Where is my freedom?
No it's not the usual self-gratifying introspection about where my country is headed, not a futile fury over my prime minister's I- day speech which could comatose the country and its youth for the next two years, not a self-defeating rile over the rancour by third/fourth/nth Anna camp which can spoil anyone's eggs in the morning... No this is not about the leaders at the altars of power but a farmer
A farmer, a vote that all parties covet with sops, with money, with liquor, and often with boots. A farmer, the aam admi of congress, the mool of Trinamool, the quintessential common man of India who brings votes for our netas and zing to their speeches. Everyone bleeds for the farmer , their plight, their land, their debt , their suicides. The incredible farmers of our incredible India.
Today when my country completes 65 years of its independence one such farmer is spending his freedom in jail. A poor man from the poorest part of Bengal. A man who asked his chief minister about his farmer-ly needs- fertilisers. He didn't understand that his job at the rally is to be a bobbing head, a pair of clapping hands, an awed half-open mouth prostrating in front of his deliverer. He forgot to be anonymous, to be a vote without a mind.
Shiladitya Chowdhary is a Maoist, he is a part of a larger Maoist conspiracy to kill Mamata. He was drunk. He misbehaved with women. He dared to give a false name to the police. He assaulted them. He broke through VIP security cordon. He had criminally trespassed, used criminal force using criminal intimidation in short he is a bona-fide criminal
This was revealed in an epiphanic flash to the chief minister who understood the grave danger of a Maoist in the midst and raised an alarm. Something so obvious that even her legions of police couldn't sniff. Thus the words were bellowed' Arrest that man, he is a Maoist'. And such is the appalling inefficiency of our police that this man, a grave danger to the peace of the state , a threat to the chief minister's, an ultra, a Naxal, a blood-thirsty killing machine, was let off after questioning. Soon enough after one whole day, the mistake was realised and he was arrested. But wait a minute where are the charges , the irrefutable evidence, the truth that resounded the arena of Belpahari that Shiladitya Chowdhary is indeed a Maoist... The 4 sections of IPC that were slapped against him had nothing to do with him being a gun-trotting hound. So does the police have the blinkers on or is it a fact that reveals itself only to the Trinamool Ministers who thump their fist to underline every word spoken to make it real, to make it believable. A fact that he is a Maoist.
Today as Lata Mangeshkar reminds me to be patriotic at every traffic signal, today as the grainy black and white images of our freedom fighters bombard my television sets, today as I see the tricolor flying from the ramparts of red fort, today at the stroke of midnight hour when the government slept and justice dozed, Shiladitya Chowdhary tossed one more time in his prison cell and asked' Where is my freedom?'...
More about Priyanka Gupta
- + In times of turmoil - Little Egypt
- + Eggs to order
- + American dream: what is that?
- + The human cost: Bengal politics and its cycle of violence
- + The new calendar: looking back at International Women's Day
- + Out of the ash, I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air
- + No country for women?
- + A little ray of light in the dark saga of sanitation in India
- + A disease lurks Byangoland