Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Get 'Er Done

India does not seem to be a country that sits by and lets things happen. (Although we do sit around and wait for trains and buses a lot...) Ever since Gandhi's salt march (and perhaps before), protest, both violent and non-violent, seems to run in their blood. In the first two weeks that we were in India we witnessed two major protests. The main one being, of course, the Anna Hazare fast to end corruption. News of the fast was everywhere. Shopkeepers hung posters, cars were adorned with bumper stickers, an entire TV channel seemed to be devoted to broadcasting Anna's every breath. There were gatherings and ralleys in the streets every night of people showing their support for the cause. It was really impressive to see, in every city, how many people were aware and involved. Everyone was talking about it. Witnessing such a vast country united for one cause was remarkable!

In Vashist, a smalll town a few kilometres from Manali, where we spent our time, we witnessed our second protest. Vashist has a stunning waterfall. We had enjoyed the short hike out to it ourselves and were pleasantly surprised by both the walk and the waterfalls themselves. Turns out there are plans of building a hydro dam to harness the power from the falls and the town people are none to happy about it. They planned a protest. We watched from our balcony. The protest walk sounded like quite the party! There was music and instruments and drums and singing. They held posters and chanted. The most amazing thing about it was that everyone, in Vashist, but also in the bigger city of Manali closed down all their shops and restaurants for the entire day! This is a major tourist destination and these people were willing to lose a whole day's income for the cause. Of course, it wasn't so great for us, since there was literally nowhere to eat, but we did appreciate their commitment. Although, their commitment also meant that I didn't get to buy the gorgeous gold and turquoise silk pashmina I had been eyeing for days, working up the courage to buy... now that was the real sacrifice...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the postcard from Nepal. It arrived this week and totally made my day! I love reading about your adventures.