Trauma of Pehlu Khan’s family, arrogant politicians beating govt officials and a book on these dark times

Rajasthan govt should see to it that Pehlu Khan’s murderers don’t go scot free. Stern action should be taken against arrogant and violent politicians like Akash Vijayvargiya

IANS photo
IANS photo

Humra Quraishi

Shouldn’t the Rajasthan chief minister, Ashok Gehlot have the Pehlu Khan lynching case reopened and re-examined? Yes, he should. So that the murdered man and his family get justice and also his killers are not bailed out and allowed to roam about scot free, as they are at present.

I’m simply appalled and amazed at the very turn of events. Short of having the dead man’s broken bones and frame (that is, whatever remains of that!) dug out from his grave, every effort by the state machinery seems to further dent and destroy the already battered and shattered Pehlu Khan family. Imagine, the murdered victim’s sons are booked as per the arrest orders against them and the murderers are out on bail!

The least that the present day Congress government in Rajasthan ought to do is to have the Pehlu Khan case re- studied so that the message gets relayed to the masses that those lynched by the right-wing goons will not get re-lynched by the State machinery.

In fact, this brings me to focus on another extremely dangerous trend: lawmakers turning brutally violent and then justifying the brute use of force and authority they yield! The way Akash Vijayvargiya used a bat to thrash a municipal corporation officer in Indore should have called for his immediate dismissal from the world of politics, yet the man was arrested and imprisoned only briefly before getting bailed out and then garlanded and made out to be some sort of hero! With media attention turned on him, Akash came up with those strangely unapologetic statements- "I am not guilty or embarrassed about what I did as it was in public interest…”

Of course, let’s not bypass the fact that Akash happens to be the son of Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP's campaign in-charge in West Bengal during the recently held general elections managed to get away with the crime of hitting a government official on duty and amply justifying it too. Shouldn’t such a violent man be stripped of all his perks and power and made to sit in a prison hell hole!

Now, of course, comes Prime Minister Modi’s statement along the strain that stern action ought to be taken against such violent political characters like Akash Vijayvargiya. But isn’t it time the prime minister’s statement gets translated into action. The sooner the better. So that the other legislators and parliamentarians do not go about armed with bats and bricks to settle the so called crisis moments in everyday governance. Not to be overlooked is the fact that a large percentage of the parliamentarians and legislators have crimes and criminal charges fitted against their names. And ah yes, a terror accused also sits in the Parliament!


Dr Shah Alam Khan’s ‘Announcing The Monster’

I had first heard Dr Shah Alam Khan on the small screen. As far as I can recollect, it was a panel discussion on NDTV on controversies around the hip replacement implants imported by a leading medical company. And he was giving his expert opinion. After all, he is a Professor of Orthopaedics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS, New Delhi)…But before I move further, I must say that what I liked about his arguments was his sheer confidence; a certain firmness and grit in his voice during the discussion. He came across much more than a medical man; more of a passionate activist who dared to talk aloud, irrespective of the aftermath.

Months after this programme was telecast, came in a surprise of sorts, in the form of a novel by Dr Shah Alam Khan--Man With The White Beard. A strong hard hitting work (Nah, can’t say of pure fiction!). And after that I kept track of his writings in the various national dailies and online platforms, focusing on the political degeneration and all the mess that invariably comes along with that.

In fact, this latest book by him – ‘Announcing The Monster’ is a “collection of more than sixty essays written on various aspects of the so called ‘ New India’ which we saw emerging after the May 2014 general elections. This new India, is fiercely religious, murderously sensitive to a cow carcass, unknowing of the poor, but well aware of the interests of the rich and powerful.

The country threw many horrors, many trepidations, and many stories which were interesting and horrible enough to write upon. The period between 2014 and 2019 saw unprecedented changes in our social and political life. A remarkable change in this regard was the gradual erosion of the freedom of expression and right to dignity and life, all under the watchful eye of the regime.”

Yes, each one of his essays focuses on the eerie political build-ups and the offshoots spreading around, affecting you and me. Though I am tempted to quote rather extensively from several of his hard hitting essays but space constraints will come in the way, so it’s best if I quote on the very crucial ‘why’ he decided to unleash in words such an array of strong sentiments, “The Marxist theorist, Rosa Luxemburg, had once said that those who do not move, do not notice their chains.

Nothing can be closer to the truth, particularly in societies which ‘normalize’ chains, instead of neutralizing them. It is thus essential to make the correct noises at the correct time and if need be all the time …In my opinion one of the best ways to create noises is through the written word. When all is said and done, words will survive to tell the story of our times. The rough jangle of chains which Rosa Luxemburg mentioned, can reach the ears of history through words and hence it is essential that we etch our times on paper….Announcing The Monster is one such effort to put on record some aspects of India’s social, political , and economic history during the times of ‘ Modi Raj’, a period extending between May 2014 to May 2019. There are the whispers of blood and the pleading of the bone marrow.”

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