“Anna, Khaana kha lo anna”
Here I am, at an Official Anna Hazare campaign. Not really a supporter, im not even sure what this “anna” wants. Ask any DU (Delhi University) student about Anna. It is almost like sarcasm-filled rhetoric.
“So, being a young student, what are your thoughts about Anna Hazare and his cause?”
“Ummm…I think it’s great we need to get rid of corruption and I think it’s going to awaken a new spirit among all Indians.”
Why is there so much fuss about “Anna”? Anna won’t eat, not until the “hand” of the Congress feeds him. Young, hot blooded students can thrive on anarchy- give them that, and they will fill the streets with protests.
The truth is, “Anna Hazare” is not just one man. The man who is fasting unto death is Kisan Baburao Hazare.
Anna Hazare, is the group of students looking for opportunities to organize mass bunks in colleges. Anna Hazare is the stampede at Connaught Place. Anna Hazare is that boy who knocked on the window of my car at night, and teasingly asked “Are you Anna? Oh! Sorry madam.” Anna Hazare is all those kids who liked the “I am Anna” page on Facebook but had no real knowledge about the Lokpal Bill. Anna Hazare are those kids also, who wrote anti-government messages as their status posts on Facebook.
What is “Anna”? Nothing but a small word contained within the walls of the University of Delhi, classroom discussions, and sprawled across Facebook. There was a mad glint in the eyes of those young boys who shouted “Anna Hazare!” and wore Nehru caps on that particular night in Delhi. Women, middle school students, old men, as they held their long, white candlesticks and roamed the streets of the city, doing what actually was a very confused, very feeble form of protest. Right behind the protesting mob, walked ill-clad slum children, skin burnt to a deep chocolate brown colour by the merciless Indian summer, a few discoloured tufts of hair on their heads, rolling bicycle tires by smacking them with sticks, singing “Anna! Anna!” as they skipped along.
There is an Anna in every college canteen– In the form of loud, chaotic group discussions and fiery debates. No one is really sure of what they want to convey. There is an Anna in every excuse for bunking classes. There is an Anna in every classroom, in the flurry of hands being raised to ask questions, in every teacher being bombarded with the typical questions starting with the words “when will the government…”, in every answer, starting with the words “the government needs to…” or “the government should…”
The question I ask is: These boys on the roads of Connaught Place, screaming slogans of Anna Hazare, and bothering most ladies (I unfortunately happened to be one of them) with questions like “Are you Anna?” Is this a step towards mitigating Corruption, or a step towards corruption?
Roads blocked, traffic stagnating due to protest and “peace” marches. There could have been a pregnant woman, or a severely ill person in one of the cars lined up in waiting for the roads to clear. How is this in any way correct?
Targeting the government, local newspapers poking fun at the Prime Minister, capturing unflattering Images of politicians, all the madness of the time when the media couldn’t see anything beyond Hazare. Is this the kind of behaviour that should be set before the already-confused youth of today?
Gradually, Anna Hazare faded away from printed pages, classroom debates slowly diminished, all the agitations, outbursts; fizzled out- peace was restored in all the worlds I belonged to. The Metaphorical Anna had decayed.
On next normal day in the college cafeteria, just as I sit down to take a sip from my relaxing cup of coffee, I hear a new voice. A Non-Delhiite student asks, “Yaar, what was the deal with this whole Anna thing?”
Tazmeen Siddiqi is a student of English literature in Delhi.