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Anna’s fast inspires a mind revolution

Thousands who visited Ramlila Maidan to express solidarity with the anti-corruption crusader vowed not to give or take bribe ever in their life.

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    India’s ‘chalta hai’ attitude towards corruption had become a norm until a short man from a Maharashtra village came to Delhi taught them the meaning of self restraint and reminded them that they have to ‘be the change’ themselves.

    Public reaction to the 74-year-old Anna Hazare’s five-day fast in April earlier this year was dubbed as a one-off incident. But his 13-day fast, which concluded on Sunday, not only changed the government’s perception but also inspired thousands of people, who came to Ramlila Maidan from across the country, to take pledge against corruption.

    “Giving money to government officials to get my work done is nothing new. But Annaji and his selfless fight has changed the meaning of my life. My brother is also here with me for the last four days and we both have taken pledge to never indulge in corruption. From now on, we will fight for our rights,” Jaiveer Singh, a farmer from Haryana, said.

    A municipal official, who was also present at the venue, said he will neither take bribe nor would allow anyone else in his office to do so. “I have been here for the last one week. Hazare’s fight and conviction has inspired me that not reporting bribery and corruption is also a crime. I don’t take bribe but from now on I won’t allow anyone in my office to do the same,” said Rakesh, who claimed to be an MCD official.

    A large chunk of the crowd at the Ramlila Maidan during the last two weeks was of youth. “Flashing a Rs100 note is a routine for youth. I am no saint either and have done that myself when I jumped traffic light. When I saw people here I realised that one person can make a huge difference. I will try to follow rules from now on and won’t take help of illegal ways to get my work done,” said Harsh Sharma.

    Even some very senior officials of the Delhi Police had come. Wishing anonymity, a senior police official said: “It’s very encouraging to see people coming in large numbers for an anti-corruption movement. But it would be commendable to see if only half of them actually start following the path of truth. Corruption affecting the common man can be removed to a great extent if people themselves start refusing giving and taking bribes.”

    Actor Aamir Khan, a supporter of the movement, who had come to the place on Saturday had asked people to stop indulging in corruption at their personal level.

    While the Lokpal is still several months away, it would be interesting to see whether people actually are following Anna’s path or will be back to square one.

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