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The Political Drama I Witnessed In Real Life

August 24, 2015

I want to recall one incidence from my PG days. The ruling govt of the old man in Tamil Nad was dismissed by Rajiv Gandhi, the then Congress PM, soon after the EPRLF Padmanabha murder case that shook the city, that had never witnessed violence of such a scale in history. The assassins were ‘allowed’ to escape by the local authorities ,and so to maintain law & order in the state, the state govt was dismissed by the center. The next day in our classrooms in the university we saw blood-chilling graffiti only this time in all our blackboards: ‘Azhithaalum Karuvaavom Uruvaavom’ the words that I can never forget in this life. (Even if destroyed we shall form again, come alive again). My friends and I feared the worst for the state. It was not the first time we knew and we believed the bad omen would prove true. It was only shortly before that our Economics/Econometrics Dept (MUSE) had had a new HOD – prof. N, a party man, who it was rumoured landed the plum and prestigious post only because he was a party cadre. Years later the third time the party was sworn to power, he could be seen standing right behind the old man in his public appearances. It was understood, this man became the right hand of the CM and was composing his speeches for him. Madras University touched rock bottom in quality with this man no wonder. Fear psychosis reigned the corridors and even our other lecturers & professors kept their quiet. (The HOD is not forgettable either – with his smooth shaven ladylike hands!)

Earlier during emergency, mother Indira had done the same to the govt of TN in the ’70s: dismissing the state govt in office. So twice the dravidian party got dismissed by the congress govt at the centre, unable to complete a single term on being elected to govern in the assembly elections. (It was only around the millennium it was possible for the party to do a full term of 5 years).  We were anticipating a worse calamity to befall on us in the beginning of the ’90s, especially us University students who had shrunk back in shock on reading the graffiti. For days, the warning remained on board – none dared to erase it with a duster.

1991 – got TN into world headlines. A small sleepy town ‘Sriperumbudur’ in the outskirts of good old Madras was on everyone’s tongue.

My grandmother used to say this: that bad days started for TN with the arrival of the dravidian parties. Until then crimes were unknown in the state. When the old man assumed powers for the first time, the upper caste hindus sought refuge in foreign shores which explains the exodus of highly educated Tamils to the US in particular. Rowdyism and hooliganism became order of the day. Corruption seeped into Tamil soil never to be routed out again.

Back to 2015. Watching with interest the sudden uproar against TASMAC bars in TN with the ‘notorious’ dravidian party turning puritanical overnight & pushing for total prohibition in the state, we left on some business early this month, to the PH Road. 11.30 am we crossed a college notorious again for its rowdy elements. By exact noon when we returned quick, we saw that the road was blocked. The students were on rampage stoning public transport, disrupting & blocking traffic, and the police looked on helplessly. In unrelenting August heat, the policemen were doing a remarkable duty, diverting traffic and ensuring everyone’s safety.  They were exercising a tremendous restraint from hitting back at the students as everyone could see. They were also trying to pacify the students who were on a very violent destructive mood, persuading them to return to their campus. Situation was still under control.

We were left with no choice than taking an alternative route of return. By this time my mother-in-law called in cell asking us to be careful & skirt the PH Road where chaos had erupted. Dazed citizens were stuck on their way to wherever, and/or were annoyed with the diversions. Those who commuted by PTC buses had to get down and weave their way through the confusion to nearest accessible and safe bus stop.

By 1.30 we reached home somehow. TV was already on and my MIL was watching Sun News. The PH road was already making headlines to our surprise. The camera zoomed in to show a TASMAC outlet & bar in the vicinity of the college, ransacked by students. Policemen were trying to bring in some order. The girls and boys had by then damaged liquor bottles worth lakhs or rupees causing loss to private property.

Interestingly within a few minutes the old man appeared on TV warning the police department and feeling sympathy for the girl students who were hit by the policemen. We were wonderstruck because it was not even 1-1.30 hours before that we crossed the stretch. Such a quick recap was impossible : UNLESS OTHERWISE IT WAS ALL STAGE MANAGED.

I quickly surfed other tamil news channels (we have atleast half a dozen) and found that the footage was not aired in any other news channel. Looks like a Sun tv & Kalaignar tv scoop ONLY.  The scene kept playing the rest of the day with the old man warning the state government asking for closure of TASMAC, condemning the highhandedness of the police in thrashing’ women.

