All the residents of the city gave up their hope about the river. The corporation has been polluting it for the last few decades and their complaints have always gone to deaf ears. They tried all possible ways to solve this problem, in vain. Some of them formed a group to combat corruption in the city council department. This group filed a case in the court of justice. But, the case was dismissed as a mere joke as the city council hired a lawyer who had a knack of dealing with such cases.
Patel, an eighty year old man, is used to walking around the banks of the river every morning. He often said that his early morning walk was the main reason behind his good health even at this age.
One day, Patel fell ill and the doctor attributed his sickness to the pollution in the river. The doctor suggested Patel to consider an alternative walking plan as the air inhaled from the river was the main reason for his sickness.
Patel’s son was very worried and he asked his father to not go back to the river for walking the next day. But, Patel refused to listen to the doctor or his son. He said, “I’m already sick. So, it would not make any difference where I walk. But, I want to go there and do something about it.”
Patel took out his old camera from the attic that evening and repaired it. He felt glad when he realized that it functioned normally after almost six hours of tinkering with it.
The next morning, a few members of the group assembled near the banks of the river and started shouting slogans against the city council. There was no press or media. Nobody heard their voices. Patel laughed at them.
Using his camera, Patel took photos of every bank of the river that was polluted. He took sixty four photos totally and immediately got them developed as photographed. He felt bad that there were fewer places that developed photographs from film roll. When they told him about digital cameras, he decided to buy one.
Patel talked to his fifteen year old grandson about the problem with old films and photographs. His grandson obliged to go with him the next morning and take photographs of the bank of his mobile phone which also had a camera and which took better photos.
Patel’s grandson took photos of the polluted river. As always, his photos automatically got saved in his online accounts. After reaching home, Patel asked his grandson to share the photos with him. His grandson told that he needed to have a mobile phone or some online account to get access to those photos.
Patel created his first email address. He also logged into various social networks after learning about it from his grandson. He was never used to computers as they never used them during his career. He retired almost twenty five years ago and personal computers were hardly there in the market, then.
Patel created online accounts in various social media platforms. Instead of using his own photo, he used the photographs of the polluted river to represent him. He made it a point to upload one photo of the disgusting banks of the river every one hour. Very soon, many people in the city started following his account.
A day later, he realized that this did not help in gathering any momentum.
Patel starting writing captions to each photograph. He sought the help of his grandson to add some filter effects to the photographs while adding the message.
Patel’s grandson was impressed by his grandfather’s vocabulary. It’s only then that he knew that his grandfather worked as an editor in a leading newspaper agency before retirement. He did not talk much about his job unlike other old people who boasted about their jobs.
Patel’s words really made the difference and the photos started getting circulated across various social media. That did not help creating much of a revolution either. Patel decided to take the problem to the next stage.
Patel posted a photo of himself standing beside the river. He added a message to the photograph. It read as follows:
My river kept me healthy and happy all my life. I have been jogging along the banks for the last five decades. Today, I got cancer because of this same river and the poisonous gases emanating from it. My life will come to an end sooner or later. But, what about the lives of your children?
This photograph and the message with it create quite a stir in the minds of people across the globe.
Unlike earlier protests, this protest started as a small photograph and people across the globe started participating in the online protest – Save My River.
May rivers across the globe were added to the list of polluted rivers and many governments were blamed for the pollution of the rivers.
Meanwhile, the local government body had no clue about the agitation until, one day, suddenly journalists from international media came and started questioning the officers and they answered nonchalantly ignoring the magnitude of the problem. Their interviews were immediately aired on the news channels and these officers were suspended immediately.
When Patel saw this on the news channels, he immediately called his grandson and asked him to lend his digital video camera. Within the next few minutes, seeking the help of his grandson, he reorganized the veranda of his house and placed the digital camera hidden in one corner with ample view of the entire room. He asked his grandson to start recording.
To his grandson’s surprise, a few men barged into their house shouting for Patel. They had no clue a camera was running in the room. Patel was seated in the corner near the camera.
The men came and threatened Patel by saying, “Remove those photographs from the Internet immediately or you will be dead by the evening. We are not goons. We work in the city council and we can use our authority to disconnect water and electricity from your home. Remember that you will die miserably if you continue your protest this way. We will kill your family members, too. You will have to die all alone in a pathetic fashion. Decide for yourself.”
After saying these words, they point a knife to Patel’s grandson so as to show Patel their ability.
A few minutes after they left, Patel immediately got ready to upload the video on the Internet. As expected, the Internet connection was not working. So, Patel sought the help of his grandson and his friends to upload the video on the Internet somehow.
The video change the course of the city and the river. The Central Investigation Authority of the country was brought into the picture to investigate more about this scam after the central government came to know that the local government has been siphoning off funds meant for cleansing the river. According to the books, the river was getting cleaned every quarter. In reality, the river never got cleaned for the last six years – ever since the current local government body got elected.
Security was beefed up around Patel’s house. He felt safe and the government stepped in to solve the case of the polluted river. It took only three months to deal with the river and begin cleaning to a great extent.
Patel received an award from the Government for raising alarms and helping in creating a revolution. In his speech, he advised young people to fight with ideas and words and not just keep shouting to deaf ears.