Citizens' Issues
‘Day 3 of my fast at Azad Maidan; they say crores formed pyramids to break the handi of corruption’

Stories of courage and conviction from the protest in support of a strong anti-corruption law in Mumbai, and Anna's advice to those on fast to stop at the first signs of illness, to preserve themselves for the long struggle ahead

On Monday, I was accompanied by my wife, son and five-year-old niece to Azad Maidan. They also got to hear me say my piece on stage. I spoke in Hindi about my reasons for being there and doing this, and-for the first time-I even urged the audience to chant Vande Mataram! Just like me, scores of other people were given a chance to share their thoughts. No prior editing. This is true democracy. If anyone crossed the line (attacking a person, for example), the mike was taken away, but there was no need to do that today. The sheer variety of people, of thoughts, was mind boggling.

On the third day of my involvement in the protest, I thought I would get bored by the repetition, but I was wrong. There is no dearth of original ideas and imagery. Sample these:

"On Janmashtami, crores of people are forming pyramids and Anna is standing on top to break the handi of corruption."

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." That was not John F Kennedy, but our very own Haroon Sheikh, 65, from the appearance a poor Muslim daily wage labourer echoing the sentiment.

One by one the speakers came up. Seventh day of fast, sixth day of fast, or fifth day, it made no difference. The passion, the energy was all the same.

On the politicians ignoring the voice of the people: "Don't think that just because we have put our fingerprint on your vote, for five years, you can cut off our hands."

"Don't get angry with the police if they hit you; they are like your elder brother. Get angry instead with those who order them to do it." This was the villager who rode his bullock cart from Ralegan Siddhi to Mumbai.

One of the elders among the protestors said: "What do I have to fear? I have to die soon anyway."

Another speaker narrated how his wallet was picked the previous day; interestingly the pickpocket traced his home and returned the wallet with the contents intact when he found an Anna Hazare volunteer badge inside.

There is something going on here. Even the newspapers report that crime has gone down considerably in the past week. This movement is changing us from the inside, imperceptibly.

Speaker after speaker exhorted the people to protest peacefully-'ice on your head, fire in your heart', was how one of them put it. They were justifiably proud that despite lakhs of people taking part in the agitation, there has not been even one act of violence-not one arm raised, not one glass broken. And the organisers repeatedly urged the people to keep it this way.

Members of a tattoo association turned up to support the movement. And what were they doing? They offered free Anna tattoos on the spot to anyone who was interested. It just goes to show that we all don't have to fast, but we can participate in whatever way we can, by doing our bit, for each one has something to offer.

There was also a speaker from Hong Kong, another from the US. And then, Mayank Desai, head of the Mumbai movement-another great persona.

He spoke for a long time, explaining the difference between the Jan Lokpal Bill and the government version in such simple terms that no one was left in any doubt anymore. I too learned a lot, though I had read all the websites and seen all the PDFs and PPTs.

He also made some important points about fasting. He had fasted for 28 days himself, but gave it up on the 29th day, when he sensed arrogance creeping into himself. Fasting is about penance, sacrifice, love, and not about anger and other negative emotions.

He made so many other points.  We want vyavastha parivartan, not satta parivartan. (We want to change the rules of the game, not change the players.) If a servant robs your home, surely you will investigate and prosecute him. Why not then for a public servant (member of parliament). This was to explain why members of parliament should be covered under the Lokpal.

Mr Desai concluded by mentioning about Anna's reaction when he was told that 65 people were on an indefinite fast at Azad Maidan in support of the cause. He said Anna was most concerned and had inquired about their well-being. He even advised that they should stop fasting at the first sign of illness, for "this is a long battle, we need you to be with us; don't wear yourself out." So, I am not going to wear myself out. I am breaking my fast on Tuesday.

What have I learned in all this? I learned a lot about my prejudices. I have realised that I myself am far from free of corruption. I have to change myself. The Jan Lokpal will not help here. I am undoing one wrong I was about to do. Another one, I will try to undo. A third, I have to still convince myself to undo. I have a lot of work to do on myself.

I have learned a lot about people of every conceivable hue, age, profession, strata of society. What I have learned is that they are all the same. They all have the same hopes, the same ambitions. They harbour the same fears. I should learn not to judge books by their covers.

I have learned that I am not the sole repository of wisdom, of the right thing to do. That I should not assume I am the smartest person in the group. That there are those who are far ahead of me, even in areas that I believed were my areas of expertise. I have a lot to learn.

