“‘Humko lagta hai woh desh ka gaddar hai aur iss tarah se Bharat mei reh ke, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ bolne se iss tarah se usko parhej hai toh humko nai lagta unko Bharat mei rehne ka adhikaar hai. Humara yahi kehna hai jiss jibhwa se iss tarah ka woh bayanbaji karte hai, usko kaat ke lane wale ko 1 crore rupaye inaam dunga’. (I believe he is a traitor and if he has any objection in saying ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ then he does not deserve to stay in the country. His tongue should be cut and anyone who does will be rewarded with Rs 1 crore),” said Dwivedi.
You must give them this, though — they understand we live in inflationary times. That rewards of a few thousand rupees, or even Rs 5 lakh, doesn’t cut it any more. That’s the merely kind of money that a Pran would have gotten excited about back in the Seventies: “Poore paanch lakh ka maal anewala hai“. One crore is more like it — not there yet, but getting there.
And to think that all this is being done while hiding behind the skirts of the Bharat Mata these lumpen purport to venerate.
A bit of a problem, this, for Zee News which morphed “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans onto a video to lead a tirade against JNU’s anti-nationals; for BJP MP Maheish Giri who filed the FIR demanding “stern action”; and for Home Minister Rajnath Singh who grabbed hold of the ball and hurtled to touchdown in a minefield
The recent Jat agitation for reservations left at least 30 dead and approximately 200 injured, besides who knows how many women raped, their lives shattered. It also resulted in a reported Rs 250 crore in damages to the Railways; Assocham estimates Rs 20,000 crore loss overall. In its wake, the state government has been reduced to saying it will issue gun licensesto traders who suffered at the hands of the rioters — just what we need, open anarchy with everyone shooting at everyone else. Law and order outsourced is an emerging business model, seemingly.
So now what do we have? Jat leaders saying cases of arson and rioting registered against the community should be withdrawn, or the riots will start again, and be worse. The community has actually set a deadline — 72 hours — for government compliance.
Why is this not sedition?
“Polarisation” is often talked of as a political ploy. This is what happens when you play the politics of division, of polarisation — you lose control. And it all goes up in flames.
Samar Halarnkar uses a Mumbai booze party — and the smashed bottles in its wake — to make larger points about the systematic subversion of the legal machinery. This is his set-up:
The bottle-smashing is required by the excise department, to whom it proves that as much liquor as the bottles contained was actually consumed on the premises. The smashing is preceded by a mess of paperwork and inspection. All this to throw a party. It also applies to domestic parties. It begins with visits to the excise office – there are many, you must find the right one for your area, and no online applications please – to get a liquor permit. You can then expect a visit from excise officials, who warn of prosecution risk, if you serve that scotch you carried through duty free. You will then get a list of neighbourhood liquor shops – only they can sell you the booze for the party. You get a little booklet, in which you enter the date of party and names of guests. You might get another visit during your party, to ensure you are in compliance of all requirements. At the end of it they will come, of course, to count bottles – in homes; in hotels, they smash.
India, whose embrace of free speech is, historically, deeper and more foundational than that of the US, should rise up in protest against the very idea of punishing “seditious” speech, seeing the truth in the ideas that Freund, Tagore and Gandhi all stood for, in their different ways.