Day 1: Enthusiasm makes up for lack of numbers
A taxi driver from Australia and a 13-year-old from city are among the many who have answered Hazare’s call to action.india Updated: Dec 28, 2011 02:07 IST
Team Anna may not have been able to muster a house-full, but it did manage to attract people from all possible backgrounds. At the MMRDA ground, Bandra where Anna Hazare began his three-day fast, the motley crowd comprised students, doctors, farmers, military men and even 9-to-5 salaried employees.
"We feel bad that Anna is fasting. It's the youth who should be proactive in taking up issues," said Arshad Ali, a first year junior college student who was at the ground with 12 others from IES College, Bandra. "We decided to join the protest impulsively after we saw pamphlets being distributed in our college," said Pooja Patel, another student from the college. Thirty-one-year-old Reena Prajapati promised to be at the ground on all three days to support Anna Hazare. "Annaji is struggling so hard. We can do our bit by coming here," she said.
After Anna Hazare addressed the crowd, a group of four office-goers were seen locked in animated discussions. "The support Anna enjoyed in August has dwindled," said Nilesh Desai, who came to the venue from his office at Bandra-Kurla Complex. "I don't agree with everything that Anna Hazare stands for, but his anti-graft agenda does resonate with those of us who are suffering because of corruption," said the IT professional.
Pritam Vyas, 37, said that it was the common man who was powering the anti-corruption stir. "This isn't a typical political rally. Those coming here know the issue and come by choice," he said. Desai added that it was not necessary for all supporters to know the technical details of the Jan Lokpal Bill. "People are aware that the bill would lead to positive systemic change. Not everyone can understand the finer points," Desai said.
Shashank Mehta, a colleague of Desai and Vyas, termed their participation as a token of support. "I came here because I wanted to add to the strength of people gathered, so that a strong message is sent to the government," said the 37-year-old. Mankhurd resident Fatema Seth was more enthusiastic about social activist Medha Patkar's speech. "Medhatai stayed with us in the slums for three days. Her support to the campaign assures us that the concerns of the poor would be addressed," Seth said.