Two days back when the Gurdaspur attack happened and the images of the dead were splashed all around, we winced. The bloodied face of the martyred SP haunted us for a day, or two days at the maximum. And then what? Would we remember him in the next two years? Probably not. He hasn’t gone to Big Boss house, hasn’t got a spouse to dance with him, and hasn’t acted in a film. He hasn’t even given a controversial ‘liberal’ statement. And who is he? Our father, uncle, brother, friend? No. Just a nameless man who thinks protecting us is his responsibility. Just a nameless man who thought the uniform he wore was his responsibility and not privilege.
Most people in our generation have grown up with repeated news of riots, blasts and terror attacks. Have we become too used to it? When we step out of our house and our parents keep repeating – ‘stay safe’, what do they really mean? I wonder if they silently pray that we return home safely. And what do we do? We forget everything. And forget it more if the men killed are men in uniform. I wonder what is wrong with us. Why have we become so resilient?
They say wounds heal. But when did our wounds heal? Almost every major city has seen some sort of a terror attack. You go to a station to get a loved one and none of you come back. You go to a restaurant to eat and you don’t come back. And we just get used to it.
That the country is sitting on a live bomb is no news to any of us. Terror, home grown and parcelled from across the border has torn us apart. I see Nobel Prize winners eulogize peace. Peace is a lovely idea. Who wouldn’t want to buy books and not bullets? But peace is just a utopian idea. Love for peace doesn’t mean we don’t strengthen our defence system. Love for peace doesn’t mean our intelligentsia scream for budgetary cuts every March. I am sure we would have all loved to have the money stacked in our homes and buy food and clothing for our families. But it is the time to stop this drama about peace. Of what use is the idea of peace, if we send our men and women to die?
And let us make irony laugh at us today. Even as a write, there are people gearing up with candles. Candles that will be lit for Yakub Memon. The same man who has snatched the life of 257 people and indirectly affected the lives of hundreds of others. We have narratives justifying the blast as retribution. And you try to bring some sanity in the debate; you have a ‘Gujarat’ thrown on your face. The liberals should realize that two wrongs do not make a right. No one has justified any riot. We have just asked for justice. And people who base their political campaigns on riots/ massacres should realize how deep the bloody history is. We can sprinkle a Marichjhapi or Mandai or Nellie or Kashmir but that will not essentially bring justice or closure. (It could show off our knowledge of thick fat books though, but that doesn’t make the nation safe).
Sections of the intelligentsia believe the judiciary has failed Yakub Memon. Really? Or have we failed the victims? 22 years is too long a wait. Or have we decided to use ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ only selectively?
We talk of reform? Seriously? This section supporting terrorists has no faith in the judiciary and an elected government but has faith on a convicted terrorist? They expect him to be the next Messiah of peace? I know the idea of someone hanging to death is gory, and I am not sure if any of us common men and women were judges we could sign that death penalty. But I as a citizen of this nation want Yakub Memon to be hanged. And not just Yakub Memon . Anyone who messes up with the lives of my fellow citizens should get the same treatment if convicted. I say convicted because vigilante justice is not something this great nation deserves. If we don’t act strongly now, one day we would all become photographs hanging from walls (or not even that, because there would be no one to even hang these).
And those who wonder why we want to see Yakub Memon dead, I want to remind them – we are not blood thirsty. I quote from the movie A Wednesday “Kyun mujhe us din kaa intzaar karna chahiye jab mera koi apna bewajah is tarah ki jalil maut mare’? I want to ask these people who sympathize and write Love Sonnets on terrorists, ‘tumhara aapna koi mara nahin na? Marta toh bhi candle jalate?’