Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Talk about feeling good!

At its most literal, sadbhavna translates to ‘good feelings’. Now who wouldn’t want Indian citizens to have good feelings for each other, across the tragic, screaming borders of caste, language, religion, sex? And if a democratically-elected representative wants to fast for a few days in the hope of fostering fine fellow-feeling etcetera amongst the electorate, there is nothing wrong with that.

But the thing is, good feelings can only come to those who are feeling good about themselves and the people they must deal with. I can believe, for instance, that Narendra Modi is feeling good. Good things have happened to him. He’s been CM for nearly a decade now. Everybody tells him that he’s good at administration (which might not be the same as being a good person or citizen or leader, but that’s another story).

However, there are other Indian citizens who are not feeling so good.

For instance, the Basumatarys from Kokrajhar in Assam. There are allegations that the deaf-mute wife was gang-raped by SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) soldiers in front of her husband. That was earlier this month. A police complaint was filed, but I haven’t heard of any fresh reports on whether the armed forces are doing the needful: making arrests, trying the accused, punishing them. The victim — and the village, and in fact, all of Assam — wants to see some kind of justice getting served. But until that happens, it would be stupid to expect them to feel ‘sadbhavna’ vis a vis the SSB.

Also, for instance, the people of Karcha village in Chhattisgarh. They can’t be feeling too good after the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl... State home minister Nankiram Kanwar of the BJP shamed himself by asking why the dead child was out at night in the first place (...) It is hard to feel good about such ministers. Indian women will find it hard to forgive the BJP for not making him step down for this shameful attempt to protect alleged rapist-murderers by blaming dead children.

Read full piece here

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