As Anna Hazare completes the 11th day of his fast he has forced some interesting actions and reactions from all over.
Notable among the reactions are the ones by the Prime Minister who finally reacted positively after a long hard wait. The entire Lok Sabha reacted as well in a first of its kind reaction which was a fine gesture. The opposition, after dragging its feet a bit, prompted by Yashwant Sinha, reacted as well in support of the movement. Rahul Gandhi came up and added a curious twist, a new perspective to it. The heads of business have been cautious and understandably. The TV artistes have come out in support I think. The public has been more than vocal in their support for the movement and the fast. I know a few people who also fast quietly in support of Anna, and who admit that it is difficult. But overall, the movement has done enough already in provoking interest, spreading awareness and putting the law makers on the defensive, and full credit to the strong willed Anna Hazare. What happens from now on is anybody's guess though I suspect that some concessions would be made - some give and take done, and after some assurances, Anna will break his fast.
On the other side are reactions which are negative. Most of our intellectuals seem to feel that this is blackmail and the method is wrong. I am not sure what method they had in mind especially after the way the government tried to water down the Bill. Supporters like Swami Agnivesh and Santosh Hegde have decided to distance themselves for different reasons. The movie stars who normally have an opinion on everything, have chosen to keep mum (which is probably for the best). Many people on the net and outside also feel that this Bill is no answer, and that this is blackmail and undermining the Parliament. There are others who have put up short videos of some people who were with Anna earlier in other protests - a disgruntled lot now. I did not find too much in their arguments - that he is hogging all the credit, the limelight, that he is drinking glucose etc while on fast, that his people are all criminals etc. It appeared to me more like a case of sour grapes.
But the most interesting reaction came from someone who took offence at the movement. 'By demeaning the constitution framed under the Chairmanship of a Dalit, Anna Hazare is insulting the Dalits. This is an upper caste conspiracy!' It is amazing! If anything, the Dalits are the ones who will be the worst affected from corrupt practices I thought. Anyway, everyone has a say now which is good. At least it has provoked that much in our normally apathetic people.
And now, for tomorrow's debate in the Parliament. And where it leads. But for Anna Hazare's sake, and for the sake of a more accountable, honest and fair society, I do hope that they reach an honorable compromise. All criticism aside, I do join the Prime Minister in saluting the spirit of Anna, his conviction and belief that has made this what it is, his integrity that has come through unscathed despite every attempt to throw mud at him. It is amazing but there is no parallel of sch a protest in the world as we know of it now - a 73 year old man holding up the entire country, the largest democracy, through a non-violent protest. Amazing.