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After The Mayhem

Text By Anitha S & Phtographs By Antony Kebinston

11 September, 2012

I am Tamil. I live in the CASA tsunami rehabilitation colony of Idinthakarai village. I know we must be all over the news- this tiny village of ours near the sea. But I know that we are there in your minds because of that ill-fated Nuclear Power Plant and the havoc it has created in our lives for so many years even before it has been started. I hate it because of its impact on our right to live peacefully and in security.

Though my house is small me, my husband and 6 children live here in harmony.My daughter Libisha in 9th class is smart and studious. My other children are all so helpful, bringing in water, helping me to grate coconuts, skin onions and so on . But for over a month we have been pre-occupied with the thought of what the Court Order is going to be. When it came we realized that the final nail on our coffin has been screwed in.

There was a calm before the storm when many of us went to all the villages calling people for the meeting on 9th. Little did we realize the magnitude of the happenings on that day. All of you must have read this too. After many days, the struggle of all of us has become news. For a long time, it was all about the power plant and when uranium would be loaded and how much electricity would be generated and so on. Now since yesterday after many of just walked a short distance from the door-step of death and children and women were hurt, men pushed far into the sea, beaten and lathicharged, our struggle hit the top-lines. We are relieved that people will finally listen to our justful demands.

Yesterday returning to my tiny home, I found so much of havoc and destruction, Why? What did we do except sit on the seashore which has been ours for so long? The SP from Thirunelveli said that what we are doing is unlawful. I am not able to understand how our demands are unlawful. This is our land,our beach and our sea. The only demand we are making is for the Nuclear power plant which is so close to us to be not commissioned. This is because we know it has not met any safety features. I know that many decision makers believe we are poor and illiterate. Poor we may be in comparison to the crores of rupees they handle and swindle in the name of people and development. But we have the heart and soul to live which is so valuable and priceless. We may not have a bank balance. But we have the confidence that if we are healthy and if our children grow up so, we can work and live. As long as the sea is there healthy and giving, we can take its bounties and live. Illiterate- most of us have gone to school and can read and write. We have understood all the facts regarding the safety and impacts of nuclear power plants. Since a year, some of the best people connected to this issue in our country have visited and shared their knowledge and experiences with us. We love the speeches and imbibe all that is being said. We feel so good and proud to have learned so much.

Someone said that yesterday there was a debate on how we are continuing the struggle based on foreign money. It makes me livid to think about how every day we contribute to the movement a certain portion of our earnings. The person who said this may not have done even one day’s honest toil and not eaten from or fed his children the fruits of his hard work. So goes my thoughts as I sit today in the Samara pandal waiting for our dear brother Uday Kumar and Pushparayan to come. The other day when his family came we all sat under the trees in the open in the Church bunglow and laughed about the dried fish curry and prawn fry I make and bring. Little did we know life would be so different so soon.

Udaya annan came and from his tone we understood that he is going to give in to the Police so that the lives of all of us would be safe. The moment we heard this, we started lamenting. His words seemed to me like a farewell. I just could not take it. I felt that someone has departed for ever. I cried like I have not in years. And without me knowing I ran up the steps to the stage and embraced him, my dear brother. I found other friends running up- Chellama and Melrit beating their chests. How things change! On Aug 15th when we took the coffin bearing the body of democracy we beat our chests in mime and laughed. Less than a month after this, we were with a live breathing man who was bading us good bye to a life without freedom and we felt so devastated. And all the while we spoke of freedom and right to live and chose our way of live. We felt that how can we let our brothers who love freedom so much, who have so much to do for the world be inside for no fault of theirs? Would they not be accepting that they have committed all the crimes they have been charged with? How can we allow that? If they go, we all go with them. Have we not shared and felt for more than year the same about the whole issue. We all have only one dream , one hope, one demand that the Koodankulam Power Plant should be shut for ever. That all of us including our brothers who have stood by us should be able to go back to their families and live in peace. We will not let them languish in some prison waiting for an unjust judgement. We cannot let their families – their wonderful wives and children, their loving parents live in anguish and anxiety. What would our lives be then? Maybe that is what made me rush up and embrace Annan, for Chellammal to come running too.

My eyes smart with the salt of tears and my throat hurts with the laments and cries, but somewhere I see a ray of hope.. as always

Be with us and let us make this ray wider and wider till the whole world shines with peace and justice.

Woman hugging the struggle leader Dr Udayakumar

Photo By Veena M

Tamils daughter Libisha

Photo By Veena M



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