Several colleges and even some schools in the capital logged
meagre attendance Wednesday with students playing truant to
express solidarity with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.
"We missed our weekly examination today to come out in support of
Anna Hazare. After watching the developments on television last
night, we came to India Gate in a group," 18-year-old Shilpa Verma,
student of the New Delhi Institute of Information and Technology,
told IANS Wednesday, a day after Hazare was arrested to thwart his
fast for a strong Lokpal Bill.
He was subsequently released but refused to come out of the prison
until the government agreed to let him protest without any
Verma and her friends were defiant. "We don't really fear arrest,"
she hit out.
Deepak, a Class 10 student of Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Hari Nagar
had been camping at India Gate since 2 p.m. with a group of
friends, when IANS caught up with him. He was part of a large
group of high school students.
"I came here after school to support Hazare-ji. This is our time
to show that the youth of the country are also committed to the
cause of eradicating corruption," Deepak shot back, refusing to
divulge his surname.
Lovleen Sharma, a college student, chanted slogans in support of
Hazare outside Tihar jail Wednesday morning.
"We have missed classes to support Anna. We came outside Tihar
Jail at 8 a.m. today to fast and support the agitation," Sharma
Many of those who flocked to India Gate in support of Anna Hazare
were barely out of their 20s.
"Corruption is bane in the society. I had to come out in protest
of it. Education means nothing in a country that is mired in
corruption," Annesha Mahapatra, a final year student of Gargi
College, told IANS.
A teacher of Gargi College, without naming herself expressed fear
that "such mass hysteria affects students who are impressionable".
"It takes them away from the scholastic regimen. This is a
frightening trend - one that later leads to political involvement
on the campus. Politics on campus should be discouraged," she
Parents too are a worried lot. "My son has been debating the
merits of the anti-corruption crusade for the last two days. I
have not been able to coax him back to books," Narayan Chandra
Paul, a resident of Kalkaji, told IANS.
His son, a student of a government school in South Delhi, who was
rallying for Hazare at India Gate Tuesday evening, had sent the
household into a tizzy when he "left home without a word".
"He will appear for Class 12 board examination next year. I had to
drag him home by force," the exasperated father complained.
The movement, surprisingly, has struck a chord among the youth,
many of whom have just heard of corruption, but have not
experienced it, Paul said.