At ground zero there’s a scent of jasmine | delhi | Hindustan Times
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At ground zero there’s a scent of jasmine

delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2011 00:23 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times
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When an aging Gandhian began his protest, it wasn’t meant to be India’s Jasmine revolution. But it did, despite the objective not being regime change, but fighting graft.

Jantar Mantar — the Ground Zero of the uprising — is being dubbed India’s Tahir Square not for nothing. Egypt’s iconic protests frequently bobbed up — in the banter, chants, slogans and in spirit.

“We seek a new beginning. Like in Egypt,” said Neeti Dubey, an employee of IT firm Cap Gemini.

Fluttering from atop a makeshift flagstaff, a banner read: “Remember Egypt, we are here to stay.” The person holding it was Muzzamil Haq from Jamia.

Look around, and Tahrir Square is apparent. “Their movement was about freedom from tyranny. Ours is about freedom from corruption,” said RK Sethi, a director with exports firm Suphat Textile.

If this was about a Gandhi-era protest, then India has come far. After dusk, a band belted out a rock show, singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ with a bluesy flavour. Hands went up; and with a little practice, the crowds repeated the singers’ words. In Tahrir Square, belly dancers had kept the crowd going.

On the Net, almost 3000 people were tweeting. Though the government is concerned that the protests may be globally projected, a security assessment ruled out the protests becoming violent.

Rohit Raj Verma, the CEO of Sovereign Traders Private Ltd, came in with his two daughters. The elder one, Tarini, a student of Sardar Patel school, said: “I am here because I don’t want to live in fear.” That was Egypt’s rallying cry too. (With inputs from Rajesh Ahuja)