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As the Murdered Come Alive


I am sure that in the history of  human discourse, somebody  must have  underlined the great paradox that informs not so much public killings but private murders. 

That if the  object of murder is to obliterate forever the  “other”, the act of  murder in fact has the consequence of not obliterating but perpetuating that  “other” forever.
 
Public  massacres  have often been legitimized on one high ground of impersonal righteousness or the other: patriotism, racial purity, the moral good of mankind, the call of the divine, what-have-you, and often enough swallowed  without much regurgitation by whole peoples and civilizations, and endorsed by the best of high-minded thinkers and philosophers.
 
But  killings effected  cloak-and-dagger in pursuit of  personal safety or stature  carry a troublesome load of  universal denunciation, and, however thick-skinned, brazen, or conscienceless the  agent that  gives the sanctioning  nod to  murder, he  faces  his sleepless nights.
 
Think that in Shakespeare’s  Macbeth (a text I keep returning to whenever I think of  Modi’s Gujarat)  of all the gruesome murders the most gruesome turns out to be that of sleep:  “Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Macbeth hath murdered sleep/ Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
 
So  is Modi, who now smiles but rarely, losing sleep  as he and his obliging minions have yet again been found out in the matter of the killings of Ishrat Jahan and four other young people?
 
Between 2002 and  our moment, some 22 inconvenient  human entities have been done to death in Gujarat inorder to secure Modi’s ‘safety’ and  heroic enhancement so as he may strut the stage rather more  stridently, even if shamelessly.  
 
Not to speak of guiltlessly; do keep in mind that since the day his regime began, he has been the home minister of the state of Gujarat in addition to being the chief minister.
 
So what makes Modi tick?
 
Five  things:  one that he has been able thus far to sell  private killings, read murders, to  about a half of the Gujarati electorate as  killings necessitated by the call to keep them safe from the  forces of evil (did I hear you laugh?), and thereby as a tribute to his  unbreachable  local patriotism and machismo;
 
Two, that wide sections of Indian media to this day continue to buy this construction of eventualities inorder not to undermine what they see as the most puissant counter to the prospects of a wholly secular or leftward swing to India;
 
three, that in Gujarat there is no party, only neutralized, even dispatched,  dissenters and  Modi;
 
four, that thus far Modi has not been taken on by any organized political force within Gujarat, although  this seems set to change;
 
five, because when all else fails, there is always the recourse to the time-tested “Hinduism under siege” hypothesis, one to which both India’s corporates and  new middle classes resonate, notwithstanding their love of a market-driven modernity.
 
And, yet, the bards of old were not wrong: things are distinctly closing in on Modi.
 
Those  heroic and recklessly fatal acts of resistance and exposure initiated by the likes of Teesta Setalvad and  Citizens for Justice and Peace—the organization she runs—built upon through the last nine years by a gathering mass of  caring and fearless citizens, and culminating in the unprecedentedly bold revolt of one serving police officer after another, Sanjiv Bhatt being the most daring  protagonist here for now, coupled with the increasingly more forthright pronouncements from  investigation agencies and courts of law, and a vastly more damaging national and international climate of opinion against  Neros like Modi,–all this  streaked with the congealed blood of one  murdered corpse after another—bids fare to  unravel the long years of  Nazi rule in Gujarat.
 
If I am not mistaken,  Ishrat  in urdu  has the meaning  “happy consequence” or thereabouts.
 
Will Ishrat’s sacrifice prove the final bearer of happy tidings for a sane and secular India? 
 
If it does, tomorrow, the next day, even a year from now, many of us might attempt a canonization.

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