Saturday, November 11, 2006

The toughest question ever!

The train from Mumbai to Lucknow was choc-a-bloc, and despite having a reservation, Nakul and I had to adjust with three others sharing the berth with us. The day had just started and conversation was about to.

And it did and predictably veered to the familiar territory: politics and ultimately terrorism. In India, commuters won't discuss about politics only if they are daily passengers, commuting a couple of hours in the morning and back in the evening.

Apart from these guys, who discuss ONLY about schedule of trains and how they could/could not catch a particular train ("Saadhe saat waali passenger" or "Paune Aath waali local") and what others do in these cases. Rest of India keeps itself busy in cursing its politicians and worrying about Government's soft policy on terrorism.

And so my co-travellers did and I didn't. (Actually I was trying to think how to sit next to the girl sitting next to window. Don't get me wrong, all I wanted was to be close to window to take the photos!) And when I got rid of this issue (Got the desired seat) I started listening to what these people were talking.

The talks were about Mohammad Afzal and why he should be hanged, rather why is there even a question rising about his pardon. About how all Muslims are abetting terrorism in the country and that Uniform Civil Code is only way of stopping the politics of minority appeasement. About how we needed laws like TADA and POTA. And about lot many other things.

I just remembered reading columns of Vir Sangvi and Karan Thapar in Hindustan Times on this issue. And I just read one by Barkha Dutt. And all of these say the same thing: Howmuch ever we hate to admit it, hanging Afzal is not such a simple issue and hanging him will make a martyr of a murderer. And with people like Yaseen Malik and his compatriots of Hurriyat, this is not
exactly a fantasy.

All these journos admitted that they don't have any answer to question of whether Afzal should be hanged or not. If hanging him makes him a martyr, then not hanging him paints India as being soft towards terror. Barkha Datt raises a good point that if we had real perpetrators of crime, maybe then Afzal would have been a small fish and not been awarded a life sentence. But since actual culprits are either dead (the terrorists who actually attacked the parliament) or unreachable (LeT big bosses) and since we need someone to hang, it is Afzal!

Valid it may be, but useless in solving the mystry posed by question.

Don't know what will be fate of this man. I am not actually worried about him either, but I am really bothered about the fate of my country. I don't want it to bleed anymore. I don't want anymore 11/7.

I want the daily passengers to keep on discussing about train schedules!


Afthab Ellath said...

The point that you mentioned at the end is the most important thing "I am really bothered about the fate of my country. I don't want it to bleed anymore..."

I have seen the frightening hatred in the minds of people while they talk about killing or saving Afzal...

Only a very few people are approaching this problem as matter of matter of democracy, judicial process, executive and finally as a matter human rights...

What make me really sad is we are very much divided in this country although we dare not to talk about that... There is huge hatred that we are trying to conceal.. We just pretend as if we are neutral...

At the end, when I read the whole story of Afzal's life that is now expressed as bits here and there (The story of parliament attack is only an insufficient part of it), I feel pity about this man and the fate of the Kashmiris in General...