I lived by my brains so far. Now I realise that the heart is equally important; and equally powerful. And the soul, well that is still
beyond me, but I will have to work on that.

I have lived by prose. Now I understand the power of poetry, of music,of parable, of imagery.

I have known the power of material things. Now I am beginning to understand the power of the spirit as the source of all energy. What else can explain the peaceful behaviour of people who are on the seventh day of their fast?

I have learnt about courage. I have learnt what it means to be a true hero. To me it simply means having the courage of conviction to do what you think is right, and stay the course, despite the enormous personal cost that may have to be paid.

I now better recognise my own power, my own capacity. I now am more willing to acknowledge my instincts, to follow my heart.

I have understood the value of my family, who support me in whatever I do. I will strive to be a better father, husband, son.

I have learned that each of us, whoever we are, whatever we are, rich, poor, old, young, blind, handicapped, can do something to make a difference. If only we would try. I sure am going to. Because I know that I may be disappointed if I fail. But I will be doomed if I don't even try.



Narendra Doshi

5 years ago

Respected Peter Sir,
Once again I thoroughly enjoyed reading your third day 'video' happenings alongwith YOUR OWN video analysis. That indeed is the crux - to discover that u r still a learner and u have to yet travel a long path. The brain, the heart and of course the INDESTRUCTIBLE SOUL (as is vividly taught us in the Bhagwad Gita) .
I would love to read your future write ups in the days to come on a variety of subjects at appropriate times and keep learning and improving myself.

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Jobs resigns as Apple CEO; Tim Cook named new CEO

In a letter to the 'Apple board of directors and the Apple community', Steve Jobs said, "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know"

New York: In a stunning announcement that took the technology world by surprise, Apple today said Steve Jobs has resigned as its CEO and named Tim Cook as his successor, reports PTI.

Mr Jobs has been elected chairman of the board and Mr Cook, previously Apple's chief operating officer, will join the board with immediate effect.

In a letter to the 'Apple board of directors and the Apple community', Mr Jobs said, "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know."

"Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the board sees fit, as chairman of the board, director and Apple employee," he said in the letter.

Mr Jobs, 55, submitted his resignation to Apple's board of directors today and 'strongly recommended' that the board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook, 50, as CEO.

"Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company," said Genentech chairman and Apple board member Art Levinson on behalf of the company board.

"Steve has made countless contributions to Apple's success and he has attracted and inspired Apple's immensely creative employees and world-class executive team.

"In his new role as chairman of the board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration," he said.

"Few chief executives are as closely identified with a company as Steve Jobs has been with Apple. Now that he is stepping down as chief executive... it will largely be up to his deputies to make sure that the company continues to stay ahead of the competition with trend-setting products and services that impress consumers," a report in the Wall Street Journal said.

The visionary behind some of Apple's most iconic and bestseller products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Mr Jobs is a pancreatic cancer survivor.

Under his leadership, Apple revolutionised the music business through the iPod, the mobile business through the iPhone and the entertainment and media world through the iPad.

"The good news for Apple is that the product roadmap in this industry is pretty much in place two and three years out," the New York Times quoted Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie as saying.

"So 80% to 90% of what would happen in that time would be the same, even without Steve," Mr Yoffie said.

Earlier this month, with a market capitalisation of about $346 billion, Apple briefly surpassed energy major Exxon Mobil to become the country's most valuable company.

The news of Mr Jobs' resignation came after the markets closed on Wednesday. In after-hours trading, Apple stock fell 5%.

Mr Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant two years ago.

In a letter in January this year, he said he was taking another leave of absence to "focus on my health".

He, however, emerged briefly from his medical leave during the year on a few occasions.

In March, he unveiled the second version of the revolutionary iPad and later attended a dinner hosted by president Barack Obama for technology tycoons in Silicon Valley.

In June, he was on stage in San Francisco to talk about iCloud, Apple's latest foray into cloud-based computing.

Mr Jobs' thin frame and gaunt appearance sparked questions about his health and for how long would he continue to be at the helm of Apple.

Jobs' medical leave of absence also raised concerns of how the technology major, which he had co-founded in a garage, would succeed without him.

According to Michael Hawley, a professional pianist and computer scientist who worked for Mr Jobs, his role at Apple has been more the corporate equivalent of "an unusually gifted and brilliant orchestra conductor".

"Steve has done a great job of recruiting a broad and deep talent base," Mr Hawkley said.


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