Monday, Sep 23, 2019 | Last Update : 06:50 PM IST

First Brexit, next climate: Will London be the world’s new ‘dharna capital’?

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Apr 29, 2019, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Apr 29, 2019, 12:05 am IST

The movement has received £ 200,000 in the last week alone by way of donations.

Some activists hope to contest in the forthcoming elections for European Parliament ,which will be held if Parliament has not passed the Brexit Deal by mid May. 
 Some activists hope to contest in the forthcoming elections for European Parliament ,which will be held if Parliament has not passed the Brexit Deal by mid May. 

After the protests over Brexit, comes the deluge of more protests over the environment . Will London become the “Dharna Capital” of the world ? ( I remember the time when Kolkata had that honour .) The biggestnews in London over Easter holidays and last week  has been the huge display of public concern about Climate Change and the failure of political parties to take it seriously. Ordinary citizens of all ages have converged on London to show their concern, courting police displeasure, getting arrested with pride . Over a thousand have been arrested over the week. It is like Satyagraha twenty first century. Extinction Rebellion has been holding up traffic across London for a fortnight now. People are lying down on the roads or blocking busy streets, demonstrating outside famous banks and international financial giants like  Goldman Sachs. They glued themselves to the London Stock Exchange Banners saying Business As  Usual Is  Death were hung over Trains at Canary Wharf. Police have been stretched to the limits of their capacity and patience dealing with the disruption. One policeman joined in by getting on a skate board displaying his extra curricular skills while demonstrators were holding up traffic across Waterloo Bridge by having a sit down. He  was suspended. Support increased since the protest built up since Easter holidays. The movement has received £ 200,000 in the last week alone by way of donations. Some activists hope to contest in the forthcoming elections for European Parliament ,which will be held if Parliament has not passed the Brexit Deal by mid May.

School children have been particularly concerned about the issue: they have twice demonstrated in the last six months to show their fears over Climate Change and their own future. This has been unusual — and it shows that there is a careful effort to educate the young. This  time people from round the country have converged on London to show by their disruption the urgency of the issue. Unlike in India where we are bringing up our children to be consumers without a climate change consciousness, this movement among children has taken root. But as long as consumerism persists, young people are not going to be able to totally change their lifestyles. Packaging is what contributes the most to climate change —and it is packaging—more and more plastic or metal —which attracts the young to buy. All of us tend to pick up ready packed
juices and sandwiches every day—all of it adds to climate change . The  movement held a big rally over Friday in Hyde Park to mark  a pause. This is the largest demonstration lasting several days which has made a political impact in the last twenty years. They demand to be told the truth about climate cha ge, zero emissions by 2025 and Citizens Assembly to discuss and advise the government.

Banksy has a new mural he has managed to draw near Marble Arch portraying a girl holding up a banner supporting the Extinction Rebellion. “From this moment despair ends and tactics begin,”

Why are ships referred to as ‘She’ ? Is this gender bias ?  For a while Hurricanes had female names. So is this what we women are thought to be , still—wild and uncontrollable ? Hmmmm… Scottish Maritime  Museum  has launched a debate which is catching on.  Naval officers such as Admiral West think this is wrong. They say sailors  have always referred to the ship they sail in as female because it is like a mother who protects. This tradition has been popular since the fourteenth century.After all we say Mother Nature or Mother Earth . Why not Mother Ship ? By the way, — I know plenty of people who call their cars and motorcycles by female names, this was and is definitely sexist. And much of the “female” innuendo was not exactly maternal…

London has always been well known for its exhibitions and museums. Mainly because many of the ideas influencing the world, in cinema, fashion , music or lifestyle emanated from here. Now the Design Museum has mounted an exhibition on the work of the iconic film director Stanley Kubrick who made the famous horror film The Shining, 2001 Space Odyssey and Clockwork Orange. It shows his obsessive concern for getting exactly the locations he wanted and the set designs and costumes . One will never forget that his film, Clockwork Orange, was so alarmingly prescient in many ways.   The exhibitions have often been avant garde — precursors to others in other countries . The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum had an exhibition a while back on the youth rebellion in the 1960’s. Now Melbourne Museum has mounted a similar exhibition. The white fur coat that John Lennon wore on the cover of Sergeant Pepper has had to be transported to Melbourne. It had to be treated like a super VIP so it did not stretch or shrink during the journey. It required special packaging which exactly fitted its size. All so that the four Beatles statues can be displayed exactly as they were on the record album . Lucky Melbourne.

Tags: brexit, london stock exchange