Where mind is not without fear
Till now (phase 8) over 40 crore electors of the country’s 16th general elections have voted. Total number of Parliamentary seats voted has been 502. In this seemingly great act of democracy, all the talks about Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, may have masked the stories of all those who remained disenfranchised,
dispossessed and deprived.
Despite that, the Maoist enterprise in India based on a deeply flawed ideology, which has very little to do with Karl Marx or his socialism, remains buried at best in the deep background, shrouded in the forest foliage, which is the command centre of the Maoists. Barring advocating that the most marginalised communities need to resort to ‘people’s war’ against the mighty Indian state with its cornucopia of combat systems and other instruments, the Maoists in India have done precious little.
Still, even keeping that in the back of the mind, one cannot condone the surprise arrest of the Delhi University professor of English Literature, G N Saibaba. One have heard the soft speaking Saibaba on a couple of occasions, one cannot but miss his deep humanism, emerging from a welter of sentiments that are obviously militated by the deeply iniquitous Indian society.
Never on those two occasions have one heard him pitch for killing or maiming anyone, nor has one heard him issuing threats to anyone like the way Narendra Modi or Amit Shah or any other member of their cohorts issue against a community during the supposedly democratic process that is the general election.
Yet, on Friday (9 May) afternoon Prof Saibaba was waylaid by the plainclothesmen of Maharashtra Police on his way to his residence near the Delhi University north campus and taken straight to the airport and flown to Mumbai. We have been told through the columns of newspapers that had been, for more than a month, advocating Modi’s case in a real show of partisanship this Sunday that a young boy from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) arrested near Gadhchiroli had been the courier of Saibaba, who has 90 per cent disability, to the Maoists.
We were not told what was the nature of the communication that the courier had been carrying from Saibaba. We were not told how this communication was inimical to the interest of the Indian state. We were not told that how this communication were to materially alter the apparently divinely ordained state of being of the country. And, we were not told how Saibaba has rebelled to wage war against the State. But the action of the Maharashtra Police have raised quite a few questions about this divine ordination translated on terra firma by the Ambanis, Adanis and the foreign institutional investors, who have the power amongst themselves to subjugate the Indian financial system at a moment’s notice.
The questions that this action raises are these: Does the fundamental right of free expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution have any meaning? Does the fundamental right of free association gets challenged when a person has liaison with a banned organisation like the CPI (Maoist)? Does the Indian law brazenly allow a warrantless arrest and a custody defined, not by the judiciary but by the executive fiat of a dubious authority (the same authority that seeks to confront the lawlessness of the city of Mumbai by selective ‘encounter’ killings, as extra-judicial assassination is called.) It also raises questions why should the state have the only authority to monopolise violence in a society, when the cost of a human life is probably the only one that is depreciating at a faster rate the rate of the rise of prices of the essential commodities.
A friend who deeply researches the Maoist movement in the country and normally always remains beholden to the police and paramilitary for information, says that Saibaba needed to be ‘picked up’ because he ‘indoctrinates the young minds.’
These are same young minds who can remember the best of the developments of the fashion world and take education as a vehicle to affording those fashionable items, get indoctrinated into Maoism by a professor of English Literature, almost totally disabled. So, we are to believe that those of these youth who get indoctrinated, actually do not want to get tutored about the Maoist revolutionary methods. But instead Saibaba, through some sorcerer’s magic make them see the light of day.
The author is a senior journalist