11 Apr 2011

Azad Maidan

No nanny to take care of her kids when she goes protesting. On the side is one of the newspaper that thrives at protest meets.

Caged protesters of Azad Maidan.

The India Against Corruption protest with Anna Hazare as the figurehead is just one of the millions of protests that happens at any given time in India. Every city in India has its own designated protest area. Mumbai has Azad Maidan. An enclosed section of the 'Azad' Maidan where people can protest.

Across India, people are on hunger strikes all year round but no one cares for them. In Manipur, they have gone to severe extremes for some one to take note of peaceful protests including stripping and burning down the assembly. Protests and fasts are as common as Indian men pissing on Indian roads or people dying of starvation.

Anna Hazare's campaign was no different. His supporters were mostly RTI activists targeted by builders and politicians, yoga performing followers of Baba Ramdev, SSS Ravi Shankar, Archibishop Vincent Concessao, etc. and the local regional newspapers. The mass media in English and Hindi waited, it was just another protest after all. But no one expected it to catch the imagination of the people across India and almost immediately, the mass media caught up and converted it into the protest of the year.

On April 5th, the first day of the now famous fast, the IAC pandal in Azad Maidan was the largest but there were more people at the other protests. Eg: The ones seeking more funding for Marathi Medium Primary Schools and a fast demanding rights for Adivasis.

Even on April 7th, when Anna Hazare was top news in India, it was the Shetkari (farmer) protest led by the communists that was keeping the Mumbai police force busy not IAC .

But throughout, IAC had one thing going for it - the television cameras of major English and Hindi news channels. You could see the jealously in the eyes of the other protesters.

Here are a few pics from the other protests.

Protest style: Warli Art. Note: In the background is a banner that states the number of days they have been fasting.

Meet the people who actually fight for Marathi. Marathi in the place where it is most likely to strike deep roots - the primary schools of Maharashtra. You won't find the leaders of MNS, NCP or Shiv Sena here, their netas send their kids to English medium schools and teach them to burn or ban books.

English Poetry. Outside one of the protests.

The holders of Season Pass to all caged protest centres across India - the Communists!


Curry Spice said...

The things one can learn from your blog. Incredible documentation. The poem is really sweet and sad.

Slogan Murugan aka M S Gopal said...

Incredible India actually.

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