Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | May 3, 2009

Street March

The poor cow

The poor cow

Indians did not bring the cows on the main street of Auckland. During the month of December we witnessed this procession of ISKCON enthusiasts. While there was a grand chariot too but for obvious reasons the cows attracted a lot of attention. ISKCON it seems has quite a presence here. Most Friday evenings we see a bunch of people dancing on Queen Street to the chants of ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’. For some reason it reminds of laughter clubs in Delhi where people break free completely albeit a bit artificially.

Cops on Alert

Cops on Alert

We have seen some processions on the streets of Auckland. Some of them are as bizarre as for promotion of pornography and some have ranged on issues such as Israel or China or Sri Lanka’s violation of human rights or scientology. I am sure before one organizes a protest procession on the street, one has to take some sort of permission from authority because most of the times these processions are very well managed by the city police.

While the fun processions such as Christmas parade and the likes will generally see policemen participating with smiles and jokes despite being on duty, the more serious parades will see policemen controlling the traffic.

Coming from India, of course it is unique to me to see that protest marches being organized well. Street marches are very common in India but hardly they are well organized. In fact, street marches are so common that nowadays even the otherwise reluctant elite have also taken the streets to protest. It has become their new tool to attract limelight.

Our democratic set up allows us to protest in every other issue that we like and in any way that we feel. Therefore, protests in India are mainly to vent out frustrations in order to aid us to move on. In many protest marches, we choose to destroy public property while protesting and in many we just make our presence felt with a candle and white clothes. As far as the destruction of public property is concerned, one of my Asian friends was telling me that in his country, people are paid to destroy public property while protesting and it is not a secret. In India, I am sure that happens too but we don’t get to see the rate cards. The meaningful protests also end up being useless which is sad because I know of many who participate in all genuineness only to end up being faceless in the crowd of camera –hungry celebrities.

A bit of digression, recently, I was watching a talk show on ‘did Mumbai forget 26/11’ and people were debating why enough people did not turn up to vote in Mumbai despite the terror attacks. One journalist from the vernacular media rightly pointed out, we should not say that too often because it gives a feeling that we need terrorists to attack us to make us wake up and vote.

Indian forms of protests and reactions are quite unique when compared to the rest of the world. I do feel next time we decide to either protest or even react we should first get organized in our head. We should not misutilise our tool to protest so very often, we should ensure our reactions are followed up with further actions. Otherwise, meaningless people take advantage of us. My fear is these elections would be reflection of that in many places. However, who cares. One thing we Indians know the best – ‘Move on’.



  1. As an example of what Indian culture can give to the rest of the world, I found that demonstration embarrassing. Enough said.

    As for us Indians being good at ‘moving on’, should that be praised as a virtue or merely accepted as an inevitability – we cannot help moving on, or we’d be overwhelmed, and most of us have got to make a living from day to day, and God knows that is hard enough. Or is it something that deserves condemnation: no problem ever gets solved in this country simply because our leaders know they needn’t bother… the public will rave and rant for a few days, then move on!

  2. Tanmoy, when I read any political post I feel so frustrated. One can’t sum up what is becoming of this country. With each passing day, things are getting scarier. You don’t know if you return home safely and not consumed up by any rapist or… The list is endless. Journalist Soumya Vishwanathan was killed just like that. The person was showing his mates what a good shooter he was. And Saumya happened to be his target. A life gone. And Chief minister of Delhi has the guts to tell that the girl shouldn’t be adventurous…

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