New Delhi. Thousands of people came out of their homes and the closet to join a pride parade at Jantar Mantar here today. “It’s not gay to be a Kalmadi” was the loud and clear message of the parade that was called by some community leaders after they were fed up with unending allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, headed by Suresh Kalmadi, a Kalmadi.
“Media is building up an atmosphere where it appears that being a Kalmadi in itself is such a crime!” protested Mahesh Kalmadi, riding a modified bike crafted as a lion resembling Shera, the mascot for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
“We Kalmadis are normal people. No different from any Raja, Raju, Reddy, Yadav, Pawar, Gandhi, Mehta, Parekh, Pathak, Modi, Singh, Soren, etc.” claimed another protestor wearing a colorful mask.
“Proud to be a Kalmadi!” screamed yet another protestor, even as various leaders termed the protest march as National Pride Parade, because not everyone who came out in support was necessarily a Kalmadi.
“I am not a Kalmadi, but I’ve come out to support these people as our constitution guarantees right to equality and freedom to practice one’s beliefs to everyone.” said Krishna Aiyar, a member of the pride parade, who argued that Suresh Kalmadi should not be shamed just because his beliefs regarding prices of goods like treadmills or toilet-papers were different from the rest of the society.
Protestors complained that the society was getting increasingly prejudiced and cold towards Kalmadis due to the sustained and vicious campaign against Suresh Kalmadi by the Indian media.
“Even children have started thinking ill of Kalmadis, and this is very dangerous for the unity of our society.” complained a protestor Subrat from Chandigarh, who informed that some young students in a local government school back in his city had duped their school of various sporting equipments by playing a hitherto unknown game called ‘kalmadi-kalmadi’.
“Those guys had approached the school Principal with an application saying they needed some equipments from the storeroom to play ‘kabaddi-kabaddi’. Principal agreed because he thought at best it was a chalk or a rope they needed, but later found out to his horror that three sets of cricket gear, thirteen hockey sticks and nine tennis racquets were missing from the storeroom the next day.” Subrat recounted the story.
“When the Principal re-checked their application, he discovered that the guys had tampered the original document by stealthily replacing the phrase ‘kabaddi-kabaddi’ with ‘kalmadi-kalmadi’.” revealed Subrat.
“And guess what, Principal thinks he can’t do anything now! This is the kind of prejudice and misinformation media has spread.” protested Subrat, calling for people from every part of the country to take part in the Kalmadi pride parade.