It is a day of big upheavals in different parts of the world. In South Korea, the boss of Samsung goes to jail and in Thailand, the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra flees ahead of a court verdict but the biggest event to impact civility and sanity has to be from India where another godman hopefully is made to bite the dust.
But before Baba Ram Rahim Insaan can be consigned to the dustbin of history, his supporters are out to extract just payment for Justice being served on a man who dared live a larger-than-life lifestyle. Singer, dancer, actor, philanthropist, philosopher, fighter, love-charger, rapist — the adjectives used to describe this self-styled messenger of God are as limitless as the fertile imagination that built his charisma.
Lakhs of supporters versus thousands of police, paramilitary and military forces in an unequal tussle to control the law that rules the land, the rule of law subjugated to the whim of a murderous mass whose belief in their beloved "godman" weighs far more than their trust in the law of India; even when Ram Rahim Insaan's crime is the very inhuman act of forcing sexual intercourse on a weaker person.
Violence has gripped Panchkula.
The to-be-convicted godman went to court in style to hear the judgment to be pronounced — his was a cavalcade of some 200 cars, most of them SUVs and his supporters lining the roads along the 250km that he travelled. Reporters, photographers and TV vans were placed at strategic locations and every national news TV station stayed LIVE on the events - right from the morning. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh remained in lockdown mode and the Army did a flag march. In anticipation of the very apparent threat of unpleasantness, the administration rushed in thousands and thousands of extra troops.
To maintain order, curfew was imposed but that did not prevent the spiralling of lawlessness and sudden pitched battles broke out and died in pockets of shifting anarchy.
The court did its job; it blindly followed the course of justice and the judge deemed Ram Rahim guilty of the rape charges that he had been accused of. As the news broke and spread, the seething mass flexed its muscles; at first tentatively but then with more and more force as mob hysteria took over. Buildings torched, people killed, vehicles smashed and journalists thrashed — all because justice was upheld?
Wannabe super power; economic power house; space-faring nation; massive military might; the world's biggest democracy. And to think that the future of India depends on how this loutish citizenry exercises its right to rampage, to burn, to kill, to disparage the very rules and laws that could have made the country really great.
7 decades of wasted opportunity to civilise a society that dates back thousands of years; a melange of influences increasingly in a dumb down mode, becoming atavistic with time.
70 years of Independence and universal suffrage, it sends a chill down the spine to think that these hooligans hold the key to what India should be.
They wield immense power not because they rampage and kill but because they vote in people who allow these vandals and their masters to anchor India back to its superstitious, feudal, regressive past.
This is not just about one Ram Rahim and his million followers; this is about a thousand others of different names with different excuses who are constantly diluting the core idea of India — not the India of religious identities, not the India of social identities, not the India of past glory but they are killing the India that came into being in 1947. The only India that really matters.