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Mainstream, VOL LV No 26 New Delhi June 17, 2017

Babri Trial, Attack on R. Sooraj

Saturday 17 June 2017, by Humra Quraishi


After 25 Years, Advani and Company Stand in The Dock!

The Babri Masjid was destroyed by L.K. Advani, Uma Bharati, Murli Manohar Joshi and hundreds of kar sevaks in the winter of 1992. Yet, instead of getting discarded from the political scenario they were placed up there, centre-stage. One didn’t know whether to cry or shriek or weep when L.K. Advani was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the country, when Murli Manohar Joshi was appointed the Union HRD Minister and Uma Bharati was made Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Their prime political slotting relayed that these three were ‘rewarded’ for their destructive deeds and also for spreading communal poisoning across the country. And though the irony hit many of us but then there were no revolts, as the sane were beaten to pulp...The political machinery kept churning many more communal characters and their clones. Today, of course, the lethal combo of the surcharged communal situation and communal elements is making everyday life hellish for each one of us.

And now in 2017, after 25 years, as charges of criminal conspiracy are framed against Advani and Uma Bharti and Joshi in the Babri Masjid case, it seems these characters will once again mouth those typical utterances to whip up sentiments along a certain well-crafted format. In fact, Uma Bharti is already all there on the small screen smiling like a heroine! Soon, in all likelihood, Advani and Joshi will also get portrayed as the prime movers and shakers for building the temple. ...Yes, eerie build-ups for communal unleashes in and around Uttar Pradesh.

In Solidarity With R. Sooraj!

Disturbing images emerging from the so-labelled ‘disturbed zones’ is a thing of the past. Mind you, the level of brutalities taking place on the hapless human form in the Kashmir Valley are spreading out to other locales where the sane voice is trying to put up a resistance of sorts. Today, as the mess spreads out, horrifying happenings are taking place in every possible nook and corner of this country,yet we sit like mute spectators, under some sort of an illusion that our turn to be thrashed and tortured by the Right —Wing goons will never come! It will. If not tomorrow then the day after!

What would you call the thrashing of senior research scholar R. Sooraj of IIT-Chennai? If he was attacked for eating beef then all the BJP parliamentarians and Ministers from the North -East and Goa, who have rather too blatantly confirmed their beef-eating traditions and habits on the small screen, should be kicked out from the folds of the Hindutva brigades. But they are not touched because double or triple speak is part of the RSS-BJP agenda. In fact, the Right-wing rulers of the day who talk obsessively about triple-talaaq ought to focus on the growing tendency to triple-speak amongst their ranks.

Getting back to the attack on Sooraj, isn’t it crucial that the Right-wing students who attacked him should be arrested, thrown into those hell-holes immediately? Yes, the timing is crucial, for if the case drags on for years then hundreds of students and scholars like Sooraj would be lying in hospital wards. Today anarchy is spreading out to such an extent that Right-wing gangs are moving about un-sparing even teenagers. Ask the young Muslim boys sitting jobless and penniless in the Mewat belt and in Uttar Pradesh and also on the outskirts of this Capital city. They are too scared to put up even chicken-biryani stalls. Who’d prove the source of the meat? And to whom! Isn’t it a known fact that the gau-rakshak gangs are flourishing because of the political cum police patronage. That explains their outreach; lynching and killing and going about scot free.

Even at the cost of sounding repetitive, let me re-stress, the attackers of Sooraj should not be allowed to go un-punished. In fact, masses of his home State and region, Kerala’s Malappuram, should also stand up and demand justice for him. Joining them should be youth-wing members of the so called secular political parties and also student bodies across the country.Yes, why not! Remember, today its him. Tomorrow it’s you and I. After all, these are full-fledged fascist times we are living in.

It’s about time we begin to chant on a daily basis these lines of Martin Niemoller—the German pastor who was persecuted by the Nazis... It’s time to introduce these lines in every possible meet or get—together or interactive session. Needless for me to focus on their relevance for each one of us living in the midst of these dark realities where we have to think a hundred times what to eat or wear or talk or write or whom to befriend.

“In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I did not speak up

because I was not a communist. 

Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not/speak up because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I
did not speak up

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the homosexuals

and I did not speak up because I was

not a homosexual.

Then they came for the Catholics

and I did not speak up because I was


Then they came for me...
but by that time there was no one left to
speak up.”


Tonight a searingly hot breeze is blowing,
Tonight on this footpath there will be no sleep
Come let us arise, you and I, and you too, and you A window in this wall will surely find an opening.

To swallow us this earth was even then waiting
When our feet touched the ground from branches breaking These houses know nothing, those who live in them Know nothing of the days we spent in caves hiding.

Our hands could not tire, they had become the mould To make statue after statue for someone else to hold
We made the wall strong, stronger and stronger still Embellished the roof, gave doorways a strength untold.

Because the wind could so easily extinguish the flame We gilded the sky with electricity instead
When the palace was built, someone else sat on guard In squalor we slept with cacophony our bed.

The fatigue of relentless labour in every vein
Images of the palace in our eyes remain
Unending, the day melts on our heads still
Our unslept nights remain just the same.

Tonight a searingly hot breeze is blowing,
Tonight on this footpath there will be no sleep
Come let us arise, you and I, and you too, and you
A window in this wall will surely find an opening.

Kaifi Azmi

[Translated from the original Urdu by Pavan K. Varma]

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