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Anna Hazare and Sathya Sai
A visitor turned up at the Radiosai Global Harmony studios yesterday, i.e. the 15th of October 2011. After a few hours, some stories about him percolated into my ears and I was so amazed. And that story that triggered me was one that tied Ananth Pandey, Anna Hazare and Sathya Sai Baba in one sentence! (For those that are unaware, Anna Hazare, an activist from the Independence Struggle of India, has taken up arms righteousness, truth and fasting against the evil called corruption in India.) I was eager to meet him and talk to him as soon as possible. And I got that chance today morning.
Ananth Pandey was a clean-shaven lad, with a bright face and a cheery disposition. After having heard of how he was orphaned at the young age of 6 and how he escaped his step-mother’s attempt to poison him when he was 9, I thought I would be meeting someone with the appearance of a war-torn soldier. He looked so familiar and had he not been introduced, I would have thought that he was a student of the Sathya Sai University. When i introduced myself, he told me that he had read the article I had written about Swami’s namaskar on the 20th of March. I smiled and told him that I was eager to know something about him.
I came straight to the point. What was his experience with Anna Hazare in the last few months? How did he get to know Anna and get involved with him?
“Brother! I got to know him after I was released from jail.”
“You had been to jail? For what?”
“I was arrested along with many others who were supporting Anna. We were placed in a connecting jail to the Central Jail in Delhi. I do not remember the name of the jail for everyone called it as ‘Anna jail’! We were 12,000 of us in that jail for about 4 days.”
“12,000! That must have been a terrible experience.”
“NO! It was so wonderful. Everyone was there - students from IIT,IIM,AIIMS, teachers, workers, farmers, salaried people - you name them. And we have so much fraternity among us. We were not given any proper food. Thousands of people in the neighborhood would pack pooris and chapaties into packets and throw them over the wall into our courtyard. I had never eaten that well in all my life (laughs)!”
And how did he happen to meet Anna? With patriotic fervour, he wanted to do something for his motherland. Inspired by Swami, (how was that? - that will be out as a separate story itself) Ananth found outlet via Anna’s movement. Based on his experience, he had some ideas to improve the effectiveness of the movement. And so, he began his efforts to contact Arvind Kejriwal ( the pioneer of the Indian Right to Information Act Movement). Weeks of labor got him replies from Mr.Kejriwal and soon Ananth found himself in the inner circle of Anna’s movement.
“I had no desire for any position or authority. I just want to serve my motherland. And so I put myself into the mission, heart and soul. I felt that was the duty my Swami wanted me to perform.”
“Tell me about that dialogue with Anna.....” I was very eager to hear that.
“Well, Anna attended most of our meetings. He is a very simple and loving man. He told us that we could battle corruption only if we adopted a good character, good words, ability to bear insults and the ability to sacrifice ourselves. I was very inspired and felt that it was Swami speaking through him. One day, after the meeting, he was asking each one of us about our background. When he asked me, I told him that I was coming from Puttaparthi.”
“When was this? Before MahaSamadhi?”
“No. Just three months ago. You should have seen Anna’s expression when he heard the name Puttaparthi!” He immediately folded his hands and bowed to me. He said,
“You are coming from the Lord - the Lord who has inspired me to do all this. I am only an instrument of Dharma (righteousness). He is the embodiment of Dharma.”
I had goosebumps. I felt so wonderful. Ananth continued and he then narrated how he decided to be independent and left home when he was 9 years of age. And then, he went to good hearted souls seeking education. He told about how he came to know Swami and about Swami’s interactions with him. I just heard and heard. Tears rolled down my cheeks for the ways of the Lord are mysterious and divine.
When you are expecting a ‘war-torn soldier’ to reveal how life has been cruel to him, if he just beams a broad smile and says,
“My life has been the greatest blessing Swami could have given me what else can you feel but inspiration and joy?"
How many lives has Swami touched in this manner! With His love, even the greatest of tragedies seem to become a blessing - and this has been the case with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews - everyone!
An article based on the awe-inspiring journey of Ananth is available in the Heart2Heart magazine of Radiosai....Read it! It will surely thrill you... :)
Read the article on Ananth Pandey in 2 parts
- H2H Special: ORPHANED BY NATURE, ADOPTED BY GOD , Oct 2011
Heart 2 Heart E-journal is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of society through informative and inspirational content related to the Sri Sathya Sai Organization.
- H2H Special - ORPHANED BY NATURE, ADOPTED BY GOD - Anant Pandey - Nov 19, 2011
Heart 2 Heart E-journal is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of society through informative and inspirational content related to the Sri Sathya Sai Organization, an international service foundation dedicated to the s
© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya