After the noise, a serene quiet - night under stars with AnnaApril 8th, 2011 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Ravindra Roy, 24, is up all night helping frail protestors, fasting here with activist Anna Hazare, use lavatories or quench their thirst by getting them a glass of water. He says he owes this to his country.
“This is my duty as an Indian to help those who are fighting for my tomorrow,” said the student from Jawaharlal Nehru University who has come to central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar with friends to support those demanding a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill with the involvement of civil society.
As the clock strikes 12 midnight Friday, marking the fourth day of the fast, a sense of calm prevails. Unlike during the day, there is no shouting of slogans, singing of bhajans or dancing to drumbeats that mark what Hazare has termed the second satyagraha.
Tables used as a platform by many protestors to stand or sit on and raise slogans of ‘vande mataram’ and ‘inquilab zindabad’ double up as beds with mattresses and bedsheets, providing some much needed rest to the agitators as well as some mediapersons spending the night there.
According to the activists, at night Hazare rests behind a wide white curtain on the left corner of the protest dais and three table fans are on to keep him cool.
“Arrangements for freshening up are in place for Anna in that corner. He usually goes to bed by around 8 p.m. and gets up at around 7 a.m.,” said an activist who did not wish to be named.
Hundreds of other protestors from all over the country who are also undertaking the fast like their leader sleep on mattresses placed on green carpets under a white marquee.
“There were around 160 people on hunger strike on the first day, but now the number has increased to more than 300,” said another activists.
A couple of activists also stand guard to keep away stray dogs that attempt to go near the resting protestors in search of food.
Some protestors also huddle around tables and softly debate corruption and the country’s future late into the night.
“They are fighters and are not sleeping but recharging their batteries for another battle tomorrow,” said Salman Shafi, a businessman from Delhi’s Daryaganj area who had been at the site since afternoon.
Playing a pivotal role in the movement are numerous posters, paintings and tricolours which hang all around the marquee even as gentle gusts of the midnight breeze make the flags flutter. They are a silent reminder of a revolution in the making.
At around 3 a.m., the majority of protestors have fallen asleep.
“I am off to bed as I have to wake up early, as it is going to be a big day with the early morning meeting. I hope we get the bill passed,” said Sohanpal Singh, a 46-year-old farmer from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, sipping water from a water dispenser kept on a nearby table.
Curling up next to a wall which has signed posters of people pledging their support to the movement, Singh said he may be uneducated but knows how corruption had ruined the country for years.
Two hours after Singh dozed off, others in the group start to wake up. Some do yoga while others offer their morning prayers after freshening up at a nearby public convenience run by the New Delhi Municipal Council.
Some of them have even brought along briefcase-sized shrines, which have everything from Ganga jal to incense sticks to vermillion, to offer their morning prayers.
A lone kiosk selling tea and snacks opens up at around 5.30 a.m. and several activists and policemen who could not get a cuppa the whole night make a rush for it.
By the time the clock strikes six, the site is once again buzzing with activity as protestors and mediapersons - other than those who have been there the whole night - start to arrive.
Around 50 activists carry out a rally around Jantar Mantar, Janpath and Connaught Place with banners and tricolours and raised slogans like ‘Netao ki manmani nahi chalegi’ (politicians can’t do as they will) and ‘Lokpal Bill pass karo’ (pass the Lokpal Bill).
“This place gets packed by 8 a.m. and the number of people are increasing everyday - it has forced us to increase the quantity of food we serve here,” said the owner of a south Indian restaurant.
- A night under the stars with Anna Hazare (Lead) - Apr 08, 2011
- Anna slams government, Kejriwal to carry on fast (Second Lead) - Jul 31, 2012
- Jantar Mantar: The epicentre of India's crusades - Apr 08, 2011
- Thousands march towards Jantar Mantar - Aug 17, 2011
- Kejriwal, Rai to continue fast despite failing health (Lead) - Jul 31, 2012
- Team Anna supporters gather in Jantar Mantar - Jul 25, 2012
- Hazare begins daylong fast - Dec 11, 2011
- Thousands throng Ramlila Ground to support Anna (Lead) - Aug 19, 2011
- Fasting Hazare suffers high blood pressure, weight loss - Apr 07, 2011
- Hazare begins fast, demands passage of Jan Lokpal bill (Evening Lead) - Jul 29, 2012
- Thousands rally in support of Hazare's anti-graft fight - Apr 07, 2011
- Hazare begins fast, calls for real 'swaraj' (Lead) - Jul 29, 2012
- Lukewarm response to Team Anna fast on Day Four - Jul 28, 2012
- Anna Hazare reaches Rajghat, hundreds join in support - Apr 05, 2011
- Celebrations begin at Jantar Mantar to mark Hazare's victory - Apr 09, 2011
Tags: agitators, anna hazare, bedsheets, bhajans, central delhi, dais, huddle, hunger strike, inquilab, jantar mantar, jawaharlal nehru, jawaharlal nehru university, lavatories, mataram, protestors, quiet night, ravindra, stray dogs, strikes 12, table fans