I went to the Ramlila grounds on Tuesday to be part of the protest against corruption let me Anna Hazare. I have already blogged about my what I felt that day but there are some other aspects of the agitation that I feel need to be highlighted.
I was impressed by the general atmosphere prevailing at the protest which was for want of a better expression a celebration of India. There were people from all walks of life, students and the elderly, rich and poor, urban and rural, people of diverse faiths and origin. But that was not all. There was also a genuine outpour of the legendary generosity of our land. Free packets of water were being handed out with a smile and gentle insistence. The place was surprising clean considering that it had housed tens of thousands of people over the past days. One would have expected it to be littered with garbage but it seemed that people themselves were ensuring its maintenance as one so many picking up the litter.
At the back of the grounds was what has been called Anna's kitchen. Food was being cooked in large vessels and been handed out free to one and all. Hot rice, dal, vegetables, poories in disposable plates. Large bins were available to ensure that no plates were thrown on the ground and surprisingly there were none! A far cry from the morning after a wedding or a religious feeding frenzy in our city. Bags of dry rations and fresh vegetables waited to be turned into the next meal. Everyone was invited. I was told that all the food had been donated by supporters.
We decided to find the donation desk to make a contribution. All the donation posts bore signs saying closed. At first we thought that the people manning them had gone to lunch. But that was not the case. The organisers had decided to stop accepting donations as they felt they had sufficient funds for the present. Chapeau Bas was all one could say. This was really a unique occurrence in our times.
All around us people were singing or shouting slogans with conviction and passion. They had come for a cause they believed in, for a man whose honesty and integrity no one could question and everyone was proving themselves worthy of their ideal. Yes it was a celebration of India, amazing India!