July 21, 2012 marked the 125th day of my and Pushparayan’s self-exile here at Idinthakarai. We have not gone out of this coastal village for more than four months now except two brief visits to the neighboring Kuthenkuzhi village by sea. Rayan and I live in a quarter kilometer radius area. The southern border is the Bay of Bengal and the northern limit is the Lourde’s hospital. But most of the days, we walk only a few meters from the Parish Priest’s Bungalow to the relay fast staged on the front porch of the St. Lourdes Church and back.
All our comrades who were arrested and lodged in the jails of Cuddalore, Nanguneri and Tiruchirappalli have come back and resumed their routine life. Even Muhilan and Satish who were hounded and harassed by the Tamil Nadu police are out of jails now. But Rayan and I are still in. There are more than 270 cases against me and Rayan and I am the A1 (Accused 1) in almost all these cases. There are several ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the Indian State’ cases against us. If we go out of Idinthakarai, we could be arrested; even worse, our struggle could be ended by the authorities.
Ever since March 19, 2012, when the Tamil Nadu government changed its stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) issue, we have been protected by the people, mostly women and children. They come in thousands and sleep around the Parish Priest’s Bungalow where Rayan and I stay and sleep. The youth of the village sleep on the outskirts of the village and keep vigil throughout night, and so do our women by going on incessant patrol around the Bungalow and the Church throughout night. Families from the neighboring villages such as Koodankulam also come for this security duty.
No chair, no position, no honor, and no title can be more gratifying and delightful than this spontaneous love and affection of the honest and hard-working men, women and children of our villages.
Of course, Rayan and I miss our families. We would love to go home and be with them and live our simple lives as we have always done. But here are thousands and thousands of families that are fighting for the well-being of the Tamil people and the rest of India. It is a real pleasure and sheer privilege to be the “servant leaders” of these struggling people who are making enormous sacrifice to preserve the natural resources, livelihood, and the futures of our people. I, for one, have no doubt whatsoever that these “ordinary citizens” will set in motion an extraordinary history for our Tamil Nadu and India.
(The article was first published in the DiaNuke)