Gorakhpur has its own take on I-Day - puts its views on canvas

August 15th, 2008 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Aug 15 (IANS) As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reeled off his government’s achievements and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati talked of her own deeds in their Independence Day speeches Friday, people of Gorakhpur city celebrated the day in a unique way. Citizens of Gorakhpur, 300 km from state capital Lucknow, were busy scribbling away their views on independence, the country, politicians and life in general on a 40-metre-long canvas put up at a crossroad in Gholghar area of the city.

The canvas called ‘Abhivyakti’ (expression) is put up on the eve of every Independence Day for the last 17 years by a group of city residents who call themselves Sankalp.

The group comprises people from all walks of life - rights activists, doctors, journalists and lawyers.

“Maun hi munasib (keeping quiet is better),” wrote local journalist Sanjay on the canvas.

Abdul Arhan, a student, had a more personal issue to air. His message read: “Kya mera course kahi kam hoga, kya mujhe khelne ka time mil payega? “(Will my study burden reduce to give me time to play?)”

“There were some 800 messages written on the canvas till afternoon and more were being written,” Narendra Mishra of Sankalp told IANS.

“We started this as a concerned citizens’ group but over the years the common people joined the initiative, including me, though I am from Lucknow,” said Utkarsh Sinha of voluntary organisation Centre for Contemporary Studies.

And there were some hate messages scribbled too for politicians, including one for the prime minister.

“I love India but hate the prime minister of India,” read a line by Dinesh.

Another by an anonymous citizen held forth on the country’s character - “To talk of nation building without national character is nothing less than betrayal.”

One person had a comment on illegal sex determination tests that were leading to female foeticide. “Ling batane se kare tauba, beti janma lene ka de mauka (say no to sex determination tests, please give a chance to a girl’s birth),” wrote Rajnish Kumar, a rights activist.

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