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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

12 years,1 strike,1 goal: more power to the poor

Rama Indra Kumar sits against the wall on the protest street,surrounded by people who listen to him talk about his vision for a socialist world order — hooked and completely mesmerised.

Written by Chinki Sinha | New Delhi |
March 25, 2009 12:38:18 am

Rama Indra Kumar sits against the wall on the protest street,surrounded by people who listen to him talk about his vision for a socialist world order — hooked and completely mesmerised. At the same time,though,they also realise it is futile.

It has been 12 years now that Kumar has been on a hunger strike. At first he had camped near the Boat Club but he has sat in this spot since the time the government moved the protest spot to the back street near Jantar Mantar in 1993. A native of Bihar,Kumar says he was a research associate at the Jawaharlal Nehru University but through the course realised that he needed to get his voice heard.

“There was too much wrong with the world,” he says. “There was nothing for the poor people — the workers,the common man had no hope.”

For the 55-year-old,it is mostly a lost cause,and he admits it too. But he will sit until he dies at the spot,he stresses. As a child born into a poor family,Kumar says he always questioned why some people were so poor that they had to almost starve,while others had summer houses and could buy everything. “I was always seeking answers,and then I decided to go on a hunger strike,” he says. “If nothing else,people will at least know I did it for them,for their cause.”

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Dark hollows now sitting permanently under his eyes,Kumar takes every opportunity he can manage to lash out at the government — he says it is run by corporates and pseudo-Leftists who claim to follow Jayaprakash Narayan’s (JP) philosophy but have amassed wealth while in office. “Look at the education system in Delhi — the fees are so high! How can the poor send their children to schools? There should be at least 50 per cent reservation for the poor.”

Fellow protestors respect Kumar’s zeal — he is known as the “long-timer” to everyone. In evenings,they crowd around him while he speaks of causes dear to his heart,including a free Tibet. But almost all of them know the man’s passion isn’t going to pay off.

As one protestor says,the idealism is admirable,almost awe-inspiring,but socialism is a distant dream in these globalised and free-market days.

For Kumar,though,all ills of the world have just one solution: a socialistic order.

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