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Updated: December 22, 2011 12:53 IST

Parents bring children to witness ‘second freedom struggle'

Staff Reporter
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BACKING ANNA'S BILL: An unprecedented crowd rallies in support of a strong and amended Lokpal Bill at the India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu BACKING ANNA'S BILL: An unprecedented crowd rallies in support of a strong and amended Lokpal Bill at the India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

“I will go and tell friends that Anna Hazare is a very good person. He wants a corruption-free India with no fighting and no violence,” said 10-year-old Mayank Jaswal, who helped distribute pamphlets among the crowd at the Ramlila Maidan here on Sunday in the scorching heat, along with his mother and six-year-old sister.

The excitement in the air was palpable even before one actually entered the grounds where the social activist continued his indefinite fast to bring in the Jan Lokpal Bill. Revellers and supporters marked the way to the site, beginning at the New Delhi metro station, where hundreds of young people were seen wearing “Main Anna Hu” Gandhi caps, holding the tricolour, wearing badges with Mr. Hazare's picture, and faces streaked with the colours of the tricolour. “Anna tum aage badho, hum tumhaare saath hain [Anna you move forward, we are with you]”, was the resounding cry leading right up to the entry of the Maidan.

Volunteers ensured disciplined movement of the throng waiting to enter the ground, offering food and water to the needy. The volunteer desk offered plain paper to people to write down their personal messages to Mr. Hazare.

Inside the Maidan, the crowd that included a considerable number of families, seemed to converge towards one focal point — the stage — waiting to catch a glimpse of the septuagenarian.

Several parents suggested that the present struggle by Team Anna was the “second freedom struggle.” “The children need to see this. They need to see, as well as we do, how the fight for freedom was fought,” said Ghaziabad resident Rajneesh Suri, even as his wife and three sons stood clutching the tricolour and craning their necks to see Mr. Hazare behind the speaker on stage.

“Anna is the second Mahatma Gandhi,” said Mayapuri resident Rajinder Sharma, an idea that was shared by most people, especially children.

Speaker boxes and loudspeakers put up at the Maidan continued to carry voices and music supporting the Bill and Mr. Hazare's stand against corruption. A rendition of “Raghu pati Raghav” caught the mood of the crowd, reaching a crescendo as it neared the end, even as people, as diverse as university professors, doctors, volunteers and 11-year-olds reciting poetry spoke in support of Anna's stand.

“While I support the Bill, I am personally not with [all] the speakers. This platform should not be misused by people for their personal ends,” said Atul Gupta, who is the vice president of a travel company.

The Jan Lokpal Bill, which lies at the heart of the protest, came up several times during the speeches on stage, on the slogan-bearing placards, and in idle conversations in and around the venue. The Commonwealth Games, the accused Suresh Kalmadi, and inflation were among the other ideas people associated with Mr. Hazare's “fight against corruption.”

“It is great to see the huge numbers here, but I do not think most people here understand the implications of the Jan Lokpal Bill and the government's version of the Lokpal Bill. The volunteers and speakers are trying to get it across through speeches, but there has got to be a better way to educate people about the Bill so that we can make an informed choice,” said 22-year-old Delhi University student Priyanka Sharma.

“The people involved in drafting the Jan Lokpal are all educated, experienced people — Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi. We have read and understood the Bill, and fully agree with it,” said Madhu Nitin Bhalla, who has supported Team Anna's campaign since April.

Though most supporters agreed that discussing the Bill with the government was important, Ms. Bhalla raised the question, “But why is the government not coming forward for discussion?”

We should all be together along with Anna Hazare - As he does not do it for him self and he does only on behalf of all the INDIANS and being an Indian we should also support Anna's Anti-Corruption movement and should force the government to pass the JAN LOKBAL BILL in the Parliment

from:  Anilkumar N
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 22:50 IST

Anna Hazare reflects the mood of the people. Most of the thinking Indians are sick and tired of the endemic and rampant corruption that has grown exponentially in the last twenty years. It is open and shameless corruption in almost every level of existence. It is overdue for a correction and Anna has taken the baton in his hand and it is refreshing to see that many has joined behind the call for the remedy for this cancer.

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 11:15 IST

Let's make a pledge that we are not going to cast any vote and not participating in any elections unless Jan Lokpall Get approved!!!

from:  Sivaram
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 10:09 IST

All well and Good, I reckon we should have another mass activitism to make sure the bill really works after it has passed thh parliament. My first action after the bill will target our own state MPs from TN.

from:  Mahesh
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 09:20 IST

Ofcourse Anna is the second Gandhi and his fight is much harder than the Mahatma's. It is difficult to get full support from the citizens of all walks due to many reasons and seasoned smear campaign of a
political parties like Congress.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 09:02 IST

What blatant way media is propagating 2nd freedom struggle? Has Hindu forgotten Emergency when it could not print any thing which was even slightly against Indira Gandhi; when all rights of the individuals were suspended; when magazines carried blank columns with the word "censored". JP Movement was the 2nd freedom struggle. Please don't equate or usurp. Now these protests is to make the Govt. resign and have a re-election so that the Jan Lokpal Bill can be made into a Law.

from:  RGKrishnan
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 07:38 IST

Though I agree that the protests by Team Hazare is big in scale and support, one of which the nation hasn't seen in a very long time, I, however, disagree to it being termed as the "second freedom struggle". What are we exactly freeing ourselves from? We are indeed fighting towards uprooting corruption via the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is a bill, a legislature that aims to curb corruption. Where as the fight for independence by people of this very nation in the years prior to 1947 against the British, that was a freedom struggle. We were freeing ourselves from the British Empire. In the present scenario, we aren't freeing ourselves and we aren't overthrowing Government authority. We are pursuing a law to be passed. They are completely two different situations. The people and the media should understand these differences and use proper verbiage when it comes to such matters as it can drastically change the context and impact it has on the people who come across it.

from:  Vivith Vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 04:26 IST

Dear Sir,
It is not safe to have so many people on the streets. Keeping safety of the citizens, GOVT must act fast before this spills into something that can not be controlled.

from:  prasad
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 04:13 IST

Dynasty politics and grooming a family member to position of power should also be considered a serious corrupt activity as it delibratly undermines democratic practice

from:  P.V.Ramachandran
Posted on: Aug 22, 2011 at 03:51 IST
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