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What is it like to be in a protest march? March 5, 2006

Posted by K in Action, contemporary, Politics, Reviews/Rants.

When we reached the Ram Lila grounds, I was initially overwhelmed; there were people all around, the lal jhanda was flying everywhere(“Flag ko upar karo! Neeche nahi lagna chahiye!”) There were groups going on mini marches while everybody waited for the march to begin. There was a gentleman in a bush get up spoofing him and many others. There were a lot people around.

It’s when we started out on the march that I felt something in me. That there were a significant number of people who were willing to raise their voices against the government. That would raise their voices against a world dictator. Never mind that a large number of men and women seemed to have been hired for the march. Never mind that amidst the anti-bush slogans there were a fair few cries of ‘lal salaam!’ and ‘samajwadi party zindabad!’ Never mind that a large number of people who were marching probably had no clue as to why they were there. Never mind that the student turnout was disappointingly small. What matters is that there were students, that there was an effort to make a difference.

One (very cute ;)) journalist asked us what we thought would be the impact of the march, and I initially thought nothing. I thought the march would be an expression of protest for some people; but by and large, it wouldn’t affect non-marchers. I still feel similarly, to a certain degree. The march didn’t get reported in the news. And even if some channel did give it air time, I doubt it got more than 1-2 seconds. And thus it would have got reduced to another sterile piece of news.

No matter.

Even if the march didn’t revolutionise India’s pro-bush population, it changed the way some people think.

I know people around me gave Bush a longer thought. I’m sure people around the other marchers, too, gave bush, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran another thought.

I counted not less that a thousand marchers. In fact, I’m sure there were waayyy more than a thousand marchers. If every marcher affected at least four people, we have four thousand people thinking about what needs to be thought about.

And, in turn, if those four thousand people further influence four more people, we have sixteen thousand people willing to question, and stand up against imperialism, state-sanctioned terrorism, and economically motivated violence.

It’s an encouraging thought. After all, this is how the world changes…each drop in the ocean recognising its power.



1. pallavi - March 5, 2006

thanks koyel for putting something that i always thought was the solution in such beautiful and eefective words,i would never in a lifetime have been able to say this the way you have.
all i can add to that is iam in complete agreement with your vision of change
p.s i hope we’ll still be frns wen u win the booker….he…he…he 🙂 🙂

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