Monday, May 26, 2008

the way of the thumb and the boot

I got to know both of the above in the last few days.

I studied the way of the thumb by hitchhiking around the state a lot the last few weeks. However, I wrote more about hitchhiking in my column this week for my hometown paper. I'll post the column once it's published there so I don't ruin it for my Lititz readers.

I learned about the way of the boot when I received a "Quit India" notice from police a few days ago. And I quote (read carefully): "I have reason's for my satisfaction that you, EP, has violated visa rules as you are on tourist visa but participating in religious activity 'Tibetan Shanti March'. I Foreigner's RegistrationOfficer DisttPithgoragarh, Uttrakhand (India) hereby order you to leave India within 7 days from the date of receipt of this notice. If you will not adhere of this order's you will be liable under 14 Foreigners Act."

I decided that the 14 Foreigners Act sounded like a Chinese play but Goligorsky thought "a challenging martial arts/karma sutra move." In either case, I quoted the text of the notice to highlight it's haphazard and thrown together appearance. I am almost positive that the police used this notice as a scare tactic to get the foreigners off the march. At this camp, for the first time, the police focused on the foreigners instead of the marchers. They simply wanted us gone.

I understand their concern. This march has no upsides for the local police who must be getting immense pressure from an embarrassed Indian Central Government. If the arrests go perfectly, nothing happens to the police. If anybody gets hurt or more than minimal press coverage occurs for some reason, the police will have their balls on the chopping block. They have been much more intense with a feeling of stress. However, I still dislike them strongly. The plant obvious undercover police to pose as journalists and have officers in camp constantly filming everything. They will arrest anyone who takes their picture and only with great prodding will show identification. I know that in stopping this march, they are only obeying orders but that's the worst excuse in the book.

As for my situation, the march organizers told me to clear out and lay low in Nainital. Luckily, I have some friends here to help pass the time and a bookstore with an eclectic collection of books. I don't think this order will go any farther than the state police and will not be distributed across this country. I have never been wrong when betting on the inefficiency of the Indian bureaucracy. I should be able to leave the country with no problem when I go to Indonesia with the family in mid-June. Until then, I wait.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why don't you challenge the Quit-India order in courts? The Times of India carried this story and quoted legal experts who denounced this order as illegal (

Btw, the Indian bureaucracy is inefficient, but don't terribly underestimate it. If you don't challenge the order & are caught later, then it is possible you may end up spending a few months in jail! What you are thinking to do is risky.

I will check your blog later again to see if you change your mind.