Friday, April 8, 2011

Kolkata intellectuals laud Anna Hazare's fight against graft

Kolkata, April 7: The city's intellectuals Thursday lauded the efforts of social reformer Anna Hazare who is on an indefinite fast in New Delhi for a strong anti-corruptionlegislation in the country.

Hailing Hazare's effort, national award winning filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta said: "It's a great gesture. Hazare has taken the right stand. Everybody should not only support him but be with him.

"The politicians are not only worthless but out and out corrupt. Fasting perhaps is the most apt way to fight such a menace. You can see support for him has been pouring from all quarters of the country."

Hazare, 72, is on a fast in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi with hundreds of supporters to press for a joint committee, of government representatives and civil society, to draft Lokpal Bill.

"What he has done is the wish of many people. Even I wanted to do this," Dasgupta told IANS.

Well-known theatre personality Rudraprasad Sengupta described Hazare as a man known for his social commitment for decades.

"He is anguished and this way he is making his anguish known to the people. His effort is really laudable.

"Corruption is an indicator of whether the country is blooming or rotting. Unfortunately in our case it's the latter. Sadly enough we ordinary people do not play our role," he said.

"Procrastination is the hallmark of the political class while 'status quoism' is the hallmark of the civil society," lamented the 76-year-old, who heads the famous Bengali theatre group Nandikar.

Asked if Hazare's movement would yield fruit, Sengupta said: "I am too old to speculate. Who am I to make a judgment? Though I have not lost hope, I do not want to pitch my hopes on Hazare or (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh."

Eminent Bengali writer and Sahitya Academy head Sunil Gangopadhyay said: "I wholeheartedly support what Hazare is doing and urge people to join him in his fight against corruption."

Renowned poet and critic Shankha Ghosh praised Hazare for his crusade but said going on a hunger strike was not the most appropriate approach.

"Although I support his cause I feel 'annshun' is the not the appropriate mode."

Asked if Hazare's crusade will be successful, Ghosh said: "I am not very hopeful. The politicians will make hollow promises and somehow convince him to withdraw his fast and then things will remain as they are."

Sahitya Akademi award winning writer Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay also said going on a fast is not the right way to tackle the issue.

"I am really very anxious for him. I wish and hope that he withdraws his fast soon.

"Corruption is a big menace and people should come to the negotiation table and try solving the problem. Hunger strike perhaps is not the right way forward," said Mukhopadhyay.

Human rights activist and secretary of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) Sujato Bhadra said: "It is a very good move and we wholeheartedly support him. People should and must join him in large numbers.

"We have planned to take out a procession in the heart of the city on Monday (April 11) to show our solidarity and urge people to join in the movement," added Bhadra.

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