Have you ever thought a 7-year-old could protest all alone for a cause? Meet Aakash, a Class 2 student who sat near a TASMAC shop in Padur holding a banner “Kudiyai vidu, padikka vidu” (Reject liquor, allow us to study) on Wednesday. From around noon, Akash sat there for more than three hours, and protested against the liquor shop.
Thanks to his efforts, the police personnel shut the liquor shop for two hours, and later, the Tehsildar and Village Administrative Officer (VAO) promised to talk to the higher officials and close the TASMAC shop.
Narrating the incident, Aakash told The News Minute, “I was sitting there and reading a book when the police personnel told me to leave the place, they asked me to go read the book in my school. They also said that I have a long life to protest, now I should go to school and study.”
“I refused to move from there, after which they closed the shop for two hours,” he said.
The locals had been protesting for a month against opening a TASMAC shop in the area, but against their will, a shop was opened a week ago.
“The shop was situated near the only public toilet in that area. There is a Dalit colony nearby, and everyone from the colony uses this one toilet. The lake is also near the TASMAC shop, and women often come there to collect drinking water. After the TASMAC shop was opened, it has been difficult for women to come and collect water,”said Anandan, Aakash’s father.
“It’s also been difficult for children to go to school from that road,” he added.
So why did Aakash decide to protest? “I saw many newspapers and TV channels, many people are suffering because of this, so I thought I should do something about it,” said Aakash.
Since the age of five, Aakash has been protesting for various issues. “He first started protesting for people to wear helmets, and then to uproot Karuvelam trees, and now against wine shops. We never told him that he is too young to protest, we allowed him to do whatever he wanted,” said Anandan.
“I will continue to protest whenever I find an issue,” said Aakash. When asked what he wants to become when he grows up, “I want to become an IAS officer and help people in the society,” he said.