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A Messiah's Jail Diary
|by Dr. Jaipal Singh|
Sitting on the mattress in his small cell in the Central Jail, while scribbling something on the pages of his diary he as if whispers to self that may be some day he will have to write his memoirs to clear the webs and for the larger benefit of the common man in view of the continuous vilification campaign by the corrupt and dishonest politicians and crony capitalists against him. He knows pretty well that he is in the judicial custody by choice today because he gives importance to his principles rather than to his material comfort. The honest people like him are not many in this land so perforce he is destined to play a crusadar and messiah for the common man.
Only he knows how diligently and cleverly, he has transformed from an anarchist in the popular movement against corruption to the stature of a leader of national fame with his Ab Apni Party (AAP) in a short time. Indeed, people can love him or hate him, they can admire him or criticize him but one thing is for sure that they just can’t ignore Gurvind Khetripal, the leader and convener of AAP. There is a popular desi phrase ‘Kya badnam honge to naam nahi hoga’ (Infamy would also make popular) and he leaves no stone unturned to religiously sticks to this formula.
People including his adversaries agree beyond dispute that apart from his whatever success in Indian politics, by now he is the biggest real time entertainer of this decade in this country. In fact, many people have stopped craving for tear jerker soap operas on the Indian television such is the craze of his daily antics among the common man with most of the news channels ever ready to devote prime time on him.
Then Mr Khetripal fully deserves too this attention for his tremendous energy and drive to tirelessly work for the causes of the common man. People have not forgotten his stint as Chief Minister of Surajpur state, the national capital for 49 days when almost daily he would take up a new cause for common man simultaneously adding enough spice for the media and television channels too. He is still doing it unabated despite some channels conspiring to give him less attention and coverage now.
For illustration, on a day late in the evening he meets the constitutional head of state and hands over a letter seeking a week’s time to enable him to explore the feasibility of forming a fresh government as the assembly is still in suspended animation. Soon sensing not so honest intentions of the latter, he takes pains the following forenoon to apologize to people for haste in tendering resignation and clarify his followers and common man about his honest intentions to go for the fresh polls of the state assembly, and by the afternoon he chooses to go to jail in judicial custody rather than compromising on principles in a defamation case.
He is pretty sure that he, his hand picked colleagues and followers represent the last bastion and custodians of otherwise fast dwindling values of the honesty and integrity. So he has the tremendous responsibility of safeguarding these values in an environment where every other person, be it executive or lawmaker, is dishonest and corrupt. Thanks to his sixth sense, he can so easily detect whether a person is corrupt or not and for this, with the God’s grace, he does not require any proof or evidence. If he has declared a person as corrupt then the person is indeed corrupt and his words are final because he never speaks untruth. Thereafter it is not his hedache and the onus entirely lies on the police and judiciary to suo moto register a case and bring the corrupt to the book.
In the recent past, keeping with his conscience he had published a list of the most corrupt people in this land. While the police and other enforcement agencies remained inefficient to pursue it as ever, one ‘corrupt politician’ was obstinate and adventurous enough to file a defamation suit against Mr Khetripal. Unfortunately, the judge too rather than taking action against the ‘corrupt politician’ summoned our Messiah insisting him to fill a bail bond. Taking clue from his fertile mind, he wasted no time in sensing the larger political conspiracy of the leaders of the newly elected political party at the Centre behind this entire fracas. So instead of compromising on principles, he without a second thought opted for the judicial custody in larger public interest.
He is now convinced that even judiciary needs a lot of revamping and reforms because this pressing for the personal bail bond etc. is an outdated British legacy which the white men used to harass the black Indian people. So he rightly pleaded that the procedure now needs to be simplified by the judiciary by accepting an oral undertaking in all cases rather than pressing for bail bond. It is unfortunate that the sitting judge was unable to understand this simple logic of such a rational mind and unnecessarily pressed for personal his bail bond.
While sending our Messiah for so many days under the judicial custody, the learned judge perhaps could not appreciate the disservice done to common people who will be without a guardian angel during this period. So with a heavy heart, he has rightly written to his followers from his cell in the Central jail that he is in the jail today because he is a honest man while all corrupt people are breathing fresh air outside. His words are sacrosanct and leave little doubt that only gentlemen and honest people languish in various jails across the country. This can happen only in Kalyug which it seems is now at its youth. It is not clear if many prison inmates going through various sentences will take any clue from his statement and raise their genuine voice for some reasonable authorities to take a note of.
I have always admiringly bowed to his wisdom and interpretation of law. Being a honest person, his oral undertaking should suffice in any court of law. While being taken under judicial custody after the judge failed to understand this not so complicated logic, Mr Khetripal rightly observed, “He is still trying to understand his fault. This is the irony of this nation and the troubled times that those who are engaged in corrupt practices are roaming free and enjoying fruits of the democracy while one who raises voice against the corrupt person is put behind the bars.”
People of this great republic must be grateful and genuinely indebted to our Messiah for his insight and wonderful interpretation of law. Unfortunately, till now even I was under wrong impression that a bail bond is necessary to avoid a police or judicial custody if a person is charged with or is accused of some bailable offence, and that a convicted person needs parole to be released from the jail for the period so granted. Henceforth I stand corrected; thanks to the wisdom and knowledge of our Messiah Mr Khetripal that one should fill bail bond only if in his wisdom he has committed a crime or offence. Every honest citizen, like him, should have right to decide himself if he is culpable or not of an offence.
