“Can I thank my father for my daily bread instead of God?”
The question had shocked my Catholic school. All my classmates had stared at me in dismay. I was instantly labeled formidable by most of my friends. I was made to attend a special class on ‘morality’ to instill my faith. My first opinion was crushed to defeat to satisfy a social fantasy about the divine. When they could not convince me, they warned me of God’s brutal punishments. I grew up with little conviction yet a lot of fear.
“Attend my classes, else you shall fail!” Our teachers said this to drag us to their classes. Well, it did not matter if we listened to them or not. We passed anyway. All that mattered was that we ‘passed’. One could get away with everything as long as he was scoring success. The world never had a space for the losers. Even if I killed a million to win a war, I would be a hero and even a humanitarian. But in spite of my entire bravery, if I lost my battle of life, I was a demon. That is how my society turned out. It had no country, no state, and no identity for a failure. They were dispersed from everywhere. History hated them and society denied them! Anyone who dared to ever question the society was never accepted easily. They were hunted down and executed. One has to fight beyond death to triumph over society. Change is easy to dream of but very tough to bring.
The winners developed their self perceived ethics and imposed them upon me. Then, they gifted me liberty and democracy with utmost magnanimity. Yet, these too turned out to be terms of mere social narcissism. The text books printed some colorful snapshots of the winners and told me to follow them. Besides, were the clear images of the historical villains the losers! I was instructed to hate them. They were ‘terrorists’ because they did not succeed. And the others were heroes, leaders and motivators because they had won their battles!
India rejoices the death of Afzal Guru. I mourn him. India celebrated the death of Ajmal Kasab, I miss him! I had seen revolution in them. I saw dignity in their deaths. I saw a war hero in all of them. If Hafeez Saed is a terrorist, so was Aurobindo Ghosh ! I shall either hate or worship them both.
As soon as I walked into this world, a few sketches on a piece of paper defined my boundary. Later, I saw, that the world had drawn several different editions of that same boundary with different scopes. The absurdity of my Indian map perplexed me. Where is my territory? Where do I stand? Where is my country? Who am I?
When the state coerces Kasmir to be its part and the army tortures every human right, who calls them a terrorist? In Manipur, who hangs the army who rapes every woman? Convicting a juvenile with a disturbed past is an easy target. But, who shall answer his question? “Where was the society when I was denied innocence, when I cleaned your plates, when I served your drinks? I was not born with sadism and perversion. You created me. I too, was a baby someday. I had also cried as an infant when I was born! I was a burden amidst your population of one billion. You gave me no right; you killed me at the moment of my birth!
Kill me if that suits your conscience! But promise me that no other child would ever be deprived of a basic childhood in your nation! No other juvenile would ever turn to be a beast. Kill me! If that suits you. ”
Today, we hang him because the death of a child would not matter much. Neither will it resonate an uproar at the United Nations. Rather a blood thirsty Indian mob is going to again erupt in hysteric joy! UPA would be credited with swift move and Naredra Modi would recite Hindutva verses.
So, India has finalized on their next Prime Minister. Interestingly, we also took another major decision last year. We hanged Kasab to death. Was it any good?
If a man responsible for a three-month long communal riot, can be given a second chance, why can Kasab not get an opportunity to live when he has killed a much lesser number. He did not murder in cold blood. He had jumped into war with revolutionary passion. His background was dark with not a trace of any education. He grew up to see a starving family. The world bargained him for their interests. His death saved his family. He was a nobody’s child. He did not seek any political momentum. He embraced death as an honour He was hailed as a hero by those who sent him. Perhaps through a second chance, he too would develop the entire country with ultimate leadership. Unlike Gujarat, there would probably be some growth in the human development index in our country too. Alas! We did not give the little boy a chance.
United States of America, at least had the chivalry to infringe to another nation and bring down the very root of its enemies. They had fought a war with the vengeance of that war! Yet, in India, we could never bring to justice a single key perpetrator. Advani , in the year 2oo2, had brought Abu Salem to India. The assurance given by him to Portugal was that he would not be hanged and neither will he get a punishment term longer than 25 years! And today, like invertebrates we celebrate the death of Kasab with endless fervour What is the point killing one Kasab, when he is going to inspire a million more!
So, one day, I shall sit in my class and read about another Hero. Someone, who dared to leave his family for the cause of freedom. He had passion in his patriotism. He had attacked the very centre of that the despotic governance. He embraced death with dignity.
In his last letter to the family, he had asked them to not mourn him. He had asked them not to cry. He had a son whom he could never give his affection. He was denied one last meeting with his family. The cruel despots, who hanged him mercilessly, refused him his basic human rights! His death was celebrated as a symbol of martyrdom and freedom. They had not followed even the basic procedures of Law in his execution. He was denied even a proper grave ritual. His family was denied the possession of his body! His son was hounded by a mean media questioning his father’s hanging! His father had named him Ghalib after his favourite poet. Ghalib meant rebel. Our hero, Afazl Guru,stood for his ideal ! Long live his struggle. Our next assignment shall be a comparative study of Afzal Guru and Bhagat Singh.
The next day, would be a holiday in honour of Kasab Jayanti. The new state would be Azad lushmir! Even then, there would be marginalized sections of the society who would again be ‘terrorists’! Hence, shall continue a vicious cycle of social oppression and retaliation.
Test of a democracy happens, only when there is unrest. Democracy is the state of an evolved and tolerant mind. It is a philosophy that entails a relationship with the self. Yet we remain a crowd of instant and superficial reactions. Kasab was not a result of a cynic self obsessed teenage pessimism. He was the outcome of a deep-rooted social stigma spelled as p-o-v-e-r-t-y which echoes injustice.
When you give me sermons of free speech and democracy, binayak Sen laughs at you! When you proclaim yourself as a champion of liberty, Irom Sharmila mimics you!
If we try to change society, they shall kill us! Abominations by politicians or rapes by the influential can be tolerated. They have won their battles in life. But no one shall ever listen to the sorrows of a distressed child nor will anybody tolerate rebel. . Ask your driver “what is democracy!” Ask your maid “what is democracy!” Ask your millions of child labours “what is democracy!”
The day you get an answer, there shall be a revolution. The day, you listen to the ‘losers’ opinion and respect them, there shall be democracy. The day I write this article without a fear of sedition, there shall be liberty. Until then, there shall be terrorism!