“Jeevanyatra: Diary” appeared in AID News, Sept 7, 2001
Jeevanyatra : Diary
Getting out of the bus, the otherwise shy and quiet 13 year old Kalsingh
from village Khedi affected by Mann dam shouted, “sarkar hamse darti hai!
police ko age karti hai!” the sparkle in his eyes reflected his own
surprise at the clarity of his statement ringing out into the air. In the
back of the bus waiting to get out, even I hardly knew that he was not
merely repeating a slogan, but speaking the truth. A force of police equal
to the number of children who had reached Delhi on the jeevanyatra which
left Kasaravad on 16th August, prevented the children from marching through
the streets to reach Mandi House where another group of children was
waiting for them.
– excerpt from my jeevanyatra journal, 24 August 2001
15 days together on the historic jeevanyatra from Kasaravad to Delhi and
back to the Valley were filled with many such memorable moments. Many of
the children have kept very detailed diaries of their experience. At any
given moment you could spot several children writing away. After a long day
of programs in various colleges followed by dancing in the late night at
JNU I spotted young Kalu Singh from village Gaman finding a spot of light
and writing in his diary.
These children are making history. Why not publish this, using excerpts
from the diaries, drawings photographs etc — add to the series of
textbooks published by Naramda Jeevanshala. It would also make a wonderful
gift to send to the president, as well as his secretary who met the
Mita (from VIMUKTI, also on the yatra) and I were thinking about this, and
our idea is to ask children who would like to have their journals excerpted
for this book to allow us to photocopy them. We will then select the
excerpts and fill in with relevant background info, etc, and publish as a
book written by them, the children themselves will be the authors.
Do you like this idea? Please share your suggestions. Right away, we need
volunteers who can read Marathi and a few volunteers for Hindi also.