Friday, March 20, 2009

The public it was who lost[ the point]

It was a carnival! Friends who had not met each other for years, connected; there were vans with banners, people dressed up in glittering costumes in a chariot; trucks parading as floats, huge posters, a special newspaper, pamphlets, even sunshades with slogans.75000 people in black coats marched together, celebrating a small win after months of struggle. Yet the spirit was amazing! Lawyers had been out of work for months, but the carnage and mayhem created by the police, united lawyers like never before. Never, in all the various struggles I have seen for over 20 years, have I witnessed such unity. Seniors and juniors alike, across all caste, class and party lines, united to fight an indifferent and callous government, a brutish police force, a gagged and partisan media, and the worst- a reluctant and biased judiciary. The victory- suspension of top police officials for a very serious and heinous crime was hard fought and extracted with great difficulty.

The speeches reflected the bitterness of the struggle:- “ I asked the journalists, have you ever seen a bigger crowd in any protest rally, they said they had not, but we will not see this in the papers!” Claps and cheers. Representatives from different Bar Associations, NGO representatives, all spoke and reiterated with one voice-“ Nowhere has such a massive crowd and such unity during a struggle been seen.” “ This is a warning to lawyers elsewhere and judges- take note or the politicians and police will get you next!”

The next morning, I picked up the papers and saw, that the Saravana Bhavan murder case had hogged the headlines, while the procession got a few lines in one paper and another chose to lament on traffic jams. Wake up, India, I whispered, while I hung my head in shame. Don’t be misled by the media- a few eggs cannot lead to bloodshedding by the state- if that happens, then it is known as breakdown of democracy and rise of a police state.