Thursday, June 22, 2006

Another strange experience… or did I learn something from that?

I decided to spend some time with a Madurai based theatre group called Illavattom. Consisting of college students committed to the cause of dalit resurgence, they were traveling across Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts spreading the message that Torture in all forms have to be combated. This group was part of a number of such spirited youth who, in association with People’s Watch-Tamil Nadu, were moving from village after village in the State between June 2 and 23 to campaign against torture.

Now, we all reached a Dalit locality near Tuticorin. The local organizers were keen that I shall address the gathering too in between the cultural show. I had no hesitation and spoke about how the due process of law is followed in case of a Rahul Mahajan and wondered whether a poor man will be handled in the same way as Rahul was in the event he was caught snorting cocaine!!! The audience seemed to understand the point. But I made it clear that our demand was that every Indian should be dealt with in the same way as Rahul was and NOT that Rahul too should be dealt with in the same way as an ordinary citizen of this country. SAY NO TO TORTURE!!!!

Well. The learning process began later. Our dinner was arranged in the Dalit colony. And I was indeed waiting for food to be served because I had learnt, in the meanwhile, that they had cooked pork for us. A special occasion for them!

And as I found a place for myself in the dining hall, I found the local organizers discussing something in a hush-hush manner and was easy to realise that I was the subject matter. After repeated prodding, one of them came u to me and was apologetic that they had only pork and since I was not expected to be there, they did not care to cook some chicken too.

I had to tell them and much to their surprise that I had decided to eat there only after learning about the menu. I realise that there are many, who may stand up for the cause. But every one of those may not have internalized that way of life into theirs. This is what I learnt that evening.

7 Comments:

Anonymous KALPIT MANKIKAR said...

Dear Mr. Krishna Ananth,

I don't know why the media is obsessed with the Rahul Mahajan-cocaine case.

Yes it is of considerable interest to the tabloid-reading audience, (after all the story on Rahul and Bibeck sitting naked in a bathtub has generated some curiosity!)

But please tell me, why is the law poles apart for different sons of politicians.

Sanjay Dutt was arrested for the possession of the same stuff; not to forget the AK-56 (birthday gift from Dawoodbhai) where he booked under TADA (the law was framed by a Congress government and a Congress CM put the Dutt lad behind bars).

The Abu Salem tapes. (I better not go into it!)

But still the Cong party swears by him. He campaigned for his sister and Maharastra CM was seen hugging him the same time that Abu Salem was singing like a canary in the court.

Perhaps some politician son’s are more equal than other.

Regards,

Kalpit Mankikar

9:52 PM  
Blogger V. Krishna Ananth said...

Kalpit...the law must be the same... and TADA like POTA are also against the spirit of law... anyway, Rahul was not arrested under MPCOCA...The BJP would have demanded that if Rahul's surname happened to be Gandhi and not Mahajan!!!!!!!!!

10:10 PM  
Anonymous chotu said...

i understand the point you are making here sir...
but then there were people like Gandhi too who i am sure you would agree was a champion of the Dalit cause...and though in a number of ways he connected with the poorest of poor..he retained his lifestyle...ie., vegetarian, with hindu beliefs. etc, etc.
but yes...often in activism..we see people who stand out rather than stand amongst those that they are fighting for.

1:37 AM  
Blogger V. Krishna Ananth said...

Chotu, the point here was not vegetarianism... it was about pork, which is not relished by those who are otherwise meat-eaters... and this is a sociological make up of the mind than anything to do with preference.. i mean people avoid pork because they are told by society to avoid... not the same as being vegetarian. In other words, if chicken is alright, why not beef and pork???

1:42 AM  
Anonymous chotu said...

hmm..i get that..but then even vegetarianism to a great extent at least in our country is conditioning. remember the book that i borrowed from you, "The Holy Cow", by Jha.
of course there are exceptions to this when people choose to remain veggies for reasons otherwise.
but anyway..your point is accepted.and i only took that point of vegetarianism as an example...not really as a point of debate.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Santha said...

Dear Krishna,
I do not think eating pork is radicalism..may be some people may think so..if you were speaking about torture, then why don't you think about the poor pig ..so much tortured and killed (You may not be aware how the pigs are slaughterd) for a feast for the anti-torture activists..of course I am with the poor pig who could not afford a theatre group for their cause
love,
Santha

2:35 AM  
Blogger V. Krishna Ananth said...

Santha,
I don't see the relationship between an anti-torture campaign and vegetarianism. Yes, you may see a link the way Maneka Gandhi does. And refuse to internalise all the issues involving nutrition and calorie requirements for the physical worker.

Then, I did not intend, by any stretch of imagination, that eating pork was about making a radical statement.

The whole point was about a cultural notion or a thought process that would treat chicken and mutton as acceptable and hold beef and pork as forbidden.

Is that clear now?

9:35 PM  

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