Sunday, March 13, 2016

Kanhaiya and Kans - Act III

Finally the third act. Kans wins.

Kanhaiya is not a hero. He is anti-national. He is also a public urinator and misogynist.

That makes a whole bunch of us really relieved (forgive the pun, but this is a sophisticated kind of relief you know). Now, we can all be happy that some kid from the boondocks has not made the headlines due to any kind of merit. This is a fraudster with stale leftist ideas. Aren't we glad that the guy has been shown his place. Doesn't matter if he was not guilty or not, if he was booked wrongly for sedition or not. How can he speak so about India, about Modi, about the Sangh - when none of us who are so much better than him cannot utter a word?

And by the way - Rohit Vemula is also anti-national. And not a dalit as he claimed. He is an anti-national masquerading as a dalit sympathiser (not a dalit mind you) which makes him equally bad. Though all evidence points that he is probably a dalit or grew up as a dalit its imperative that he does not become a dalit because of the implications it could have for a few people in the power chain. Anyway he has no one to blame but himself - see, even his suicide letter says so. Whatever we did was purely procedural especially when it comes to certain type of people who look a certain way and speak a certain way and even dream a certain way. Carl Sagan? How dare he have such aspirations?

The verdict - you fellows should be out there working - being coolies or whatever else - instead of asking questions or even dreaming such stupid dreams like being writers and wanting azadi.

Anyway both undeserving cases have been laid to rest. Kanhaiya is alive but will have to forever face the stigma of the charges of sedition against the country. However the real 'culprits' (the ones who actually raised the offending slogans that bought the nation to a halt ) will probably roam free because the institutions - government, police and the judiciary also - have somehow painted this boy conveniently with the brand. (Is anyone even asking who those masked people were? Or was it Kanhaiya in those masks as well? And how much longer will it take for the police to find out if it is such a serious anti-national offence to catch culprits who are bent on breaking down India?)

The general idea seems to be - why do we need anyone else when we can whip this boy Kanhaiya for all others crimes instead? He fits the bill perfectly. No one will also mind. In fact we will bay for his blood and get our fair share of flesh too because he is a soft target. And like all bullies, we prefer soft targets. Women, writers, children, poor, farmers - this is the type we will show our anger upon.

Questions still remain.
What was the crime committed at JNU?
Is that an act of sedition or not?
Who committed it?
Where are the culprits who shouted the slogans? Why are they still not apprehended?
What makes both boys - Rohith and Kanhaiya - anti-national?
What is anti-national and how is it defined by the judge, the police and the government?
Is Rohit a dalit or not?

I expected the government to deal with these questions sensitively and make it clear to all of us. In the absence of any clarity on all these questions, my understanding of the picture is this.

Rohith Vemula
Rohith Vemula was a dalit. All records seem to prove so. He however was a dalit who was outspoken. Instead of merely studying and taking advantage of the tax payers money to become a government servant, he actually has the gall to raise issues against the government. He also tried to discuss Yakub Memon which no one in India should discuss - when in fact we should also be discussing why Dawood and Tiger and others, the real masterminds, are out roaming freely and what the government is doing to apprehend them.

So Rohith is shut out of the college, the hostel, the mess, his stipend cut off after letters written by a student faction (I'll tell my big brother!) went to a minister who forwarded to the ministry who forwarded them to the University which somehow reversed an initial enquiry which found the boys not guilty and sent them out.  When he cannot handle it anymore and kills himself, he becomes a non-dalit. Why concerned and unconcerned ministers should step forward to make it clear he is not a dalit was rather odd because when a person dies, we normally mourn his death, more so when a young person is driven to suicide. Not rush to find out his caste. Clearly the SC/ST Act would place some of those people in some uncomfortable situations so its better he is not a dalit

Motives are ascribed to his death. It is a death that is seen as a conspiracy to come in the way of progress, of Modi.

Rohith Vemula will now be always remembered as an anti-national - thanks in no small way to the efforts of the government and its functionaries. He is anti-national because he must not be a dalit. That is what we have achieved finally. In my understanding his big mistake was that he spoke out. How can he? Who is he? A dalit or now in the modified terms, an anti-national dalit sympathiser, speaking? Against Modi?

Final verdict - Rohith Vemula is anti-national. A casteist who misrepresented his origin. His mother, illiterate as she is, a liar who is not a dalit. Rohith himself, is not a scholar who died because the ministry and the University authorities acted unfairly against him, but someone who just got depressed and died.

But in the end Rohith was an Indian. His mother is an Indian. They belong to the same body of people as we are though not as fashionable as some of us are. They are trying to make a living, trying to contribute as hard as they can. They are facing difficulties too as most of us are. Why are we so harsh on them? On some parts of us?

Kanhaiya Kumar
A student meeting debating the death of Afzal Guru is reported for some anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans that were raised. Kanhaiya Kumar is not the organiser nor is there any proof. In fact he is arrested on what later came out as doctored proof. All others, almost a hundred students,are let off and Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNUSU, (leader of a group that defeated the ABVP in student elections) is charged with sedition based on a complaint by a BJP member. The issue is taken seriously by the Home Ministry and the police are summoned and told to deal with the issue in tough manner. The police catch the most easily available target without checking if he was guilty and charge him with sedition and put him and his career and life in jeopardy forever.

His real issue -- he also spoke. But in an unplanned twist to the tale, it turns out he can also speak better than most. He is clear on his fundamentals whether it is the constitution, sedition - he will score far higher on most counts in terms of knowledge and approach than most. (But hey, he is also a rustic Bihari who probably belongs to some not too fashionable community - who is he to talk of azadi? Isn't he having enough azadi to study and roam around JNU instead of working the farm fields?). Kanhaiya however added two twists of his own which were unforeseen - two speeches one before his arrest and one after which were seen by millions. Speeches where he casually flung aside the politics of a certain line of the thought - the right wing and spoke against the PM himself.

