The term hijack invariably brings to our mind the pathetic condition of hundreds of passengers in an aeroplane. Hijack happens in transit and so far all major hijacks have been related to aeroplanes. But this need not necessarily be the case. If we carefully analyse the conditions that prevail in a hijacked aeroplane, we can draw up interesting similarities that prevail in much bigger entities as well. For example, a whole state or province or nation can be hijacked. And the state can be the mere geographical entity or inclusive of its socio-economic and political systems. One such state is Kerala which is credited as one of the most 'progressive' and 'developed' in the Indian union. Keralites are celebrating the golden jubilee of Unified Kerala and time is appropriate for such an analysis. The flight of Unified Kerala took off in the year 1956 and within 50 years the controls have been clearly hijacked.
Fifty years is nothing when we are talking about countries and civilisations. It takes thousands of years to come a full circle. This is evident when we consider the present condition of Bihar. When people in the European and American continents were roaming naked, people of Bihar were attending the world's oldest university at Nalanda along with international students from China and Japan. If it is acute Mandalism that has brought Bihar to its pathetic condition now, it is a curious mix of foreign ideologies that have hijacked Kerala. Hundreds got martyred in the fight to get the erstwhile kingdoms of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar merge into a unified state in 1956. It was almost like a new flight in search of prosperity and development for millions of Keralites. But barely 50 years into a glorious take off, UK1956 is showing all symptoms of a frightful hijack. The hijack has been well planned and brilliantly executed. More than one group have worked on it and they are sharing the spoils at least temporarily.
Planned from Start
Unified Kerala which resembles an elongated aeroplane had an 'assembling defect' right from the beginning. Joints that connected the three compartments were predicted to develop a 'technical' snag in the near future. The dominant southern part was deliberately weakened by cutting off its very source of culture and history. Venad, which draws inspiration from its temples and palaces in Kanyakumari district, was stripped naked by deft manipulation. Thus the passengers at the rear end were at a disadvantage right from take off time. As it happens in all euphoric moments, everyone hoped that a bright and better future awaits them in stable times ahead. And the overwhelming thrust that carried the new entity up was provided by the powerful twin engines of nationalism and secularism which was widespread in all the three compartments.
But once the initial euphoria got over and all passengers had settled down, clear plans of action was rolled out by the entrants from the mid and front parts. Each of the groups with ulterior motives had their own agenda to implement. While one group wanted to consolidate the hold by spreading their own people in a planned manner, another group did the same by edging out all others from their areas. Conversion of innocents to their own ideology was also adopted as a means to increase the numbers. Those who got in with plenty of money used it as a means to harvest the vulnerable. Hijackers have 'successfully' sabotaged the twin engines of secularism and nationalism. UK1956 is now afloat without engines and its ultimate destination is in unknown hands.
Symptoms of Hijack
The most important symptom of any hijack is the take over of control by a few passengers against the will and wishes of others who are in majority. The few hijackers might have same ideology, purpose and reasons for the hijack. In UK1956, two or three different sets of passengers have planned the hijack separately and came together to implement it. They will stay together in the initial phase of hijack, but will invariably fall apart when their interests start clashing. Fear is already in the air and loud silence of the spineless majority is deafening. By clever management of communications and muscle power, the hijackers have successfully sidelined the will and wishes of the majority.
Another symptom of a hijacked flight is the signals that emanate from it for outsiders. Once the hijackers have taken over the control, the signals too are controlled by them. To prolong the hijack and achieve their ends, all the outward signals can be manipulated and made misleading to the onlookers. When IC814 was hijacked, it was first flown towards Punjab, then Pakistan and finally landed in Khandahar. No one had any clue about who did it and where their masters are. Same is the current situation with UK1956. The deft hijackers are coercing the hijacked to give out positive signals about their conditions. For many outsiders, UK1956 is God's Own Country but the majority inside are slowly realising that it is a goddamned flight where a small minority is in absolute control.
Guess the Future
Ultimate end of the hijack saga is anybody's guess. UK1956 is drifting westwards without engines and wings. Its final landing can be anywhere in the Arabian peninsula or in European / American heartlands. For any hijacked flight, the three possible ultimate scenarios are crash landing, commando operation from outside after landing or successful coming together of the majority inside the aircraft. While a crash landing that would wipe out the entire crowd is a distinct possibility, any external help in the form of a commando operation is ruled out because of unsympathetic environment in both the possible destinations. For IC814, the hijackers (not passengers) got reinforced when they landed in Khandahar. But the most desirable and deserving outcome would be the coming together of majority to reinstate the rule of law and democratic legitimacy. If there is the desired unity among majority, the hijackers can be easily overpowered and shown their legitimate seats. For that to happen there should be proper leadership and leaders with visionary zeal. Fuel is running out fast and time still faster.