In Mahabharata we had Eklavya, the low caste prince of Nishadha offer his right thumb to Dronacharya, his apocryphal guru. This was in 10th Century BC. On August 26, 2006, a mob of (so called) students lynched Prof. Sabharwal in Madhav College in the holy city of Ujjain. The Indian guru-chela tradition has come a long way indeed. The Brahmanand Purana goes on to say, Guru brahma, guru vishnu, guru devo maheshwara, in essence it means that Guru is an incarnation of god. How ironical it is that the members of a party which came to power on pretext of saving Ram, the god, was hand in glove with the killing of a guru on that fateful day in August 2006.
As if the killing of Prof. Sabharwal was not enough, there was more pain to follow. All the six Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members accused in his murder were set free by a Nagpur court. The mockery of Indian traditions and justice was on full public display. Well, if we believe the Nagpur court, no one actually killed Prof. Sabharwal. Its only incidental that he happened to die inside the premises of the Madhav College at the time of college elections. It is also adventitious that at the time of his death he was trying to see through the process without any bias to the party in power.
Campus killings are not new in India. Denial of justice is even more common. What is rare is the increasing audacity of killers owing allegiance to a specific political party or organization. The license to kill is freely available; you only need to be a part of an execrable nexus. A foot soldier of a party which can defend you and your evil actions. India is surely and steadily moving in the right direction. The road to anarchy. We are being sucked into a path of ideological vacuum, into a black hole of barbarism shielded by a distort and inclined judicial process.
Every time we have a killing we look towards the judiciary with conjecture and hope and each time we whince in despair. Babu Bajrangi, Sajjan Kumar, Vikas Yadav, Mohd. Shahabuddin, Manu Sharma; the endless list of tombstones in India’s judicial graveyard. We are not even allowed to mourn the death of this process of justice as it amounts to contempt. The law guards its dead and the dying with paramount strictness and acerbity.
In all honesty it would be inappropriate to burden the judiciary with all the corpses of India’s morality. The court is the end process of the game of coercion. The fuel to run this machinery of murder comes from a defunct and feckless political class, the proud guardians of our democracy. Beasts who cannot look beyond the arithmetic of votes and seats. The arithmetic of death does not matter. The universality of this political class is beyond doubt. Left, right and centre, they are everywhere, omnipresent and all powerful. Any attempt of resistance to this process of decay is dealt with cold blooded savagery.
Prof. Sabharwal would have been alive had he realized this simple fact. To be alive and happy in India you have to look the other way. Look the other way if a woman is being stripped in broad daylight. Ignore if a child of twelve is being lynched by a crowd for a petty theft. Show disdain to a girl being burnt alive by eve teasers. What if few hundred adivasis die each day defending what they think is theirs. Apathy and insouciance are the mantras of survival in today’s India. Fortunately there are many like Prof Sabharwal who think and act otherwise. They resist the cold, iron grip of this nexus of murderers and guardians. They wriggle and show signs of life. They breathe and actuate action. They are uncomfortable for the system and its mandarins. They have to obey or they have to be eliminated to keep the system going. To keep the plunder alive. The hippodrome of political hegemony should have its characters intact; to let the show go on. The circus of death and barbarism.
It’s time that we, the people of India, rise from our ashes and resist what we think and know is incorrect. To register our protest and show our abject rejection of corrupt authority. We need to resuscitate our system with the much needed esprit of hope and change. We have to move and show signs of life or it won’t be long that the licentious serpent of political class and murderous thugs will swallow us. To Prof. Sabharwal I can only say, sir, we regret loosing you at the altar of political power and a gimpy judiciary but your death has not gone un-mourned. The lamenting from your death will be loud enough to breech the walls of those who sit comfortably making plans for a future murder. We apologize we couldn’t give you respect as a teacher. I assure we will give dignity to the purpose of your death. We couldn’t guarantee your safety. We pledge to eliminate those who rot the system. We regret we couldn’t give you justice. We promise to vindicate your stand.
Dr. Shah Alam Khan
Department of Orthopaedics
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Ansari Nagar, New Delhi-29