Justice for Manish

Elections 2004, and the parties clamor to buff up their media strategy. "Discretion, articulation, crispness of language and proper homework," reports the Times of India, "are the four commandments handed out to BJP workers." The Congress Party in its feeble attempts to expose the BJP, which intuitively should be an easy task, finally stumbles on the corpse of the rare Manish. Rare, for he is truly an endangered species in India ' a dwindling group of people who will speak up for the Truth, and then die for it. Manish resisted a group of goons who were harassing women in the local train compartment in which they were all traveling, and was pushed out of the moving train to meet his fate. Manish was Atal Behari Vajpayee's nephew's son. The hoary heads of the Congress said, "Bingo!": If the Prime Minister's kin cannot get justice, then how is India shining?

This is why the Congress must not be touted as an alternative to the BJP. This is why all the developmentwalas and the human rights folks who congregated to vote Modi out shouldn't have wanted to vote Waghela in. We are being as myopic as our short-sighted politicians. Small gains are Trojan disasters. It is bad enough that at a time when the nation needs every principled youth it can garner, we continue to reel from a regular obliteration of Satyendra Dubeys and Manish Mishras from our society. It is probably worse that an alternative sought to the current quagmire is an India where atleast the Prime Minister's nephew gets justice. Not even the Prime Minister (I hope) envisions an India such. Is an India where justice is denied only to the disempowered and the underprivileged a better India? Or have we reduced justice to a utilitarian good where as long as a few enjoy it, we are better off than none of us
enjoying it at all. But what would the Congress know? A party that is compelled to look at Gujarat from the lens of Punjab, that is compelled to look at Indian Muslims from the shoulder of Shah Bano, and a party that looks at George Fernandes from under the shadow of bigger guns, can probably not do
much better.

What about us? The citizens of India? Do we not know better? Are our billion really so flogged that we cannot take on a handful morally decrepit individuals? Are we so blinded by shining India and the dynamic dynasty that we will not even dare to dream for a better home? Can we not dream of an India
where not only the Prime Minister's nephew gets posthumous justice but so do the lynched Dalits of Haryana? Let us not let down Manish. He did what many would not have. Manish's murder merits national outrage. Outrage over the status of women in India in 2004, outrage over the ease with which we have begun to kill, the outrage over the impunity enjoyed by violators, outrage over the lack of accountability of those who have usurped our democracy, outrage over the increasing loss of our freedoms. However, the one thing that we should probably not be outraged over is that the Prime Minister's nephew was denied justice. Let us not reduce Manish's ideals thus. His memory deserves more. Much more.


More by :  Dr. Satchit Balsari

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