Anna Hazare Ends Hunger Strike in India

29 Aug

Anna Hazare takes a sip of coconut juice, his first drink in 12 days

In the past week there has been a lot of media coverage surrounding the hunger strike of Anna Hazare, a political activist in India who refused to eat until the Indian government agreed to make anti-corruption measures.

As of Sunday, Hazare finally ended his 12-day hunger strike after parliament agreed to his demands and promised to create a lokpal, which is an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against corruption. He will be hospitalized for the next couple days and is proud of the outcome but wont stop fighting for justice in Indian Parliament. In a LA Times article, he said: “I have only suspended my agitation. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved.”

I chose this article mostly because the outcome surprised me. I very rarely hear about top-tier government conforming to the demands of  extreme activists. But in this case, the newly drafted  Jank Lokpal Bill  will allow a Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission if they are proved to be corrupt. I think it’s important to note the immense power of media here. Anna’s hunger strike was strategic; his followers took full advantage of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook and YouTube videos to gain publicity and support.

It intrigued me to see a man deprive himself of one of our most basic needs simply because he was unhappy with government in his country. I wanted to understand why, so I did a little research on the political climate in India and found that Hazare and his followers had reason to demand change. The indian parliament had been under a lot of scrutiny for several huge corruption scandals. Scandals included an “alleged telecoms bribery scam that cost the country about $39 billion, financial malpractice linked to the Delhi Commonwealth Games and accusations that homes for war widows were diverted to civil servants” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14705664).

Hazare was not the prime minister, nor did he hold any position in parliament for that matter. I believe that stories like this shed light on the idea that, with enough nerve and perseverance, a small number of people or even just one person can in fact affect change in the status quo of their environment.

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