Wednesday, February 07, 2007
"Urulu Seve" - a unique form of protest
There has been a simmering conflict between the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the distribution of water from the Cauvery river for several years. A tribunal was set up to analyze the situation and deliver a verdict regarding water allocation to the states that depend on the river. Last week the tribunal issues a verdict which favored the state of Tamil Nadu.
Bangalore was tense and security measures were put in place for riot control. The day the verdict came out, schools and offices shut down early and folks hurried back to the safety of their homes in anticipation of trouble in the city. Malls and buildings covered themselves with large safety nets to protect themselves from a potential hail of rocks and stones. Tens of thousands of police and security personnel were deployed in various parts of the city. I was one of the last guys to leave the office and it was amazing to see the city and the roads reasonably empty.
Things seemed to be under control and no major rioting took place. But protests and debate continues. A bandh (the city shuts down) was declared for today but has been postponed to Monday because there is a prestigious air show in progress. The most fascinating form of protest was conducted by Mr. Narayana Gowda, the leader of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (political party). He performed "urulu seve"! This involves people rolling on the ground over quite a distance for some time. I am attaching a photo for those who are having a hard time getting a visual on this!