Koodankulam Welcomes Ganeshan's Return
21 September, 2013
PHOTO| Antony Kebiston
Ganeshan (wearing the shawl) is welcomed by the People's Movement Against Nculear Energy
Today is a good day for us in the Samara Pandal of the St.Lourdes Church at Idinthakarai where we recently observed the 2nd anniversary of our struggle to stop the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in August and the 1st anniversary of the Police carnage against our peaceful protest. We remembered the pain filled memory of losing dear Sahayam as we see the still wet cheeks of his four children , wife and sister. We thought of the frail body of Roselyn who succumbed to the fatal ailment amidst the trauma of being jailed and isolated from the care of her loving family. We went over the moments when we were chased through the sinking sand of the beach with outdated tear gas shells and lathis. We thought of the dilemma of Udayakumar anna and Pushparayan anna that day who in a moment decided to turn themselves in to the Police. We saw the three brave women Sundari, Xavieramma and Selvam who were jailed for many months, given conditional bail in Madurai and finally their return a few months back.
And then today we are happy and relieved that our dear brother Ganeshan from Koodankulam village who disappeared from our midst 180 days back is back with us on conditional bail. 185 days of his life gone, whiling away time and energy in a jail amidst criminals and offenders. 6 months when we too lost his presence among us, not just his physical presence, but his solid presence of mind. His calm and positive presence whenever there was a crisis. His mature analysis and judgements about situations and people. We missed that and wonder if that can ever be compensated or made up for.
Ganeshan came smiling back to us as we waited today afternoon for him with bated breath. We were worried that staying in the jail would have broken his indomitable spirit. We knew that he had fasted in there for many days reminding the authorities about the injustice of the charges against him and many others still.
We were relieved that he is still the bundle of boundless energy as he was, laughing and describing the false charges, the attempts that were made to make him realize that he is being anti-national by opposing Nuclear Energy and so on. Ganeshan was picked up in March 2013 as we went to see his parents in Koodankulam. Known as Thenga Ganeshan for his enterprising coconut sales and adeptness in agriculture, Ganeshan had joined the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy convinced about the impact on the lives of communities and also the natural resources that sustain life. Since then he had become one of the most efficient spokesperson of the movement traveling to Kerala and New Delhi representing the people of Koodankulam. Ganeshan seemed more bothered about our country’s decision makers waving the Nuclear Liability bill so the U.S Company Westinghouse can sign with the Nuclear Power Corporation Of India to begin work on the proposed Nuclear Park in Mithi Virdi in Gujarat. Some of us had travelled there a few days back and seen the large areas of verdant land soon to be lost for this. We spoke of the millions that we will be exchanged between the countries that will end the “nuclear isolation” of India. The real isolation and impoverishment of farmers that grow food, of fishers that catch fish, of the complex cultures and diversity of livelihood that the land , sea, forests and rivers sustain will never figure in this development scheme being unfolded each day.
We know that many of you would be wondering about what is happening to us. Though we have gone back to our life as usual, the huge yellow domes supposed to start operational and produce power soon looms closer. We have stopped believing all that has been proclaimed in the past 2 years, at the cost of our lives, time and thoughts. We have seen the way bombs were thrown into our village for a few packets of money so as to divide us. We have seen how attempts were made to bring back all the differences of caste and creed that had got ironed out amongst us as we became one against this looming dark enemy.But we have stood firm and steadfast in this struggle.Because as extraordinary people among us remind us each day, like Ganeshan who came back smiling and strong even after losing 6 months from his precious life- we have to stand by truth and justice as our struggle is a for a democratic world where development and decisions are taken not at the cost of the life of communities and resources. But with the connivance and involvement of the majority who get the benefits of it in their lives. For this alone our struggle, along with the people all along over the country demanding a Nuclear free India assumes strength and relevance as each day passes.
Please do come to us as ever before and share our life and thoughts, our food and water, our slogans and strength.
Anitha.S ( firstname.lastname@example.org) after communicating with the people of Idinthakarai on 19.09.2013
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