Bitter truth by C V Anand
Returning to India early February this year after the presidential inauguration and inherent theatrics, the land of Yoga and Buddha held promise of some serenity. The vitiated national mood appalled me and apparently had unpleasant surprises.
To jog readers’ memory- the young lady, Gurmehar Kaur posted a picture of herself holding a hand-written placard which said “I AM A STUDENT OF DEHLI UNIVERSITY. I AM NOT AFRAID OF ABVP. I AM NOT ALONE. EVERY STUDENT OF INDIA IS WITH ME “. The Facebook post by Gurmehar went viral.
Immediately after that a barrage of threats and disparaging narrative on a young girl’s online post left one wondering if this nation really was poised for the great position destiny wishes to thrust. How else can one see the infantile jointers by responsible elected functionaries to Gurmehar’s impassioned outburst? Other civilians can take exception to her statements and post online responses but not government functionaries. What shook me was the manner Mr. Kiran Rijjiju a young minister of State with govt. of India and Rajeev Chandrasekhar a member of Rajya Sabha responded.
A minister, however junior, from the very ministry responsible for security of citizens must have the maturity to assuage feelings of citizens. Not take a student one on one. If she were on the wrong side of law, put her in jail. If she used her basic rights to express profound feelings, is it not a ministers job to protect Gurmehar ?
Minister of State Kiran Rijiju could yet have been forgiven but parliamentarian Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s on March 3rd. left one wondering if he should have restrained and thought a moment before shooting. For a mature businessman in Rajya Sabha would it not have been more dignified and in the interest of Gurmehar to let the spotlight go off rather than singe ? Today after the globally popular Time magazine chose Gurmehar Kaur as a next gen leader it is time appropriate to remember the courage displayed by that girl.
Rajeev Chandrasekharmissed the point Gurmehar made. In my view, she held out the poster daring a student organisation. The girl just said that she is not intimidated by them. Rajeev took exception to her another post where she declared that her father was killed by ‘war’ and not ‘Pakistan’.
The aspect of ‘war’ and not ‘enemy’ killing her father was an expression of her disdain for politicians – Pakistani and Indian. Gurmehar had the wisdom to look thru paranoia driven facade created by vested interests and see humans in Pakistan, especially those of her age. She refused to tow the official ‘hatred’ line thrust upon her.
She was not trying to sell her view at your door. It is her right to differ and declare it on her own door. Nobody must forget how difficult it must be for an 8 years to lose her father. She probably realised that soldiers on the other side were parents too. The girl wished to end rather than take forward the animosity which 3 wars and 6 decades of diplomacy clearly failed to soften.
Despite consoling this lady, Rajeev’s stand against her remarks on war coincides almost exactly with the trolls. That stems from fact that Rajeev has not fathomed the proclivity of politicians and bureaucrats to gravitate towards war. War and terrorism are profitable businesses, which those in the game just wish prolongs. Wars destroy not just homes and economies but lives. The biggest victims of war are surviving kin of dead soldiers.
While there are many more eligible candidates who had more merit to be called anext gen leader, Gurmehar is a happy choice. it is a lesson that the world does not see us as we do.
Time magazine has rung the bell to rudely awaken all those who did not stand up with Gurmehar.
C Anand Velayudhan is Chief correspondent – India for an American Television Channel ‘