The citizens must also be grateful to our Messiah for enlightening them of their fundamental right to speech. One is free to slap anybody, if he so feels, of any charge of corruption or misdemeanor without producing any concrete evidence or proof. In fact, it is the responsibility and bounden duty of the CBI and other enforcement agencies to suo moto investigate and collect evidence against the corrupt people based on a charge made by the ‘honest’ man in his public utterances. I only hope that some of the western civilized countries will also take some clue from our Messiah as I have learned in many instances that the individuals or institutions had to pay millions to the aggrieved person in defamation suits under the orders of the court, if they failed to substantiate charges.
While sitting in ‘bipasana’ in his self sought loneliness in his 8 by 8 feet cell in the Central Jail, our Messiah ponders, simultaneously taking notes in his diary, how ungrateful are the majority people in his state. He had quit his coveted central government job to work selflessly for their welfare and cause. By the time he quit as chief minister of the state, there had been tremendous improvement in the quality of life of the common man and corruption had completely banished from the public life in just over a month’s time .
Then he was so right to jump in the fray for general election in the larger public interest with a for greater objective of now fighting corruption as also communalism at the national level. Yet instead of supporting his party, the very people massively rallied behind the candidates of the corrupt and communal parties. Besides, he openly declared his willingness to die hundred deaths for the people and country yet people are showing more interest in finding how soon he will vacate the government accommodation that was allotted to him in the capacity of chief minister of the state. How can people be so mean, afterall?
While concentrating, his chain of thought is broken by a few mosquitoes in the cell trying to take liberty with their music close to his right ear. Irritated he resolves that he didn’t need state security but he certainly need some serious security measures to get rid of these unpleasant visitors of his cell who are, like a trespasser, trying to spoil his mood and concentration.
Then he fondly remembers that perhaps the best time in the recent past was those 49 days as the chief minister of Surajpur, full of accomplishment and success stories. Of course, his critics and adversaries, mostly corrupt and dishonest politicians and a few media persons too, would always contradict out of sheer jealousy. As he only cared for the constitution and never bothered about technicalities and trivial issues for a good cause so his creative tools like dharna, gherao and sting operations were indeed very successful. Even an ordinary auto driver of Surajpur will agree that corruption was indeed curbed effectively from the public life during his tenure. Of course his corrupt adversaries and non believers would as usual be on a spree of criticism to deny and embarrass his good governance by publicizing that his claim of curbing corruption is so presumptuous and preposterous.
Who can forget his master stroke measures taken for the water and electricity? Overnight he had made water free for all the citizens. Many people still criticize that the majority of households don’t have water meters anyway and many of them don’t receive a water bill in any case. So instead of publicity stunt, a for better measure would be to ensure proper metering and billing besides rationalization of distribution system. Who cares, he already knows this was the trick of opposition leaders bent upon to deny and derail his good governance.
To save the common man from the exorbitant electricity bills of the dishonest private distribution companies of the crony capitalists, he had passed orders in favour of common man within a fortnight to waive charges of electricity by half for all citizens. The common man was so happy but as usual the opposition was making hue and cry that the subsidy thus given to consumers without commensurate revenue measures would deprive them of many crucial schemes on public health and sanitation, education and other welfare segments. He always knew that opposition would talk of a lot of rubbish like that because they were hell bent to embarrass his good governance measures.
Opening a helpline for the common man of the state harassed by the corrupt officials was indeed a paradigm shift and instant hit in public despite communcation gap and its misunderstanding by some. He still feels proud how thousands of aggrieved common men were educated and trained in short time to carry out sting operation on corrupt people through the helpline. The saga will remain incomplete if the large conspiracy of opposition parties remains unfolded, who unceremoniously tried to sabotage the move leading to crashing of the helpline in the beginning itself.
Then he remembers how the idea of a darbar (court) for the common man came to his fertile mind leading to miraculous results in his endeavor to redress grievances of millions of the common man. The darbar was organized, thanks to the tireless efforts of his able lieutenants, on the roadside much like a fete and tens of thousands of common men participated even on a short notice. It was only later he realized that the opposition parties had planted some goons and ruffians to create the last minute confusion and spoil the show. Despite this larger conspiracy from the enemies’ camp, the show was a thumping success when he instantly decided to climb up on the roof top along with his able deputies to dispose of the balance business in one sitting. Opposition camp would never realize of the tremendous success of the event which left no room or need for another darbar in the time to come.
It was only while working and addressing the common man from the roof top that he realized the distinct advantages in addressing the grievances of the common man this way. These categorical advantages and learnings included: 1) Every common man had the benefit of a clear view of the leader aka messiah; 2) It was a good austerity measure too. He in fact created a paradigm by saving a lot of money for public welfare which would have been otherwise wasted on erection of a temporary or permanent stage; and 3) He was safe from a possible reach of the rotten tomatoes, eggs, slippers etc. which stooges of opposition parties might try some times to embarrass him.
He still regrets how he later breached this protocol during various election meetings and rallies during the general election and consequently stooges of the opposition parties so successfully sneaked and targeted him. Some of them had even taken liberty to conveniently slap him once or twice, or even shake his collar at sweet will while many others threw ink, rotten eggs, tomatoes etc to distract his attention from the corrupt and communal leaders of the rival parties.
Thanks to WhatsApp, these days a curious message is in circulation and which is likely to greatly enhance our Messiah’s image among the common man for his upcoming ventures. It appears that the people are increasingly getting weary and impatient as to why the prime minister designate of the winning national party is taking such a long time to decide his council of ministers and take oath to form the new government. Had this opportunity been available to Mr Khetripal, during the same time he might have become prime minister, fulfilled his promises of development and good governance, and resigned by now to move on to the next venture.
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