The complex issue of Devyani Khobragade has come as a boon for ruling party in India on the verge of facing one of the worse defeats in upcoming Parliamentary Elections in 2014. It has allowed its leaders, who have lost their sheen, to talk big about saving the pride of nation, forgetting that most of them enjoy a chequered past! Its most of the leaders, who have been relegated to the background, have now emerged on the surface, speaking aloud about attributes which they rarely displayed both in public and personal lives. Consider the manner in which the Lokpal Bill got passed after the government was left with no other option but to take cognizance of growing unrest over this issue in nation!
The Indian leaders, especially from the ruling party, definitely lack the moral right to make shrill cry about violation of standard provisions in case of Devyani Khobragade. It’s quite evident from a deeper analysis of issue at hand that facts have been blown out of proportion. Like always the issue has been given a larger-than-life colouring, making it look like some shrewd diversionary tactics on the part of hidden players behind the curtain.
Devyani Khobragade is no child that she could not apprehend the consequences of misrepresentation of facts on visa application of the domestic help Sangeeta Richard. How come she is so much aware of ”Vienna conventions” but pretty unaware about the violation of domestic laws of U.S. even as there were reported incidents of atrocities committed upon domestic help in the past by other Indian diplomats in the same country? Being an Indian diplomat she should have set high precedents instead of giving impression of being a “victim” in the aftermath of strict actions on part of U.S. authorities.
Let’s be very clear that it’s not the case of making mockery of sovereignty of India but it’s more the case of playing with the fire. Devyani conveniently forgot that she was living in United States and not in India where even a petty “Sarkari Babu” (government official) can use his power to thwart the investigation on being caught.
The urgency exhibited and absurd statements on part of Congress Ministers make them laughing stock in the eyes of all conscious people, who believe in the rule of law. The paid mainstream media might give the impression that knee jerk reactions on part of Indian counterparts back in India are “bold measures” and fitting response to United States, but it would never diminish the ugly truth that she is guilty. The moves on part of U.S. sound more appropriate when Preet Bharara makes it clear that “This office’s sole motivation in this case, as in all cases, is to uphold the rule of law, protect victims, and hold accountable anyone who breaks the law — no matter what their societal status and no matter how powerful, rich or connected they are.”
All those who are talking aloud about diplomatic immunity granted to Indian officials posted at consular office surely needs to answer questions posed by this U.S. prosecutor: “One wonders whether any government would not take action regarding false documents being submitted to it in order to bring immigrants into the country. One wonders even more pointedly whether any government would not take action regarding that alleged conduct where the purpose of the scheme was to unfairly treat a domestic worker in ways that violate the law. And one wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?”
Yes, it’s disturbing that mainstream media pressure and chaotic voices within the government have made it a “diplomatic row” when it’s nothing more than criminal action committed by a responsible Indian officer. However, let’s view critically the actions taken on part of U.S. The WikiLeaks have proven beyond doubt that American leaders are no saints. The U.S. might give the impression that dealing fairly with violation of human rights is always their topmost priority but when their own men get trapped it takes recourse to most shrewd measures to save them.
Or, for that matter, it can go to any extent to get its job done, even if it means sabotaging the sovereignty of other nations. It’s no secret that documents and evidences were forged to justify their attack on Iraq. The drone attacks in various parts of Pakistan make it clear that borders become meaningless in face of its interests, and so death of innocent civilians means nothing! The controversial release of Ramyond Davis, C.I.A contractor guilty of double murder in Pakistan, speaks volume about subtle pressure employed by American leaders.
The U.S. claims it’s very much in pain over episodes of violation of human rights but see the treatment meted out to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay! So it’s evident that rich and powerful nations have dual standards and the U.S. is no exception. It’s not at all wrong to presume that it used its domestic laws to enter in barbaric behaviour which many in India see it as an assault on the pride of India and modesty of a woman.
