One Man Going Hungry For The Hungry Millions
The first hitch was a delicious smell wafting from the neighbouring houses as I found myself hungrily taking in it, besides the waves of hunger tiding and ebbing since I woke up about 7.30 in the morning. About a minute passed before I even realised what I was doing. And it hit me how hungry I was.
In case you are wondering what I am talking about let me inform you, that I am fasting to support Anna Hazare, the 72 year old titan demanding transparency from the Indian government on its supposed anti- corruption drive that constitutes a Group of Ministers - a sub committee of four ministers - to put a curb on corruption. Anna, an ex-army man and a lifelong social activist thinks that the government is not serious in its intensions. Its Group of Ministers is eyewash as it has ministers in its committee whose track records are tainted with grafts. He thinks, they should pass the Lokpal Bill ,in stead, that gives real power to civil society to stop corruption. So, Anna is ‘fasting unto death’ sending a clear message to the government that it’s high time it passed the Bill.
Corruption has always been the concubine of Indian democracy - the shameless, hushed-away other life of Indian governance that has busted many nation building initiatives by siphoning off billions of rupees to the hands of thugs and criminals who throng the Indian parliament. But never have the Indians reacted much apart from indulging in heated drawing room arguments. The usual reaction was of that of resignation and helpless bitter acceptance of corruption as a part of life in the country.
But it looks like all that is about to change. Anna Hazare has taken it upon himself to protest against the impasse, leading the country to a cross roads. Youths who have never cared about politics are joining hands with Hazare. Thousands of common people with their kids and wives are coming to Jantar Mantar, the New Delhi monument where Hazare has launched his protest since the 5th, to extend their support. Men and women in other cities are fasting, skipping lunch, organizing processions; social networking sites are flooded with messages of support to Hazare. The common reaction is of desperation and anger. “If not now when… if not me who else” … such charged up words of protest are making rounds.
Going on a hunger strike as a means of placing your demands, may have many critics but right now none for Anna Hazare’s intensions. Though the UPA led government has already dubbed his action as “immature”, Hazare’s fasting has unmistakably struck a chord with a country that reveres Gandhian philosophy of non-violence and use of fasting as a democratic tool to achieve democratic rights.
So, I thought the least I could do to show my solidarity to this wonderful cause, is fast. It wasn’t easy. Sticking to my usual routine of reading and writing seemed difficult as my mind kept trailing off! By half past three in the afternoon my body revolted. I ate. Though some of my well-meaning friends frowned upon my decision, I know if nothing else, I emerged humbled. After all, I spent only half a day of the grotesque reality of millions of Indians who live and die in hunger because their hard-earned money got swallowed by corrupt people- in- power.
[Those who want to know more about Hazare can visit www.annahazare.org and http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/What-is-Lokpal-Bill/artic... for Lokpal Bill]