Like bloodthirsty mobs watching gladiators in an open stadium, the country is in a celebratory, predatory, barbarian, biryani mood, writes Amit Sengupta.
“With all respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on. Just due to one politician dying a natural death, everyone just goes bonkers. They should know, we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians? Respect is earned, given, and definitely, not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”
— Shaheen Dhada on Facebook
Now that Kasab has been hanged, who will eat all the biryani?The biryani metaphor was a typical Thackerayism that the Rightwing Hindutva fascists churned out in its eternal longing for bloodlust. If they hate Muslims with xenophobic passion, they share similar fundamentalist passions with, for instance, the Taliban. This is exactly what the Taliban did to Najibullah in Kabul; they hanged him on the lamp post after perhaps, gouging out his eyes, castrating him, and dragging him on the streets. He was dragged out of a United Nations office, in violation of all international laws and protocol, and the entire ‘civilised’ world watched, in apparent glee, especially America, Barack Obama’s “greatest nation” in the world. This is exactly what the Taliban did to a school teacher who did not follow the dress code in the Swat Valley. He too was hanged in a public square, for all to see.
Dictator and sex maniac, Gaddaffi of Libya, once a western ally who reportedly funded Nicholas Sarkozy, was similarly dragged on the streets like a street dog, beaten and brutalized, and then murdered in full public view – with not even a pseudo judicial trial like in case of Saddam Hussain. The Iranians still do it, like the guillotines of the past; they murder in a public spectacle, that is, when they are not torturing or raping pro-democracy protestors inside their notorious torture chambers. (Let us not forget, great filmmaker Jafar Panahi is still imprisoned in an Iranian jail – the world, obsessed with the ritualistic catharsis of barbarism, seems to have forgotten him too.)
The Chinese execute in style, with a certain economy: Fire! One bullet is enough. This is when they don’t make dissidents disappear, or roll in tanks to eliminate peaceful fasting students at Tiananmen Square, as they did so infamously and with not an iota of regret in June, 1989. And the Israelis? They just pound you to abject degradation and all that you can find from the rubble of this occupation of Palestine, are dead bodies of children who can’t run for their lives. It’s all legit. Kill them young, as they say.
“Apart from warm beer, and drawing utterly third-rate cartoons full of low level rant, patriarch Bal Thackeray spent most of his public and political life abusing the minorities, digging pitches, forcibly changing film scripts, instigating and brutally attacking arts and ideas, writers, filmmakers, actors, historians, migrants, Gujaratis, Tamils, Biharis, Muslims, Dalits”
Even pseudo Gandhian, Anna Hazare has joined this cannibalistic feast, demanding, once again, that Kasab should have been hanged in a public square. Wonder what are his tactically unstated views on Narendra Modi or Babu Bajrangi; or even, Ek tha Tiger: Bal Thackeray?
So what about Afzal Guru? This is the biggest question haunting the nation! Especially our TV tycoon-editors. When will he be hanged? When, when? They are all losing patience, like Modi and the BJP. When, when? If only they could hang him inside TV studios! Live! Ah, what a picturesque spectacle of relief!
So the question comes back. Now that Kasab has been hanged, who will eat all the biryani? Gandhi did not touch biryani, I am sure, but what would Gandhi say to that?Like bloodthirsty mobs watching gladiators in an open stadium, the country is in a celebratory, predatory, barbarian, biryani mood. For instance, even in mourning, television anchors have blown the hyperbole with such hysteric magnanimity, that Thackeray already seems like a great messiah, a sacred saint, a profound prophet and a democratic visionary, whose greatness cannot be measured in words, not even when the anchors and reporters on TV blabber endlessly 24/7. The ‘secular’ Congress-NCP led Indian State too joined in this manufactured collective catharsis. Thackeray was draped in the Indian flag and given a 21 gun salute.
In death you can only acquire the heights of greatness. He was, suddenly, in death, elevated to the level of an immaculate, saintly saffron god in flesh and blood, the man who drank warm beer and changed the political landscape of Maharashtra, perhaps that of India too with his brand of identity politics. So what will the ‘secular’ Indian State do, for instance, if yet another fascist dies in yet another state? Will it yet again go for the hyperbole, and a 21 gun salute?
Apart from warm beer, and drawing utterly third-rate cartoons full of low level rant, patriarch Bal Thackeray spent most of his public and political life abusing the minorities, digging pitches, forcibly changing film scripts, instigating and brutally attacking arts and ideas, writers, filmmakers, actors, historians, migrants, Gujaratis, Tamils, Biharis, Muslims, Dalits; threatening, patronizing and executing violence, elevating vicious, divisive and polarizing hate politics into a superlatively kitschy art form, pumping up the war adrenaline and Paki-bashing; and legitimising communal violence and mass murders, as during the dark winter of 1992-93, when the state sponsored pogrom against Muslims was executed as a public spectacle in Bombay by the Shiv Sena.Check out the Srikrishna Commission report. Check out the history of his speeches, his reactions to events, his interviews, his editorials in Samna, his theatrical call to arms and action. Check out his vitriolic and diabolical diatribes against the Pakistani cricket team. How many of us know that Bal Thackeray fully backed Indira Gandhi’s emergency and Sanjay Gandhi’s terror machine? For him Adolf Hitler was a hero. So what did he think of concentration and death camps? Rediscover his beginnings, when the Shiv Sena and Congress got together to eliminate the organized Left trade union movement in Bombay, which played a catalytic role during the freedom struggle. So who killed great CPI trade union leader Krishna Desai in Bombay? How many gun salutes did Krishna Desai get, after lakhs of shocked and angry workers and ordinary people poured in at his funeral?
Did Thackeray’s Rightwing Shiv Sena ever fight for a single cause of the workers, the poor, the peasants, the Dalits, or the thousands of farmers committing suicide in Bt cotton ravaged Vidarbha in Maharashtra’s deathly twilight zone?
The truth is that this man was neither demigod nor prophet. He was basically a crude fascist who survived on organized fear and violence and the threat of mob violence, aligned with miscellaneous industrialists, fat cats, and multi-millionaire film stars etc, who all are now glorifying him in a public show of great love and respect. In their deepest hearts, they know they are all caricatures, liars before their own cracked mirrors. In life, they lied. Even in death, they celebrate the politics of barbarism and the dirty deceptions of untruth.
Unlike young Shaheen Dhada. The girl who told the truth. And paid a heavy price for it!