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Here is what Shakespeare had Caesar say of Cassius: “beware the lean and hungry Cassius; he thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.”
That was then. Now as the legatees of Cassius-the-schemer rule in many parts of the world, here is what they say of men like Stan Swamy: “beware the lean and soulful Stan; he works for the poor. Such men are dangerous.”
Just think that having been bestowed juice in prison, this ungrateful old man did not refrain from asking for a straw to drink it with, pretending he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
An instructive throwback to the cunning child, Oliver Twist, asking for “more” gruel in a so-kind workhouse of the third decade of the nineteenth century.
These manipulative renegades, enemies of the benevolent state, never change their spots, whatever the century. They will have their piece of cake.
Their single-minded agenda is always to disgrace the powers-that-be by embracing the poor and disenfranchised just to malign Cassius. As if it is not the gods but the government that has made them poor.
No litany of enlightened “poor laws” that have been made since the fourteenth century seem to succeed in keeping the poor happily in their ordained place, and from proliferating like rabbits. A distressful complaint just re-articulated by the honourable Bombay high court which has been pleased to instruct the “homeless” to work “for the country”.
They shamelessly retort that the country had better work for them first.
Imagine that insouciance.
These poor – they will exist, and ruin all grand vistas of empire, old or new. Vistas of any kind, including grand Central Vistas, mean nothing to them. Such is their arrogance.
The self-appointed tribe of do-gooders called the NGOs use the benefit of learning they have received from the state to espouse the “cause” of the meek, when, in fact, Father Stan Swamy, a soldier of Christ, should have known that “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit heaven.”
That being so, where was the need for him to expend his time and effort on seeking legal redress for Adivasis who will not allow Cassius and his men to mine the riches of our land for the glory of empire? He forgot those two texts: “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and “those that have shall get”.
Clearly, this priest was of early vintage, when Jesus was still with us in body, before pundits wrote narratives consigning the meek to heaven and appropriating the earth for Caesar-Cassius.
Was it our fault that he insisted on being a true Christian, inter-alia, a servant of the needy and the powerless?
He paid for it, as Jesus had paid for his convictions.
But be certain that Stan Swamy’s soul will roam the hills of Jharkhand and the hutments of Adivasis, giving them the strength of self-belief and self-worth that so irks the high and mighty.
Stan’s crucifixion will not go in vain.
Badri Raina taught at Delhi University.