Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2009 > February 2009 > Sena on Rampage, Kavita Karkare and ‘Surgical’ Strikes

Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 8, February 7, 2009

Sena on Rampage, Kavita Karkare and ‘Surgical’ Strikes

Wednesday 11 February 2009, by Humra Quraishi

The very havoc these private run brigades are unleashing! These so-called ‘senas’ nurtured, kept alive and kicking by political outfits. To terrorise the ordinary. After all, the very hounding of girls in the Mangalore pub by members of the Sri Ram sena was nothing short of terror tactics and yet it’s not declared a terror outfit. Its members go berserk, doing what they want to—molesting, fracturing skulls, tearing off shirts and more. And after much hue and cry some of these attackers are arrested and detained. But, not under any of the terror acts! There seems to be enough leverage given, so that once bailed out they go back to their tactics. As helplessly we watch…little realising that brute force together with muscle power is making inroads at such an alarming pace that soon it will be difficult to contain these outfits.

But why get further in the future? All this is happening right here. With few crying a halt to all sorts of extortions made in the name of regionalism and religion. Leaving the Karnataka Chief Minister just about a wee bit rattled, falling off from the chair before he could do any of the balancing acts. Trying to settle creases. In this election year. In this day and age. In the very State where the IT industry reigns, with supposedly all sorts of modern-day frills.

But, then, you don’t have to get all frilled up to be called modern and developed. It’s the mind which has to be open and far-sensing, and till that happens we are doomed. Yes, doomed we seem to be. For no matter what the educational and socio-economic graphs show, our perceptions have never been so restrictive and tight. Hollow communal shrieks holding sway and this virus has struck so deep (after all, having been released in these last few decades) that it seems scary, as though partitioning of the minds is on, divisions are on the way… a strange scenario indeed. Very often I am reminded of that one-liner from Nandita Haksar: that in today’s setting she finds it difficult to socially interact with people because of this whole atmosphere of perverse politics and communal sways of the worst form. In fact, what I find absolutely grim is the fact that you begin conversing with even the so-called border-line cases or call them fence-sitters, and then, somewhere along the way, the façade gets ripped off. Those streaks of bias and bitterness surface, amidst those frilly drawing-room settings.

There’s no such term as half-way communa-lism! You are communal or you are humane! There are no mid-ways or mid-paths! You either accept each human being on the same rung or you don’t! You either say no to divisive elements or get swayed and swept along the gutter! You cannot stand somewhere in between and say you are against fascism. For fasciam has to be faced and dealt with.

AND in the midst of such hopelessness, if you do come across someone who still holds her head strong then it does come across as a definite form of hope… In fact, almost a fortnight back one heard Kavita Karkare’s views, during the course of a longish television interview… and it was difficult to believe that here was a woman talking so very straight and without the slightest trace of bitterness-cum-anger coming through. This, when we all know that her husband, Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, was killed by those terrorists who had gone on that killing carnage in Mumbai. In fact, her interview was not along the ordinary lines… the interviewer asked her some straight questions and Kavita Karkere’s replies were not just honest but showed that here was a woman who can be hailed progressive and forthright in the actual sense of the term… She showed forgiveness towards those terrorists along with a rationale, she spoke of her husband’s “enviable” death as he’d died a hero’s death and what I found particularly amazing is this line from her: “Many people must be finding Shahrukh Khan’s life very enviable, but I would say that my husband‘s death was enviable for he died fighting terror/terrorists… he died a hero…”. No, she didn’t come up with any of those hysterical war cries and none of those hate-laced sentences. There seemed such calm, such maturity in whatever she was stating…

And with this in the background, I did feel happy meeting Kavita Karkare at the Republic Day reception hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by the President of India. She was standing along with her son and once again, even in the brief conversation, she came across as a woman with a tremendous personality… I wonder why such women don’t enter politics, for they can do a tremendous lot in keeping this country intact, its people free of myths and misconceptions.

THEN, a group of activists and academics from across the border were here. Aptly called the Aman Karvan, it was rather heartening to see the spirit… the very spirit to counter those maddening cries for war, revenge and destruction. In fact, almost all the speakers spoke along the strain of not getting swayed by the prevailing surcharged atmosphere.

Here, let me also recount this observation made by the well-known academic, New Delhi based Achin Vanaik. He said words to this effect —when you chant let’s make surgical strikes, then it implies that you are undertaking ‘surgery’ and with that doesn’t it strike you that before every surgery it’s important to take the approval of the ‘patient’ on whom the surgery has to be performed!
- Yes, it does set you thinking.

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