09 July 2014

Villagers from Mahan Oppose Marking of Trees in the Forest by the officials of Essar © Vinit Gupta / Greenpeace


To get away from the madness of trawling through a never-ending stream of emails, debates on the implications of the looming threat of shutting down Greenpeace and answering endless inane questions from 'concerned' journalists on how foreign funded we are and where the money for our tea cups and teaspoons comes from; a bunch of us left office early. Fortified with packets of kodbale, rose cookies and samosas, ducking the unpredictable raindrops we headed to our neighbourhood Richmond Park.

We settled down in a grassy spot and for a while we stared at each other in silence. We were not quite sure why we were here, just happy to soak in the quiet moment. Couldn't help thinking if the things that we were fighting for – some clean air, forests to escape to – were they that complicated to comprehend? The onslaught on Greenpeace - threat calls, hate mail, fabricated charges, donations stopped almost seemed like bringing out the Indian army to bring down an anthill. Bit of overkill methinks!

Jai, one of our campaigners broke the silence and asked why we feel that this government is different from any other? Was it because we hold a minority view which became apparent after the elections that a large part of India wanted the dream of infrastructure growth and speedy clearances whatever are the consequences. Not really! We have always been the minority. The difference is that despite that we had a voice. People and governments did not like what we said, how we bore witness to crazy levels of destruction of forests, oceans and people's lives but they let us air our views and we often got heard, sometimes issues got debated and on occasion we were told we were right!

So we haven't been told what we are being held guilty for; we haven't been investigated; we haven't been told why our donations have been blocked; perhaps the answers will appear in tomorrow's paper!

Divya Raghunandan is the Program Director at Greenpeace India.