The 9.9 of our lives: Women from Koodankulam

Anitha S.

Anitha S. is engaged in ecological education with children in many parts of Kerala especially the coral islands of Lakshadweep. Since last few years she has been documenting the perceptions and experiences of women in the environmental movements ( anti-industries, anti-dam, anti-waste dumping, anti-deforestation) in Kerala. She is also co-ordinating a network called Tree Walk in her home city of Thiruvananthapuram for trees, safe pedestrian spaces and footpaths and space for small vendors when big wide roads usurp all common spaces in the name of development.

Here is her documentary on Koodankulam women:

The morning dawned bright and clear with no trace of rains or clouds. Our minds were expectant as we knew that as our action plan for the day would progress we would be aware of what is in store for us. Most of us cleaned our homes, set things in order and reached the beloved Church grounds which has been our second home for over an year.

By 11am it was decided that we move along the seashore along the Tsunami Rehabilitation Colony from where the Plant is shockingly close and visible. The walk in the hot sun stepping on the warm sand and facing the glare from the white waves only enlivened our spirits.

We were empowered by the support from many villages from where groups reached us braving the heavy police force and threat of some kind of stoppage. By 12 noon amidst the rising tide we started moving very very close to the hated domes of the KKNPP. We knew that fishermen in Tuitcorin were fasting in support of the anti-nuclear power plant struggle today in front of the Pani Maya Madha Church. We had heard that friends from the Peritataalai village were stopped by Police as they tried to reach this place We were so thrilled and touched to know from friends that far away in Maharashtra in a village there a huge people’s group shouted slogans for us here down south. This is the strength and solidarity that we need to nurture and preserve for ever.

The S.P Of Thirunelveli came by noon and told us that we should not do this “ unlawful” venture by going so near the Power Plant. But does everyone expect to spend our whole life so close to it? Why are they warning us of this when actually they are not bothered about the real danger of living so near this lethal radiation with our children? We seem to be asking a stupid question for which it is not worth their precious time to answer.

By late noon, we were all amazed by the huge support that came in – maybe more than 15,000 gathered. We decided to sit here in this new venue close to the plant. We announced our decision that until the Honourable Chief Minister gives her “good word” to us which is to say that the KKNPP will be shut down by stopping the imminent uranium fuel loading.

The youth amongst us has started bringing drinking water. There is some simple porridge being cooked. There would soon be a pandal under which we can take shelter and lights along with basic toilet facilities are being looked after.

We are relieved that there is a change in the sequence of events. Our demands are simple and straight. Please consider our most rightful and just demand for security, peace and right to pursue our life the way we want it. To not live near a toxic Nuclear Power Plant which will silently kill generations and spoil the soil and water. To be able to participate in decisions that are taken for our good and welfare. We do not sense anything unlawful or wrong about all this? Do you?

As the dusk darkens, we sit together and talk. We are a bit tired but our resolve is stronger and clearer. We watch our young ones and are so proud of their perseverance and dedication. We laugh at ourselves and the black T-shirts proclaiming Shut KKNPP that many of us wore over the saree. We hold the white of the flags we carried in our hands symbolizing the peaceful march.

Today certainly was a great day for us. Like many days in the past- Aug 6th when our children performed so well. Aug 15th when we hoisted black flags and mourned the death of democracy. Aug 22nd when some of us travelled to Delhi and spoke at the People’s hearing. September 6th when 25 kids and 4 women traveled to Chennai and spoke at a Press Conference in the big city. And now the 9.9 of our lives.

Please do carry this message of peace to the world.

Women of Idinthakarai as told to Anitha.S ( 9. 09.2012)





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