Story behind the sulk

With the eminent emissary editor embarking on yet another nightly Sathyamangalam Safari for the routine press briefing at BrigV’s hideout (?), one can now hope for a restoration of contact between the jungle lord and his loyal subjects out here.

It is quite hertening to know that the traffic of photographs, cassettes and video tapes would now commence in right earnest and the lines of communication that had remained clogged for quite some time have been brought to status quo thereby enabling the worldat large to continue to know the latest views of brigands at large.

Of course, poor souls, the striking telecom staff never had anything to do with this particular snapping of links with the wilds, though one cannot be faulted for believaing that they have excelled even the brigand by holding the entire country to ransom. To be fair to Veerappan, he is holding only two States at gunpoint.

Much stress has been laid on the emissary’s reluctance to trek to the jungles this time around and the official circles –that have only been helplessly going around in circles –were disturbingly keen to emphasise that it is only at the TN CM’s behest that Gopal had agreed for the visit. Committed cynics that we are we cannot help reading between the lines and drawing inferences that are bound to raise the hackles of the V- Appeasement lobby.

Having now issued this statutory warning, let me get on with the insinuations. Point one: Why is the normally eager emissary so coy about his current trip to the jungles? Obviously, he has been piqued by the ‘returned empty handed’ rhetoric of the non-brigand media and he seems in no mood to earn the same compliment the fourth time round.

Would it not be better if the news went out that he sulked and it was only the CM who pushed him to the forest fringes? That way, even if he, ah well, returns empty handed, he can always cock his whisker at all of us at the inevitable press conference at that usual city hotel and say: I told you so!.

Point two: Was he genuinely reluctant? Well, that is really a million rupee question. We are no experts in reading the minds of enterprising editors, but given their penchant for hitting the jungle trail at the drop of a hat, armed with all the required paraphernalia to record the event for posterity as well as some prosperity, the inference is that the reticence was more feigned than real.

Afterall which journalist, that too when he had painstakingly patented a tough jungle terrain and a tougher bandit’s hard talk, would have the mind to miss out on all those exclusive footages and scoops which in turn could be dished out to all the other media for handsome returns? Does not the economics seem even better when the entire junket is state funded, not to speak of the scope for other clandestine deals that these highly esoteric episodes offer?

As we said earlier, these are million rupee questions but the point is reluctance, does pay or rather pours because, the more a monopolist sulks, the greater the demand for his wares. Elementary, gentlemen!

Point three: Why should the CM force such a reluctant emissary to venture into the forests particularly when the latter himself is so doubtful about his effectiveness this time? Again, when it is quite obvious that it is no longer Gopal’s pal alone who is calling the shots, what efforts has the CM initiated to establish contacts with the real kidnappers who happen to be Tamil chauvnists with a larger agenda in mind?

If the government is convinced that it should only act through emissaries, as it has so far done, and not use its own official machinery, as it should be doing, then why not scan the horizon for more transparent mediators rather than be a silent partner to the nocturnal adventures of dubious bucaneers? The answer is quite simple. More than the release of Rajkumar, the rulers of TN seem to be keen on how the release is secured and by whom.

What is the fun if Rajkumar were to walk out of the jungle unaided or Veerappan himself, unable to bear the burden of feeding such VIP guests, frees the hostages.Again, would not the TN governement and its rational leaders along with their band of jungle ambassadors, be in a spot if the Karnataka govaernment itself, out of sheer fatigue or disillusionment, were to device its own means of securing the captives?

Veerappan is after all Gopal’s prize catch and through his magnanimity, Gopalapuram’s prerogative too. How could the self-respecting Thalaivan countenance somebody else walking away with the honours? Hence the unflinching loyalty along with the resultant royalties, if any, to the sole patent holder.

It now appears as if the whole crisis started with the abduction of Rajkumar and so would logically end with his release. The issue of putting an end to the brigand menace is no longer in the scheme of things and even the larger threat of a militant tamil chauvnism looming over the state is also of no consequence.

Neither will the past foibles on this count be subjected to a honest probe nor is there any hope of a concerted effort in the forseeable future to bring to book the brigand and his patrons. We know by experience that the two state governments will go to sleep once Rajkumar walks free.

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Jawahar T R