Anna’s campaign finds high-tech back-up

August 16th, 2011 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Many young people have left their regular activities to collaborate full-time in a high-tech back-up to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade and taking it to the youth.

Already, a group of eight from varied backgrounds has been working 16 hours a day: these backroom people, who have joined Arvind Kejriwal’s India Against Corruption, provide updates on twitter and enlist support on social networking sites such as Facebook.

It is reminiscent of the manner in which digital communication systems have been used in popular movements over the last 10 years — significant is its use in the 2002 presidential elections in Korea, where it has become a subject of study.

Gaurav Bhakshi, 34 and an MBA graduate from United States who says that he was assaulted twice for not paying bribe to government officers, now oversees the online campaign.

Bhakshi, who joined the campaign in November last year, manages Anna Hazare’s Facebook page that has over 200,000 hits so far.

“It is a huge hit as he is the face of the movement,” Bhakshi told IANS. “Apart from people across the country, there are Non Resident Indians (NRI) and foreigners who have joined the online campaign.”

The team includes journalists, software experts, PR professionals and management executives.

M.S. Chandramohan, 31, became part of the team while searching for a job in Chennai. “I had completed a film course in New York Film Academy and I came to Chennai early this year hunting for a job,” he said. “During my search I came to know about the campaign.”

The team works from small offices across the capital while some even work out of their homes.

“I have been working for 16-18 hours as we need to keep people updated,” 34-year-old journalist Shivender Singh says. “I am now assisted by two friends as the work has increased. In last few months we have reached thousands through Facebook and twitter.”

Singh, who works with Times of India online, has been on leave since February this year. “I was running a campaign against corruption during the Commonwealth Games and later I got in touch with Arvind Kejriwal and joined India Against Corruption,” he says.

For most of the volunteers, it was not an easy choice. “We are not paid anything and it’s a voluntary service,” says Singh with a smile. “As of now, I have savings to sustain me for a couple of months.”

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