Friday, August 19, 2011

I don't protest!

Last evening I was at the protest rally in Pune. And if anyone does not know what rally ...  the protest rally was in support of Anna Hazare and his campaign against corruption. I do not know if we need another body to police anyone, but I know that we each have the right to peaceful protest. That a government of the people for the people and by the people could imprison their own, in one of it's most notorious prisons, is an absolute 'no no' in my book.

The newspaper puts the count at thirty thousand people. What is amazing is that it was completely peaceful, without incident and 'clean' as one young girl put it.. All those youngsters,... it was mostly them.. gender no bar, from every corner of Pune,  brought together for their country, as they put it. One young girl said "hum nahin karenge, toh kaun karega?" For all those who lament about the  blase, know it all, generation who would not lift a finger for anyone else, you were in for a surprise. It was wonderful to see  so many youngsters, all very charged by the cause.  They seemed clear on why they were there as well. It would not be business as usual for them  they claimed. Not everyone at the rally may become a model citizen overnight, but this seems to have given a hook for some change. they said they would never again pay the small bribes which do not even seem to be bribes anymore.. like the one given for recovering impounded vehicles. They pucca promised that they would rather pay the challan money to the right authorities, even if it meant paying more. They said they would vote the next time, so they could have a voice. It has made them politically and socially aware and galvanised them into action.All of which augur well for democracy.Even if not everyone changes, some will!

I was born after India gained independence, but this gave a hazy glimpse into what it might have been, bound together by a common cause. It cut across boundaries of caste, community, religion language, education and even political leanings..... There were national flags everywhere, even painted on cheeks.  The lokpal , how it helps, who it helps, whether it helps  is yet to come.. but this has definitely united people as nothing else before it, since independence. I was witnessing unity in diversity last evening. Whatever happens next .. the bonding is a definite victory! So never mind which side you are on, and whether you think Anna Hazare is right or wrong.. whether you agree with his method or not... there is something in it for everyone.

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