Hum Dekhengey- 3

October 20, 2014 at 9:15 AMOct (Activism, Friends, Media, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Background: This was during my days as a reporter with The Hindu in Mangalore. An activist friend called to say that they were holding a protest on the following day demanding justice for Dr. Binayak Sen. Informing my office about it I took up the assignment for the following day.

The day: At the specified time I reached the gate of District Commissioner’s office where the protest was to be held. The activist friend who had called me on the previous day came to me and handed over a pamphlet and said, “We will start in a while.” Taking the pamphlet in my hand I walked towards some other journalists who had arrived before me. “What are they waiting for?” asked a journalist. “I have no clue,” I answered and went back to the pamphlet that I was reading.

Once I was done reading the pamphlet I looked at the site of protest and saw only four of them there. One of the photo-journalist smiled and said, “This is not the first time they are having this ‘Free Dr. Binayak Sen’ protest. I can use the file photos instead of waiting for them to begin.” Another journalist said, “There are more journalists than protesters,” which made every journalist there laugh. He was true. As we journalists waited for the protest to begin the protesters waited for some more to join them.

The moment: Even after fifteen minutes of the specified time there were only four protesters. Realizing that there is no point waiting and realizing that the media people would leave in a while the protesters began their protest.

Two of them held the banner with the text, ‘Free Dr. Binayak Sen’, one of them held the hand mike with speaker and the fourth person spoke. When the fourth person finished his speech the second person handed over one end of the banner and took the mike. The fourth person went and held one end of the banner. When the second person finished his speech he held the hand mike cum speaker and the third person handing over the mike to the second person started speaking. When the third person finished his speech he took one end of the banner from the fourth person and made let the fourth person speak.
As this was happening the journalist circle laughed endlessly and I found it difficult to laugh because I was caught between the journalist me and the personal me who was in solidarity with the cause. But then came the moment which made me laugh.

All speeches were made. The protesters were to go meet the DC and hand over a memorandum. The Police who was in-charge of the protection called the DC and said, “Sir their protest is over. They want to come in and hand over a memorandum.” The District Commissioner who was unaware of the mise-en-scene outside said, “Fine,” and ordered, “Let only five of them in. Not more than that.”

That made everyone laugh. Even I had laughed.

Personal note:

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou of evil luck,
open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou of evil luck,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.
If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou of evil luck,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.

[English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s song: Ekla Chalo Re… from ‘rediscoveringtagore’]

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