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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Anti-graft protest is a historic moment: Anupam Kher

MUMBAI: Bollywood and theatre actor Anupam Kher, who has nearly 400 films and 100 plays to his credit, has extended his support to Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption. Condemning the veteran social activist's arrest, Kher said, "It's the saddest day in Indian democracy."

Sharing his disappointment with the government's high-handed decision to detain Hazare before he could begin his fast against corruption, Kher wrote in his blog, "We are scared that our possessions will be snatched away from us and we will have to start our journey again."

Reminiscing about his childhood which was greatly influenced by his grandfather, Kher wrote, "My grandfather was a man with Gandhian ideals and principles and I have always remembered his sayings during moments of crises. Among his many memorable quotes was that once a man gets drenched in the rains, he can never afraid of rainwater."

The acclaimed actor's entry into the film industry too was ironically in the role of a retired, principled, schoolteacher who does not give in to corruption in the movie 'Saraansh'. His character in the movie fights the system even in his old age.

The 56-year-old actor whose grandfather was a civil engineer with the municipal authorities in Shimla had resigned from the job as he did not accept bribe. "Besides my background, wherever I go I find people always complaining about corruption, but not doing anything about it," he said.

Kher, however, feels that the task of eradicating corruption is not an easy one and said, "We cannot cleanse the land off corruption in one sweep. It will take a long time just as the road to independence took nine decades after 1857. But the journey must begin. The citizens of the country have a right to expect a clean system of administration. It is heartening that the cause has attracted and galvanised the youth of this country."

"Wherever I go, I am astounded to see that it is the youth which is fuelling the cause and wants to clean up the system. It is time for people of my generation and my seniors to move on. We owe the youth of India, the inheritors of this great land, to do right by their aspirations. And the time is now," Kher added.

Kher blamed corruption to be major drag on the Indian economy, affecting every section of society, whether it is in providing good roads, or quality education or safe drinking water.

"Money is just being siphoned off from all welfare schemes and there is no accountability. It is not Anna Hazare but former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who said that of every rupee spent on development, only 17 paise reaches its intended target.... Where does the other 83% of funds go? Do you know what economic wonders and miraculous rates of growth can be achieved if we plug the missing 83%?" Kher enquired.

About the anti-graft movement, the actor said, "This is a historic moment for our country. There is a man who has become a symbol of strength and hope for the masses. Luckily we have got a man like Anna Hazare who is not corrupt. He lives in a temple, has two sets of clothes and he didn't get married because he wanted to live for the cause. He listened to his conscience. We too can hear our conscience, but we don't act because of fear."


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