Saturday, 1 March 2014

Eye for an Eye

The last couple of days must be the nadir of inhumanity that some Indians have subjected some others to. What makes it particularly hideous is the way that ...

Let me start again, and start at the very beginning as a popular Julie Andrews song goes. Once there was a man called Gandhi who led the Indians to freedom by employing the till then unheard of notion of non-violent struggle. At that bloody time that witnesed Britain's partition of what was then India into India, West and East Pakistan, Gandhi said many eye-opening things. There is a scene in the movie `Gandhi' where one Hindu who had just lost his wife and child was ready to unsheathe his knife, go into the streets, looking for a possible Muslim, Gandhi told him to instead adopt a child, preferably Muslim, who had lost his parents due to the madness that was engulfing the people. He said if you demand on taking an eye for an eye, the whole world will soon be blind. I have no reason to believe this was not founded on fact! All India followed his lead in the Quit India movement against the British, and lovingly called him `Mahatma' - literally, great soul.

Now I want you to let the camera move about 65 years ahead to the Nadir I spoke of. There is another Gandhi, called Rahul who is trying to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress, only by virtue of his genealogy. For the uninformed, this Rahul is no relative of the Mahatma. He happens to be the great-grandson of Nehru, our first Prime Minister, and Nehru's daughter Indira was PM a little later, and she was married for a brief while to a man with the last name Gandhi. After Indira, her son Rajiv became PM. And Rajiv's son is Rahul; and now, for his role in this eye for an eye/Gandhi twist to the tale.

Rahul Gandhi has, for the first time, stated his readiness to lead the Congress party's essay in the forthcoming elections after his party has been putting up a miserable performance in their current - and conceivably last - term as the ruling party. They have made so many promises, and kept precious few of them. So he gets this brainwave to table and pass a number of these bills hurriedly in the last days of their tenure.

Now for a different tack: India pased the (Persons with Disability) PWD Act in 1995 with the good motive of respecting the rights of PWD to equality in education, accessibility to public buildings, and equality in the eyes of the Law. Later, the UN drafted a Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. Shortly thereafter India unconditionally ratified the UNCRPD. So far so good.

Many years go by, the 1995 Act is seen to be toothless in enforcing its suggestions, and ratification of the UN CRPD seems to be a meaningless lip-service, and after making sporadic noises on redrafting a `functional' Bill, and one sees drafts in 2011 and 2012, each looking progressively worse than its precessor. all of a sudden, an unholy alliance is made in December 2013 between a Mr. Javed Abidi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Now this Javed is one who has once done a non-trivial amount of good for the PWD sector; but he tends to be autocratic and he likes to convey the impression to all and sundry that he is `the leader' of this sector. He gets the bright idea of doing a hatchet job of the prior drafts of the RPD Bill, claims to `include' some more kinds of disabilities in the ambit of this RPD Bill 2014, which, according to him, will be a game-changer and make the whole world much better for the roughly 70 million people with disabilities in India. The final master-stroke is for him to convince Rahul that all Indian PWD want and need this Bill to be passed, to include *his* RPD Bill in the list of Bills to be tabled and passed, and hence be seen as the champion of the unfortunate by passing this Bill.

Fortunately there are several disability activists who have spotted the numerous flaws and dreadful consequences that would accrue from passing this Bill, and thave been raising objections to this diabolical plan. After Rahul failed to pass this and several other Bills, they came up with the idea of trying to pass these Bills via the route of Ordinances sneaked in with the help of a President who had not too long ago been a minister during the Congress' rule. When news of this leaks out, several visibility impaired people join in a protest march in places like the Congress Party's Office and the residence of Rahul Gandhi. The next thing one hears is that the police have started lathi-charging the blind protesters. They then enclose all these people in a pen created by police barriers on three sides and a wall on the fourth side; and these people are not allowed to drink any water, or to use any restroom facilities; and the whole thing is done crudely and harshly. The group that had gathered outside Rahul's house included, in its number, a persom who had already lost use of one eye; this lad had won medals in archery at the Abilympics, and he had even been decorated with an `Arjuna Award -  by the (current) President of India. He was also brutally manhandled, and received lacerations in the one good eye, and was moved to the operating table. There have been conflicting reports on the state of his good eye.

And the really mind-blowing fact is that the Press and TV Media have hardly thought it fit to say anything about this grotesque cruelty being dealt out to people voicing their concerns in a non-violent way. Makes one wonder whether this media is part of the Fourth estate or Fifth column. Tomorrow seems to be the last stand of this cabinet trying to meet to pass the ordinnces on a Sunday. Talk of devotion to duty! Thus has this Gandhi interpreted the `eye for an eye' idiom that was used so compassionately by the Mahatma.

But just as the non-violent followers of Mahatma Gandhi received blows from an inhuman British army nevertheless won their war because of the supremacy of good over evil, so will the opponents with disabilities of Rahul Gandhi overcome the self-serving people who are trying to pass this Bill purely for the gratification of their inflated egos.

1 comment:

  1. Ramkaran is an athelete and not an archer. Print media did take up the issue but only after convincing them that such brutality can exist in heart of the capital