A perfect drama was scripted, enacted and staged by the old man and his party we could see.

People in Tamil Nadu are not fools. We know who is who. Everyone who was adult/teenager in 1980s knows and can relate the build-up to Rajiv Gandhi assassination. We don’t dare because we care for our precious lives. After all, we are middle-class. But you cannot trade a lie as truth forever. Just like Imran Khan was cheated out of his fair chances in our neighbouring Pakistan. Finally the judiciary has ruled in his favour. Whether he is fit or otherwise is not the question. But you cannot utter a lie a 1000 times and make it the TRUTH okay? Sometimes the very proponents of democracy think & act and aver contrary to their principles. Although there is nothing good thing to say about Pakistan, wish we had had an honest and impartial inquiry & justice system in this country.

Rajiv Gandhi case is buried in our courts. Justice delivered was partial, insufficient. Ajmal Kasab was only one poison arrow. Wherefrom did he come. Nalini, Sivarasan and even LTTE were like Ajmal Kasab. Who dares to dig deeper. Do we want to see Tamil Nad go up in flames

Who knows, perhaps this is Karma payback. We never got to know what happened with our second PM Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri either. So Time has a way of delivering justice. Truth on Rajiv Gandhi assassination thus shall never become public or official just the same way Shastri’s last moments of life shall remain a mystery. For what the mother did, the son paid. Karma is our only true inheritance. It comes to us by blood.

When professional colleges in the city/state were closed in support of Sri Lankan Tamils a couple of years back, the colleges and hostels locked up fearing stoning & arson. Almost all the protesters in the colleges, said the students, were ‘outsiders’ – party cadres and not regular college students. For 10-15 valuable days the engineering & medical colleges were shut through out the state. How the students suffered in the next semester – we parents can testify. Same goes for IIT. I have friends’ kids attending IIT, Madras. My friend totally denounced that the IITians were engaged in any kind of demonstration or protest. It was the PG students and some outsiders who were party cadres who had access to the campus who misused the name with a view to tarnish the institution’s reputation, she said.

A couple of degree colleges in the city that were once fertile grounds that bred greatest intellectuals are now populated by quota students, who steeped in their poverty and in a vengeance with the other better half of the society have come to be misused & exploited by some vested interests/political parties/leaders. Its tragic that they can let this happen to themselves.

Its time the student community is shaken out of its stupor to see what is happening to them – how they have let undesirable elements ‘use’ them up. If its my daughter I would slap the girl left and right no doubt – we are not here to debate whether liquor is morally corrupt or not. Damaging/destroying public/private property merits death sentence as far as I am concerned. Not a penny the boys and girls have so far earned in their lives. Poor parents are footing their hostel bills & tuition fees. How irresponsible.

Questions that come up in mind:

  1. Why was prohibition not enforced during the DMK regime of 10 years.
  2. Who will be Tamil Nad chief minister if DMK is to win the next assembly elections. MK Stalin or MK Azhagiri or still the same grand old man M Karunanidhi. The barber who boarded train to the city from village ticketless with just the shaving kit is a billionaire today or even trillionaire who knows.
  3. Before commenting on Jayalalitha J’s personal life, will the partymen clarify what is the relationship between Kanimozhi & Raja. Who is the daughter of DMK with. Which husband 2nd, 3rd, 4th?
  4. They say Chennai real estate touched the roof because of 2G money pumped into the business, is that true. Now a Thailand like situation is developing in the city scene. Just like it was with Hongkong citizens deciding to stay put with China that got the South East Asia markets & economy crashing in late ’90s, real estate in Chennai is in an impasse with no. of highrises remaining unsold and apartment blocks remaining vacant. Growth is stagnant in last 2-3 years. Builders are doomed.
  5. The civil contractors who did the Anna flyover in the ’70s and those of the 2000s were all found dead with their families in mysterious circumstances soon after. Not even JJ tried to take up the cases.
  6. How come Vaiko of the party went and met with the Tigers & LTTE supremo in the middle of the jungle. How come the sandalwood smuggler Veerappan met with some private print media and gave interview to a tv channel when the same govt of Tamil Nadu at that time could not hunt him down. It had to be JJ to successfully carry out the operation. What is the connection between these anti-nationals and the said dravidian party.
  7. I can go on but I have to stop somewhere….! If we decide to crack open the Pandora’s box, we shall be drowned by the kind of info’ that will fly at our face.

