Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Being creative (non-harmful and even beneficial) in protests

Today's Dharitri has a picture of some people demonstrating in front of Rajdhani express on the NIS shifting issue. [No link provided to avoid giving them more publicity.] Such demonstrations are often counterproductive (it irritates and some times harms the people who are affected and turns them against the issue) and it is not clear what their purpose is. Many such demonstrations are not even reported and even if reported are often forgotten. Even the ones which are reported result in a negative impression. (Thankfully, this is the only such incident that I have come across so far. Hopefully, it will be the only one.)

If the goal is to get media's attention one should think of creative ways-especially with a positive impact-to demonstrate, that will bring the media's attention.

For example, a group of people seriously interested in demonstrating against the NIS shifting could first inform the media in advance and go to the science block of BJB college, or one of the science departments of Utkal University and paint its exterior. Many of these buildings look terrible from outside because of rain and mildew. Such novel (in the Indian context) and creative methods of protest will get not only local, but national media's attention, will make the people watching it supportive of the issue, and will result in a positive thing. A political outfit can support this and even announce doing this every saturday (from a list of buildings), invite volunteers and keep doing this for a long period of time and really get attention of the media. Even media and onlookers can be invited to participate in this.

Another example will be to invite volunteers and build a school building from scratch in a slum area. I would have suggested roadside planting, but plants will die if they are not taken care of later.

I hope one of the politicians reading this will get inspiration from these ideas and focus his or her energy in such a form of protest, instead of the disruptive rasta rokos, rail rokos, bandhs etc.
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