The Hatkes: What Makes India’s Angriest Man So Angry?

The Hatkes: What Makes India’s Angriest Man So Angry?

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“Pakistan Hai Hai!” – this is Paramjit Singh Pamma’s favourite phrase, which he shouts during a protest once every few months. Organising a protest against Pakistan is the easiest thing, he says.

Sometimes, Pakistan fires at us from across the border. The other times, they send terrorists who attack our security personnel. And that’s what makes me angry, very angry at Pakistan.
Paramjit Singh Pamma
Paramjit Singh Pamma knows how to grab the media’s attention. 
Paramjit Singh Pamma knows how to grab the media’s attention. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Angry – that’s Pamma’s default state of mind. It is this anger that has made him famous as India’s angriest man.

But it’s not like ‘India’s Strongest Man’ or ‘India’s tallest man’, Pamma didn’t participate in any anger unleashing competition. By that logic, the title is questionable – how does one quantify or differentiate one person’s anger from the other?

The Serial Protestor

The fact that cannot be questioned, however, is that Pamma is India’s most consistent protestor. Be it against Pakistan, Bigg Boss, price rise or corruption, for Pamma there are endless reasons to protest.

I started protesting with my father. When he passed away, I was very depressed. So, protests became a way to fight my depression. People started joining me and suddenly I felt I was not alone, there are others standing by me.
Paramjit Singh Pamma     
Paramjit Singh Pamma protests against price rise.
Paramjit Singh Pamma protests against price rise.
(Photo: The Quint)

Pamma has lost count on the number of protests he has organised, but it all started in early 2000s when the price of onion had shot up. He bought onions for Rs 90 per kg, and distributed it for Rs 9 among the poor and needy.

At that time, I went from one media office to another, but no one wanted to cover my story. But now, every small protest I hold becomes big news.
Paramjit Singh Pamma   

Most of Pamma’s protests are organised under the banner of National Akali Dal, asserting that the group is not a political party.

‘Proud of our Papa!’

Father of three children, Pamma is a super-dad at home. His daughters know very well what he does, and they are happiest when their friends tell them that they had seen ‘Pamma Uncle’ on TV.

He’s never angry at home. He only loses his cool when he sees that things are not right and the poor are suffering. He raises his voice for others.
Gursimran Kaur, Paramjit Singh Pamma’s wife 
Paramjit Singh Pamma raises his voice against TV shows. 
Paramjit Singh Pamma raises his voice against TV shows. 
(Photo Courtesy: Paramjit Singh Pamma)

The Business of Protests

At New Delhi’s Sadar Bazar, Pamma runs a shop where he sells zippers. The shop originally belonged to his father.

He doesn’t raise funds for his protests, as the money comes from this business. For fellow shopkeepers at Sadar Bazar, Pamma is the voice they need whenever there is a problem. As the president of the Shopkeepers’ Union, he’s at the forefront of every protest.

Protest against the scrapping of LPG subsidy.
Protest against the scrapping of LPG subsidy.
(Photo: Paramjit Singh Pamma)

The End of Voice of Dissent

In October 2017, India lost its iconic protest venue, Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned all forms of protests at the site. For the first time in 25 years, Pamma couldn’t organise a protest at Jantar Mantar as the Delhi police denied him permission.

The NGT order has made voicing dissent much tougher, and it has definitely silenced a lot of angry voices like Pamma.

Correspondent & Producer: Tridip K Mandal

Camerapersons: Abhay Sharma, Vivek Das, Tridip K Mandal

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

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