Lines of cynicism and creativity by Anna fans

By Madhusree Chatterjee, IANS,

New Delhi : “Gali gali mein shor hai, sabhi neta chor hain (there is a refrain in every alley, all leaders are thieves)”.

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Be it old slogans with a twist, new catchphrases, witty one-liners or poetry, the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement suddenly seems to be inspiring the common person take a shot at protest literature.

Students, college professors and young social workers with a flair for literature are busy trying some creative lines to hit out at the powers that be at Ramlila Maidan, the site of Hazare’s hugely popular fast that began Aug 16.

“Kapata ka symbol: Kapil Sibal, Man Maun Singh: Manmohan Singh; Dinge Haankne Mein Jisko Vijay: Digvijay, Peekar Chit: P. Chidambaram, Rat Hole Gandhi: Rahul Gandhi, Aap ko desh ki hai Padi; Wahaan Madam Beemar Hain – Sonia Gandhi,” said a group of B-Tech students holding aloft the self-composed graffiti on a placard.

“This is another August Kranti; the Quit India movement of 1942 revisited,” a member of the group, Jeetendra Kumar Mishra from Champaran in Bihar, told IANS.

Over the centuries, one of the most important tools available to protesting groups has been literature and writing. The votary of literary protesters is as diverse as Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, poet Sukanta Bhattacharya, Martin Luther King, Thomas Nast and Tom Paine.

At the Anna protest site, cynicism is pouring out through creative lines.

The ode by Dilip Patel, an associate professor from Gujarat, read thus: “Bhrastachar pe halla bol, Dhritarashtra ki aankhen khol…”

The rest of his poem goes on to say even criminals scale the steps of parliament and no matter who people vote for, by the time they reach parliament, they become dacoits.

Rajnikant, yet another professor from Gujarat, struck a note of caution saying: “Ped se gir jayenge, Woh patte nahin hain hum, Aandhiyon se keh do aukat mein rahein.”

Roughly translated it means, “the storm should beware as we are not the leaves that will fall of a tree.”

Hazare was even equated to Lord Krishna on the occasion of Janmashtami, the deity’s birthday Monday. The graffiti that fluttered inside a giant marquee addressed him as “Sri Sri Krishna Avatar Anna ji…”

In another, the frail 74-year-old crusader was likened to Jhansi Ki Rani.

On Monday, Hazare’s fast was graced by none other than a Mahatma Gandhi lookalike with glasses, white drape, tonsured head and silver paint on his face.

The man carried two messages for people braving the blistering sun: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must like men undergo the fatigue of suffering it.”

“And to sin in silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men…”

It was protest literature at its fledgling best on Ramlila ground.