Mumbai 'Dabbawallas' Plan First-Ever Strike
Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas, who pick up and deliver more than 200,000 hot, homemade lunches to office workers in the Indian commercial capital each day, have announced they will strike for the first time in 120 years to support the efforts of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare.
Instead of delivering food Friday, the 5,000 dabbawallas who make up the city’s unique courier service will march in solidarity with Hazare, the 74-year-old activist who has refused to eat solid food until the Indian Parliament considers a bill that would put a lokpal, or ombudsman, in place to investigate and punish political corruption.
So the dabbawallas will, essentially, force the city to fast alongside Hazare for a day. –BF
The Mumbai dabbawallas – “dabba” refers to the tin box in which the lunch is held, “walla” means man – say they have been inspired by Hazare’s refusal to eat solid food. “We are breaking our 120-year tradition by not providing tiffins. This is the least we can do to support Annaji, who has been fasting for over 50 hours in inhuman conditions,” Kiran Gavande, the secretary of the Nutan Dabbalwala Trust told a local television station.
The 5,000 dabbawallas in Mumbai would march on Friday to show their support, Gavande said. The lean men with their trays of metal canisters, each filled with three or four separate dishes and marked with a code designating the son, husband or grandson for whom they are intended, are one of the best-known sights of the city.
Elsewhere there is little sign of the protest dying down. Although authorities have made a series of concessions, Hazare has refused to leave Tihar prison in Delhi, where he was detained earlier this week, until a venue for his public fast has been prepared.