Beware of bodyshoppers

The politico is the new killer of the tiller. It has always been the case indirectly, but for the first time the scene of crime has political fingerprints all over it. What a morbid irony that a protest to protect the farmer should end up prying out his life! Distressed by debt and crop damage, Gajendra Singh Rathore climbed up a neem tree during a rally at Kejri’s happy hunting home ground Jantar Mantar and hung himself in full public view after abundant notice of his intent. Kejri continued the meeting, and then blamed Delhi police for not acting on time!

The complaint of the policeman at the scene however says: ‘The crowd was boisterous and clapping. I saw them staring at a tree; then I saw a man atop it with a broom attached to a stick. I instantly sent a wireless message. The man had a noose around his neck with the other end tied to the tree. We appealed to the crowd not to instigate him and help the police to bring him down. But neither the AAP leaders on stage nor its workers or supporters paid heed. Instead, they raised anti-police slogans and despite the noose, encouraged him by clapping and instigating him through slogans. None of them stopped him; the man felt inspired by the crowd and swung with the noose. A part of his body got stuck in the branches’.

Even the AAP’s famed broom will find it difficult to sweep this crime and guilt under the carpet. Of course, this could have happened at any protest. But did not AAP promise to write a new political code? Also, Kejri was elected to govern Delhi, which, if you ignore the ritzy farmhouses owned by the looters of Lutyen’s, is not agrarian. Clearly, he had come a cropper in his voted vocation of governing the Capital. His party is in tatters. A diversion was due. The fatigued farmers who had hardly anything to go home to came in handy. Most had stayed back after Rahul’s ‘comeback’ rally (well, it was for R, not farmers, right?) last week. So, the ‘muffler’ also had to beat the ‘muff’ to stay relevant and ahead. Chalo Jantar Mantar, it was!

I had quoted the grisly FIR only to show how insensitive and mindless, mob frenzy and mass activism can be. Throngs at such events are largely genuine because the grouses are genuine. The deprived and dispossessed will look up to any messiah, whatever the latter’s credentials or credibility. Champions, who make a career by decrying establishment, must therefore be restrained and responsible. They dabble and deal with vulnerable and disturbed individuals on the brink and who are disillusioned with the official system, either of their own or through indoctrination. Instead, Rathore, beyond proving his plight has also exposed how fatal, the fads of fly-by-night activists can get. He would have lived if his anonymous ‘supporters’ had been sensible! I don’t remember even one candle-light vigilante ever burning a finger, let alone dying of hunger, during any of those fancy, farcical fasts. Farmers, in contrast, fated for forced fasts, die frequently without fanfare!

Now let’s get to the ugly bottom of the political pit. Money politics is next only to morgue politics. Nothing serves a politico’s purpose like a self-made corpse. The more skeletal, starved and sick it is, greater its political price. If death follows a rousing rally or an agitation-gone-awry, welcome. Martyrdom is not sought by the dead, but conferred by the political scavengers preying on the body’s plum prospects and pumping up its posthumous appeal to propel their own popularity, prosperity and power. The mutual political blame game is actually a win-win for all ‘party’ing vultures. A small slice is graciously granted to the victims’ family, an ignominious eyewash that fails to wash away the flood of tears flowing perenially.

Many political paths are laid over or littered with such suicidal stuff. Rajiv Goswami, a college lad lighted himself up after the loony Raja of Manda, ‘Weepy’ Singh just to save his own skin, sprung Mandal on an unsuspecting young India. There are exhibits galore from all over the nation. In TN it is part of rational culture. Aranganathan and Doraisamy went up in flames during the anti-Hindi agitation and Chennai has subways named after them. But their souls and ‘sacrifice’ were soon forgotten as the DMK leaders who vowed to lay their own heads on rail tracks, somehow missed the whole train traffic and instead took the fast lane to Fort. Just lately, post J’s conviction, over 150 are said to have committed suicide. The relief list is a proud public document. Let’s ignore other collateral ‘tragedies’ triggered by TN leaders’ rather regular rigours.

Always-angry AAP has just opened its account. Aggrieved Aam Aadmis who laid much store by it, please be wary. There are more political brokers on the prowl subtly pushing you for a deal with the Maker! They are ever in wait with lighted matchsticks for inflammable candidates. Don’t oblige. It’s plain stupid to bestow them with good life after your death.

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Jawahar T R