Sunday, July 4, 2010

The frustrated activist

We all like to feel like we want to do something to help. But when push comes to shove we find perfectly good reasons for sitting back in our balcaos and running the world from there.

I remember when I saw footage of the cops and the Goa Village Groups scuffling outside the Secretariat after the CM told the spokespersons he did not require their votes, I got all fired up and wanted to join an Organization. So I called up one of the early brains behind the Goa Bachao Abhiyan and said I’d like to join. She told me she was no longer on the committee, but gave me the number of one of the present committee members.

Slightly less fired up but still all eagle-eyed and crusader-like, I dialed the number and the person on the other side cut off my call.

There is nothing like a cut-off call to give you that What-the-Hell feeling. I looked at the phone moodily waiting for an apologetic or explanatory SMS to follow. What I mean to say is, there’s no need to be rude. One understands that the callee is a busy firebrand, surely a message could have been sent saying, “Sorry, bitng plicemn’s elbow”, or “Sorry @ meetng”, or “Busy now pls cll latr” ; the caller has feelings too.

I sent an email, no answer, which in my book, is the height of bad manners.

Called up another stalwart at his residence. Got his mother and wife respectively. They told me they were waiting for him to go “to buy bazaar”. I asked them to ask him to call me back. No call back. And there I was considerably less fired up, and with no place to go.

So it was back to the keyboard for me doing what I do best, rabble-rousing through the written word. Even started a website to do even more rabble rousing, not just in Goa but with Goans everywhere in India and around the world. That was and continues to be an excellent feeling. People send me news not just from Goa, but from Delhi and all over the world; as far away as Quebec about entering a Goan Float in the national Canada Parade. I write it and immediately it goes through the internet all over, the country and the state.

Still there is a feeling of incompleteness. Except for annoying Eduardo Faleiro, for me, the website has not hit the spot, neither has this column or the other one. Words do nothing to stop the wrongs being done to this land and to us. Wasteful expenditure, destruction of the land, marginalizing of the aam aadmi, pollution of water bodies we will one day die for…

There are too many tiny groups fighting with their backs to the wall, fighting against the mining companies, against mega builders, against politicians, encroachers, fighting against outsiders, fighting for validation, fighting for life itself. And the baddies just laugh and carry on regardless. We are the sheep and the farmer who is supposed to look after us, lets in the wolves and laughs over the fine sport.

Like the shoal of fish that frightens off predators, these small groups have to come together under one umbrella. Or failing that one civilian army should be set up. I would like to call it the new 3G. Goa Gheraoing Group. If anyone cares to start this group, I will gladly join as a foot soldier. It should be an amorphous group having no shape or structure, just a group that can be galvanized within an hour through yelling, smoke signals, telephone, SMS, e-mails any form of communication to help out the smaller groups with the sheer weight of numbers.

The only thing that turns the baddies’ knees to water is numbers and the threat of violence. This is the quickest way to exert balances and checks on them. If all of Goa has 4000 policemen there is a limit to what they can do with 500,000 determined people. Let the freedom fighters concentrate on Western culture and Portuguese names. We have to fight for our own survival and that of our children’s children.

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