Anyway final brand - Anti national. Public urinator (how dare he piss away our tax money?) Misogynist.

Now, we can rest in peace. These fellows have been shown their place.

But what's the connection? Even the most hardened criminal in India should not be punished for a crime he did not commit right?

Why so much anger?
Where does this anger come from?

I think we all know who is anti-national and who is not. We know that these boys were probably only as guilty as having organised a program with a misplaced idea of the freedom of expression. But the anger that came against them, against Rohith Vemula, is worth looking at for our own sake. One day Rohith is a child, one day an anti-national. One day a dalit and one day an non-dalit.

Punishment has to be commensurate with the crime. If we are all part of the same body - as Indians - we do not seek to cut off one part for a small illness. We don't cut off the nose for a cold, our toe for a sprain. We try to heal them. All healing within the  body will happen only with love - not by alienating the body parts. Or by not offering the distressed parts help and forcing those parts to self-destruct. As doctors taking care of the body, we must treat all our parts alike, keep the harmony going.

Else we will not be a whole and complete body. We are in effect cutting our nose off to spite the face.

Don't we realise this? Where does this anger come from?

It comes from the fact that these people come from the back of beyond. These unknown, uncouth people are asking questions that they should not be asking. That they are somehow seeking to claim equality as provided by the Constitution. But obviously their faith is misplaced. There is no equality to be had here. Not for those who don't look the part, don't talk the part.

The right way forward for all these people, especially these types, is that they should go back to studying and completing their programs and start repaying our nation for all that the nation has spent on them. Until they pay off their debt they should remain silent, or only shout slogans that we wish to hear and be forever grateful that we are tolerating them. Maybe with lowered heads and voices too.

They cannot join the mainstream because they still don't look the part even if they want to - one cannot conceive these people becoming leaders of any political party with their backgrounds and looks. It's best they stay in the background and leave politics and running the country to us because we know what is good for you and what is not.

Equality. Justice, Liberty. Fraternity. For all.

Kanhaiya and the Constitution
One thing I liked about Kanhaiya's speech was his faith in the constitution. The cut off line for the republic should be the Constitution and what it prescribes and says. We cannot go back to a timeline before the Constitution and say that at some point in time this was the case so this is what should prevail now because we believe history says so. Then what is the sanctity of the document and what is the cut off for?

The Constitution should guide every action because it is the accepted rule book for us. Anything that challenges what the Constitution says - including not providing justice, equality, liberty and fraternity shows that someone is not doing their job. Someone is not honoring the Constitution.

Modi, BJP and the rest
It is amazing how it has become Kanhaiya and Rohit Vemula versus BJP and worse, Modi. By extension it has become Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal and a whole bunch of pseudo secularists versus the BJP and Modi. By being against Modi you also become anti-progress. By being anti-progress you also become anti-national. By being anti-national you are liable to a wide variety of abuse and a free advise to go and join Pakistan.

However it is not so. It is not about Modi or BJP or progress. The idea is that Kanhaiya (despite his other defects including his birth) and Rohith (same case) have been wrongly dealt with, and there is enough evidence to point to that. All it takes is to fix responsibility. In one case a student committed  suicide and in the other a student has been charged with serious charges of sedition. Can we simply fix responsibility and ensure justice is done, as the Constitution asks us to, instead of trying to prove that the boys were wrong - if not of this charge on some other charge?

Why should a Union minister or a party in power of running the show on such high numbers pick a fight with something as trivial as students and lead seemingly small incidents into issues of global interest? How does a party with such high promise and even such potential to do good things get stuck with jibes at someone who is clearly not in their class like Rahul Gandhi or even Kejriwal?

My big concern is why the government reduced itself to the level of fighting RG, AK, KK. Why does it compare every act of its to the Congress and its past? The majority BJP has or the potential Modi has to do great things that they promised should not be wasted on comparing themselves with the worst acts of the Congress. The BJP should set the highest bar, not compete with the lowest acts of the opposition. Needless to mention, it has to find ways of doing this and manage the opposition better.

That is the disappointing thing about it all. Instead of showing more compassion, more maturity - the ruling party embarked on a chest thumping mission against small adversaries - students like a Rohith, a Kanhaiya. Political rookies like RG.

It is inexplicable to see such a strong party with such numbers constantly think of itself as the victim. As someone suffering from conspiracies. The way the government dealt with these issues shows that its not about conspiracies - they are to blame for the mess themselves. All people want is for you to sit down and listen and talk and say this is what we think. That we are all in it together. As the leadership, you cannot afford to be insecure. You must find the strength to include everyone with their diverse views. Then, the real story of India's progress will begin. Not with some parts cut off or alienated.

As long as this insecurity persists, the government will look at the country as us versus them.
It's not. It's us only. How much ever you want to wish away certain parts of us - the ugly, the dirty, the poor, the lazy, the criminal - they are all our brothers and sisters too.

And the onus falls on you to win the confidence of the others since you have the leadership and the majority. Don't force. Step back. Allow space. Everyone is with you - RG, KK, AK included. But do you want to take everyone and everyone's views along?

You must. Much can be achieved. There is no leader of the calibre of Modi currently in the country. No one questions his intent nor his commitment. He is the best we have, all his flaws included, and even better, he is in power. But he should pick his fights carefully and ideally, not within the country.

All he needs to do is look at the process and make it more inclusive. Listen. Understand. Take everyone along. We can do far better than make anti-nationals of our students. We can in fact use the power and idealism of our youth in far more productive ways.

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