagar, a businessman from north Delhi who came with his three children.

Swami Agnivesh, who represented Hazare in the talks with the government, was also present.

"The fast has shown that if an honest man stands for a cause, thousands of people will rally around him," said 26-year-old Priya Sharma, who works with a voluntary group.

Hazare Saturday ended 97 hours of fast for a more stringent anti-corruption law after the government met almost all his demands, becoming a cult figure across the nation for the young and the old.

IANS