Anna’s cause muffled amongst other demands

Updated: Aug 21, 2011, 18:46 PM IST

Shomini Sen

New Delhi: Day 6 of Anna Hazare’s fast against corruption had crowds thronging Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi. By the looks of it and the sheer presence of people at the venue, it seemed that there was no backing out now. The common man was in no mood to compromise and was giving his full support to the man of the moment - Anna Hazare.

While the sheer number of people did not diminish even on sixth day of Anna’s fast, the purpose or rather the cause of the entire protest seemed to have diluted amongst many other issues. Every possible ‘organisation’ with every possible cause wanted to club its grievance with Anna’s anti-corruption agenda. So one could witness NGOs or sansthas demanding free food to free education to even dignity of labour for the aam janta. And everything was somehow linked to corruption.

Amit, a second year engineering student was there to speak to ‘Kiran Bedi ma’am’. He wanted to talk about the injustice meted out to him during college entrances and how “reservation was destroying the Indian society”. When it was pointed out that reservation and corruption were two different issues, he insisted that they were linked.

Bansi Lal had come all the way from Moradabad. He and his friends were all part of an NGO which supported Anna and his fight and were demanding free education and free food for all. Bansi Lal explained, “We have come to demand our basic rights and will stay here till they are fulfilled.” He said that the NGO had got around thousand people to Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds to support Anna.

Bansi Lal’s NGO was not the only organization which had brought in its workers to protest against corruption. Organisations and groups from across the country had all come out to give their support to the 74-year-old man and many of them had their own propaganda to club with the main cause.

Amidst loud protests and cheers, the so-called upper middle class and the English educated elite seemed to be less in number. Yes, some were there but one would have expected a better turnout, especially on a Sunday.

Volunteers made sure that there was constant flow of water and food for the protestors. Cooks were seen working hard at a make-shift kitchen near the exit gate.

A special mention about the much-dreaded Delhi Police: While the entire nation is lashing them for their ‘villainous’ step of arresting Anna on that fateful Tuesday morning, one has to give them due credit for maintaining a tight security around the Ramlila Grounds. It is not easy managing lakhs of people gathering every hour at any given venue.

While coming out, we stopped by a burly looking police constable and said, “Sir, aap achha kaam kar rahe ho.” He smiled and almost blushed at the unexpected compliment and muttered a polite “Thank you madam”.

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