Monday, November 20, 2017

Among the greats

For the last few days, I have been spending time with a bunch of people I really like.We perch on uncomfortable chairs and joke about what might be an appropriate time of the day to move on from drinking chai to beer. We wrestle with computers and rig up amplifiers with empty plastic at bottles.
When they speak, I listen hard. Because their stories are astounding.

The quiet young man in a flamboyant green shirt? He has been at the head of one of the few successful anti-dam struggles India has seen. For 15 years, Bhai has participated in keeping the Subansiri free and its peoples safe. Here in one small room are people who have devoted decades of  their lives to the Teesta, to Loktak, to Subansiri. Here are people who have spent their entire working lives in solidarity with the oppressed and tried to make sense of the inequalities they see around them.

There are places in this country where the police set fire to people's huts. 'My child's board exams start tomorrow. I am such a helpless mother', laments a woman who has been suddenly rendered homeless. There are places where villages have suddenly been washed away. And this group bears witness to it all.

I am humbled.

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