A lot of rage, a little Rang De
Reportage: Lindsay Pereira
Photographs: Sondeep Shankar, Dijeswhar Singh/Saab Pictures, Getty Images
May 24, 9 pm: Cynicism
As the car weaves through busy Delhi traffic on its way to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, two radio jockeys on the RedFM radio station come on air. They have a joke about the quota system they want to share with listeners. The driver accompanying me stares straight ahead, expressionless. He has heard a lot of this over the past few weeks.
When we arrive, all is quiet at the institute. I walk past waiting patients to the quadrangle at the heart of AIIMS, where striking doctors prepare to go hungry for another night. There are candles all around, remnants of a quiet vigil from an hour ago. Little groups of students huddle everywhere, some on benches, others stretched out on red carpets in the centre of the ground. Around them, strung up everywhere, are banners.
There's a joke painted on one. It's about Manmohan Singh telling George W Bush of a plan to send Indians to the moon next year. "How many," asks Bush. "100," Singh replies. "25 OBCs, 20 SCs, 15 STs, 5 handicapped, 5 sports personnel, 2 Kashmiri migrants, 8 politicians, 18 generals and, if possible, 2 astronauts."
Another poster reads: "I am leaving for the US. I was disowned by my own country."
Also See: At Ground Zero of the quota protests