स्वातंत्र्यानंतर कितीतरी आंदोलन, मोर्चे, रथयात्रा, बंद, उपोषणं झाली असतील, पण आण्णांनी काल दिल्लीतल्या जंतर मंतर वरून जो मंत्र देशाला दिला व त्या नंतर जे या देशात घडलं ते फक्त अभुतपुर्व, अद्वितीय आणि उत्तुंग असचं म्हणाव लागेल! देशात एक नव चैतन्य निर्माण झालं म्हणुन त्यांच कौतुक केलच पाहिजे. आयुष्यभर राजकारण करणाऱ्या लोकांची या देशात कमी नाही. गेल्या ३० ते ४० वर्षात प्रत्येक निवडुणाक जिंकणारे आणि कायम कुठल्यातरी मंत्रीपदावर राहणारे महाभाग या देशात आणि खास करुन महाराष्ट्रात भरपुर आहेत. त्यांना निवडुन येणं आणि मंत्रीपद मिळवणं म्हणजे "लोकमान्यता" नव्हे हे अण्णांनी निर्विवादपणे सिद्द करून दाखवलं हे माझ्या मते फार महत्वाच आहे. आपण काहीही करू शकतो, आपलं कोणीही काही वाकडं करू शकतं नाही; सामान्य जनता म्हणजे मेंढर कशीही हाकावीत अशी गुरमी असणाऱ्यांना अण्णांनी देशासमोर शरमेने खाली मान घालायला लावली म्हणुन त्यांच कौतुक करावं तेवढ थोडं.
एका लोकपाल बिल आणून संपुर्ण देशातला भ्रष्टाचार समुळ नष्ट होणार का? नसेल होणार! गरीबाला अन्नं मिळणार का? नसेल मिळणार! प्रत्येकाला शिक्षणं मिळणार का? नसेल मिळणार! मागावर्गीयांना सामाजिक न्याय मिळणार का? नसेल मिळणार! अशा प्रकारची आंदोलन म्हणजे देशाच्या लोकशाहीलाच धक्का आहे! कदाचित असेलही. असे शब्दांचे खेळ सुरु झालेले आहेत. असे प्रश्न विचारणाऱ्यांनी हे लक्षात घ्यावं की हे सगळे प्रश्न अण्णांनी निर्माण केलेले नाहीत की त्यांच्या मागे उभ्या राहिलेल्या सामान्य जनतेने निर्माण केलेले नाहीत हे लक्षात घ्या. हे प्रश्न निर्माण निर्माण झाले कारण आपली लोकशाही दुबळी आहे म्हणुन, त्याच्या वर कुणाचाही अंकुश नाही म्हणुन. संसदेत महात्मा गांधींची चित्र सरकारी भिंतीना लावली की आपण बाहेर देश विकायला मोकळे! संसदीय लोकशाही म्हणजे देश विकायचं लायसेन्स नव्हे! हे कुणीतरी सांगायची वेळ आलेली आहे.
भ्रष्टाचार आज काही हजारात किंवा लाखात होत नाही, तर तो होतो काही हजार आणि लाख कोटीत!! भाष्टाचाराचे छप्पर फाटले असताना अण्णांनी जर तो शिवण्यासाठी देशाच्या सामान्य माणसांला सुत कातण्यासाठी तयार केलं तर त्यांच चुकलं कुठे? चला निदान तोंडाने तरी तो मंत्र म्हणुया "मी अण्णा हजारे"! रथचक्र उध्दरण्याची जबाबदारी आपल्या सगळ्यांचीच आहे!!
अण्णा हजारेंच्या आंदोलनाच समर्पक वर्णन "Hope is the fist step" या शिर्षकाखाली जेष्ठ पत्रकार श्री. प्रितिश नंदी यांनी आजच्या टाईम्स ऑफ इंडिया मधे केलेल आहे - तो लेख आपल्या वाचकांसाठी देत आहे.