The state politics is dirty and dangerous yet the TASMAC episode that i witnessed very recently early this month, keeps playing in my mind day after day. It shows how easily the public, the students, anyone can be manipulated. How the mass media can be misused. Political parties must be banned from hosting their own tv channels that are not only propaganda tools for the parties, but are also vehicles of lies and concocted theories. Its easy to stoke the passions of an illiterate population into a volatile mob frenzy.

Cases are pending in court against the 2 tv channels already. I would definitely like a ban on them – for our national security, and no other reason.

Meanwhile. CM Jayalalitha is rumoured to be in ill-health. Hopefully the stalled projects in the state that require her attention are speeded up. Backlog is accumulating. The CM has been busy for over an year now and the state is suffering. She is no more kind of alert the way she used to be.

JJ is slack right now in administration. Rural households in TN are innocent and do not know the true colours of some dravidian parties. They vote for whichever party  bribes them the best. In 1990s, there were simplest folks in Tamil Nad who thought Delhi was foreign country. Some had no idea who Rajiv was! More over, public memory is short. Now thanks to the visual mass media and internet and high rate of literacy, the state is a lot more improved and knowledgeable. However sadly, the 1980s and 1990s cannot be reconstructed for them them or retold. They won’t be convinced. Which is why the old man’s party is alternately voted to power.

One may have thought the old man would be reformed by now but he obviously isn’t. From my university days to now, he remains the same venomous, vicious politician India has ever seen, now in his ’90s. Puts every Tamil to utter shame.

I have resigned myself to the inevitable truth: that its better to leave things untold at times, in order for sanity to prevail, in order for peace to subsist amidst us. India comes first. And when congress could break bread with the old man’s party and share the spoils of 2G why should I bother. Atleast Rahul Gandhi refused to go see the old man and shake his hands the one time he was in Chennai. I would hate him for my prime minister in future (yes it might happen some time) but what he let us know Tamils quietly is that, ‘he knows.’ Thanks Rahul. It was important for us.

MAKE THEM PAY

In the forthcoming state assembly elections, it won’t be a surprise if the old man’s party is voted again to power. After all, my CM has not been doing well the current term for health, legal reasons or whatever.

How about the old man’s party closing all TASMAC bars in TN in case of returning to the assembly.

What made me write this blog is,

  1. The perfection of stage management of the college demonstration going violent and deliberate damage & destruction caused to private & public property: The said TASMAC outlet had been ‘chosen’ like by a previous arrangement, tv crews rightly poised with cameras – note: only select tv channels were privy, and the old man’s voice blabbering in the background (pre-recorded no doubt) in the news clipping about the lathi-charging of the female students.
  2. What the govt/police can do is, identify the students responsible for the damage from the footage of the tv channel.  They cannot refute evidence. Make the students pay for the damages. Make their families pay. This is the only way out and unforgettable lesson for the erring and misled student community.
  3. Politics in campus is abhorable – as a student, a boy/girl’s duty is to LEARN first and turn up into a decent and responsible citizen. Why cannot the college issue TC on grounds of misconduct to the students. They must be easily identifiable because they also courted arrest I guess which ironically they happen to think is heroic (which it is not). Over 90% of university goers in Tamil Nad are ready to disassociate themselves from politics. A small percentage however evinces interest in politics. While a healthy involvement is always welcome, any illegal provocative acts in the process must be condemnable. It will reflect on what kind of politicians the students shall make in future.
  4. Liquor bars/night clubs/party houses/cinemas are every citizen’s fundamental rights. If you want/don’t want, you stay away. I don’t believe in prohibition or banning or censure of anything. If there is no mind control, self-control, nothing shall work.
  5. Some nations are violent and barbaric and even terrorist only because the men there lack diversions like cinemas, music, art, liquor, casinos, betting, dance bars etc. I am a vegetarian like many today, because it is not enforced on me. It is my free will – not a legal obligation. Whereas eating in holy months in some nations could land you in jail. India is a mature democracy. ‘Kalavum katru mara’ goes the Tamil proverb which loosely translates into: ‘learn even to thieve but forget it!’
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From → Dilli Durbar

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