I was taking interest in the ongoing hullabaloo about the Anna Hazare movement against corruption from quite a distance ( my information source being TV and Internet, with the latter playing a more important role due to my affiliation with various online political forums/groups ).
Just a couple of months back, we had the Ramdev incident where police lathi-charged upon unarmed protesters at midnight. That incident was shocking not to say the least, that govt could stoop to such a level, leaving tear gas and lathi-charging upon innocent people who had joined ramdev to forcefully break the fast. There were also ladies and children who got beaten up at the midnight police encounter.
These incidents were happening at a far away distance, and though I supported both Ramdev and Anna, I was personally not involved in the movement.

However, things changed when on 16th Aug morning I got the news that Anna was arrested before he could even reach the scheduled protest venue. This infuriated me no end not to mention infuriated rest of the country as well. How can govt of a democratic country stoop to such level? Raising protest that too a non-violent one is the right of the citizens of any democracy. So how dare govt behave like some dictator and stifle the voices of dissent in such unconstitutional manner. It reminded me of the emergency back in the mid 70's which has been a blot on our democracy! What was in this janlokpal bill anyway that was giving the govt sleepless nights, and it nervously trying to murder democracy just one day after we celebrated Independence? If some people are struggling to bring stronger bill against corruption, why govt is trying to block it every way possible? How much black money does it have stashed away in foreign banks that they start arresting anyone who raise their voice against it. First Ramdev, and now, Anna. ( Anna even before he protested ). We already saw govt involvement in numerous scams like 2G, telecom, CWG etc, in the recent times. Will all its politicians be in jail if janlokpal bill is brought? That's why govt wants to block it? Well, thousands of questions started running in my mind. How to demonstrate my anger, how to express my anguish and display the fact that I was disgusted with the govt's actions. How to contribute in saving our democracy from clutches of such autocratic dictatorial attitude of the govt?

On 16th afternoon, I got news that several of my internet friends got arrested and jailed for protesting. They were arrested for raising slogans like 'vande mataram''jai hind''inquilab zindabad'! Had our govt gone nuts? It disturbed my mind no end. Govt had become too arrogant and trying to crush voices of peaceful protesters. I felt the urge to be part of the movement, if only to show how angry I was with the govt. It was then, I decided, not to remain a spectator and really do something..atleast, do my part as a citizen. I was prepared to go to jail and even scream slogans if need be, inside the jail.

The next day on 17th, I became part of the andolan. My andolan was more for right to protest ( though, I supported the janlokpal as well ), and exercising that democratic right more than anything else. Since, I lived at the other end of the city I took the local to VT to reach sooner. When I reached VT, close to the Azad Maidan grounds, for a second I did wonder if I acted too impulsive. I never actually took part in any live protest rally, so for a while, I did get nervous about how it would be. Seeing huge media and police vans just outside the maidan made me bolt for a while, thinking this was something totally new and was feeling totally out of place. And then, I saw the crowd ~ piling onto the streets screaming slogans. They were students, as well as senior citizens; all gathered for a common cause. Seeing them all together boosted up my spirits, and I got back my confidence with a bang. I went inside the maidan to the main podium where people were raising more slogans, and also our national flag. I was so touched by seeing so much energy, I quickly joined everyone in their sloganeering. It felt awesome. People were lining up to court arrest. It brought tears to my eyes. Someone gave me the Anna badge and it made me feel like just another kranti-kari amongst them. And yeah I enjoyed immensely in all their slogans, some of which were quite funny too. Some people doing anshan, spoke from the podium addressing with some captivating speeches. All in all, the entire grounds was bursting with a special energy. People from all sections of society and religion were present for the same common cause. It was a motivation in itself. The day ended for me in a very positive elated mode. The next day, on 18th too, I was in the same venue with a much bigger crowd despite the heavy rains not moving an inch, spirits not dampened by the downpour, instead the crowd roared with more enthusiasm. This andolan brought a smile in my face, seeing that Anna had managed to unite all Indians. That itself was a victory too. No other leader has managed to bring the common people out on the streets together. Not just in Bombay, but across towns and cities across India. Of course, we also need to thank social media like facebook, twitter etc that has managed to spread the word fast. Now seeing so much crowd protesting, I can only hope the govt comes to its senses and heeds to the voices, otherwise a bigger revolt is under way.

UPDATE : Another one of Anna's fast comming up on 27thDec.Venue has shifted this time to Bombay.While I do support Anna's cause wholeheartedly,but thinking of yet another fast makes me go > Oh!Not again.We had countless fasts this year and frankly it is making me all weary.The novelty has worn off!2011 could well be remembered as the Fastfull Year.Good Luck to Anna in his mission,though this time I'll just simply watch the whole 'tamasha' from home.
UPDATE : After Kejriwal joined politics, I've stopped supporting the IAC!

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