Hazare unlikely face of impassioned people’s movement: NYT

August 19th, 2011 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) Activist Anna Hazare is the “the unlikely face of an impassioned people’s movement in India”, said the New York Times.

An NYT report described 74-year-old Anna Hazare as “the unlikely face of an impassioned people’s movement in India, a public outpouring that has coalesced around fighting corruption but has also tapped into deeper anxieties in a society buffeted by change”.

Anna Hazare was detained Tuesday in New Delhi before he could sit on a hungerstrike to demand a stronger anti-corruption bill and he was taken to prison. Authorities set him free, but the Gandhian refused to leave. He left the jail Friday for the sprawling Ramlila ground that was packed with people.

The NYT said that in a `new’ India that is often obsessed with wealth and status, “Anna Hazare is a figure from an earlier, seemingly discarded era”.

Anna Hazare evokes Gandhian simplicity due to his pointed white cap and simple white cotton clothes.

“The popular outpouring he has set off has inevitably drawn comparisons with the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring. Most analysts agree, though, that India’s moment is a different one. But in its own way it may prove to be no less important,” the NYT reported.

It went on to add that India already has the democratic freedoms sought by protesters in the Middle East and North Africa and has enjoyed rising global influence after two decades of fast economic growth.

“Yet India is also experiencing what one observer has called a `churning’ period, as public frustrations are boiling over about poor roads, shoddy schools, inflation, rising inequality and the pervasive reach of official corruption.”

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