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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anna’s message travels on ‘Jan Lok Pal Express’!

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Staff Reporter, The Hindu / MUMBAI, August 20, 2011.

Supporters of Anna Hazare at Borivali Railway Station in Mumbai on Saturday.
Supporters of Anna Hazare at Borivali Railway Station in Mumbai on Saturday - PTI.

What constitutes civil society? What is the meaning of ‘civil’? What is Lok Pal? These were just some of the questions passengers of the 10.57 a.m. local train posed hundreds of Anna Hazare’s supporters, who swarmed the ‘Jan Lok Pal Express’ on Saturday in a bid to spread awareness about the Bill on Saturday.

The mundane train commute turned into an educational ride for commuters as volunteers of the India Against Corruption campaign distributed fliers explaining the differences between the Jan Lok Pal and the government Bill. Volunteers, who divided themselves into small teams and boarded the 12 compartments of the train, invited doubts from people and exhorted them to support the andolan.
Volunteers enter with ticket
Befitting the anti-corruption fervour perhaps, one team leader was seen conscientiously directing volunteers to enter the first class coaches only with a valid ticket. Women volunteers campaigned in the ladies’ coaches.

'People have matured'
“People have become matured and we are moving to a better democracy. I think we have been suppressing our anger against corruption for long,” Medha Shah, who asked the query about civil society, told The Hindu.

Anna power
Sabishi Shankar, a first class commuter, said she had boarded a train after about a year. “I got text messages about the Jan Lok Pal Express. I am tired of simply reading about this movement sitting at home. I don’t want to play couch politics. It is easy to say on Facebook or Twitter that I don’t believe in Anna Hazare, but I am against corruption. Look at this energy! I want to see the mood at Azad Maidan. I have not told anyone at home I am going. I feel it is people like us, the educated, who can make a difference. The poor are suffering. I am privileged and not affected in anyway, but we must think of others. What Anna Hazare is saying makes sense. The government Bill is just an eyewash,” she said.

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