For the last few days I was with Anna Hazare on his yatra. I felt that perhaps he could again embark on the path of creating history. His yatra was launched from Amritsar and moving through Punjab, reached Haryana. After Haryana it went to Uttar Pradesh. The first significant thing that could be seen during this yatra was that people of all ages were ready even today to support Anna Hazare. In Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh, a 98 year old promised to support Anna Hazare till his last breath. Youths of 16, 17, 18 years are coming forward and assuring Anna Hazare of their support.
Anna Hazare seeks one year of their time from the youth. He says that to fight corruption, rising prices and unemployment along with all the major issues in the country, including acquisition of the lands of farmers, their committing suicide, the broken framework of education, changing education or a health system that has been destroyed to fight against all these he is asking for ‘soldiers’ from amongst the youth. In fact, he believes that if he can find one thousand people in this country who are willing to give one year of their time, he can start a campaign against the prevailing politics in the country. Till date, Anna Hazare alone has started this campaign. In this campaign, General V.K. Singh and Sufi Jilani Qattal are supporting him, but Anna Hazare wants to make the fight more comprehensive and extensive.
In fact, Anna Hazare has gambled. He has called a ‘Jan Sansad’ (People’s Parliament) in the first week of September in Delhi. During his yatra too he is inviting people at every place to the Jan Sansad. From what I have understood of the Jan Sansad, during his yatra he will take suggestions from the people on his 25 point programme, and after that on which issues in this 25 point programme emphasis should be placed will be decided at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi. There may be a flood of people there or there may be just a few thousand people. In fact, Anna is saying that whether one thousand people will come, 10 thousand people will come, 1 lakh will come or 1 crore will come, he doesn’t know. But seeing the current support for Anna Hazare, it seems that 1 crore people could come to Delhi. If one imagines that 1 crore people will come to Delhi, the question arises, what will then be Delhi’s condition the mind trembles a little at the thought, but perhaps there is no alternative to wake up the system. That is to say, bring so many people to Delhi that the system which does not listen to voice of the people is shocked into improving itself. And if this call of Anna Hazare is successful and people come to Delhi, then what all can be done!
Anna Hazare has no money even though he is touring the country. The truth is that he has no organised support, he has unorganised support, but if this unorganised support turns into organised support, then it will create danger for all the political parties in the country.
The first thing is that the campaign may just go harp-harp and fizzle out. People will come, they will listen to Anna Hazare’s speech, and will go back. But if Anna’s integrity of mind and his anguish touch the youth, then the process of people’s candidates standing against the prevailing system in the country will start. In fact, Anna wants that for the coming Lok Sabha elections, people’s candidates should stand and the people of every place should themselves decide on their candidate. He also wants improvements in the elections. He believes that ‘right-to-reject’ should be implemented immediately and the people should get this right without delay. Recently in Pakistan, its Election Commission, exercising its authority, imposed ‘right-to-reject’ and there was no ruckus. But in our country, because our Election Commission functions at the behest and indications of politicians, it is never able to take any hard or stringent decision. The Election Commission should take a decision that in India ‘right-to-reject’ should be obligatory. The second decision the Election Commission should also take is that before the general elections, the election symbols of all the political parties should be cancelled. In other words, all the election symbols should be ‘free’ and they should be distributed through a process like a lottery system. And if this happens, candidates will not only have to go in front of the people of this country to give proof of their honesty but will also have to explain to them the basis of their programmes, otherwise they will eventually lose the elections. Thus, the right-to-reject and the freezing of election symbols will make it necessary in every general election to allocate afresh new election symbols to all candidates and all the political parties. These two programme measures should be implemented immediately. Of these, Anna Hazare is laying emphasis on the ‘right-to-reject’. Perhaps he will also raise the question of freezing of the election symbols and allotting them anew in the Jan Sansad. People are looking towards Anna with a lot of hope and expectations. This hope becomes even more important because in this nation of 120 crore people, there is not a single person left to raise a voice. It appears that all the political parties and their leaders are competing with each other to show who amongst them can speak more forcefully against the people and who can fool them more. It is a direct question now of Anna Hazare and the people of India.
Anna Hazare has no money even though he is touring the country. The truth is that he has no organised support, he has unorganised support, but if this unorganised support turns into organised support, then it will create danger for all the political parties in the country. Anna is also saying that whether it is an author or writer, a journalist, a poet, a dramatist, a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer, they should all emerge from their spheres and should do something for the country. People are listening to Anna’s appeal. I saw that many journalists, particularly those in organisations where the editors are moving around under a mantle of questions, some in the context of being commission agents for weapons and some in the context of playing the role of public relations officers (PRO’s) for some Ministers journalists from such newspapers have promised their support to Anna. When persons from the police and the army become a part of the support extended to Anna, when officials and ordinary, small time employees become a part of the support, then we should believe that the general public has not lost hope. I have seen people listening to the speech of Anna Hazare with folded hands. This means that people are seeing in Anna a saint, a sage, who is speaking the language of changing the system and Jain Munis, Sanatani sadhus, Buddhists and Padris people of every kind of people are coming forward in his support. A Sufi sage is already walking with him. Therefore, Anna Hazare should not be considered weak and his next steps must be watched carefully.
But yes, certainly the media is ignoring him. It is matter of regret that where an 8 thousand strong people’s meeting is going on, television channels connected with the Congress or those under its authority say that too with the help of graphics that there was no one at the meeting whereas once the entire hall used to be packed. They don’t understand that there is a limit to lies. The question is, if their cameraman was present at the meeting, then why take the help of graphics they should have showed an empty hall or ‘pandal’? It seems that television channels have taken a contract to carry out a joint campaign for the Congress and the BJP, and tarnish the image of whoever is against them. A particular group had a magazine, it has a newspaper, it also has unlimited money with which television channels are being bought, but no television channel is being able to establish its credibility amongst the people. However, these things are not having any effect on Anna Hazare. He is continuously walking, walking and walking….