Reclaiming of Gandhi Cap – by the People and for the People

For last 13 days, entire India was caught up in a great firestorm instigated by a 74-year old man. The miraculous firestorm burned no trees, killed no person and destroyed no property. Instead, it tempered down the arrogance of the current rulers, awakened millions of people of India and began re-building the nation! A new Gandhi – and a new hope for India – had been born!

Ends do not justify the means. Yet, I thank the UPA Government and Congress Party for trying to curb the anti-corruption movement. The blunder committed by Delhi police on Aug 16th, apparently under UPA’s directions, by arresting Anna Hazare on the first day of his indefinite fast backfired – and ended up fueling the firestorm. Intoxicated by their ‘victory’ against Baba Ramdev two months ago, UPA representatives had been uttering increasingly arrogant words against Team Anna. They had failed to understand Anna’s ability to fast, the depth of his resolve and the courage of his conviction. Unwittingly, they fed the firestorm and caused the anti-corruption movement to reach its tipping point!

India Against Corruption (IAC), a people’s movement, had meticulously planned simultaneous protests against corruption, starting Aug 16th, not only in Delhi but also in several cities in India. I had the opportunity to participate in this unprecedented movement at Freedom Park organised by IAC’s Bangalore-wing, “Saaku”. During Dec 2010, I had participated in Saaku’s first event that had brought in less than 1000 people, had lasted for less than 4 hours and had been mostly ignored by media. Nine months later, the event by “Saaku” brought in more than 2 lakh people, continued for 13 days and was covered in media almost 24×7!

The specific reason for Anna’s protest was to pressurise the government to pass a strong bill – Jan Lokpal Bill – to curb corruption. Some critics question the legitimacy of the support for Anna, since most people do not understand the complexities of law-making. However, the issue of corruption touched a chord with people. We didn’t need a law degree to understand why the ruling and the opposition parties filled up with corrupt MPs would be reluctant to pass a strong law against corruption. Unlike most political rallies where people are paid for their transportation and participation, Anna’s supporters paid for their own transportation and stood in line to contribute money for the movement.

The movement has not yet achieved the Jan Lokpal Bill. However, it has achieved something even more precious. It gave us another leader like Gandhi; it showed us our power; it gave us hope. The genius of Gandhi’s leadership was in inspiring ordinary people to accomplish an extraordinary goal – a British-free India. Likewise, Anna inspired ordinary people to begin a second freedom fight – for a corruption-free India. Annagiri is the new word for Gandhigiri now!

During last 13 days, Gandhi caps became very popular among Anna’s supporters. Gandhi caps had significance when they were worn by the followers of Gandhi during the fight for freedom. After independence, many politicians continued to use for its political appeal. With the rise of right-wing parties, the Gandhi cap had remained in use primarily by Congress party members.

Thanks to Anna, we, the people of India, have now reclaimed the Gandhi cap from corrupt politicians. This is just the beginning. We need to continue our agitations to reclaim India from corrupt politicians – for the people of India.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Swati Aiyer on August 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    This is strong evidence that there really is a God up there who loves India and Indians. At a time when most Indians had given up all hope, had become inured to the rot that was set into the fabric of the nation or were blatantly lethargic, at a time when the political echelons were taken over an arrogance beyond belief, He has sent us a strong message in the form of Anna Hazare to wake us out of our stupor and get us to fight for our rights. It is time that the politicians realize that they are no feudal lords – they are public servants – the upholders and defenders of democracy.


  2. Posted by Gururaj S. on August 31, 2011 at 6:59 am

    First of all, I must congratulate you for the very well written post.

    I totally agree that the Gandhi topi (cap) got back its respectability due to Anna’s spotless image. Even if we can achieve 10 – 20% change in attitude to corruption, it will be a great beginning. The path isn’t easy. Many will give up because the bureaucracy knows how to stifle.

    We can now wait for the Standing Committee to come up with a very strong Lokpal bill encompassing the best from JanLokpal, Aruna Roy’s, JP’s versions. Manish Tiwari has gracefully recused himself from the committee. Amar Singh, Lalu may also be out of it. We have to see who will replace them. If the UPA has learnt any lessons from this agitation, they will NOT make the same mistakes again. Otherwise, once again the agitation will begin (as Anna said while breaking his fast).


  3. Posted by Trivedi Natvarlal on September 2, 2011 at 12:36 am

    I appreciate the article viewing it a properly worded for Anna & rightly valued the movement.The people like me (in millions, if not almost all like U) have lost faith in the present political leaders. They are businessmen joining the politics only to earn money.Anna has awakened the hidden spirit of CM (common man) & shown the politicians the way to door if not improved.This is really a lightening movement appealing the people at large after MG & JP (Mahatma Gandhi & Jay Prakash N.) .It has established supremacy of the people over the political leaders in the Parliament & Govt. who thought that they were the ultimate.They thought that only the persons in Parliament could think what is good for the people neglecting views of the CM.

    What is needed now is, in my view, the intelligentsia should continue to arouse the peoples concern for right democracy leaving aside the religion & caste ism.In democracy people should be watchful & learned for the governance. Can V hope that this expectation from the learned people would be fulfilled ? India has luckily got a LEADER who could check the arrogant & corrupt politicians & awaken minds of the CM.The politicians in the Govt. were openly & shamelessly misusing public money of poor India without any threat or fear.The success of this movement has restored lost faith in the politics. V can now hope something good to be delivered for CM (common man) by Democratic India.

    Natvarlal Trivedi @ Perth (Australia).


  4. Posted by Sharad on September 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

    The opposition parties didnot make much use of this situation either. Opposition parties could have done much more than just giving out press releases that they support Lokpal bill. Probably scared I think, because in future the same Lokpal Bill will come back and bite their a**
    But I am starting to see some hope in Indian politics.


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