The March Against AFSPA

March at Jantar Mantar

Repeal AFSPA march at Jantar Mantar



A young Manipuri girl wearing a t-shirt in support of Irom Sharmila, an activist who went on a hunger strike in Nov 2000 as a means of protest.



A young student holding a painting of the ‘Iron Lady Of Manipur’. Mengoubi (fair one) as she is also known, has been released and re-arrested many times. She was arrested from Jantar Mantar in 2006.

AFSPA- Even a teenager in a Kashmir knows what AFSPA stands for. The Armed Forces Special Power Act meant nothing to this Dilli ka Girl. But the past few years that I’ve spent in Kashmir have made a dent on my psyche.  I am not  a supporter of the Kashmiri’s struggle for independence or of the Indian States instance on holding on to it. I claim myself a wanderer, a kind of observer; just reflecting. So this is me reflecting. How would we feel if our houses were searched without  warrants, we were arrested without warrants and once in a while our loved ones would just disappear- without us knowing whether they were dead or alive? Are we going to wish away  the collective anger of the people of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Kashmir; in the hope that it will have no repercussions on our coming generations?


A march was organised at  Jantar Mantar today, against AFSPA. A number of organisations  like-  Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, AIPWA, DSF, The Voices against 377 etc came together to mobilize the civil society. The pictures are from the March.



One of the few Kashmiri youth at the march. This is what he had to say to me-''You people just want our resources our land but not us.''

One of the few Kashmiri youth at the march. This is what he had to say to me-”You people just want our resources and our land but not us!”




Deepti Sharma from The Voices Against 377, has been supporting the cause since 2000.

Deepti Sharma from-The Voices Against 377, has been supporting the cause, since 2000.

Protesters at the March

Protesters at the March




'India mein bole ke stand up comic hein to sochte he ke bhand ho. In India you want to say I'm an accountant!'

Neeti Palta- ‘India mein bole ke stand up comic hein to sochte he ke bhand ho. In India you want to say I’m an accountant!’


            Neeti Palta

I can’t even imagine this one meditating. I’m sure she sits in a class pretending to do so, with one quip after another running through her mind jostling to come out! Well,  what else can we expect from Delhi’s, ‘funny girl’? But this, ”The men in my class aced it…. I guess the state of thoughtlessness came naturally to them.” This is Neeti Palta being polite! Now don’t get me wrong. All her bits are not just about men in general or Punjabi boys in particular. Neeti’s routine also comprises of her view on current affairs and Indian parents. If you’re an Indian woman: you’ll relate to her witty remarks about our lives. But if you’re a man, I just have one suggestion to make- as a precautionary measure don’t wear pointed shoes to any of Neeti Palta’s shows!

Excerpts from a chat with Neeti Palta – stand up comic and the screenwriter of the eagerly awaited Bollywood film, ‘O Teri’.                                                                                               

From an advertising job,to being touted as ‘the female stand up comic’ in Delhi – your journey has been quite transformative. After establishing Loony Goons and doing shows pan India; what was it like to be sent to Australia? How different was the experience at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which is considered to be the third largest comedy festival?                                           I had an amazing experience. It was the Melbourne Comedy Festival, after all. I had never seen such a festival forget being asked to be a part of one. There were orange flags everywhere. It’s the largest cultural event in Australia. There were so many wonderful shows at multiple venues. All kinds of comics were there- the stars as well as the non stars, local as well as international ones. I was just happy being there.

How did the Aussies receive you?                                                                                                                                                                 The finals were organised at the Townhall. The largest audience I have performed in front off. There were probably eighteen hundred to two thousand people. It was the full shebang with the opera balcony and all. Since the festival was nationally televised; after the show when I was traveling there were Aussies who told me that they had seen me on the tele. I was the inaugural winner at the festival. It’s so different there. During the festival I was wearing a batch which said participant. People appreciated the fact that I was a comic and a participant. India mein bole ke stand up comic hein to sochte he ke bhand ho. In India you want to say I’m an accountant!

So how did you manage to get your first big break in Bollywood with Salman Khan?                                                                      Umesh and I wrote the script of O Teri and thought that we should try to make this. So we approached Pulkit Samrat. At that time Fukrey hadn’t released. When he read the script he said he wanted to show it to ‘Bhai’. And suddenly I’m face to face with Salman Khan. I was quite calm about meeting him. He was shooting at the time but he still spent two hours with us. When he was leaving he called up his brother-in-law, Atul Agnihotri and just like that everything was decided. The shooting took place in Delhi. From a small budget film it became a medium budget film. Salman Khan even gave a press release. Now we are just looking forward to the release!

© Saadiya Kochar 2014