Saturday, April 9, 2011
She sat in comfortable silence. Her eyes darted to her left as the questions came, long and tenuous, from the moderator. A still posture, an observant face and an almost placid, almost knowing smile - her patience and her greying wisdom weighed upon her arms as they rested on her lap, fingers meshed, head bent slightly downward. When she spoke, her voice echoed the sharp, incisive diction that must have been hers when she first expressed an act of dissent against the status quo nearly thirty years ago, when she gave up a government job to live in a village in the hinterland of Rajasthan, idealistic and hopeful in a way that only the voice of a doubting, self-apprising humanist can be. Her crisp and powerful thoughts seemed to emanate from the wisdom of experience, from the power of humility and the reinvigorating certainty of hope. "Every law, every piece of legislation that serves the people, that strengthens those who are truly oppressed, must be wrenched out of the hands of the government - for in their ignorance, they know nothing of the lives that people lead." "When I am with our people, when I live amongst them in the village, amidst our daily battles, I find hope and the strength to fight. It in here in Delhi that my hopes are depleted." "I cannot be a cynic, I cannot give in to cynicism, for if I do, I shall have to live at home and do nothing - and that is a life I cannot lead."