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Why I like Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare has become the saviour of the masses, scourge of the corrupted and the catalyst of the latest revolution in Indian history. The number of his diehard fans and devotees has far exceeded that of any living person.
ANNA HAZARE has become the toast of the town, saviour of the masses and scourge of the corrupted and the catalyst of the latest revolution in Indian history. This dogged septuagenarian has shaken every politician out of his societal stupor camouflaged by visibility stunts.
 
Arundhati Roy, Mahesh Bhatt and such other intellectual ilk may question his credentials and modus operandi, but the sheer number of his diehard fans and devotees has far exceeded that of any living person: never has anyone in history had so many contemporaries supporting and defending an individual; nor will ever be.

Here is an iconoclast who could not wait for parliamentary procedures to commence discussion on his pet project, the Lokpal bill. So the parliament had to suspend every activity to consider his bill immediately. The government or parliamentarians could brook no procrastination, except at the cost of endangering his fragile health and thereby incurring the wrath of millions. What makes this apparently uncomplicated diminutive man clad in home-spun khadi so potent?

 
What is it in this Gandhian from Ralegan Siddhi that has made the mighty come to their knees? How is it that millions of Indians cutting across all barriers and sporting a Gandhi cap identify themselves with him and scream: I AM ANNA? Because, this chubby-cheeked ‘mahatma’, enjoying his second childhood has put his own life at stake so as to cleanse the Indian society of corruption!

Just as Gandhiji perfected his form of satyagraha in South Africa before taking on the British in India, Anna Hazare too began at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmad Nagar district. He motivated his village people not to grease the palms of government officials for discharging their duty of serving the common people. Later he enlarged the scope to encompass the state of Maharashtra. On his retirement from the Indian Army he distributed his entire savings to charity to build wells and dharamshalas for pilgrims.


Now despite his monumental successes at various levels he still lives in a small room in a dharamshala he had built. I LIKE ANNA for his unsurpassed somatic and mental tenacity. After his release from gaol, despite his fast, he sprinted his way to Ramlila Maidan, as it began to drizzle? Much to the shame and chagrin of his escorts. Again, when every ‘Anna’ in India was on tenterhooks as Hazare’s fast entered the 10th and 11th days, and even as some protesters who were fasting in solidarity with Anna in different parts of India were collapsing, Anna still had the strength to stand up and address his followers. He could accomplish this feat because, as he said, the youth supplied him with an inexhaustible stockpile of energy.


I LIKE ANNA for his nerves of steel that is not flustered by difficult situations. Even as he concluded his 13-day long fast he declared that his fight against corruption was merely kept in suspended animation and that it would resume forthwith if situation demanded. Moreover, fighter that he is, he was not carried on a stretcher even after such a prolonged fast. The doctors attending to him called it a miracle plus Anna’s steely will power.

 
Yet this was not the first time that death had accosted him. In the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 while he was driving a truck laden with essential supplies a couple of fighter jets of the enemy swooped on the convoy. As Anna applied brakes his heavy vehicle skidded and rolled into a ditch? That day he had stared death in the face twice.
 
I LIKE ANNA for the pristine image and the identity that he has created among the middle class. Manish Tewari had to eat crow soon after alleging that Anna was steeped in corruption! Coming to corruption: first the good news: a recent survey has revealed that Indian deposits in Swiss banks have exhibited a declining trend. Now the shocker: in 2010 they amounted to a whopping $2.5 billion! Unconfirmed reports estimate that over Rs 1456 lakh crores are stashed away in these banks!
 
If retrieved, imagine what can be done with this mind-boggling amount! India will emerge as a global financial behemoth and on an average about `60000 crores can be granted to each district for development, which also means bestowing so much purchasing power to the Indian population! Corruption has become institutionalized in India. It is common knowledge that commissions and judicial enquiries are established in India only to tranquilize the indignation of the public and to hoodwink the masses.

The corrupt officials and politicians almost always manage to salvage their chameleon like pseudo-faces. Although the entire population of India is weary of corruption at every level, the political entity has managed to smother their concern and anguish by scuttling the Lokpal bill for 42 years. Now that the bill is certain to see the light of day, the credit for the same should go to Anna Hazare alone. This saintly figure is fighting corruption not for his benefit but the billion-odd Indians. This man in the last lap of his earthly sojourn has no personal agenda or concealed benefit.


This single pure disinterested act of Anna alone suffices to elevate him to the pedestal of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha. If the Lokpal bill as envisaged by Anna gets passed there will be more accountability in the Indian bureaucracy and the beneficiaries will be the nation and every individual. Just as the Almighty had sent a Mahatma when Indian independence struggle was struggling to fight with one accord, now at this critical juncture when India has lost its face in the world arena due to rampant corruption, the same omnipotent has dispatched down to the earth a saviour in Anna’s persona to salvage the remaining pride of India and cause a political and moral revolution. Who would not love Anna Hazare for the same?

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