An Open Letter

Nizara Phukon

An Open Letter to his Excellency, the President of India.
The honourable President of India.
Sir, first let me introduce myself. I, Nizara Phukon, an Assamese girl, who loves nature and responsible for environment. After greening my home and home-garden, with the hope of greening the whole country and embedding awareness among people, done a Foot March.
“Protecting Nature is Protecting Our Country.”
“Save Nature for Our Future.” with these words started a foot march on 1st Dec, 2019 for a distance of 2250 km, which took me 70 days in completion from Charaideo Maidam, Assam to Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.
Everyday my walk starts at 6.30-7 am in the morning and ends at 5.30-6.30 in the evening.
I have endured Sun. Endured rain. Encountered the roads filled with dusty storm. And monotonic horns of the humdrum roadways.
The country was unstable that time. People were protesting against CAB, NRC and CAA in every nook and corner of the country. Assam was also burning during those days. I have to halt my walk for 7 days in Nagaon, Assam. Resumed my walk on 8th day. Reached Guwahati, again the anti CAA protest halted me for another 7 days. However, on the 8th day restart the walk.
In this country, neither children nor old women were spared from rape, murder and from other heinous crime. However, I kept walking alone, with full faith in me and myself.
Police gave me escort in my journey. Some policeman even misbehaved with me. I have fought and argued with those misogynists; I was my own protector.
Sometimes the long patches of the highways are only covered by open fields. There were no hotels for 10-15 km and walked for 35/36 km without food.
I was full of mental strength to continue for the same distance, even while menstruating.
When there were no toilets, hotels and dwelling to urinate in the highways, I used to pee in the open and sometimes cry in stomach pain.
In some of the nights, I was tortured by women police. After a struggle and agitation would  succumb to sleep without a blanket in the chilling winter of January.
Some nights are passed just by having maggi for dinner.
I have financed my foot march by mortgaging my  gold ornaments.
I have left home a cancer patient in the last stage, whom the doctors declared to be in the final stage of the fatal disease. She is my Maa, who is bold and courageous, never failed to boost my confidence in the 70 days of my walk.
This courage, this honesty is for none, but for my Maa, who gave me birth.
This love, this responsibility is for my mother Earth; the air, the water and land that makes us alive.
Today your honour, you have informed your officials to submit the memorandum at your office and go back home.
I won’t do such work by mistakes also.
You’re the first respected person in this country. You should know that if the environment is not safe and secured, our country won’t be safe and secured.You must realize one thing that just for the sake of the country’s environment, a girl can sacrifice her life.
For the first time on the Earth, a girl walked 2250 km to meet the first person in the country. How should you address that girl?
If you are not accepting my memorandum from me.
If you are not providing two minutes of your life.
Then the entire world would realize that:
1. Democracy in the world’s largest democracy, India is about to extinct.
2. The first citizen of the world’s largest democracy, India is undemocratic.
3.The first citizen of the world’s largest democracy, India is irresponsible about the environment.
Just because you have said, I won’t go home. My ailing mother wants to see me as a winner. I have walked for 2250 km, unhindered by the vagaries of nature.I would definitely return home only after I submit the memorandum to you. Otherwise, it would be an insult to the courage and blessings of my ailing mother, which I can never do during my lifetime.
In the end, I want to inform you that whenever there are phonecalls from home, I am afraid to receive those, fearing bad news.I request you to please allow me to meet you once and relieve me of all the enduring anxiety, pain and trauma that I am going through.
Nizara Phukon
Environmental Activist
Secretary,  Brikshyabandhu
Charaideo, Assam-785689
N.B. I have applied for an appointment from 3rd-10th March, after going through all the procedures through the Assam government, Resident Commission in New Delhi. However, I didn’t get the appointment to date. Today after calling to the office of his Excellency, the President of India, I came to know that he won’t meet me. So, from the day after tomorrow onwards I shall sit in front of the Rashtrapati Bhawan and plead for an appointment.

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