The Spring Of Despair And The Winter Of Hope
The sultry Saturday afternoon of 7th August, saw around 70 odd academicians, social activists, writers, journalists and other members of civil society gather in the Academic Staff College of Lucknow University, for intense deliberations on state sponsored terror.
The programme, chaired by Professor (Dr) Nishi Pandey, Director, Academic Staff College and Dean, Students' Welfare, University of Lucknow, started with a reading by Shahira Naim (a senior journalist working with Tribune who received the 2nd International KCK Merit Award for Excellence in Journalism 2009) of her thought provoking and award winning article ‘Azamgarh: District In Discomfort’. It focussed on the infamous Batla House Encounter of Delhi, in which two ‘alleged’ terrorists (belonging to Azamgarh district) were killed along with a police officer. This, coupled with a few other happenings, senselessly branded Azamgarh as the ‘nursery of terrorism’ and a centre of religious orthodoxy, just as Bhojpur was called the cultivating ground of Naxalism in the late 70s.
The dubious role of the police in the Batla house incident raised many an eyebrow. Unfortunately, the National Human Rights Commission has recently given a clean chit to the police, cocking a snook to all evidences pointing to the contrary.
The animated discussion which followed this reading set the ball rolling for the screening of the internationally acclaimed film ‘Terror Storm’ by Alex Jones. This film (based on documentary proofs and recorded evidences) goes one step ahead of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ in indicting the US Government of stage managing the bombing of the World Trade Centre.
Without mincing any words, Alex Jones elaborates on State sponsored ‘False Flag Operations’ with the sole aim of controlling the minds of the people by instilling fear in them.
Hitler’s subterfuges in Germany; US actions in Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq and in its own territory; the Madrid and London bombings of 2004 and 2005; the Babri Masjid demolition and the Godhra carnage incidents in India --- all point to sleek government involvements carried out to perfection. The flag operations scare people into believing government rhetoric, filling their minds with hatred and dividing them on caste/communal lines. This prepares the ground to achieve the states’ nefarious objectives of ousting elected governments and/or maligning a particular sect/community for partisan and economic gains.
We are living in an age where, the sunshine of wisdom is darkened by clouds of foolishness, the age of incredulity overshadows the age of belief. There is mistrust and fear in the air we breathe. Our confidence in the police (the so called custodians of law and order), the judiciary and the executive has been eroded to the extent that we have become indifferent to their wicked demeanor in these turbulent times. Terror is being fuelled by state and society alike. We do not know when we will come under the police scanner, (particularly if we are young and belong to the minority community); we do not know when one of our own family will exterminate us (in the name of honour killing) if we dare to challenge age old orthodoxies (like not bringing enough dowry or marrying outside our caste); we do not know when we will be branded as anti social and anti national if we dare to question the government for the atrocities committed against marginalized sections of society (as has happened to the likes of Sharmila Irom and Binayak Sen). We cringe at the fate which would befall us (as happened to Manjunath) if make an attempt to fight the corruption so rampant in all walks of life . So our senses are dulled into a state of suspended animation and toe the line rather than swim against the tide.
Meanwhile fake encounters, incarceration of innocents, exploitation of dalits and heinous crimes against women continue unabated. We prefer to turn a blind eye to them and rather talk of the rising prices of pulses and the Target Rating Point (TRPs) of television soap operas/reality shows. Occasionally we also speak the bitter truth, and that too not for a noble cause, but for money (a la Sach Ka Samna).
One needs to ponder a little more as to why the development index of regions rich in natural resources is abysmally low and as to why these areas become the breeding grounds of people’s reactionary movements turning violent (like in the Punjab, Bihar and the North East). Without endorsing violence, all of us have to work towards a more just social order where everyone lives in harmony, without predating upon each other. If we have the will we can do it. Amen.
(The author is the Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS), has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP, and teaches Physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.citizen-news.org)
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