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This piece is a work of satire, any resemblance to present day events is completely intentional
Your Honour, I saw a film yesterday afternoon. It was a Malayalam film called Naradan, based on the lynch mob culture of news channels that promote a narrative peddled by the state. Now Your Honour, I am sure you did not think I was referring to a mainstream Bollywood film. Apologies Your Honour, but they have been busy making and promoting films that are a sweet little dog whistle and minting millions. Who is endorsing these films? Would you not know Your Honour? It is the Supreme leader himself who was once referred to as Nero in the very alleys that you walk in.
There, I digressed again. So, Your Honour, the judge in the film Naradan, in his verdict on the self styled news anchor (who loves the sound of his own name) invokes the beauty of the Indian constitution of which he calls himself a guardian. The judge, Your Honour, calls out the parallel courts run by the news channel that decide the moral compass of the nation, that pander to the mob culture, that carry out hit jobs not just on those critical of the powers that be but also those critical of the news anchor himself. The judge, Your Honour, is shown to be a man of immense integrity who has himself been at the receiving end of the caste diatribe and mocked by upper caste lawyers. His verdict, Your Honour, gave me goose bumps, for he not just delivers a verdict in favor of a wronged citizen, but Your Honour, the verdict took me back to the days when my father gave me my first copy of the Indian constitution.
Your Honour, the constitution invoked in me a pride for the nation, it invoked in me a sense of duty for my own countrymen and the desire to study journalism and to practice it in the way that it chooses the oppressed over the oppressor. Yes, Your Honour, I see you nodding.
Your Honour, as I write this, news channels similar to the ones exposed in the film Naradan are playing out headlines like its fictional version in the film. They are claiming victory for the majority community, they are celebrating the discovery of another temple in the premises of a mosque. Now Your Honour, I know you smiled.
Yes, I know Your Honour, I know that you know. This is the tried and tested experiment that saw blood of the oppressed on the land and the one that led to the oppressors to power. Yes, Your Honour, this is an experiment that drove a wedge not just between me and my friends and neighbours but also millions of citizens in this country. Yes, Your Honour, this experiment works best when the country has one of the highest number of jobless youths in the world, it works best when the maid believes that buying vegetables to cook a meal for her children is a luxury, it works wonders when neighbours crib about taking the kids to school using public transport as fuel stations are now a marker of the rich and privileged in the nation.
This evening, Your Honour, they yet again discovered Aurangzeb. Now, I know Your Honour, that you smiled again. Yes, Your Honour, Aurangzeb! the Mughal emperor who died in the year 1707. But Your Honour, the kids in the housing society, what do I say, they know of Aurangzeb but do not know Maulana Azad, Ali brothers, Zakir Hussain or Shibli Nomani. No, No, nothing to do with the syllabus Your Honour, but the kids you know. They spend more time on WhatsApp forwards, twitter trends and Facebook posts. Also, the news channel that their parents have subscribed to, discusses Aurangzeb every third day. Cannot blame the kids , Your Honour.
Speaking of WhatsApp and Facebook, Your Honour, last week I saw an image of three Muslim men shot at, lying on the street. Your Honour, they were allegedly cattle traders. But the good news Your Honour is, the cow was saved. In another case, Your Honour, the cops shot at a Muslim woman who was trying to save her son from being arrested as a cattle smuggler. Your Honour, I am told the mother has died. But again, the good news is, the cattle survived. You remembered Orwell ? Oh I did too.
Your Honour, did you hear about the Taj Mahal? Now I know you smiled again. But what does one do Your Honour? When the poor in the country are not concerned about their jobs or the deaths of their loved ones for lack of oxygen and all they want is a Tejo Mahalaya in place of the Taj Mahal, then how do you blame these Naradan styled look alikes. Yes Sir, I know I know, it is about the Indian constitution and I agree sir, it is about this beautiful idea they once called a democracy, where we loved each other.
Where we rose in unison when the farmer scored a six against the British in the film Lagaan and we cried and hugged each other and we made it into a blockbuster. When the Khans and the Kapoors, Your Honour, had no fear celebrating the diverse culture of this rich land. And then sir, those days, yes those days when we made commercials on Hindu-Muslim unity to commemorate the values enshrined in the Indian constitution and they did not have to withdraw those commercials under pressure.
Anyways Your Honour, I have already taken a great deal of your time. I know, you are pained Your Honour. I know, you are as pained as every decent human in this country who wants to live a life of empathy and kindness. When I saw the judge in the film Naradan deliver the verdict, my thoughts were drawn to you, Your Honour. Because I know milord, you hold the country, the constitution and the struggle of our forefathers sacrosanct and I said a prayer for you.
(This piece is a work of satire, any resemblance to present day events is completely intentional)