We the People…

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds – J. Robert Oppenheimer

Ever visited the outpatient ward of a government hospital. Standing in long queues to get your name registered. Being one of the millions to be present at any given point. Amidst fast depleting patience, a sneaking frustration and a promise to never come back again, have you noticed something. As a passive observer have you seen the visual spectacle of harried faces and chaotic gestures. Every soul has an agenda. To see a smile on his or her kin’s face. Hence, the confusion. A mêlée of a positive community. And ensconced within this chaos is the basic fabric of society. Every caste, creed, religion is represented here. For disease never spared anyone.

It is this fabric that Yakub and party wanted to undermine. Burn the morality which binds the collective consciousness. The nation needs to be brought to its knees. And the entire motive towards that end was exercised. That the hogwash of avenge was circulated, borders on the ludicrous. Riots are equally distressing. They are manufactured pogroms. Lead by self-serving individuals or entities. But they are instantaneous. A cinder going off in a flash. A calculated assault on the civil society becomes terrorism. To bracket a riot with an act of terrorism is rather distasteful.

Tiger’s vengeance on the city he lived in and off was more personal. True it did suck in his entire family who unknowingly did become a part of this entire design. But to say that Yakub was a mere accomplice and not the real perpetrator was akin to say that he did not rape the girl. He just egged them on. The Mumbai Blasts was a defilement of the psyche of the people. And it killed 257. It was a grandiose design to maim a country. Mumbai being its throbbing heart.
Did he surrender? Or was he picked up at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Either way, we got him. B. Raman, in his article has explicitly mentioned the role Yakub played. And never has there been an iota of doubt about the brothers’ roles in the carnage. Hence, the usual cabal floating around the co-operation of the junior Memon basically does not hold. When you have mounting evidence and all of them against you, what do you do. You sing. Like a canary. And if need be dance. Like a peacock. Mr. B. Raman’s article has been used, in a way only the neo-liberalists can, discordantly. That he had, very specifically mentioned, that the final verdict will lie with the courts and the law of the land has been conveniently forgotten or deliberately overlooked.
Yakub Memon, chartered accountant par excellence, could have charted his own destiny. Another Muslim who died a couple of days back and buried with much respect, is an example of how individual perseverance and integrity can overcome personal hardships, break political and religious barrier and touch the human heart. When Dr. Kalam’s body was being buried, it was not a Muslim’s body that was being pushed into Mother Earth. But an Indian’s. There are likewise many more examples from all communities and history is replete with such tales of selflessness.
It was Tiger Memon’s greed that led to the family’s downfall. He lives merrily in Karachi. Where else could he be. He and his like-minded folks will, with some prejudice, look at the proceedings in India as a wake up call. Death is an irrefutable deterrent. Whether in action or after an infinitely long trial. State sponsored terrorism, whether borne out of historical hatred or more individualistic in nature should not be differentiated. To give it a communal bearing or even being remotely sympathetic towards it is cause of concern. Of course, the debate will rage, on whether death penalty, by a responsible democracy is the need of the hour. That is for the Executive, under the Constitution, to decide.
Much has also been said about the so-called bias of the judiciary.The Judiciary is merely the institution who pass a judgement after taking a look at the facts. And to say that it did not, borders on blasphemy. To recall a bench at 3 in the morning to relook at a judgement already passed is ample example of compassion and due diligence. The judges did not want to exempt the individual from any opportunity to prove his innocence or legal wisdom. It was this adherence to principles which led to the delay of 22 years.
Though my name may suggest a Hindu bearing, I have no leaning towards any extreme viewpoints. I am not a right-wing saffron nor a left leaning Maoist. Yes I have influences of Marx and Engels and that primarily insulates me from any kind of religious bigotry. That does not make me an atheist too. I am an agnostic who believes in the individual and not some concept, on the basis of which lives can be killed and properties burned. I am the proletariat. The working class. Hell bent on making a living the honest way or whatever is left of it.

Hence, I see the hanging of Yakub Memon as a state’s relentless fight against terrorism. And not revenge. Revenge is more swift and brutal. The neo-liberals should take this opportunity to visit our western borders. You will get a first hand account of what revenge looks like.
What happened after the Mumbai blasts was, for want of any other term, a very fair trial. This may or may not bring closure to people who have lost and lost it forever. But it does reflect on the way a functioning democracy acts. We are flawed. Deeply at that too. But it is these imperfections that also hold us in good stead. And remember, however long it takes, the law will eventually hold strong. The lady is not blind. She is fair. The motherland is not revengeful. It is remorseful. But firm. And resolute.

Devraj Lahiri


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