If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Monday, 26 June 2017

The valley of death

On Thursday morning, 22 June, a 15-year-old Junaid Khan left home in Ballabhgarh in Haryana to buy kurta-pyjama, a pair of shoes and some khushboo for Eid from Delhi. He returned home dead.
On his way back on a train with his elder brother Hashim and two friends, he was stabbed to death by a group of 15 men between 7-8 pm. Their crime? They were Muslims. Last night I saw on NDTV Junaid’s older brother, who too was attacked, say that the attackers were taunting them over their clothes, and also talked about “beef eating” before taking out their knives. Another victim said to the Indian Express, “Hashim told me the men threw them off the train at Asaoti station. Some people there called an ambulance and they were then taken to a hospital in Palwal.” * How can anyone hate a stranger, that too, a child, so intensely just because he is a Muslim? Unfortunately, mindless violence against Muslims and Christians in this country by insane men in recent years is not the end of the gruesome story. What is far worse is a conspiracy of silence by a large number of Hindus. Please check this report on Indian Express today (25 June) with the heading: AT RAILWAY STATION WHERE JUNAID BLED TO DEATH, ALL SAY: DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING “FROM the station master and his staffers to a nearby post-master, to vendors at the platform, nobody appears to have seen anything at the Asaoti railway station where few trains stop, where Junaid Khan bled to death after being repeatedly stabbed aboard a local passenger train on Thursday evening. The CCTV THAT LOOKED ON TO THE SPOT HAS BEEN FOUND TAMPERED WITH, an official of the Government Railway Police (GRP) told The Sunday Express. [Emphasis added] “The only sign of the murder that evening at this sleepy station … are the blood stains still visible on platform number 4, where Junaid’s body lay for some time. “… Station Master Om Prakash says the guard of the train, which was enroute from Delhi to Mathura, told him around 7.21 pm on Thursday that a “huge crowd” had gathered on platform number 4. “I immediately asked two of the staff present to see why the crowd had gathered. When they reached there, no one was present. The public might have taken away the body. I did not see anything, neither the body nor the crowd,” says Prakash. The Station Master claims he was busy in the control room at the time. The control room, that is adjacent to platform number 1, is 200 metres from where the 15-year-old died. * Do all these men who “have seen nothing” share the hatred of the 15 men who killed the child for no reason whatsoever? Or are they plain scared because everybody knows that the government of the day and their huge machinery will side with the murderers, not the victims? I am too disturbed to write anything more. Let me share with you a translation of a few lines of a Bangla poem by late Nabarun Bhattacharya. I have deliberately changed a few words of the poem. I believe Nabarun Bhattacharya would have approved the changes. This valley of death is not my country ============================ The father who’s scared to identify the body of his son – I hate him The brother who is shamefully normal even now – I hate him The teacher, intellectual, poet and clerk Who don’t want to avenge this death – I hate them. The body of a dead child Is lying on the path of our conscience I am going insane A pair of open eyes look at me while I sleep I scream out They call me at all hours … to the garden I’ll lose my sanity I’ll take my life I’ll do whatever I wish to … This valley of death is not my country The dancing executioners on stage are not my countrymen This extended crematorium is not my country This blood-soaked abattoir is not my country 25 June 2017

Sunday, 25 June 2017

West Bengal and an award for helping girls?

There is little doubt that the queen of Bengal – who’s always dying to hear the next round of applause – is gloating over the award that her government has got from no less than an arm of the UN. There is little doubt that her fawning chamchas are now jostling to catch her eyes and show how god-damned delighted they are over HER success. As I write, I am sure that sweets are being distributed and gulal is being showered from her party offices infested with criminals, which often terrorize people of the locality. And millions of rupees will go down the drain in the months to come in endless newspaper adverts and hoardings with her smiling face telling the world what wonderful things SHE has done for girls!

Yes, the West Bengal government have distributed cycles and school books and school shoes and what-not to girls of her state. I do not question this fact. But will they get a job after they graduate under a collapsing education system with ever-falling standards?

Even the beggars on the streets of Kolkata know the answer.

The West Bengal government today presides over a crumbling economy inherited from their predecessors, and does nothing about it. In my childhood, lots of people came to Kolkata from the Punjab to Kerala in search of livelihood. In the Lake Market area near my house, there were more Tamilian and Malayali office employees than Bengalis. Today, people from West Bengal are seen washing dishes and carrying bricks from the Punjab to Kerala. You would have seen them even in the less developed sates like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. I have.

No jobs are created here in Bengal; it is a fallow land where no industry grows. A small segment of the population blessed by the ruling party earn their living through extortion rackets in which the top leaders of the party are intimately involved, as the Narda sting operation has shown shown beyond a shred of doubt. But for the majority, opportunities are so insignificant that even a free cycle seems to be manna from heaven.

In West Bengal today, the entire state comes to a grinding halt the day exams are held for primary teachers’ positions because every young man and woman who hasn’t been fortunate to go to a handful of premiere institutes is unemployed. Come the day of the entrance test, millions of young men and women flood buses and trains, and thousands miss the test because they just cannot board one.

So, what is the big deal about giving pittances like bicycles to girls, Your Highness? Can they ride their bicycles after dusk? How safe are girls in your state with a dysfunctional police force?

Isn’t the state competing with Uttar Pradesh to be designated as the rape head quarters of the country? Haven’t luminaries of your party repeatedly tried to shame rape victims by calling them prostitutes? Haven’t you yourself tried to brush incidents of rape under the carpet by calling them “sajano ghotona” or concocted stories?

Isn’t it a fact that – a few hours after the sun has set – every dark alley hidden behind the garishly illuminated roads of the capital and small towns of your state comes under the control of drunken goons who are protected by your party and police?

Isn’t the state No.1 in trafficking in women? Aren’t Kolkata and other towns in the state, where my mother and aunts would happily return home after watching a late night film show close to midnight 50 years ago, a strict no-fly zone for women after 9 PM?

The UN hasn’t honoured the state government for helping girls, it has disgraced itself!

24 June 2017