The next news update is going to come after exactly 12 hours. My Maa decided it was time to shield me from the news, atleast for a day. I agreed out of respect.
I slept. I spent a day at the local zoo with nature and animals. Stayed away from the news. Published contributions from others.
Now it’s 10pm. Two more hours to a new year. In this post, I wish to share with you, my observations at a protest march. Last evening, I attended a protest march.
Guwahati has one official venue for protests : Dighalipukhuri. So, many simultaneous protests were taking place.
I had signed up for a prayer meet. But I ended up attending a political party’s protest rally, out of confusion.
I reached the venue to find people wearing Gandhi topis (head-gear of a new political party).
Disappointed, disillusioned yet determined, I distributed the placards I had made at home amongst some people.
A leader-like man requested us to listen to the speech a ‘dignitary’ had to make. I lost hope. But listened.
The rally started.
Another shock! Sloganeering started.
Specific slogans against the Chairperson of the ruling alliance, her son, the Prime Minister of India. I was hopeless by this time.
But, five minutes into the rally and some distance later, something took over me.
A force. So strong. A wind of change.
I was possessed. I turned to look at the people walking behind me.
I rose my right hand in the air and out came from my throat a cry so guttural, so blood curdling, so loud, that the crowd was startled. So was I.
“INQUILAB ZINDABAAD!!!” – was the war-cry. (let the revolt live forever).
The people reacted, as if on impulse, “ZINDABAAD! ZINDABAAD!!”.
Next war cry. Louder. Better.
“BHAARAT MATA KI…!!!”. (HAIL MOTHER INDIA)
The crowd responded, “JAIIIIIII!!!”
What followed was even more interesting for those who observe.
The leader who was leader the rally all this time came rushing. He screamed out slogans, “BHARAT KI BETI RO RAHI HAI, SONIA GANDHI SO RAHI HAI”.
(India’s daughter weeps, but sonia gandhi sleeps)
A few semi leaders in my section of the crowd gave out slogans “HOOHA HOOHA, RAHUL GANDHI CHOOHA!” (hooha hooha rahul gandhi is a rat).
The crowd giggled.
The next part of the protest consisted of slogan fighting – between me and the others.
I invented some slogans on the spot.
1.”DAMINI MERI BAHAN THI
BAHAN THI, BAHAN THI!” (damini was my sister, yes she was my sister).
2.”RAPE KI SAZAA FAASI HO
FAASI HO, FAASI HO!”
(capital punishment for rape)
3. “NO MORE DAMINI”
In the meantime, the protest circled around Guwahati Club Circle, we planted our candles at the circle. And returned to the original venue.
The leader asked us to sit down. We did. I was sitting on the middle of one side of the road, while vehicles plied on the other side.
Curious faces peeped from buses, cars, two wheelers. Some on lookers joined us.
Faces, smirks, nods, eyes rolled.
Some more sloganeering. Some pictures clicked. A video camera panned.
We were then asked to get up. We did.
They asked us to form a semi – circle. We did.
They made the males take an oath. We did.
Powerful moments. A tear here. Someone chocked over her tears. I felt a warm stream on my cheeks.
We maintained silence for a minute for the departed soul.
The lady leader made the females take an oath, that they’ll protect themselves and not depend on anyone for safety.
Time for speeches again. I find I’m in the mood for speeches.
An elderly lady made a rousing speech. She spoke in Assamese.
A middle aged lady tried to make a speech. Broke down mid way. Stream of tears on my cheek again.
One more lady made a speech. She had barely stated something about girl’s ‘proper’ attire, something about ‘jeans’, ‘skirt’, ‘provoke’.
She was hooted down.
“KAPRE NAHI, SOCH BADLO”. (change mentalities not clothes)
The force took over me again. I requested to be allowed to speak. I was allowed.
My voice was already gone due to the was cries. But I managed. I mumbled something about “2yr old girls are also raped. Do they provoke? Do they even have sex organs”.
Applause. I raised my hands and blurted out, “I DO NOT SPEAK FOR APPLAUSE”.
I mumbled for a minute more and ended saying, “ONE REQUEST. No NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS PLEASE?”.
“WE PROMISE NOT TO CELEBRATED”, the crowd replied in unison.
Some more applause. I doubted their sincerity.
I walked towards home.
I learnt a great lesson. There will always be cynicists, non believers, political eagles, but if a common man screams loud enough, HE WILL BE HEARD. HE WILL SPARK A REVOLUTION.
The question is “DOES THE COMMON MAN BELIEVE IN HIMSELF?”. Does he?
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.”
― George Carlin