We Do Not Want This Nuclear Power Plant
By Anitha S
27 December, 2012
My name is Ignesh. I am studying in 6th Class in the school situated in the village closest to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. For more than an year we have not been able to study or eat properly. Would you be able to if you know your mother and so many women are fasting in the Samara Pandal? What would happen if your gentle aunt has been locked up for more than 90 days on charges of sedition ? What would you do if images of many police men and women chasing you on your own land, the burn of the tear gas shells and the pain of stumbling and falling remain etched in your memory? What if the sight of the lifeless and frail body of Roslin who died after months of medical neglect in the jail is too recent to be forgotten? Or the whirr of the helicopter or the sound of the firing in nearby Manappad still resound in your ears?
I know that you must have heard this many times. But today standing near the grandmother Mahasveta Devi who is so willing to listen to this alien language of mine, I feel like repeating all this. I can feel her warmth as she held me and my friend Labika close to her. I could see her reaching out many times as she kissed us on our forehead. I sense that she does not want to let us go – as if holding us close would protect us from the lethal radiation or save the future generations from all toxins on Earth. We had travelled all day starting from our tiny village home at 3.30 am to reach Kochi for this wonderful moment. We listened to her speak of her story about the Non-vegetarian cow and the Why-why girl, of her classroom under the trees in Kolkata and her friends from Kerala long ago. How I wish she could come with us. I am sure my mother and Labika’s too would be pleased to cook a meal for her. I wonder if she would like fish and rice the way we make it. I understood that she is asking if our parents have come with us.I wanted to tell her about my travels to Chennai, Bangalore, Thrissur, Thiruvananthpuram and now Kochi done over the past few months with just one slogan ENGALUKKU INTHA ANU ULAI VENDA. I wished I could convey to her that I would travel to the ends of the world even alone without fear just to stop this Nuclear Power Plant.
I want to tell this gentle Mahasveta patti that in my own home I see my brother who is not mentally developed. I am witness to his pain and the pain of my mother as she struggles to bring him up. I see him banging his head on the wall or floor. It breaks my heart to think that if such nuclear power plants come up the invisible radiation will penetrate human bodies and create havoc. How can one be safe if the food, air and water are full of the killer elements? I want her to know that my parents who sometimes forget our birthdays have been celebrating those of leaders like M.G.R and Jayalalitha Amma because they thought they are for the people. I wonder if she can tell us why the leaders come with folded hands before elections and forget the promises soon after. I wonder if Mahasveta patti ever got a reply for the letter she wrote to Sonia Gandhi after reading the letter from our mothers ! The speech by Patti was also special in that she talked about the Right to say No. The right of people, of communities to say No to projects that they are not convinced of. This was a special day as a book on Koodankulam called NO: ECHOES KOODANKULAM was being released today. We were so happy to receive the first copy from Patti. After that she sat near me and helped me wrap the book so that I could take it back with me.
Today has been a special day for us. Just before meeting Patti, we went to see the amazing Krishna Iyer Thatha. How he listened to us in spite of his poor hearing and eyesight. I sensed his approval of all that I said and felt the gentle but strong pressure of support as he held my hands. I could understand that even when we were there, he had started dictating the letter requesting the Russian President V.Putin to retrace the decision on Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Labika and me were awestruck by the awards and citations that this Thatha has and also the number of books written by and on him. This has been kept in a special room. I forgot my fatigue when I saw his energy and alertness.
We are going back today after an experience, never to be forgotten. It was like being near two huge trees, imparting shade and coolness, giving warmth and courage, holding compassion and ahimsa as dear as life… we are so honoured and the assurance that both the Patti and Thatha gave us that they are with us will give us the strength to shout louder ENGALUKKU INTHA ANU ULAI VENDA !
Ignesh and Labika with Anitha.S on 24.12. 2012 after the Kochi trip
For details of the book NO:ECHOES KOODANKULAM please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Patti – Grandmother/ Thatha- Grandfather in Tamil
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