Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monkey on a tree

Here is an old-timey tale, folks. Tired of the frequent simian raids on their village, a group of villagers were chasing a monkey out. Fearing for his life, the monkey climbed a tree. So the villagers started throwing stones at the macaque. And then suddenly this Haryanvi gentleman, who was passing by, stopped to investigate this hullabaloo.
“Who's on the monkey’s side?” he enquired.
“Nobody. We all want this animal out of our village,” replied a villager.
“Nobody? Then I am on the monkey's side. Fight me first,” the gentleman said.
Well, the Haryanvi man was as much a worshipper of Hanuman as everybody else. He just wanted to support the underdog. It's a human instinct. For the longest time, Indians hated America not because Americans hated us but because America was the bully scaring underdogs like Saddam Hussein. The gun-toting Yasser Arafat was a hero for us even as he fit the description of a terrorist.
Dharamdev Rai is dead. He was leaving Mumbai for his Eastern UP home when a dozen Marathi youth wanted him to move from the window seat. He refused. Rai was a labourer and a bhaiyya to top that. His disobedience infuriated the local guys who beat him to pulp. Should we blame the Marathi mob? Should we blame mobocrat Raj Thackeray? Well for Dharamdev Rai's untimely death, I would blame the trio from Bihar — Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan.
The day before Diwali, Rahul Raj, a young man from Patna died in a shootout with the Mumbai police when he tried to take over a bus at gunpoint. Four police bullets felled him. It was shocking. A Bihari youth in Mumbai threatening Mumbaikars and then the police going for the easier option: shoot him up. But what followed was far more shocking. Bihar politicians, who normally do not see eye-to-eye were walking hand-in-hand to the Prime Minister’s Office, protesting against Rahul’s death and calling it a cold-blooded murder.
Raj Thackeray’s men had targeted Biharis (they are bundled with North Indians, because they speak Hindi-like language) and thrashed them before they could write the railways exams in Maharashtra. The country was outraged at this. The general mood was sympathetic towards the victims (Biharis). But things change quickly. A jobless Rahul Raj wanted to get some media attraction when he brandished a pistol and fired a couple of rounds in the air and one at a passenger's leg on the bus he was trying to hijack. He had made his intentions clear. He wanted to meet the police commissioner. If he believed he could kill Raj Thackeray from that bus, he was delusional. His death was an avoidable tragedy and so was the political attack on Mumbai police. The idea that the Mumbai Police murdered him in cold blood was grossly excessive.
Bihar politicians chose to defend Rahul Raj, who was armed and was ready to pull the trigger. That one tragedy and the political farce that followed turned the Bihari, until now the scared monkey on a tree, into villagers in a stoning mood. Now the common Marathi manoos who has little respect for Raj Thackeray no longer thinks Biharis are victims of the day.
The Lalu-Nitish-Paswan unity may end up helping Raj Thackeray more than anyone else. If Biharis choose to side with a gun-toting guy trying to hijack a bus, then Marathis may side with the venom-spewing guy trying to hijack Mumbai. If Bihar’s Raj can be the monkey in that tale, why wouldn’t a Marathi want to rise for the Marathi Raj now surrounded by ban-demanding Bihari politicians? By defending the pistol-flashing-I-will-kill-Raj-Thackeray Rahul Raj, the Bihari netas just drove Raj up that tree, at least in Maharashtra.
Soon after the Jamia encounter, the demand for a SIMI-like ban on Bajrang Dal picked up momentum. The Hindutva militants found a lot of support from common Hindus, who don't love them otherwise, because however marauding the monkey may be, when atop a tree fending off stones, it can enjoy the status of a victim. Even avowed secular Hindus were aghast at the Indian Mujahideen blasts across the country. The majority did not abandon their secularism but also wanted to see strong action against so-called jehadis. The cries for a ban on local-make Bajrang Dal when India needed to tackle international-make terror almost gave Bajrang Dal the status of the monkey in the folktale. A Pragya Singh Thakur changed that overnight. She proved that bomb blasts were not planned only in Muslim ghettos. The Hindu militant organisations are no longer the marauding monkey on that tree. They are hellraisers on the ground, no less sinister than SIMI or Indian Mujahideen. Rahul Raj and Sadhvi Pragya have given the game a level playing field. Expect a dirty fight.


सबकी कहानी said...

I Think that north Indian (I mean all bhaiyas)have got a common cause in Dharamdev Rai to fight for. He was victim of a "hate crime" that was inflicted on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in South Africa.Gandhi had boarded a first class train despite being "black". He was bundled out of the train...poor Gandhi spent entire night in the cold... atleast he was spared, he was not killed.It was year 1893.
Now 2008, we are worse than the englishmen. WE did not spare Dharamdev Rai. We deprieved his children of a father and breadwinner.

Anonymous said...

Pragya is the victim of "trying to find hindu terrorist at any cost". SHE IS CERTAINLY NOT TERRORIST.

Anonymous said...

Haryanvi 'gentleman'. Ha! That's rich. MAybe he just wanted a good fight!