Knock Knock, Anyone There? This Is Bhagat Singh's Ghost

Knock Knock, Anyone There? This Is Bhagat Singh's Ghost

In the political shift that has happened since, it is not clear if Bhagat Singh has been moved to the new parliament House where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pride and joy is a sengol.

V SudarshanUpdated: Thursday, December 21, 2023, 10:35 PM IST
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Bhagat Singh (left) Parliament Security Breach (right) | Wikipedia/X

Just outside the old Parliament stands a statue of Bhagat Singh, unveiled by President Pratibha Patil fifteen years ago on August 15, 2008.

In the political shift that has happened since, it is not clear if Bhagat Singh has been moved to the new parliament House where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pride and joy is a sengol.

Nonetheless, Prime Minister Modi pays homage to Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary, September 28. This year he tweeted to his 93.9 million followers, “Remembering Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary. His sacrifice and unwavering dedication to the cause of India’s freedom continue to inspire generations. A beacon of courage, he will forever be a symbol of relentless fight for justice and liberty.”

Rhetoric apart, if there was to be a simple, single line on Bhagat Singh's memorial, it would read: `He wanted to make the deaf hear.’

That was precisely the aim of Neelam Devi (37) Sagar Sharma (26), Manoranjan D (34) and Amol Shinde (25) -- all inheritors of Bhagat Singh’s dreams and admirers of his ideals, the very teachings that Prime Minister Modi eulogizes.

Is Modi's admiration in a different orbit of realpolitik? We will soon find out. For the moment, let us concentrate on Neelam, Sagar, Manoranjan and Amol, who should thank their lucky stars that none of them were born Muslim or Sikh, especially those hyped as the Khalistan-types among the latter.

True,by no stretch of the imagination are they revolutionaries, anti-nationals, or terrorists. They do not belong to any group with dark ideology as their guiding star. Raising slogans such as Tanashahi Nahi Chalegi (dictatorship will not be allowed), Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jai Bheem, Jai Bharat, while releasing a harmless coloured gas --even though the real air outside in Delhi is far more toxic -- does not constitute an act of terrorism, does it?

Lalit Mohan Jha, Mahesh, and Kailash are unknown entities here, but possibly equally caught up in the ferment in the ‘nondescript and less known Bharat’ where farmer’s protests, ethnic violence in Manipur and unemployment legitimately play more than bit roles in the minds of many. In other words, they could be legitimate topics of conversations and expressions in college dorms, canteens, or newsrooms, for instance. All they set out to do is to bring our attention to the narratives that have escaped the notice of those who hold the keys to change. They didn’t blow up anything, except their own futures.

Two of them released coloured gas in what was thought to be the best guarded institutions and two of them stood outside the parliament merely shouting slogans. For four bumbling amateurs, showing up how easy it was to traipse through several layers of security, and dance politically in the Lok Sabha holding coloured gas canisters, they deserve not UAPA but something else. Not only because it was December 13, the Reddest Letter Day in terms of security for the Parliament. Normally there are regular security checks and drills that seek out chinks in the armour. No MP has asked when such an exercise was last carried out. Obviously those paid for this job have not earned their keep. Security planners owe a big thank you for showing us how easy the whole thing was. It is the story of the Emperor's new clothes all over, in all its crowning glory.

All extremist elements and real terrorists of all hues and persuasions, who have no doubt watched this mother of all security fiascos, must be kicking themselves silly, including those in Pakistan and the ISIS, the followers of which the NIA daily unearths by the dozens. All we need to do is wait for the Delhi Police Special Cell to reveal to us their latest edition of More Grim Untold Tales. It may be pertitent to point out here that courts have found their investigations so flawed on so many counts – planted witnesses, sloppy investigation, fabricated evidence -- that their case handlers would have no difficulty making it big in Bollywood. From the Delhi Riots case to the way they handled the wrestlers, Delhi Police have covered themselves par excellence with shame. Even before the investigation is over, the Prime Minister has told our Parliamentarians via the Dainik Jagran that“Sansad mein jo ghatna hui, uski gambheerta ko jara bhee kam nahin aankana chaahiye. Isliye Speaker mahoday pooree gambheerta ke saath aavashyak kadam utha rahe hain. Jaanch agencyan sakhtee se jaanch kar rahee hain. Isake peechhe kaun se tatv hain, kya mansoobe hain, isakee gaharaee mein jaana bhee utana hee jarooree hai. Ek man se samaadhaan ke raaste bhee khojane chaahiye. Aise vishayon par vaad-vivaad ya pratirodh se sabhee ko bachana chaahiye,”

When thoughts like these are articulated from the highest in the land, it tends to dwell on the minds of the investigators. No wonder they have told the Delhi High Court that the case is so sensitive that even the FIR cannot be shared with the one who has been charged, Neelam. This is, of course, is contrary to any principle of natural justice, and even under the Code of Criminal Procedure.Yet, courts are indulgent. A fishing expedition of untold proportions is necessarily underway. They will trawl up a tale of such proportions that even Salman Rushdie will be stupefied by the elements of magical realism that is sure to be inherent in it. The fact is there are no second chances in this arena. Neelam has done her worst, as have her companions. Their worst is to do the nation a favour on two counts: one, exposing the flawed security in the most hallowed of premises, and two by underscoring that there are issues that underlie the social fabric that politicians are ignoring. This includes the Congress, which has overlooked so far the larger narrative that the lesser spawn of Bhagat Singh's pre-independence precepts and practices have flagged. It cries out for Prime Ministerial magnanimity, not petulance.

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