India needs to learn few lessons from this episode instead of entering in retaliatory actions. Before I come to that point let me state that introduction of gender-neutral laws in India or need of tough measures to punish abusive women always lead to raised eyebrows.The so-called messiahs of women’s rights start making noise in India. The U.S. has perfectly demonstrated that laws are equal for men and women and, therefore, women cannot claim special privileges or concession.
In India despite the leap of so many centuries woman is still inherently seen as a weak specie, a saintly figure, who can first commit no crime and even if she commits crimes she needs to be given special treatment! It’s an impression that’s even supported by foreign based agencies, working for the rights of women in India but the same agencies would remain silent about inhuman behaviour done with Devyani just because it happened in U.S.!
Anyway, India needs to demonstrate its own strength not in reactionary way but in a more mature way. It needs to take away all the special privileges and concessions it offers to U.S. citizen in extraordinary way. Very recently a Visa Officer in India was transferred because she had refused to grant visa to a gay American diplomat on the ground that such marriages are not legal in India. The Indian government instead of supporting her argument, transferred her to a lesser department.
In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement, which has upheld the validity of section 377, one needs to follow the words of former Finance Minister of India, Yashwant Sinha, to let United States become aware of consequences if other nations also become strict in implementing their domestic laws.”My suggestion to the Government of India is, the media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats’ companions. ‘Companions’ means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country. Just as paying less wages was illegal in the US. So, why doesn’t the government of India go ahead and arrest all of them? Put them behind bars, prosecute them in this country and punish them.” (Yashwant Sinha).
Sometimes back there was controversy about alleged permission granted to American sniffer dogs to enter Rajghat as a part of the security drill before the visit of U.S. President George Bush. In future this sort of “desecration” could be avoided since it’s not permissible as per our own rules. It’s time for India to exhibit that it has a backbone, instead of entering in knee-jerk reactions. That can be perfectly demonstrated by pursuing its own interests in a rigid way without granting extraordinary privileges to outsiders, being least influenced by their nationality and position.
Pic Two Is From Internet
The Indian democracy is said to be governed by the will of people. It’s not the entire truth. In reality, it’s governed by chosen contradictions. They make us sad, frustrated and gloomy. This time I would not enter into any sort of complicated analysis. Just presenting two news items side-by-side. That would be suffice to make Indians realize that not all is well with this country. The first news item is related with Saheed Capt. Amit Bhardwaj’s birth anniversary. The second news item is related with murder of a Deputy Superintendent of police, Zia ul Haq in Deoria, in Uttar Pradesh.
By means of contrast I wish to know are our soldiers sacrificing their lives for such rulers who appear to be no better than murderers? And secondly, do our citizens, which include judges and bureaucrats too, have no other option other than to live under shadow of such criminals posing as rulers? Anyway, RIP Kargil Saheed Capt. Amit Bhardwaj/Zia ul Haq. We shall always remain indebted to your glorious sacrifice. And for such rulers, it’s better that they get punished instead of making an attempt to define their worth.
Now the mother of all questions: If that’s the fate of high ranked police officials, how can the judiciary expect a common man to act as whistle blower? Any answers?
Capt. Amit Bhardwaj was leading the reinforcement column of 35 men when they were ambushed en route by Pakistani soldiers armed with light & medium weaponry. With the help of Havildar Rajbir Singh, he decided to divert the attention of the enemy & ordered his Second-in-Command to get the men out of the battle area. The two gallant men were killed, the others survived, though all were wounded. Capt. Bharadwaj saved nearly 30 of his men and killed more than 10 infiltrators, though he himself was hit twice fighting till the last breath. His body lay in deep valley of Himalayas, till it was retrieved on July 13, 1999. The bodies of Captain Bhardwaj and Havildar Singh 57 days later.
