India

Paramjeet Singh Pumma, India's 'most outraged man', speaks out

A Sikh man, described on social media as "the most outraged man of India", has told BBC Hindi's Parul Agrawal about his life as the "face of street protests in Delhi".

The 43-year-old has been photographed protesting against all sorts of issues over the past few years. On Thursday, BuzzFeed India published a piece asking who the man was and what drove him.

Paramjeet Singh Pumma said he began agitating early in life.

Image copyright AFP

Mr Pumma said he was introduced to the world of protests by his father. At the age of 16, he was already "a fierce protestor" and "leading the crowd" was his passion.

He dropped out of school at the age of 14, which limited his formal education to middle school.

But this has never deterred him from forming an opinion on any global or local issue and he has been expressing himself on almost everything around him.

"I am a common man and I get angry when a common man suffers," he says.

There appear to be quite a lot of things that anger him.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2005, it was the rising price of onions in Delhi
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2006, it was terrorism
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2008, it was the increase in the price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2009, an anti-Muslim speech given by Varun Gandhi, a BJP leader, upset him
Image copyright AFP
Image caption That year, he was also incensed by a Delhi high court ruling to decriminalise gay sex...
Image copyright AFP
Image caption And by "indecency" and "nudity" on television

Mr Pumma said he launched the National Akali Dal group in 1997 to "raise a voice on behalf of the ordinary citizen" which "highlights the wrongdoings of all political parties".

From running a small tailoring accessories shop in Sadar Bazar, one of the oldest markets in Delhi, to his prominent role in frequent demonstrations, he says he has "sacrificed a lot" in life.

'Very emotional person'

His high-pitch protests have taken a toll on his health too.

"I suffered heart trouble two years ago and have undergone stent surgery twice," he says. "My wife is always concerned about my health and requests me to mellow down."

At home, Mr Pumma says, he is a very different man. "I'm a very emotional person. I cry on the smallest of issues concerning people."

So how does he decide what to protest against?

"I read the newspaper differently from others. What catches my eye is the issue that needs a voice. Once I know the issue that needs attention, then it's a matter of gathering people and informing journalists about the protest venue," he says.

So over the years, journalists have been invited to cover his outrage against several world leaders too.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2008, he protested against the French government's decision to ban school children from wearing turbans
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2009, he was upset with Britain over an attack on a gurdwara (Sikh temple) in London
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2010, he burnt an effigy of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to protest against racial attacks on Indians
Image copyright AFP
Image caption And in 2012, he protested against the US after a gunman shot worshippers at a gurdwara in Wisconsin

But what is it that outrages him the most?

"Pakistan," he responds.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption "I protest from the bottom of my heart and my pitch is the highest when it comes to Pakistan," Mr Pumma says.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption "I can't tell you how furious I feel when I protest against Pakistan and issues related to Indian soldiers."

Related Topics