Give Audiences a Break! A Street Politician Discussing The Art Of Fast Bowling With Imran Khan

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By: Gowhar Geelani
Imagine a potbellied disreputable street politician sharing a platform with living legend Imran Khan on a television channel and then discussing the art of fast bowling, the swing, reverse swing and the seam movement. How ugly it’d appear onscreen is anybody’s guess! That is exactly what usually happens when some of the Indian television channels, if not all, extend an open and unqualified invitation to this modern crybaby named Aditya Raj Kaul to spit venom left, right and center. I don’t know whether he belongs to the Right-wing or the Ultra-right wing. Neither do I want to know. Come on, does this guy deserve such attention? All that the saner minds would want is that someone please clip his wings, whether they be Right or the Ultra-right. Give audiences a break! Don’t insult their wisdom and intelligence. Please. For belly dance and solo performances of shouting, there are plenty of nightclubs available! Spare the television studios.

The recent television debate on the CNN-IBN was about Prashant Bhushan, the senior lawyer and a key member of Team Anna, who was beaten to the pulp by three men inside his chamber in the Indian Supreme Court on October 12th, Wednesday, late afternoon. Mr. Bhushan had committed an unforgivable crime. An unpardonable sin. He had apparently favoured a referendum, a direct popular vote, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. According to the media reports, the assaulters belong to a lesser known Hindu Right-wing group, ‘Sri Ram Sene’. Reports also suggest that some of these attackers are associated with ‘Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena’.
Anyway, the attack on Bhushan is not surprising. Because this sick bunch, and all those self-styled custodians of the Indian nationalism, has been carrying out such exorbitant assaults in the past too. The appalling attacks on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Chandigarh [November 26th 2010] and Syed Ali Shah Geelani in New Delhi during a seminar on Kashmir are the recent examples of their unruly behaviour. Violence is their tried and tested weapon. They hate civil behaviour. They romance hate speech and deliver their verdicts through punches, kicks and slaps.
Kaul is of the view that such acts of bullying behaviour are, infact, “manifestation of anger”. Shazia Illmi, a journalist and also a member of Team Anna, gave him an intelligent response by describing hooliganism as “manifestation of complete stupidity”. That’s really like calling him a dolt. According to Illmi, those who counter alternative viewpoints only through acts of vandalism are stupids of a rowdy brigade. And those who advocate such acts are exactly like Mr. Kaul. They refuse to improve the quality of their argument. All they’re good at is shouting. That’s it.
What exactly did Mr. Bhushan say? “Remove the draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA] and Disturbed Areas Act, and respect the right to freedom of expression in Kashmir. And if Kashmiris are still not satisfied with India, hold a plebiscite as demanded by them, and as promised by us. If Kashmiris want a separate state; so be it, their aspirations should be respected. In my view there’s nothing wrong in that.”
But according to Thackerays, Modis, Bhagwats, and now; small fishes like Kauls too, there’s nothing right in what Bhushan has said. Fair enough. Counter Bhushan’s argument with genuine logic and sound reasoning. “What does that mean,” would perhaps be their response!
Surprisingly, even Anna Hazare — who in Kashmir too was respected by many for his ongoing fight against murky corruption and scams in India, distanced himself from Mr. Bhushan by declaring that Kashmir remains an “integral part” of India. He even threatened to review his decision of keeping Bhushan with him, or, even ousting him from his famous brigade named Team Anna. If this is Shri Anna’s stance on moral corruption in politics, then God save the Indians! Arvind Kejriwal, another key member of Team Anna, also didn’t agree with Mr. Bhushan’s remarks on Kashmir. When one is made to read the distorted history pages and doctored text books, this is the expected consequence.
After the latest unfortunate episode [attack on Mr. Bhushan], I wonder what the conversation between Shri Anna Hazare and Mr. Prashant Bhushan would have been like. Perhaps somewhat on these lines:
Mr Bhushan’s explanation to Anna: “Anna Jee, I did no wrong by favouring a plebiscite in Kashmir. It is our moral duty to support a genuine struggle of Kashmiris.”
Anna’s reply: “Our team was formed only to continue fight against the financial corruption in India.”
Bhushan: “But why? That’s grossly unfair!”
Anna: “Since the moral conscience of the majority in India is dead, I can’t take such a risk. And honestly, I, too, am morally corrupt, if not financially. Tell me, who will follow me and our team if I start supporting Kashmiris?”
Bhushan: “Thank you. Then I’m happy to be labelled a seditionist or a Maoist sympathizer if the act of advocating people’s rights has been declared a crime in modern India!”
Anna: “Iss Mudde Pai Ab Aur Baat Nahin Hogee [There will be no further discussion on this topic.]”
There the conversation ends.
Welcome to the elite club of anti-nationals and seditionists, Mr. Bhushan. After people like Arundhati Roy — celebrated author and social activist, and Gautam Navlakha — a renowned human rights defender, it is your turn Mr. Prashant Bhushan to listen to the ‘ghazal’ of democracy.

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