Friday, October 9, 2009

Wanna demand somethin in democracy?

Aug 08: Anandvadi a village of about 90 families located on banks of Manjra river, just 22 kms from Latur, hometown of then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. Construction of Dongargaon dam is in progress downstream Manjra. It will be ready for next monsoon and 650 hactare land will go under water. Government has fixed the rate of the land at Rs. 1.19 lakh per ha. People are furious as this is equal to their annual income.

Sept 08: People approach CM who assures that the state has lots of funds and people from his district need not worry. Relieved people come back only to find through newspapers that the rate has not been increases by a penny. People are completely on their own as no help is expected from any of the political parties. They are desperately searching for a leader who will guide them. Some computer freak gives them contact of a person called Dr. Bharat Patankar.

1 Oct 08: Kasegaon located between Karad and Kolhapur. People meet Doctorsaheb, their new hope. The question putforth is straighforward; what do you want, money or land? People are taken a back as they had never heard of land against land, which by the way is 'official' government policy. The answer was also stright... land. A gathering of all people from 28 surrounding affected villages is scheduled for 26 Oct.

02-21 Oct: Keshav Patil, Rajendra Chame, and Nagmode Guruji travel across the district to inform people about the fight they have started and to urge them to join in. In all there are 28 villages which are going to be affected by Dongargaon and Dhanegaon dams.

22 Oct 08: Residents of Anandvadi are enthralled by the devotion shown by their neighbors and the responsibility their village needs to take. Contributions are made at Rs 200-300 per acre and funds of abt 70,000 are collected, everything voluntary.

26 Oct 08: Three thousand people from 28 villages have voluntarily gathered at Anandvadi, where locals have excellent arrangements. Doctorsaheb is amazed to see what few people from Anandvadi have managed in three weeks; getting together 28 villages was a feet in itself. People unanimously decide to stop the construction until they are relocated.

20 Nov 08: 2000 people are marching towards the Dongargaon dam; the only principle they are going to follow, as told by Doctorsaheb, is no misdeeds of any kind irrespective of how the administration reacts. The engineer in charge at the site is horrified. The demand putforth to him is straight; stop the work untill then we'll be doing bhajan, kirtan, and haripath at the site! He has no choice but to agree.

21 Nov 08: Same story is repeated at nearby site of Dhanegaon dam.

26 Nov 08: The nation is shaken by the terrorist attacks on its financial capital.

29 Nov 08: CM Vilasrao Deshmukh visits battleground along with Ramu; within few hours the future of the state govt turns hazy.

30 Nov 08: As decided, representatives from 28 villages inform Latur police about the 'Thiyya Andolan' they'll be having from tomorrow in front of collector office, for their demand to issue official order to stop dam construction till a detail plan for their relocation is submitted. The police expecting protestors, assign a constable to handle the matter.

01 Dec 08: 5000 people are heading towards latur with enough supplies for at least a week and determination not to come back without what they are demanding for. First meeting with the collector ends on a bad note as the collector is not acknoledging the demands. Now, the protestors say, we'll only talk to CM. Collector tries to persuade them till late night, needless to say with no avail.

02 Dec 08: Local politicians are now coming to help protestors. The reaction, however, is clear: no politics here, we are here for our demands. Some try to lure people with foodstuff, probably unaware that almost every family there holds few acres of land.
At night as the state governent is about to fall, protestors agree to talk with top officials. Poor babus try every trick from playing with words to disturbing the talks by inserting few drunkards in protestors. Finally as protestors show immense patience and determination, they are left with no choice but accept demands word by word.
Official order is issued.

03 DeC 08: CM resigns.

To be continued....


  1. Hmm..Interesting! Waiting for the next part :-)

  2. Nice. Where did u gather the details from?

  3. अरे,
    पुढचं लिही ना...

  4. @Piyush
    I had gone to this village... listening to the story from the people who actually did this was an experience in itself