People have high expectation from Anna Hazare, a veteran Gandhian and social activist from Maharashtra, who launched crusade against rampant corruption and mounted pressure on the Central government for Jan Lokpal. People from all walks of life have streamed to back Anna who has electrified the nation to stand robust in his demand for strong Lokpal. But is cautious that the motive of his movement does not swerve off.

Anna Hazare spoke extensively with Jagran’s special correspondent Om Prakash Tiwari at his native village, Ralegan Siddhi. Excerpts:

More and more people have come out in your support to weed out corruption. It is possible that some of them may try to take mileage of it. How will you identify them?

Such risks are common in any kind of movement. People with different mindsets pour in, some having socio-national viewpoints while other with personal gains. So, we need to run a movement in the country, but we will not set up any organization. Various unwanted elements can mushroom in organizations. I have been waging movements in Maharashtra for the last many years. We do have organization of people to launch movement against corruption in 250 blocks, but we had to dismantle them twice. Only then could we manage to draw people with good motive. So, it an enormous task to run movement in the country.

What is the way to escape such pitfalls?

We don’t want to fight for Jan Lokpal by making an organisation. People are welcome to join the crusade voluntarily. We don’t want to create posts of General Secretary, President and so on and so forth by setting up any organisation. The recent movement was successful due to people’s selfless participation in it. We did not form any organization. As people kept pouring in, our movement became stronger and stronger. We don’t want to impose any thing on people.

Like corruption, terrorism is another big problem which is spreading like cancer in our society. How do you think it will end?

Why has terrorism spread its tentacles? We should go to its roots. Militancy is manifestation of people’s anger and reaction to the kind of treatment is given by the state. Today, farmers’ lands are acquired on gunpoint. Is this democracy? Terrorism is fallout of all such incidents. Government’s ignorance towards citizens and their problems will eventually give birth to terrorism. Today, the elected government hails itself as owner of the country which is compounding the problems. The good news is that people can now no longer tolerate it. I can’t say where this movement will head for, but definitely it has given a ray of hope.

What will be the difference between your and Advani’s yatra?

We are not rolling out any kind of rath yatra. We don’t find and significance in taking out rath yatras when people are not able to arrange two-square meals for the poor. We follow Gandhi’s policy of padyatra that garners strength to the hilt.

How do you describe about your yatra?

We will wake up people by taking out yatra. We will take trains and flights if necessary to make people aware, especially where elections are scheduled.

Why do our politicians speak against Jan Lokpal Bill?

Politicians turn adverse when they go egoistic. And then intention to serve nation and love for the country diminish of. Being egoistic is not the need of the hour. Those leading the society should realize that people are walking behind them (leader). People are constantly watching their leader’s actions. The leaders should think of the impact of their actions on citizens.
When I was observing fast in Delhi, nearly 30,000-40, 000 people used to visit Ralegan Siddhi. Such kind of environment was formed because people were watching my every step. Such thoughts should be inculcated among our leaders and politicians.

People are pinning high expectations on you. Everyday more than 600 letters come to the post office at Ralegan Siddhi. How will you meet the expectations of people?

This problem has (also) appeared before me. The big question is how I will fulfill their expectations. I am a fakir who sleeps in a temple, has no wealth. It is difficult for me to respond to 500 letters. If you put a stamp worth Rs 5 on every letter, just imagine the cost of replying to all letters. From where will I manage money? People are ready to give money but I dislike money earned through unfair means, even if you do any good with it. I have never sought any financial aid. Recently, someone in Delhi wanted to honour me with an award of Rs 1 crore. But I couldn’t accept as he was not a good person.

Then how do you plan to meet the expectations of people?

It is a mystery for me that how people stood beside a fakir who lives in a temple. There is no familiarity with them and they have never seen me. This reminds me of a shloka which explains that if God wishes to bring any change in the system, He makes someone a leader and stands behind him. I believe that God will surely signal a way to meet the expectations.

JPN