It was 10 am on Sunday August 28th at Freedom Park when nine people who had remained on indefinite fast since drank coconut water. They ended their fast along with Anna Hazare in New Delhi.
N Ravi, 28, one of them says, "I am happy as the struggle of 12 days has paid off. The government has listened to us. I will continue to be there at Freedom Park till the issue has resolved."
Talking about his experience, Ravi says, "It has been a difficult time as we went through a lot physically and emotionally. However, the joy of succeeding has trumped any other feeling of discomfort," he says. Ravi works as assistant director in movies. He lives in KP Agrahara.
Suresh B K, 42, an agriculturist, another person fasting, says, "I have done a little for the country. It is not a great achievement. There is still more to do." He says he will continue protesting at Freedom Park till a strong Lokpal Bill is passed. "Common people have triumphed. The experience has been difficult but a fruitful one," he says. "Jan Lokpal will not solve everything but it will help in many ways. It has to be passed."
Ravi and Suresh were part of 21 people who went on iindefinite fast from August 16th to express their support to Anna Hazare. On Wednesday, 24th August, ten people ended their fast and the rest continued.
Meet the others
(This is part of the article is based on Citizen Matters conversations with fasters before August 27th, the day the deadlock was resolved by Parliament.)
Santhosh H R, 27, works as an Assistant Director in Television serials. A resident of Kathriguppe, he is fasting for the first time. He was a volunteer in previous agitations for Jan Lokpal. "I am fasting because I really want the election system to change. Criminals should not be allowed to stand for election. I heard that Jan Lokpal Bill provisions that can accomplish this and I am here to show my support." Santosh broke his fast on August 28th.
Dharmaraj M K, 73, is the oldest person of the fasters. A retired professor in chemistry, he lives in Malleshwaram. "Corruption has crossed all limits in our country. Anna Hazare has lit the spark and we are carrying forward the torch," he says. He went on a fast for five days earlier in April. Dharmaraj broke his fast on 27th August.
Amare Gowda, 32, a high school teacher came to fast at Freedom Park from Sindhanur, Raichur. "From a small village to corridors of Delhi, there is rampant corruption. I felt something had to be done, hence I am taking part in the fast," he says. He fasted for eight days earlier when Baba Ramdev began his agitation against corruption.
Ram Kumar, 34, is a farmer from Kebbehalli, Kanakapura. Kumar says that he has participated in protests related to farmers’ issues but this is the first time he is participating in the Jan Lokpal agitation. "The plight of the farmers in one of the worst in the country. Corruption in the Government has bled us dry. If Jan Lokpal can eradicate corruption, it is a cause worth dying for."
K R Mohan Kumar, 41, a social worker came from Tumkur to join the fast. He took part in the protests earlier in April. "I have experienced corruption in life. We were forced to pay a bribe to get the death certificate of a family member. It pained me and motivated me enough to come here and join the fast," he says.
Sudhakar Reddy, 35, is a businessman living in HSR Layout. "Anna Hazare is not doing this for himself. He is doing it for the country and the future generations. It is our responsibility to support him. That is why I am fasting," he says. Reddy was participating in the agitation for the first time.
Pratima Reddy, 30, an architect, lives in HSR Layout- Koramangla. "The corruption that is taking place is intolerable. We want accountability and Jan Lokpal can get us that. She has been a member of India Against Corruption but has taken part in the agitation actively now.
Arjun Narasimha, 24, a resident of Kamakhsipalya works as a civil engineer. A first timer in taking part in the agitation, Narasimha says, "Corruption is at every step in our country. I am doing it for Indians and a corruption-free nation."
Neelam Krishna, 31, a resident of Domlur, works as a social activist. Neelam is taking part in the agitation for the first time. "The issue of corruption was a motive enough for me to join the fast."
Rajendra Kumar Madh, 28, is preparing for Civil Services exam. A resident of Rajajinagar, Madh participated in the agitation started by Baba Ramdev earlier. "I want to see corruption annihilated. That is why I am fasting," he said.
Yoganand P, 36, an advocate in High Court is a resident of Chandra Layout. "Jan Lokpal is my priority as we can use it as a weapon to clean up the society." He had also fasted for three day earlier in April.
Naresh Khandai, 30, is a software engineer. He lives in Kammanahalli and is taking part in the agitation for the first time. "I am here because I did not want to miss an opportunity to take part in the second Indian freedom movement," he says.
Shreshaila Talikote, 20, a B.Com student at Shree Siddaganga College of Arts Science & Commerce, went on a 24-hour fast in April for the same issue. He says, "I am 20 but have not done anything for my country. This is my opportunity."
Sumit Negi, 30, is an event manager and resident of HAL Old Airport Road. He had earlier gone on an indefinite fast in April, which lasted for five days. This time the fast is in its eleventh day. "I want to see corruption eradicated from the grassroots level. Jan Lokpal is the best solution for that."
Sharashchandra S N, 27, an IT entrepreneur and an amateur filmmaker, he lives in AGB Layout, Mahalakshmi Puram. He went on a fast in April. It is our duty to support this cause, which will reduce corruption. Corruption is a virus. We need to have an anti-virus for that in the for of Jan Lokpal Bill."
Syed Sajjad Ahmed, 57, is a resident of Chamrajpet and deals in computer peripherals. "I have been involved in a lot of social activities. I studied about Anna Hazare for six months before decideing that I have to join his fast."
Manjunath K A, 58, from Koppa Taluk worked for a while as a hotel employee and worked several other jobs to get by. Describing himself as a nomad and deeply spiritual, Manjunath says, "Justice and truth are some of the values we have lost. This has led to rampant corruption. I am fasting for the larger cause of corruption."
Basavraj Poojar, 30, is originally from Bijapur but now works in Toyota Kirloskar in Bangalore. He says he took up fasting to support the passing of Jan Lokpal Bill in the Parliament, as he believes it can eradicate corruption at the grassroots level. ⊕