"HOPE IS THE FIRST STEP" - Pritish Nandy
(Bombay Times, 13th April, 2011).
Anna Hazare, a little known player in mainstream politics, arrived in Delhi quietly with his little known Jan Lokpal campaign and almost miraculously emerged as India’s most powerful rallying point for the battle against corruption. For an entire week, thousands streamed in from all over the country to support and join his fast. Many of them, like school kids and rural folk didn’t have a clue what the Jan Lokpal Bill was all about. But that didn’t stop them from lining up behind Anna and, suddenly, he became the strongest moral force India has seen since JP led the students of Bihar in 1977 to upstage Indira Gandhi and dismantle the axis of evil that imposed Emergency on us.
Many are comparing Anna to Gandhi. They call his campaign our second freedom struggle: Freedom from corruption that has corroded our nation and destroyed its spirit and purpose. What specially defines this campaign is that young people have joined it in droves and the social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter were widely used by them to show their support for Anna. The Government, as usual, began by ignoring the fast, pretending it was hogwash. Then it used its twits to deride it. It even persuaded sections of the media to write it off as a movement ridden by internal dissensions. Cynics joked about it. How can a 72 old man with no money, no political party to back him, no powerful supporters in Delhi ever hope to fight the mighty Government? With a fast unto death! Are we joking?
They had not accounted for people power. In three days, Anna’s fast snowballed into a huge political movement. Indians all over the world joined it. Opinion leaders started to back it. So did some business leaders. Seeing this, the Opposition tried to rush in but were firmly turned back by those at the gate. They saw it as their own movement, didn’t want it hijacked. Insinuations that the RSS was behind it were met with contempt. Twitter saw millions of tweets. An unauthorized tweet became the most popular slogan on social media: Mera neta chor hai. Hazare later said that politicians shouldn’t be sent away. Everyone has the right to join the campaign. But the people there didn’t want their movement politicised. It belonged to the common man, they said.
The Government initially dug in its heels, refused to give an inch. In a democracy, what is Parliament there for, what are ministers for if people were to directly participate in framing laws? How cheeky can this demand be, that the Prime Minister’s office should be brought within the Lokpal’s purview? Who are these people who think they represent the nation when elected representatives are around? So what if the Government has been sitting on the bill for 42 years? So what if scams happen? Isn’t Raja in jail? This farce went on for a while till Sharad Pawar, a wiser man and an old adversary of Anna, saw the writing on the wall. He resigned from the Group of Ministers formed to frame the bill. He knew Anna would not give in. That was the first victory. The second came when Sonia wrote Anna a letter, urging him to give up his fast, saying the Government would consider his requests. He politely refused. He asked for an official notification instead, before ending his fast. He was not prepared to be tricked.
The rest is well chronicled. The Government finally gave in, conceding every demand. The victory of the people was total. All the pomposity, the hubris, the smart one-liners on TV by Congress spokespeople vanished when it was announced that the Government had surrendered on every issue and will see the bill through Parliament in the coming monsoon session.
For those who were not around in 1947 or 1977, this is the first time a people’s movement has actually succeeded. The youth that Rahul Gandhi tried so hard to bring together have now got together for Anna Hazare. I saw them everywhere I went last week. In Jantar Mantar. In Azad Maidan. At the Gateway of India. On the streets of every city, on TV channels, speaking their hearts out. It was the biggest battle ever fought—and won, in less than a week. Like every Indian who played a tiny part in it, I feel proud and empowered. We have regained faith in our ability to change India. We have also proved that the young and the old can share the same dream.
I never compare my heroes. Gandhi, for me, will always be Gandhi, the father of this great nation. JP will remain JP, the bravest of men, who won an impossible battle which restored us the freedom to write, speak and dream again. And now, there’s Anna Hazare who has taught us that nothing is impossible. However powerful a Government may be, it has to bow before the people’s wishes. Let no cynic convince you otherwise.
Couresy Times of India