Anna Hazare's fast for the Lokpal Bill has entered the fourth day today and which has sent an awakening call to the entire country. People have started rallying around Anna Hazare hoping that we have got the messiah we desperately wanted to have.
Anna Hazare, no doubt is a great human being and I believe that he is not a kind of person who will resort to fasting just to garner attention. He is no Poonam Pandey, if you understand what I mean. He confidently says that he can sustain the fast for 10 days without damaging his vital organs. I guess that confidence comes from regular fasts he has undertaken over the last so many years for various causes, but mostly for probity in Public Life. A statement of him, which impressed me the most and which shows his true passion for public causes is as follows:
" I have not been home for 35 years. I have 3 brothers but I don't know the name of their children. I don't have any bank balance."
Truly humbling.. a person with single minded dedication and strong will.
The second thing which has got my attention is the fact that there is a spontaneity in supporting Anna Hazare across India. There are people who are volunteering themselves to participate in his fast at Jantar Mantar and the support rallies across the country. I think it is because of the fact that he has been genuine and his intentions are for the common good. I am forced to look at the fast of Political leaders of Tamil Nadu who have taken to fasting in the most farcical ways in the recent past. We had Karunanidhi starting his fast after his breakfast and ending it before lunch for Srilankan Tamils cause. After seeing things like Karunanidhi's fast, people genuinely believe this Anna Hazare.
I am not going into the merits and demerits of the Lokpal Bill as I have not honestly read through that. I have had only a passing glance of that and I can tell you that the core of the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is that corrupt should be punished severely and the punishment should act as a deterrent for others.
The Government of India woke up little late to Anna Hazare's fast and sent the minister, Kapil Sibal to negotiate with him to withdraw the fast. I see a tactic being played by the GoI in this by sending the minister for Science & Technology rather than the Law Minister. This is because of the earlier avatar of Kapil Sibal was that of very successful Supreme Court Lawyer. He is also kind of a loud-mouthed person who believes that by ridiculing the opposition he can be victorious in his argument. We didn't forget his utterances about the Telecom 2G scam when he took over in November'10.
I don't think his loud-mouthiness and his lawyer ways would sail with Anna Hazare, and was forced to return back with out being able to stop Hazare's fast. I expect strong opposition from the ruling Politicians cutting across parties because the Jan Lokpal Bill hits them hard at places where it hurts the most. So there would be unanimity in subtly opposing the draft Jan Lokpal Bill.
The most laughable matter was when Om Prakash Chautala went to Jantar Mantar to show his solidarity for the fast. I think Chautala is one of the most corrupt CM's this country has seen and he was rightly shooed away by the protestors there.
Accepting the Jan Lokpal bill drafted by India against Corruption forum or including the public personalities in the drafting of this Lokpal bill is the key demand of Anna Hazare. There was never a suggestion by Anna Hazare that he should be made the Chairman of the committee which is to draft the Lokpal Bill. But, true to its colour and the emissary who went to meet him, and the Government tried a cheap political stunt by issuing a statement that they won't accept Anna Hazare as the Chairman of the Committee, which was immediately ridiculed and rejected by Anna Hazare. He made a statement to clarify that he never wanted to be the Chairman and he would be happy to be just a member or even be an advisor. I had big hopes on Kapil Sibal when he became the Minister in UPA II but sadly he is exposing himself that he is one of the bandits of the great Indian Political hegemony.
Let me wait and watch whats going to happen in the coming days. People have already started comparing Jantar Mantar to Tahrir Square of Cairo but I think it is vastly different. There are also voices of Jan Lokpal Bill being very amateurish and impractical, which may be partly true, but I believe we need a stricter and effective anti-corruption law in this country.
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