07 July 2014

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

 

Should we become thugs in order to deal with bullies? It is a question that I have been struggling with for the past few days. Today Greenpeace is being bullied. The kind of baseless allegations and rhetoric that some media outlets as well as some much respected dignitaries have made on Greenpeace, has made me ask this question. I share the same beliefs that Greenpeace does. A belief of hope for our planet, a belief that we as a species are capable of saving our planet from complete and total destruction, belief that when I die, I will leave a better world for my children to live in, a belief in democracy and power of the silenced voices.

How should I deal with being called anti-national?

How should I deal with being called anti-development?

How should I deal with being called a foreign puppet?

Should I be a thug and act like these bullies? Fight back? Give in? Use force? Should I start calling them names too? Would that make me feel better about myself? Is becoming a thug to bullies even an answer?

I am angry today. I am angry because I was quiet during this injustice. I belong to the nation whose conception has been on the very tenant of civil disobedience and non-violence. A belief so powerful that crumbled the mighty commonwealth and I was still quiet.

I had to speak up. This is me speaking up in my own way. I don't just believe in non-violence and our right to dissent. I don't have to believe in it. I see evidence everywhere of how it works. And I see that we, ordinary people, can do what Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi and Mandela did if we speak up.

All we need to do is speak up. I just did.

Will you?

Nagesh Anand is a Public Engagement Campaigner with Greenpeace India.