There are several people who fast for a cause, but how many take an oath of silence?
Bangalore’s wandering bookseller Ambrose D’Mello, who is contesting once again from Bangalore Central as an independent candidate, is one among them.
Ambrose gave up talking nearly a decade ago in protest against commercialisation of water and has now adopted a plastic bottle in representation of his struggle as his symbol. But Ambrose makes it a point not to drink out of bottles.
Ask him how he drinks his water, he cups both his hands in a gesture indicating that he gulps down water directly from the tap.
“Everything else we have to buy — from a pen to a bag — they do not fall out of the sky,” he writes in his notebook, a record of his conversations over the past few days. “But water does. So why the difference between the rich and the poor, why should we allow foreign companies to package our water and sell it?”
He wants to represent these poor and their lifestyle — his declared assets add up to `10,500. Also, now that the elections are approaching, he’s unable to sell any books on some days, which forces him to try his hand at begging.
“A real politician is one who represents the lives of the real people, and I think I can do that,” he says, unabashed.
His method of campaigning is even more out-of-the-box than parties that have taken to the Internet, and perhaps more economical too.
“I canvass through my protest,” says Ambrose, who stands with a placard indicating his stand at public places. “I have spent `35 for DTP so far,” he adds.
He also firmly believes that it’s an effective means. “This is a new struggle, so I have to go about it in a novel manner. So far, all the people who have approached me, seeing my placard, have said that they would vote for me. And if I didn’t have people’s backing, how would I have got 133 votes in the 2013 Assemble elections?” he asks.
Though he admits that his struggle could last a lifetime, he plans to resume talking when he can take his cause to Parliament, and argue for it.
“I don’t seek any other party’s support. In my campaign, since they too haven’t taken a stand against commercialisation of water, I’m protesting against other parties too,” he writes.
A couple of days ago, he stood protesting outside the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office.