Dharnai called on Mahan yesterday. A bird tweeted this morning and so I know. The bird, if you must know was visited by her relative in Mahan. She was flying down and overheard the one wave in the wind carrying the conversation.

The conversation went like this.

Dharnai: How are you Mahan?

Mahan: I am fine. My trees are safe. They have been happy for some time now. We have happy villagers coming to us now talking excitedly that this year was not the last year for Mahua collection after all. We really fought hard. They come here every day to collect firewood, for pasture for their animals. How are you doing?

Dharnai: I have been good. After a long time I saw children study by their solar lights at night. Happy faces. However, I have a feeling this might get a big blow after what I heard is happening to Greenpeace.

Mahan: I know. Greenpeace was there with the villagers when some people thought they should do away with my trees to dig out coal. They campaigned hand in hand and now no one will be mining this place after all. However, I wonder if the coal would do anyone any good.

Dharnai: I did not need coal to light up our village. The power of the sun did it. I heard Singrauli has many coal mines apparently to electrify our country and yet I was dark for so many years. Kids used to complain about not getting to finish their studies after dark. It used to get so lonely after the sun set. But then I saw electricity come here powered by the sun. Now the village does not shut down after dark. I like the smile in my people.

Mahan: So what do they need the coal for?


24 July 2014

Dharnai © Greenpeace India


Don’t ask how I understood what the bird said. A lot of people who read this won’t believe. This group of people wouldn’t believe anyways. Reasoning with them does not help from what I have observed. So believers just believe. Faith can move mountains and at this moment Greenpeace needs supporters who understand why Mahan and Dharnai had the conversation. Singrauli bore the brunt of coal mining in the name of development. Dharnai on the other hand remained dark all these years even as Mahan was planned to be mined. What equation of development are we talking about? 

Pow Aim Hailowng is a volunteer at Greenpeace India