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When 9 children died after being run over by Bihar BJP leader

The victims should have known the roads belong to the VVIPs.

 |  6-minute read |   28-02-2018
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Nine school children have been crushed to death by Manoj Baitha, the BJP party functionary in Bihar. Many more are seriously injured. Given the quality of medical attention available to them, god alone knows how many more tender skulls will adorn the muscular neck of Mr Baitha.

In this, only the children are to blame. What business did they have to attend school? Had they stayed at home, they would not have been reduced to pulp on the road. Their teachers should have taught them what even the dogs know: roads belong to the VVIPs.

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The victims were wrong, a second time, in crossing the road. They should have stayed on their side of the road, as their parents and the parents of their parents and their grandparents have done for centuries. They survived by staying abjectly and faithfully to the other side of the road. They never crossed anybody’s path. Now, as then, the rule is the same: cross the line, and you get it on your neck. Makes no difference, whether it is love, livelihood, education… Do not cross the line. Understand? This is not "love jihad". This is "line jihad".

The victims committed a third offence. They showed scant respect to VVIP movement. In our kind of democracy, this is the one crime that will not be pardoned. No inconvenience to the ruling class, understand?

I remember guns being trained at me, way back in 1986, when in Connaught Circus I was a little slow in making way for VVIP movement. The very darkness of hell stares at you through a barrel - the telescope of death - when a gun is pointed to your face. In a flash, I became a "terrorist" - though that word was not popular, thank God, then. Children should know where they belong. They have no business to come in the way of VVIPs or the lackeys of VVIPs. As regards to your life, they are all the same.

The child victims did worse. They chose to cross the road precisely at the time Baitha was shooting past. Why couldn’t have they waited for a few minutes, better still, a few hours, more? Circumstantial evidence suggests a sort of schoolchildren conspiracy against the BJP neta. It is because of the magnanimity of the BJP spokespersons that they did not belabour this conspiracy angle. Customarily, noble of sentiments and scrupulously factual, they limited themselves to pointing out the misdemeanors of the RJD goons. How could that fail to alleviate the pain of the demised and assuage the anguish of their heart-broken mothers?

The matter does not end there. The children went a step further. And that’s where malice comes in. They crossed the road not only when the busy, beloved leader was streaming through the road, but at a time when he was, going by reports, thoroughly inebriated. Did these children really expect a man, his brain swimming in alcohol in a state totally free of that volatile substance, to mind-trifling matters like the life of a dozen or two children?

How can you hold a man responsible for what he does when he is not himself? Those who have a modicum of common sense can come only to one conclusion. It was not Baitha who killed the children. It was liquor. This massacre showcases, therefore, the greatness of Nitish Kumar. He knew liquor could kill. He abolished it from the state. So, there is no liquor in Bihar.

Now do you see the wisdom of his banishing liquor from Bihar so mercilessly?

He did all that for sheer love of children. But the moral of the story must still be noted: banished liquor is deadlier than licensed liquor, especially when it courses through the veins and arteries, and fumes in the brains, of power-blinded political creeps. But the worst offence of these child victims is not yet. It is that they chose to be born poor. In glittering India, where billionaires are hourly born, why should anyone stay poor?

Why couldn’t the parents of these famished children have made contact with our super-generous bankers, and got a few hundred LoUs executed at lightning speed and taken off in style? Then, instead of Baitha mowing their children down, they would have been saluted by this sloshy assassin.

If these lacklustre, dull-witted items of mortality do not know that it is a crime to be poor, why should a dynamic and ruthless political genius, - a future PM, who knows? - with all the right connections where it matters, be put to inconvenience? (Beta Baitha, please come back home. Ma misses you!)

Fingers are being pointed at Nitish Kumar. How unfair. Hasn’t he done all he could? With one swish of his magic wand, he banished liquor from a big state. And if, notwithstanding this, someone behaves like one stoned out of his senses, how is he to blame? Nitish is not so dead drunk that he is insensitive to coalition dharma. And this, no ordinary coalition. It is a political end-game for that principled merchant of "sushasan (good governance)" based unwaveringly on all the values your jocose ancestors ever talked about. Displease the Big Brother? In that event, he had better prepare himself to join Lalu as an enforced guest of the state.

And there is this other matchless thing that Nitish has done. It is rarely that remorse is taken to a higher level. The heart-broken Bihar CM will not "play Holi" this year. Now, this is called sacrifice, if you don’t know. Nine children perished. Twenty more injured. They cannot play Holi. So, Nitish too will not play. (Fine, don’t play Holi. But why can’t you play CM?)

Okay, let him not play Holi. But is it right that he has no concern for his partner in politics, Mr Baitha? Nitish may not miss Holi. But that doesn’t mean that Baitha would not. Should not Nitish, the faithful, loyal coalition partner he is, provide for a celebration of Holi, in the characteristic Baitha style, in a place of the latter’s choosing?

Holi comes, after all, once a year. Why should a promising political genius miss this annual revelry for a small slip of the tyre like the massacre of nine poor children, who would have died in misery anyways, given the poverty in which they were languishing?

In view of the above, all sensible citizens will come to the same conclusion - especially given their utter impotence - that Mr Baitha is being harassed hypocritically. He has done only what his class and clan are entitled to. He should be allowed to ply his business without let or hindrance, even if a few dozens more of children may be crushed to death or maimed for life on that count.

After all, being a BJP leader, he would act only in national interests. We are all patriots, aren’t we? How can we, then, hinder a furiously dynamic patriot from proving his prowess, unburdened by that outdated moral vermiform appendix called conscience?

Garv se kaho, hum neta hai!

Also read: Holi: Happy hooligan day to you too

Writer

Valson Thampu Valson Thampu

The writer is former principal of St Stephen's College, Delhi and former member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

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