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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 17 New Delhi April 13, 2019

Beware of the Ides of March

Saturday 13 April 2019


The editorial comments on the Christchurch carnage [Mainstream, March 23, 2019] were indeed very apt and appreciable. The promptness and fortitude displayed by the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, underscores her determination as well as approach to the issues. Gun control has received due priority for the administration to address in the backdrop of the carnage executed by a remorseless beast, who is a native of New Zealand. We feel sure he will pay the highest price for the dastardly carnage.

The Prime Minister of the nation with more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages was measured in her reaction expressed through carefully chosen words to convey her grief, condolence for the victims alongside determi-nation and purpose for the occasion. That invited our admiration. Jacinda Ardern’s golden words flowing straight from her heart with conviction are worthy of repetition:

“We were chosen.... because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.”

The Prime Minister’s words must have sounded as solace in an hour of their grief and tragedy: “They have chosen to make this their home. They are us. The person who perpetrated this is not us.”

In India we would be happy to see similar instances of human touch for the Indian victims in their hour of grimmest tragedies. In Rajasthan’s Rajasamand village in December, 2017, Afrazul, a migrant labourer from his native district Malda, West Bengal, was hacked to death and his dead body burnt on camera by one Shambhulal. He has been receiving sneaking admiration and kudos for his heinous crime from a section of the countrymen!

In Una, half-a-dozen Dalits were publicly lynched with the Gujarat State Police in attendance and nobody came to their rescue. They and/or their families in both the cases await justice. No word of sympathy, far less an assurance for justice, from the men at the helm of affairs in either place, was uttered.

Since the date of the tragedy was March 15, I have captioned this letter as ‘Beaware of the Ides of March’ in imitation of the same in the Shakespearean play, Julius Ceaser. On that day King Ceaser was murdered. The Christchurch massacre took place on March 15 as well.

Dr A.K. Biswas

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