Amid closed shops at Ahmedabad’s New Cloth Market, around 5,000 textile traders and workers gathered on Tuesday afternoon to protest against the GST, not by shouting slogans, but by hearing satirical poems. At the Hasya Kavi Sammelan, organised by city traders, most of the jokes were aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as poets like Ajatshatru from Udaipur, Atul Jhala from Indore, Manoj Arya and Dimple Ananya from Ahmedabad, Ekta Arya from Aligarh and Irfan Alvi took to the podium.
“Mandi ne mandee karvai GST ki laathi ne, Modiji Gujarat ka gaurav ho, tumne kyun bhula dia. Apno main izzat lutvaadi GST ki laathi ne…ek babaji ko tumne acha vyapari bana dia. Aur jitne vyapari hai unko babaji kar doge, GST ki sharte saari kaatil hai, hatyare hain (The markets are down due to GST stick, Modiji why did you forget you are Gujarat’s pride. We have lost respect among our own due to GST stick. You made a businessman out of a spiritual guru, and now you will make all the traders monk. GST’s conditions are killers),” sang Ajatshatru amidst raucous applause.
Veiled references to Baba Ramdev, BJP patriarch L K Advani and tycoon Vijay Mallya drew most laughs as poets touched upon various issues. Though their poems were received well, several poets said that they were given just one day’s notice to attend the event. “We (poets) will ensure that your voices are heard in the deaf ears of Delhi. All these poets are here to make you people laugh, as the government is there to make you cry,” said Ajatshatru.
As the kavi sammelan wrapped up, traders geared up for another protest event — a ‘musical night’ to sing songs against GST— before they hold a protest march on Saturday.