Pre-August 28, 2011: While traversing the Delhi streets over midnights, many enthused bikers and car riders in their teens could be seen wearing Anna cap chanting anti-corruption and Anna slogans. Pan your travel angle to the RLG (Ramleela Ground). It’s over midnight. You may still find families, from the lower to the upper middle class coming to the RLG to be part of the historic event in the making that would culminate in the morning of August 28 with Anna Hazare breaking his Fast.
There are street vendors, daily wage earners, foreigners travelling India, politicians seeking mileage, social group representatives trying for some free publicity – all amalgamated into one – the harassed voices echoing the Anna Symbolism of the Gandhian Thought. This is culmination of heterogeneous identities – from Delhi Belly to Dilli-6 generations – into one identity that is of the victimized class; a class that has started realizing that it needs redressal now.
So it throngs the streets, sprints the roads, packs the grounds – okay, some trashes here and there but that is taken in – after all, headcount is what matters in cases like this and so some mob elements are accepted as long as they are easily manageable – and so some of these rash youngsters who enjoy any such moment to go unrestrained. But even with them, nothing unpleasant was heard yet. Strength of the headcount shows power any movement commands. The force to unite them this time is subtle and sheer. The force to activate beyond the threshold is deeper. And the activation is immaculate.
This activation leads to the historic morning of August 28, 2011 that sees an elected government bowing to the demands of a septuagenarian who proclaims to be a Gandhian. Like some other days and nights, I decide to witness the historic movement unfolding. I reach the RLG in-time. Sea of humanity is there – multitudes of ‘you and me’, media fraternity, politicians, security personnel, vendors. It’s packed to the extent that people are rubbing shoulders to get in. After paying my part of patience and some push and pull, I get inside. Anna Hazare is at the stage with his team and some political messengers from the government. In the tent in front of the stage is a huge gathering spilling over. Between the stage and this tent area is the area – some 200 meters - exclusively for the media fraternity. I decide to experience the grinding in reaching the first row of the tent gathering. After 30 minutes of extensive sweating and countless pushes and pulls, I succeed in reaching there. I wait there with energy, passion and joy. I need to see ‘us’ winning. Everything goes down well except some misses that I later ponder-on but then voluntarily dismiss given the luminous magnitude of ‘us’ gathered at the RLG, other places in Delhi, in other urban centers of India, people glued to TV, radio and Internet carriers.
Those ‘misses’, their seeds, have germinated since then and have grown in scale to threaten the whole movement post-August 28, 2011.
Till August 28, 2011, we had a homogenous eruption of anger, from every walk of the society.
December 4, 2011 – Anna Hazare has announced to sit on a day-long Fast at the Jantar Mantar on December 11. He would go on indefinite Fast December 27 onwards if a strong Lokpal Bill is not passed.
August 28 to December 4 – words and only words have flown riding on the wave of those misses threatening to damage the spontaneous weaving of the pro-Jan Lokpal texture.