The allusion may invite many smirks, but the Anna Hazare movement reminds me of the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin. The fact that lakhs of Indians have dropped work, daily chores, babies and more to join his anti-graft crusade reiterates that Anna has managed a Pied Piper kind of mesmerising effect on Indians. In this case, however, the followers are the bourgeoisie, urbanites, curious corporates, back-benchers, social butterflies turned activists and many more. Ofcourse, if you are not in that herd, brave yourself for a caustic tirade by Anna preachers.
This "second freedom struggle movement" has piqued the interest of the upper middle class, which, hitherto, only gave serious thoughts to Dabangg and Indo-Pak matches. While Anna's ways of getting his Lokpal Bill cleared may be debatable, the wave is clearly affecting people than I could ever imagine. Masses have made drastic changes in their hackneyed routines to be with Team Anna. Now whether they just change their profile picture on Facebook, tweet inane Kapil Sibal jokes to show their support or wear 'Me Anna Hazare Aahe' topis at Lakme Fashion Week, we definitely can feel the heat! While the social media is abuzz with pro-Anna sentiments, there are a few handful who beg to differ. Some genuinely want to extend a helping hand towards the fight against corruption, many are clueless about the first step itself.
Some call Arundhati Roy, who disapproves of Anna, a cynical, some display cynicism by calling him names. Well, whether Anna's ways are Gandhian or anarchic, my point is that he has made an impact on Indians that I have not seen in the recent times. The waving flags, tattooed faces and Anna-style topi wearers are as common on Delhi roads today as stray cows. The spirit of people on the streets is positively infectious and inviting. Not to discount, few hooligans who block roads and create nuisance. But, interestingly a big chunk of people are congregating in the Ramlila Maidan either to see a spectacle of epic proportions or to be there to just get the Anna feel. Some feel it's mandatory to be in the cool brigade to wear those caps and many joined the bandwagon because their best buddy wanted them to. Few, even bunked workplace to get a taste of Anna ki Rasoi, the 24-hour kitchen, ensuring free grub to the protesters.
Facebook and Twitter is flooded with Hazare-Kejriwal background checks and comparative analysis between the resumes of Gandhi family scion and middle-class leader Arvind Kejriwal have been carefully drawn. Some 3923 anti-Anna have already pressed the Like button on 'I hate Anna Hazare' group and more are seaming in this acidic social thread. International media is wary of the ways of this 'Gandhi lookalike' and US calls it India's internal matter with absolute nonchalance.
Casual banter with colleagues indicated that many are OK with bribing, because they abhor perspiring in long queues. The many perspectives have clearly made this issue a cauldron of high voltage emotions. Phew, so much action in Anna's twelve days of fasting (so far), I sit back and contemplate that a majority of people are more interested to shun work than actually go and join the anshan!