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CHALO UDUPI: The buzz and the vibe at Udupi


Thousands flocked to Udupi in the sea of blue, with Blue flags encompassing the whole city to witness a historic event. Under the patronage of more than 160 organisations, “Udupi chalo”- themed FOOD my choice, Land my right, was given green signal by Jignesh Mewani- the leader of Una chalo movement: The march for “DIGNITY”.   It received massive support with people from all over Karnataka who joined  in the cry and slogan of “UDUPI CHALO”. People joined in from every nook and corner of the state, be it Gulbarga, Kollar ,Raichur , Shimoga and everywhere.

Jignesh Mewani in his presidential address said this coalition and unity of Dalits, OBCS and minorities is the need of the hour and  it is time to run shoulder to shoulder with the vision of Dr Ambedkar towards the rights of the oppressed and the prosperity of the nation. He said after shaking up the national Hindutva laboratory, Gujarat, chalo Udupi is an effort to shake up another lab of Hindutva which is in Udupi. He said the Una inspired movement should gain traction and must mobilize the entire nation in this struggle. He gave a brief account of Una movement, that it was launched in the backdrop of victimization of Dalit for consuming beef and skinning the dead carcasses and that the people realized to  launch the movement.

He said that they have decided that the Dalits will give up manual scavenging activities and gutter cleaning activities and live dignified lives. He then ripped apart the Gujarat development model, citing the facts that  untouchability still exists in Gujarat. He said PM Modi talks about his reverence to Ambedkar , but he has never visited a single Dalit victim family, and this clearly shows his hypocrisy. He said Una movement is a struggle for existence and dignity and the slogan  “gai ki poonch tum rakhi, hame apna zameen do” (Keep the cow’s tails and give us our lands) signifies the demand of the historically deprived Dalits to access the land which has been long denied to them. He further said caste system must be dismantled, which is the root of all problems, which is feudal in design and breeds inequality and oppression. He paid tribute to Rohith Vemula by remarking that  he is alive in each and every one of us. He gave two point agenda for Udupi chalo movement;  get land back and enter the Asthamatha of Udupi, where access has been denied to Dalits.

The Udupi chalo movement was launched on 4th October at Freedom Park Bangalore and it was concluded in Udupi. The theme of the movement was “Food is my choice, land my right”. It was fight against the pseudo nationalism, and condemnation of incidents of lynching for consuming meet etc. The other point being the land which is not distributed by the government. This was the dual agenda.

Concluding programme of the Chalo Udupi movement began at 10:30 am at  Ajjarkadu, Udupi with the talk of  famous social activist Lakshmi Narayan, in the gathering of thousands. Then there was street play on the theme of the campaign. It was followed by mass rally to the `Beddingudde ground, a walk of 3.4 km . The rally was gigantic, with people from across the state, with unique cultures on display, through their folk instruments and drums. Then at around 1 pm , the gathering reached the ground after having food the programme started at around 2 pm. Representatives from various organisations were seated on the stage.