India, is our land, and we have the full liberty in our land to live the way we choose to live in our land. Every Indian holds the key to realise his destiny in this land of miracles which is progressing towards a better tomorrow, each day.
The vision of our founding fathers was to give to our fellow people a land where every voice in every part of this country is heard. Where dissent is not stifled, but is acknowledged. Where every Indian has the right to make and contribute to the country. The spiritual essence to the motherly nature of this land was given a manifestation when every citizen was allowed to demand, like a child from his mother.
This beautiful liberty to register protest against the State action, or demand from the State, carried with it a badge of democratic values that were restored each time when Indian politics saw the dark side of authoritarianism.
Jantar Mantar, the 18th century monument ‘was’, unfortunately, an address where anyone could come from any part of this country to remain there only to be heard. The place had a humanist touch where people always welcomed each other with vigour that is not seen in the ordinary Indian ‘mohallas’.
The place of dissent was chosen after the famous MS Tikait’s protests ’88 because it was easy to manage and closer to the Parliament. The people who come to this place, are here to register their grievances which the ‘Busy Indian’ does not have the time to resolve.
The people here use the newspapers as their information source, they live on the food given by the langar at Bangla Sahib, and also they consume whatever they get by the vendors on the streets. This happens all out of sheer goodwill. The humanness the protesters see at the hands of these small vendors and the nature giving them the shadow during its roughest is one of the most sacred places a democracy might honour.
The misfortune of the protesters and the dissenters living on the bosom of Bharat Mata, the place has lost its address. The National Green Tribunal ordered shifting of the protest site from Jantar Mantar to the Ramlila Maidan which is a venue that charges a fee for letting out its premises to the people who use it. The protesters are needy people who come to the Capital with a hope that their elected representatives who are so hard to reach, and the procedures ma be bypassed by coming closer to the Parliament, where someone may ever come to ask them what their plight is, but it does not happen.
The NGT ordered the shift due to a complaint by the residents that they are exposed to noise and unhygienic surroundings. These elites, never found the time to help the needy or even to provide them with means to continue their battles for causes not known, but yes they found it detrimental to their survival in one of the best streets in India.
The Ramlila Maidan is not the place for protesters, and this will not be able to become the voice of dissent. Dissent and protest in one sense deserves a very subjective view where the voices must not be scuttled but given an ear. The Ramlila Maidan offers no shade and when the venue gets booked, the people will be shifted again.
The nomadic voices may never reach those whom they want to, and the world’s largest democracy may never find a permanent address again for dissenters while the rest of the world, hold’s them near its heart. Let us hope that dissent really does find a new address soon. After all it is the right of every citizen and the responsibility of the state to have one place to find the voices that may ever be heard.