Friday, April 23, 2010

Medha Patkar

WHO AM I: Social Activist

Yesterday was Earth Day. Have you done anything for Earth Day? You’d better get up and plant a few trees or else I’m going to come and do a bhook hartal outside your house. Watch out, rich boys!

I resent people connecting me with Naxalites. I do not agree with their methods or their policies. Let me tell you a little story. I was campaigning for the rights of the poor displaced tribals in Dantewada a couple of months back. One of the Naxalite chiefs’ sleep was disturbed by my stirring speeches, and got a few of his men to bundle me up and bring me to him. First he was going to blow up my head, but then I told him about my awesome life, and he was left staring. I told him about the power I wielded- when I went on dharnas, everybody from the BDO officer to the Birlas, from Dhanbad to Dindigul would come and kiss my feet and beg me not to stop their work. They’d bring me lavish gifts and enough food to last three generations of NBA activists. I’m honored by the media and prize givers for my efforts, live my entire life on free gifts given by others. While those Naxalites end up shooting people and having a million pending warrants on their heads for doing essentially what I do- disrupt government work. I put across my point so succinctly and successfully to the Naxal chief that he immediately put down his guns and joined my adivasi march. He is now coordinator of tribal activities in Dantewada. But unfortunately, when he left, his second-in-command took over. Now this guy was a trigger-happy guy, and nothing I said made any difference. And it was this guy who gave orders for the shootings at Dantewada. I absolve myself of any blame- I was just trying to educate people; some CRPF guys getting killed in the bargain isn’t my fault. And anyway, they kind of deserved it- they represent the iron hand of the government, and Big Brother must DIE.

Do you want to get some free publicity for that little NGO you started/joined for kicks/paid up for when you were drunk? Well, I’m holding a lottery for my next cause célèbre. Just send me the name of your NGO/cause, and what it is that you do. If you’re the lucky one, I’ll give you a week of my time, campaigning for you and throwing you into the limelight. See, I need a break from my regular schedule, so a little freelancing won’t do any harm. And go plant those trees now, unless you want me to ruin your digestion with a hunger strike.


Photo sourced from here