Saahas at United for Change, MumbaiWritten by Sushant Bali
Yesterday, I got the real taste of ‘the spirit of Mumbai’. Most often this phrase is associated to events when there is a mishap and the next day people travel as usual to their workplace or continue with their chores. Do you really call this as spirit?
Yesterday, Saturday the 30th of March 2019, from 4:30 pm at Marine Drive, people from all walks of life and all parts of Mumbai started gathering and holding hands with each other forming a Human Chain. I met doctors, fisher folks, school children, tribal folk, animators, garbage collectors, managers, teachers, government officials, lawyers, media professionals, college goers, scientists, celebs, environmentalists, artists, drivers and many many more. Even really sweet little angels were part of this Human Chain. Why were they all here? Not for spending their weekends at Chowpaati of course. They were all here to stand for the ‘Ecology of Mumbai’ which is been under attack from multiple directions in last 3-4 years. There were around 1500 people out there for nothing but ‘Environment’. This is the real ‘Spirit of Mumbai’!
So what were their demands and who were they addressing? It has been seen that over centuries the citizens elect their representatives who are expected to take forward the citizens’ demands and work towards them. But unfortunately as soon the representatives are elected they forget the real demands of citizens and they start pushing the party’s agenda. Sadly the projects under party’s agendas have been seen destroying the basic rights of citizens over natural resources. Because of this giant clash which was of course moving against democracy United for Change a citizen’s collective was formed. United for Change further then listed out environmental demands from each local areas of Mumbai. Now, citizens of Mumbai wish all political parties participating in the Lok Sabha Elections to be held on April 19th, to have an ‘Environmental Manifesto’ which would fulfil all these environmental demands of Mumbai. Yesterday was a peaceful display of these demands.
To list out a few demands,
1. No further destruction of trees around the city
2. Improvement of air quality index of Mumbai
3. Protection of last forests of Mumbai
4. Implementing of one-time use Plastic Ban in real
5. Protection of wetlands, rivers, lakes, coasts and all natural resources
6. Making composting of wet waste mandatory for all and recycling of dry waste
7. Protection of wildlife, their habitats and animal rights
8. All new construction projects to be planned considering natural resources without causing any harm to it
9. Open areas and parks for children and senior citizens
10. Chemical free food
11. Protection of indigenous people of Mumbai like Warli Tribal (Adivasi’s) and Fisher Folks (Koli)
Many such practical concerns were put forward which needs immediate attention. It was clear that if any party doesn’t have ‘environmental manifesto’ that party will not get Mumbaikars’ votes. I suddenly remembered how my friend had related this Green Movement with the ‘Free India Movement’ during the British rule.
Coming back to the Human Chain, even people having physical disability had travelled from far for this event.
As a matter of fact, even the policemen were really warm with the people displaying their demands. They were all soft-spoken and let people continue with the event for around 2 hours. Post that they requested to disperse as it was against the orders considering nearing elections.
I am proud to be a Mumbaikar and salute to the real ‘Spirit of Mumbai’. Mumbaikars have taken the reins in their hands now.
Wish, whoever has not been a part of this movement, to soon get UNITED FOR CHANGE! Achche din ab door nahi...
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