“ONE LAKH MARCH” ON THE STREETS OF AAMCHI MUMBAI
As Anna Hazare’s fast in Delhi for a strong Lokpal Bill entered the Eight day today, massive support poured in for him in the metropolis, where thousands of people took out a march in show of solidarity for the Gandhian’s anti-corruption movement.
Thousands of Mumbaikars sporting the now famous “I am Anna Hazare” caps gathered from across the city at suburban Bandra and took out a march till Juhu, covering a distance of four kilometres, amidst heavy police presence.
It was called the ‘One Lakh March’ on the lines of the million-man march staged at Tahrir Square in Cairo. In Mumbai, the sea of humanity that converged for the rally, scheduled for at 4.30 p.m. on 21st August 2011, quickly swelled and could well have crossed the one-lakh target.
Displaying the tricolour and placards, crowds, young and old, men and women, individuals, groups and residents of entire localities walked for about three hours from Bandra to Juhu to boisterous cries and slogans hailing Mr. Hazare.
Adding to the andolan cries of Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki jai and Inquilab Zindabad were innovative slogans. “Twinkle twinkle little star, Anna is a superstar,” roared a group at one end. At another place, another bunch hollered, “Desh ki beti kaisi ho, Kiran Bedi jaisi ho.” Many slogans decried Congress leaders. Placards condemning governmental corruption were as ever-present as was the trendsetting Gandhi topi declaring, ‘I am Anna Hazare’. Posters of Rabindranath Tagore and Bhagat Singh were also seen.
Women left their household chores and participated in large numbers. Some marchers brought their cycles, scooters and motorbikes.
The sounds of drums, tambourines and conches heightened the energies of the multitude. At places, crowds broke into the song, “We shall overcome.” The massive gathering created an equally massive mass of onlookers who were stunned by the electrifying display of anti-corruption sentiment dunked in a patriotic fervour.
Bystanders watched with awe from buildings, skywalks, stores, shops, traffic signals and from vehicles. Staff at departmental stores stood next to the mannequins and waved at the crowds. Those who did not take to the streets showed their support for the movement by flying the tricolour from balconies and rooftops. The marchers exhorted the onlookers to join them.
The marchers, unmindful of the pouring rain, waded through waterlogged streets without a dent in their enthusiasm. Traffic came to a standstill and one part of the road leading to Juhu was blocked for some time. A lone ambulance made its way through the throngs of people.
Police vehicles and vans were stationed at intervals and so were batches of police personnel.
The march ended at Juhu late in the evening.