Media that swoons over PM’s mother, ignores Lalu’s sister
TV channels which train multiple cameras on the Prime Minister’s mother have no time to spare for Lalu Yadav’s sister who died in the servants’ quarter
Mainstream media, particularly TV channels, have not bothered to ask why the sister of a supposedly money-spinning corrupt former Chief Minister of Bihar lived and died in servant's quarters
The media that never tires of showing our chaiwallah PM's mother living in penury in one room or his brother making a living as a 'raddiwallah' and flashing them in the face of the public as evidence of the probity of the honourable PM sees no such evidence in the modest circumstances of Lalu Yadav’s siblings.
The media which shows off the late President APJ Abdul Kalam's family's austere living conditions as evidence of his honesty and modesty, sees no such thing in the life of poverty lived by Lalu's sister and his brothers. Possibly, because Lalu Yadav himself never made a show of going and touching the feet of his sister amidst the glare of TV cameras for worldwide publicity or for winning public sympathy, as the Prime Minister does without fail.
Lalu Yadav’s sister was ill. She was old. She was deeply attached to him and was shocked by his conviction in a criminal case she was convinced was false. The weather in Patna is unbearably cold. Old and infirm people are at risk. Should a 70-year-old and ill Lalu have been kept in jail for over 10 days waiting for a Pontius Pilate like mocking judge to pronounce sentence after being held guilty under some pretext or the other?
Is this not cruel and inhuman treatment even for an ordinary person, leave alone a man who himself and through his wife and children has been rendering yeoman's service at top levels of public office to the electorate that has again and again voted them in with thumping majorities in democratic polity ?
He is tried in Ranchi, again and again in an artificially split variety of cases arising out of a single matter, when he was CM in Patna during the period, two decades ago, when the purported offence occurred.
He is not in a position to attend his only sister's cremation, or even catch a final glimpse of her. Any sympathy from our pampered elite? Of course not. He is a branded "Chaaraa Chor" after all.
Shame upon the hypocrisy of the so called Left liberals, the liberal elite, the civil society , the " free media " of India ! Their suicidal blindness, self centred coldness, and pompous self-righteousness is both pathetic and tragic. They deserve no better than the coldly calculated criminality of those they have elected into office in place of this son of the soil, this tireless warrior for secularism and social justice, who by rights should be leading the charge against fascism and guiding the young guns like Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khaled, Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid, Hardik Patel , Alpesh Thakur, not to speak of Misa Bharti, Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, with his political maturity and practical wisdom and experience, in full possession of his liberty
Can we be so blind as not to see political persecution and vendetta at work against a mass leader who stands as a bulwark for our cherished constitional values of secularism, socialism, equality before law, and justice, social, economic and political?
No, we cannot. The Brahminism inbuilt into our political establishment from extreme left through centre to extreme right, the false fastidiousness and pompous self-righteousness of our liberal elite and urbanised middle class keeps us blinded to these brutal facts. Dare to stand up to the Brahmanical Establishment, and it will destroy you, by hook or by crook, in full public view. You will be made an example so that none dares to stand up for the poor and the oppressed again.
This happened long ago to Socrates, to Jesus, and to Prophet Mohammad and his successors, in different settings. In India, it happened to the Sikh Gurus who were persecuted as much by the Brahminical Hindus as by the Mughals then in power who were incited by Hill Rajahs and Brahmin insiders. Thus have the poor and underprivileged deprived of their Messiahs and truth and justice denied down the ages by entrenched powers to the oppressed masses.
For, mind you, Lalu Yadav has been no less than a messiah for the poor, the oppressed, the backward classes, the scheduled castes, the minorities , of the most densely populated and poorest state of India, which still struggles with medieval and casteist feudalism, primarily due to the fact that Lalu's leadership has time and again been subverted and his movement sought to be prematurely aborted by the cunning entrenched elite to stop it from spreading far and wide to all corners of India.
New opposition leaders are struggling to reinvent the wheel - to put together the coalition formula Lalu had successfully created and developed and led successfully on the ground in Bihar for 15 years. Thus is a living legend being wasted by an ungrateful nation
By the time the nation wakes up to this tragedy, it will be too late - for saving Lalu as well as for saving India from forces of fascism.
History will see this as one of the greatest tragedies of this era of India's fortunes, when India marched to its doom behind a Pied Piper of Hindutva, and failed to recognise its true, albeit flawed( who isn't ?) leader .
For Lalu towers over all his contemporaries as a real , living , vibrant , powerful and steadfast Colossus of secularism and social justice , in complete contrast to the ineffectual and half-hearted liberalism of India's so-called intelligentsia.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed are the author’s own).