Day 6: 31.07.2010
Delhi’s incessant heat that persists even during the night resulted in an asthma attack for Irfan Bhai. So in the morning a round of calls began for volunteers to take him to AIIMS, India‘s one of the best hospital. However, failing to find a volunteer at such a short notice Vikas and Nawab Bhai started off for AIIMs with Irfan Bhai. Shalini could only join them almost an hour later due to roads flooded with water and debris. It was a shock to see the situation inside the hospital. Patients were making their way to different units through the rain water that trespassed its way to the insides of the hospital uninvited and unexpected. Does that ring a bell? Even after 26 years, thousands of Bhopalis are living with the poisons that trespassed their homes and bodies on the night of 2-3rd Dec 1984. Within two hours of nebulization Irfan Bhai felt much better and returned to Jantar Mantar. On his way he kept reminiscing about the good old days of eighties when there were few vehicles on the road! Shalini, meter meter bhag lete the hum log! Ab to sadak sirf auto, car, buses aur inhe chalane waalon ke liye hain! [Shalini, we could run kilometers at a stretch back then. Now roads are meant only for autos, cars, buses and those who could afford them!]
Later in the day, IBN News Channel team visited the dharna sthal to do a story on Sana. This eight year old girl has been braving a tumour in her throat since last four years. Yesterday, Rajya Sabha MP Mr. Paswan had visited us and made arrangements for her medical care after talking directly with the director of AIIMS. She has an early morning appointment with the doctor for Monday now and only after that her situation would become clearer. For now she seems quite bored of rains that don’t seem to stop. So all the women and men huddle inside the tirpaal, our temporary water resistant arrangement, and others get busy singing songs. The first in the long list being-Humko lootan ko aa gaye harami log, humko lootan ko aa gaye. Bhopal se hum paidal chale, Anshan ke baad ManMohan mile, unke aadesh na mane harrami log, unke aadesh na mane! [See, Bastards have come to rob us again. We walked on foot from Bhopal, only after a long hunger strike ManMohan met us but these Bastards didn’t even keep his orders. They are back to rob us!] This song was written during the 2008 protests by Meera, Hajira Bi and others in a similar situation and was an instant hit with the people! Meera got married a few months later and is busy with her new home and family now.
Later in the day we had an unexpected visit from Jan Natya Manch team. Shamsul Islam who was active in relief work in Bhopal in the days following the disaster has been a staunch supporter of the struggle. Despite the rains, and no place to sit he went ahead and cheered us with his very inspiring songs. Being an activist- theatre person himself he knows the challenges of surviving on the streets and so before leaving he quietly handed us some donation towards the dharna expenses. Such warmth and help from supporters keep us going! Especially now when we will not be getting lunch from ISKON, our already long list of challenges has been added to further.
We are writing to different groups and people for support. But if you could also help us in raising donations that would be really a huge help!
All cheques payable in the name of ‘The Other Media’ are to be sent to our Bhopal office: Rachna Dhingra, C/o ICJB, 44 Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar Berasia Road, Bhopal, MP 462001
If you’re not in India, you can donate online here and write “dharna” in the comment section.
It will be great if you could also inform us through email/call if you send a cheque. Please do share this call for support to all your contacts. Do not hesitate in calling Rachna at +91 9826167369 if you would like to discuss ways in which you can support us. But most of all do visit us at Jantar Mantar, for your presence brings much encouragement and joy to us!