Finally the fourth auto rickshaw agreed to go where we wanted to. Cubbon Park is right in the middle of the busy Bangalore city. It was Monday evening and everyone was in a hurry to get back home and we were in a hurry to reach the candlelight vigil at the park.
We spotted some hundred odd people, or rather hundred odd candles from a distance. The massive floodlights in the neighbouring, Chinnaswamy stadium did nothing to shadow these tiny flickers. A huge earth balloon formed the backdrop of the vigil and we quietly stood beside it. Soon someone passed us candles and placards and there we were, in the middle of a candlelight vigil against nuclear technology.
April 11th, the day on which the entire country came together for this candlelight vigil, was the National Day of Action against Nuclear energy.
Why April 11th? The day marks the one month anniversary of the three tragedies that struck Japan. While we stood in solidarity with the victims in Japan, we also wanted to tell our government that nuclear threatens our lives and we don’t want it. We would rather have renewable energy which is clean and safe.
A whole month of frantic phone calls, long hours of planning and several sleepless nights materialized into this vigil. While we were standing in Bangalore, many others were standing with us in Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Chennai, Chandigarh and even Tel Aviv to name a few. What started out as 11 cities became close to 22 cities and everyday a new name gets added to this list.
The gathering in Bangalore, like in all other cities, crossed all the age barriers. 60 year-olds to six months-olds, all came out to show their displeasure with nuclear. Senior anti-nuclear and environment activists like Shankar Sharma, Major General (Dr) S.G. Vombatkere, scientist MV Ramanna and Ananth Hegde of the Western Ghats Task Force were also present at the vigil. All of them spoke about the inherent dangers of nuclear power, the nuclear industry’s uncompetitive economics and India’s poor industrial safety record.
The huge globe with the anti-nuclear sign and the placards got in a lot of curious onlookers. Children especially, were amazed with the size of the globe and had to be kept away from exploring their curiosity. As the evening progressed, the group at the vigil decided to walk around the park to take the message to more people. Two big yellow banners saying saying no to nukes led the way as we did a small march around the park.
Before we realised, the National Day of Action against Nuclear energy was coming to a close. Everyone who attended the vigil went back with more reasons to say no to nuclear technology. Hope the government understands the danger and gets the message before it’s too late.
Images: © Selvaprakash Lakshmanan / Greenpeace