“I demand that the Chief Minister come here and resolve this issue. I demand Raja Bhaiya be subject to a police investigation, and the CBI should also intervene. If the CM does not come here I will not bury my husband. He will have to come or I will commit suicide…….He was under a lot of pressure. He was constantly being threatened and didn’t want to stay here. If justice is not served then I will go to Akhilesh Yadav’s house and kill myself,” ( Wife of murdered police officer)
And who is Raja Bhaiyya? A ruling Minister in UP’s present government against whom 48 criminal cases are pending.
“But this is not the first time that Raja Bhaiya is finding himself under scrutiny for death of a policeman. In 2007, DSP Ram Shiromani Pandey, the investigating officer in the POTA case against Raja Bhaiya, died in a road accident on the eve of his approaching the Allahabad high court seeking action against him. Questions were raised, but nothing could be proven and Raja Bhaiya remained as powerful as ever.”
Let me tender my apology, at the very onset, to enlightened readers, especially the female readers. I could have roped in a more reader-friendly title than such a shocking heading. However, any attempts to do so would have defeated the very purpose of writing such a shocking piece. In my eyes, only hypocrites would call it vulgar, and naturally bring in use the trash button. But even if they decide to use the trash button, I would like them to read the article and try to be on the par with the essence of the whole article. The people around us are day and night bombarding the ear drums with such shocking epithets, and we have, apparently, stopped treating them as offending. If that’s the case then I think there is no point in raising hue and cry about article being objectionable and crude. But the sad reality is that it really hurts when one hears such epithet. So what’s the motive? To make it clear that let’s not make abuses part and parcel of routine conversations. It’s, indeed, a very shocking experience if someone hurls it at you all of a sudden, making you taken aback. If we can use better phrases then why we have made abusive language part of our conversations? And if one is not ashamed of using abuses in conversations then I don’t think one should find anything objectionable in reading them onscreen in an article format!
Another reason why I have written this article is that I love to bring darker aspects of life in open. Let’s get realistic and be not ashamed in reading what we have become used to in our daily lives! One laughs loud to bluff it away or pretends that one did not hear it all when such words appear, all of a sudden, in the daily conversations. I don’t think that’s going to bring any qualitative changes in our mannerism!!!
My idea of writing this article first hit the mind some years back when I was in New Delhi. I came to anticipate these modern mantras very often there. Mind you not only the commoners were using but also the high and mighty uttered them proving that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even the teenage girls and boys let fly with tirade of abuses on small pretexts. In the evenings, we used to walk around PVR situated close to Jawahar Lal University (JNU). One gentleman there inquired about Photostat shop. On not being able to locate one he bursted out: “Behan Chod Sirf Cigarette Aur Beer Ki Dukan Hi Delhi Mein Hai Kya? Behen Chod Ek Din Sale Sab Marenge.” (These sister-fuckers have opened shops selling beer and cigarettes. I cannot find any Photostat shop.) He was not all wrong. I could see teenage girls and boys smoking and there were beer bottles scattered around all along the path. If you happen to commute by a DTC bus there, I am sure you would be surrounded by nothing else but choicest abuses. “Behen Chod Ticket Nahi Lega Kya” (Sister-fucker! Will you not have the ticket?) Or “Behan Chold Chal Utar Tera Stoppage Aa Gaya Hai”(Sister-fucker! Get off the bus. You have arrived at the destination.) Interestingly, one US citizen, who was traveling with me, could not resist himself from asking me what these words really mean. He opened his small notebook, wherein he seemed to have jotted down these abuses. I gave a smile and told him that these are foul words.
I had similar experiences when I was in Mumbai. A boy hardly in his teens from a well-to-do family was walking waywardly on a busy street .Obviously, he was drunk. He seemed to have a bitter fight with her girl-friend studying in class seventh! “Behen Chod Mere Saath Nahi Chalegi.Kutiya Kahi Ki ! Khud Dus Logo Ke Saath Ghumti Hai Tab Kuch Nahi Jata.” (Sister-fucker! She hates to be my side. Bitch! She had no problems when she moved with so many strangers.)
