>Travel Pictures


Current stop: Delhi Downtown Rally
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The newspapers here are always full of stories about the number of people killed at political rallies - trampled by enthusiastic supporters, blown up by opposing political parties, shot by police - so when I was being driven around the alleys of Old Delhi and we came across a bona fide flag waving, sword slashing, firecracker popping free for all, I had to jump off and check out the goings on!

This rally had it all - loud music piped in for the marchers

Ordinary folks just in off the farm

Old men (who I'm sure are really important in their own small ponds)

and younger guys out to meet chicks (mugging for the foreigner's camera!)

Even the cops were interested in what was happening:

When I got there, the rally was already going (I just missed the fire breather - the shooting flames are what caught my attention!!), but there were firecrackers still going off left and right. 

I was there in time to watch the sword man make his grand entrance (with an enormous cherry bomb at the tip of his sword)
And banging drums heralded the traditional "blindfold a man an let him cut bananas out of people's mouths" festivities. More swords; hmmm.
Old men fervently greeted each other in front of the still-gesticulating sword man as young boys perched on each others' shoulders started spinning rings with long tassels attached to them

All the while, truckloads of people kept pulling through, requesting (and getting) all sorts of baked goods from the event organizers. There were people walking through the crowds handing out sweets, and someone even handed me two. Bread and circuses, you might scoff - they're trying to buy votes. No Way!! This is nothing like ancient Rome and the Coliseum - there is no violence.

Oh wait, because the mock knife fights were next. Guarded by crowd control specialists wielding silver nunchuks, two men duked it out in a fight to the finish. Not really, but it was something else to see them thrashing around with knives (and all sorts of other guys with - you guessed it - more swords glowering at the audience). Of course, the old men in the crowd who have seen and done it all were more concerned with rating their performances than being worried about the outcome...

Even the crowd controllers didn't seem too worried. If things had gotten a little crazy, he could always have started swinging that stick at the crowd. After a while, I decided to head back and make sure that everyone at the hotel was ok. I took Delhi's new (well, new since we were last there) subway and got back for 6 rupees!
Previous: Around Delhi
Next: Qutb Minar
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