For someone just passing through Delhi's protest street near Jantar Mantar can't possibly miss that something very important is happening there. This place can easily claim to have the highest concentration of television OB vans in the country. The road is full of people and the air resounds with slogans. The excitement is palpable.
Anna Hazare is on a fast-unto-death pressing for a stronger anti-corruption Lok Pal Bill and the civil society is out in support for the veteran social activist and Gandhian's cause.
People from all walks of life are participating in this dharna against corruption. Other social activists, including Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, have also extended their support in this war against corruption.
Jantar Mantar Road is full of banners and posters urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take proactive steps to ensure that the bill is passed. The Lok Pal bill has been tabled in the Parliament eight times since 1968, but hasn't been passed yet.
Mahesh Chaturvedi, who prefers being addressed to as 'Gandhi', has been participating in public awareness movements for the last five years dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, complete with the round spectacles and pocket watch. The 67-year-old was arrested in 2009 for distributing pamphlets and pasting posters urging people to boycott the elections.
Asked where he is from, Chaturvedi replies "Hindustan". He says he has travelled across India to awaken people about the ills facing the society. "If we eliminate corruption, all our problems will be solved," Chaturvedi says. "The need of the hour is humanism and not casteism or regionalism," he adds speaking in a manner imitating the Father of the Nation's speaking style.
Srinath Mishra from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, says he himself is a victim of the system. A presidential award meant for him was collected by an imposter, he alleges.
Reverentially addressed by people around as 'Panditji', Srinath Mishra suggests a unique antidote for corruption. According to him pregnant women should be taught lessons of integrity so that their unborn children will absorb the lessons it in their sub-consciousness, quite like Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata.
Vijay Pal from Sujangadh in Rajasthan's Churu district proudly holds the tricolour aloft and says he inspired by the impact of Anna Hazare's previous fasts came all the way to Delhi to voice his protest against corruption.
While he wholeheartedly supports Anna Hazare's cause, Pal is also full of praise for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "The Prime Minister of our country is both honest and intelligent," he says and cites this as one of the reasons why he believes that this movement will reach fruition.
The soldiers who fought battles for the country are also rallying in support of Anna Hazare's crusade against corruption. The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement have also put up a tent at the protest venue.
Retired Havaldar Ranvir Singh envisions that the implementation of the Lok Pal Bill will bring back the 'golden bird' heydays of India.
"I am doing this for my children. I want to be able to proudly answer my kid's question about what I was doing when this crusade against corruption was happening", says Prahlad, who is pitching in as a volunteer for this protest. Prahlad and many others like him have taken leave from their regular jobs to participate in the movement.
Anna Hazare's landmark protest has also brought together people from different religions. Christian missionaries and Muslim religious leaders are shouting anti-corruption slogans in unison with Hindu sadhus.
Some parents have also brought along their children to witness this massive movement against corruption.
The media is also playing a big role in making the message reach out to the people all across the country and also the world.
If the movement achieves what it has set out for, India's corruption graph can very possibly have a different slope.
Text and photos: Soumyadip Choudhury