I don’t know what’s happening in the Western world but it’s quite clear that there too foul words have become integral part of their routine conversation. I would like to quote a certain excerpt from a dialogue, which took place on a prominent site that deals with publication of poems and short stories. I am also one of its prominent contributors. The best thing of this whole conversation is that it has taken place between two best friends, and that too in a lighter vain. Here is the excerpt: “You fucking idiot!! Tread carefully motherfucker, I can find you and I will not be nice, pray to your imaginary friend now asshole. AIDS? What the fuck do you know? You can only get that from people who are infected with the HIV and without a condom, you fucking idiot. Primitive minded mother-fucker. Go swing out of a tree monkey.” (It’s unedited version of the comment.)
Anyway, I must tell what’s happening in India instead of revealing the darker sides of Western world. Today we are hell-bent on improving the face of Indian police. I don’t know when that’s going to take place. I don’t know how many of us have encountered Policwallah (Policeman) speaking in a friendly way. He is one of the most dreaded species on earth. On very small pretexts, you will find him using foul words. They never miss an opportunity to turn you into a caricature. A friend of mine was returning from a late-night party with his sister. A policeman on the beat asked him to stop. The policeman went closer to them and asked,” Where are you roaming with this Laundiya (Girl)? ” You expect something better from a lady police officer. However, even they are also devoid of good mannerism, better words. They too find nothing wrong in using foul words. Look how they dealt with group of innocent girls brought to book for their alleged involvement in prostitution racket: “Kutiya Dhanda Karti Hai Aur Yeha Aakar Drama Kar Rahi Hai.” (These bitches are involved in prostitution and now they are pretending at the police station.)Well, one expects something better from women officials. But they seem to be setting new standards of degradation!! The lives of policemen hover around foul words, and, therefore, there are endless tales related with their intimate bond with abuses. Recently, some eminent sports persons in Varanasi were manhandled and treated roughly by the petty constables with choicest abuses.
Well, I can say that fast-paced life of ours has wrecked our nerves, to an extent that we have no control over our mouths. As a lawyer, when I first entered in the premises of Allahabad High Court, it felt really great. Indeed, it’s a great place. However, I came to notice that almost all the lawyers enjoyed close proximity with foul words. I came to notice that senior lawyers usually handled their juniors very roughly. Being a rebel of some sort, I refused to be part of this chain of events which my friend tell that it’s essential to face such trials and tribulations to turn into a more practical guy. My other colleagues told me that they (read senior lawyers) are reshaping your tendencies in order to overcome rough moments with ease during the proceedings. However, I ignored their advice. But what they said had an element of truth. If you have witnessed proceedings in divorce related cases, you would come to notice that words like “Kutiya” (Bitch) “Chinar” (Loose character women) , “Randi” (Prostitute) fly thick and fast from both the sides right in front of the Honourable Justice!
Looking this issue from a different perspective, I think that’s why women in our villages during marriage ceremony hurl abuses at the groom’s family when they come to have food. Sometimes they are used as tools to create intimacy, to create familiarity. I have heard that abuses hurled by saints are considered to some form of blessing. Even the prominent Hindi writers and poets are not ashamed in hurling choicest abuses whenever possible. That’s why I feel pretty uncomfortable in their company! But that’s something a natural affair for them. Even prominent Muslim writers like Taslima Nasreen(Lajja fame female writer), Ismat Chugtai and Saadat Hasan Manto have frequently used foul words .
But that cannot be used an excuse to provide an exalted position to Gaali (foul word) in our lives. Let’s come to respect the sense and sensibilities of each other. No doubt it’s very hard to rise above foul words during tense moments but we can certainly avoid making them part of our routine conversations. And some day, we will learn to say the unpleasant things in a refined language. There is no dearth of pleasant words in dictionary. Let’s learn to use them to convey both our good and bad feelings. If that’s not possible, let us use them in rarest of rare times.
Pic Credit :