Everybody wanted to be part of the “historic” celebrations

Dramatic twists in the 12-day-long fast undertaken by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare for the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill that grabbed the imagination of the country reached a befitting finale at India Gate here on Sunday, where thousands turned up in an overwhelming show of support to celebrate the Government's acceptance of Mr. Hazare's conditions and the subsequent breaking of his fast at Ramlila Maidan earlier in the day.

Scores of fluttering Tricolours, several motley group of strangers jubilantly breaking into impromptu jigs to the catchy beat of drums, fireworks lighting up the sky alongside kites flying high with Mr. Hazare's name splashed in the Tricolour and passionate slogans filling up the air with gusto and merriment all around, were some of the scenes being played out at India Gate on Sunday evening, bringing back memories of the country's cricket world cup victory scenes at same venue a few months ago.

Be it families, youngsters, infants, differently-abled, senior citizens or foreign tourists, nobody wanted to be left behind in the celebrations and claim their own piece of history to “remember the moment” by taking photographs and recording videos with their friends or families against the backdrop of India Gate with the Tricolour in hand. While a few others also decided to head there just to follow the crowd and enjoy the weekend picnic outing replete with much singing and dancing while soaking in the patriotic atmosphere amid the huge media presence and police deployment.

Fifty-eight year-old Sukhdev Singh, who came along with his wife, armed with a box of candles and with the National Flag tied to his turban, said he had decided to show up at India Gate as his relative and friends too were headed there. “Everyone we know told us they were going to India Gate, so we also decided to show up here and be part of this celebration. We feel happy and relieved that the public has been proved right and the Government has had to listen to us unlike earlier when it was not ready to do so,” he added.

For Spanish mother-daughter duo Milagros Nogeles (60) and Ainhara Del (19), their one-month long visit to India couldn't have ended on a more exciting note. “We have been in India for a month now and are leaving on Monday. We feel really lucky to be in Delhi to witness the culmination of this historic anti-corruption protest at India Gate. Back home too similar protests are taking place against the Government and their economic policies, so we relate to the angst the people here are feeling and support Mr. Hazare.”

“We have made a lot of friends at India Gate and taken a lot of pictures and recorded videos as well. We plan to upload them on Facebook soon to share with our friends back home in Barcelona,” added Ms. Nogeles.

For those selling popular tricoloured wrist bands, “I am Anna” caps, national flags and getting their faces painted with the tricolour, Sunday was the last day to wrap up the business on a high note. Charging Rs.10 per face paint, 25-year-old Bina Ras said: “I stay in Madanpur Khadar and have been coming to India Gate for the past 15 days just to earn money by painting the Tricolour on people's faces. I must have painted about 2,000 faces till now, and Sunday is the last day of my business, after which I return to being a housewife again. The maximum demand for face paint was on Sunday, when I managed to paint about 200 faces in all.”

Team Anna member Manish Sisodia also made an appearance at India Gate, congratulating the crowds and singing the national anthem along with them.

Thirty-one-year-old Baldev Park resident Namita Behl brought along her son and nine-year-old daughter Yashika Behl dressed as “Bharat Mata,” complete with a crown and a red and white sari, to partake in the celebration in her own unique way. “Though we have been going to Ramlila Maidan too, but Sunday was a special day for us as Mr. Hazare finally broke his fast. I brought my children here to show how we achieved independence against corruption,” she added.

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