Posted by: Prem Piyush | September 26, 2005

The Sound of Silence


Yesterday morning, sipping the Darjeeling tea in the Netaji Cabin, again I saw another rally passing by the road. The rallies are common site in Siliguri, the down town of Darjeeling. Usually Bengalis are very adept with carrying out processions for their demand. The leader shouts and the followers mostly repeat last few words. The processions are carried in long queues. It also has a significant number of ladies too, which may be ostentatious display of equality or just a passive mass. Of course the bhadralok (gentleman) as well as bhadramohila (gentlewomen) voices become loud when it’s congregated.

But yesterday, the congregation of protesters was not even mewing, which surprised me. Like any other roadside person, I could not deliberately read about the demands on the moving placard at the first glance. The placard holders were mostly school level students. Soon I got clear when I saw the madams walking in between two queues were talking with the students in symbolic languages.

It was “the rally of deaf and dumb”

This integral part of society which has limited means of communication needed to bring out a rally, to make their voices be heard, was an uncomfortable shock to me.

The diplomats, who are already deaf and dumb towards the common man problems, that’s why they use blare of loudspeakers and thumps of punches in air in the processions. Their action can be justified to open up the earplugs and beam into sunglasses of languid officials, it’s okay. For that particular rally, neither shall I like pontification on my side, nor unctuous sympathy on their handicap. But I wonder, whether those deaf and dumb officials turn blind too and avoid seeing the speaking placards, which have basic demands of human rights.

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