January 21, 2005

The unsung heroes – DYFI and SFI

I persuaded myself really hard before I took the final decision to leave to cuddalore to help the tsunami victims. I called up AID-India many times to find out about my vaccination, food, accommodation and bugged them with every other possible question. I felt proud of myself and the feeling of becoming another mahatma was on the rise, only until I reached the place.

The volunteers of DYFI (democratic youth federation of India) blew the feeling that was budding in me. These guys have been working in the camps for over a month now without any remuneration. Some of them are on a loss of pay and the others are on a long leave.

Whenever I got an opportunity to talk to the volunteers (mostly at night), I tried to reason the force that drove them this far. I had a good chat with Mr. Sudhakaran (joint-secretary) while we were on our way to Chidambaram to buy note books for the kids. He is an ITI degree holder who had many offers from dubai and Saudi which he refused; he believes in working for the people.

Mr.vanchinathan (in-charge of the camp) narrated an incident in which moved me very much. Hundreds of unemployed youth gathered in an open ground hoping to be selected into the military for 180 vacant posts, some of them were engineers and science graduates. The crowd which became unmanageable was lathi-charged which left many wounded. Those who were selected had the shock of their life when they came to know what they were selected for- they were to be the barbers in the military camps. Mr. Vanchi felt the need for an organisation which would back the unemployed youth in the country against such insults.

DYFI and SFI (student federation of India) are the real heroes doing real work for tsunami relief. This post will therefore not contain any photos, showing me playing with children or doing some relief work.

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