Graveyards of Democracy – Idinthakarai & Koodankulam

Ramesh Sundarajan

Date and name has changed, result the same. One Fisherman shot dead and hundreds lathicharged. The name of the police officers and collector who ordered this mindless attack on the unarmed protesters has only changed and so is the name of the fisherman who was shot dead. In this nation where ordinary people may in future may not gave gates in their home, as all the corruption have been named gate after gate. Ordinary people’s life and livelihood have lost meaning. Whether the ruling coalition or the opposition all have painted themselves in the same coat of paint, corruption.

This is Xaviaramma, from Idindhakarai. A great anti-nuclear activist. I have seen her twice. She is not a scholar in “nuclear science.” She is women from the fisherfolk community. But she knows that the Koodamkulam nuclear palnt will be an end to their livelihood, that their sea will be polluted, that their air will be polluted, that it will be a danger to humankind… so she is fighting against it…. As of my knowledge, she is being arrested by police today while protesting. But I know, she wont give up………… SALUTE AKKA… we are with you
(via Jisha Josh on facebook)

A prime minister who has no control over his ministers, parroting the same rhetoric, will never help people live a life of dignity. How else could one describe what has been happening in the villages of Idinthakarai and Koodankulam. A dangerous nuclear power project comes to a place and the people whose lives and livelihood are threatened are treated with disdain. Ruthless show of force on the peaceful protest on the beaches of Idinthakarai has not won any laurels for the Tamilnadu Police. Their Chief Minster may sound supportive to them, whether it was shooting at Paramakudi , Manapad or Idinthakarai, they have definitely stained their uniforms and hands beyond repair. The leaders who fought for this country’s liberation form the imperialistic forces may come back from the ashes like the phoenix to fight for the people again and safeguard democracy in the country. Democracy in this country in probably the most wrongly summoned word. The ruling dispensations both at the center and the state have made a mockery of democracy. Every tom dick and harry who wants to be seen on television and wants himself heard has to do only one thing, just utter some nonsense supporting the project, or else one is painted a traitor, secessionist, terrorist and all such sundry names. What is disgusting is to see people with no idea of the problem In Idinthakarai and Koodankulam sitting in television studios and dictating solutions.

Six decades of free India has brought no cheer to these small fishing hamlets that have made huge contribution for the nation by way of earning foreign exchange. Development is only a word in the dictionary for them and incredible India and Shining India mere slogans in newspapers. The nation has never treated those equals for anything. No roads, no schools, and no hospitals virtually nothing has been provided by the governments for so many decades. And suddenly leaders led by Dr.Kalam have shared vision for this people for Rs.500 crores. The government is using such luminaries to convince people to allow the dangerous project by offering them incentives. How sad, the nation first brings a dangerous project to your back yard without respecting public sentiment, and then follows it by offering development of Rs.500 crores. Never heard of such a shameless conduct and bad and insensitive governance.

Though I would like to dwell more into the safety aspects of the Project in details, the lack of technical understanding stops me in doing the same. What does bother me is that when an equatorial country where abundant sunshine is available throughout the year can be lit by solar power, why go nuclear. When the distribution loss in electricity transmission is huge why stick with the age old system of centralized distribution only. Why not generate power and supply to the villages and make them self-sufficient in power. Why all this?

When polluting dyeing units are ordered closed for damaging the ecosystem in rivers how come projects like KNPP have been given clean chit even after knowing very well that their water discharge is going to harm the marine life. When farmers are up in arms to close the dyeing units the governments and courts sit up and take notice. Does this mean that the poor fisherman has no right to protest or live in this country? Sand mining in Tamirabarani and other rivers are banned for reasons of saving the rivers, has the life and livelihood of a fisherman become so irrelevant in today’s world. No body cries for the fisherman shot and tortured everyday by the Srilankan navy, what is the nation and state trying to tell the fishing community.

Home minister Mr.Sushi Kumar Shinde,says the protesters are funded by foreign hands, oh! Mr.Shinde,god save you and your political bosses and the people you govern. You did not even have a clue of what was happening in Assam when lacks were rendered homeless because of the riots.And I am sure you have no clue of where Idinthakarai is and the crux of the problem. They say Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning; here we have a Prime Minister and his able! Team of minsters who can’t even fiddle without asking permission from the powers that be. Such a sorry state of affairs, where will these people have even time to think what the people in Idinthakarai and Koodankulam are protesting for. People like Mr.Narayanaswamy, who by this time should have generated electricity from his mouth for the number of false statements, have been parroting the same statement time and again. Protesters are funded by foreign funds. He is happy to get funds from coal mining companies and others companies to run his election campaign, peoples struggle and protests do not need such bad money. People who cannot stand the unity and the force of the common peoples struggle try throwing mud on them, but they know for sure the world will not believe them. However hard and loud they try to shout from roof tops the general people know it is all a bundle of lies only the congress men may buy, even that is a doubt, not every congress worker is as heartless as Mr.Narayanaswamy.

The police and the governments are trying to intimidate the protesters to get violent. They are trying to convert Idinthakarai and Koodankulam the latest graveyards of democracy. I am sure the people will not fall into this trap. They are having some level headed people to lead them and whatever may be the force they use, they cannot break the will of the people. Gandhian ways will win and the people will have the last laugh. Peoples struggle for the right causes have never been defeated by brute force; the Arab spring is a recent reminder for the people in power. History both past and present is full of examples where dictators who did not respect the people have fallen by the road side. Even democracies have shown the same result to leaders. It is a timely reminder to the rulers to correct themselves. It is time the doomsayers of Russia and France and their nuclear machinery are buried in their own land and India remains as strong as ever with the will of the people and green energy to develop India into a Super Power.

Idinthakarai and Koodankulam will be ever remembered for their sheer grit and spirit of continuous struggle against the establishment through satyagraha. The Father of the Nation will leave Rajghat and live in these tiny villages forever.


Ramesh Sundarajan,

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