FROM NISHANT JAIN IN DELHI
It has been an exciting two or three days in Delhi. The padyatris will reach Palwal tomorrow, which means another 70 odd kilometers to Delhi.
Most us in Delhi and hundreds of Bhopalis will be joining the march in Faridabad on the 24th, and then cover the 30 kilometers to a picturesque Boy Scouts Bhavan (opposite Humayun’s tomb and close to Nizamuddin) in Delhi, where they will be staying.
After a probable press conference and meetings with MPs and officials on the 26th, the final leg to Jantar Mantar will be covered on the 27th morning. And then the fun begins…
You can view the latest video capsule (#3) from Gwalior now here.
It will also be posted on various blogs soon.
This weekend saw an immensely successful action at a local artisan crafts bazaar called Dilli Haat. Over two days – March 18/19 – from 2pm to 8pm, we held screenings of the march, displayed the Raghu Rai photographic exhibition, got the petition to the PM signed, held candle light vigils and just generally raised a ruckus to get heard.
The response from the public and media was excellent. We collected 1000+ signatures and got half a dozen print and TV journalists to cover the event, including NDTV, Punjab Kesari and Sahara.
On the first day, we were eight of us – helped by Nity and Shweta who had flown in from Chennai. They joined the march yesterday. We generally saw more optimism and encouragement from the youth who signed the petition in large numbers. The elderly people were a little more cynical, maybe because of long fruitless struggles in their own lives against the government. We sang songs the whole day and attracted a fair bit of attention.
In the evening we scribed ‘No more Bhopals’ using candles and asked people to light candles in the memory of the victims. The entire area became jam packed, as the candles gave a sort of melancholy touch to the proceedings.
The highlight of the day for me was a middle-aged woman walking deliberately past each picture in the photo exhibit and explaining in detail the significance of each to her two pre-teen children. At the end, in an earnest tone, she remarked, “It is important that the children know about our history. This is never taught in school.”
As Suroopa says in the foreword of her book, “lest they forget”.
On the second day, it was more of the same. Being a Sunday, families were out in hordes. If one signed, the entire group usually signed.
We got twice as many signatures as on the day before. The vigil, once
again, was successful in getting people interested. We met a fair number of Bhopalis living in Delhi, who supported whole-heartedly.
The highlight this day was the enthusiasm of two kids (10-11 years), who helped out the entire evening after hearing patiently about the issue. Initially, they bought the book out of their own pocket money, only to be promptly sent back by their mother to get the money back. Very apologetically they said that they wanted to donate this to the school library to spread the issue. We told them to keep the book and the CD, along with their money. Their faces lit up and they helped in placing the candles and then cleaning the place after the action.
As we were leaving, they said the place needed some mark to remember the actions. We gave them a box of chalk and told them to go all out. After we returned from loading the car with the stuff, they had written in big letters all over the ground – ‘NO MORE BHOPALS. WE WANT JUSTICE NOW. PLEASE HELP.” And the two kids were nowhere to be seen. These are the moments that give you strength to carry on.
You can view pictures from the action here. (Click on the picture to view a high resolution version, if you would like save it or email it on.)
Also, Sudhir made a small video clip on Saturday.
We have actions at IIT Delhi on Wednesday 22nd, and Delhi University North Campus (Law Faculty) on Thursday 23rd.
As usual the padyatris send big Bhopali hugs to you all.
Older entries from beginning of the march
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