Friday, April 14, 2006

What the hell was that??

Like some morbid Stanley Kubrick scene, there was a live telecast of Dr Rajkumar's burial. They also showed the procession of the body in a van from Kantheerava stadium, where it had been kept for the public to catch a last glimpse of the icon, to Kantheerava studio. All along the way, 'fans' blocked the procession by pelting stones at each other and policemen. The poor cops(one of the few times I've felt sorry for them) had to contend with all this AND not break the peace by firing at the crowds. They had to make do with tear gas while they would dearly have loved to pump round after round into the miscreants, I'm sure.

Even after the body reached the studio grounds(not by itself but in a van, as I said), where the great man would be buried, there was no letting up of the chaos. They still threw stones at each other and started damaging stuff they could see or lay their hands on. Buses were burnt, cars were smashed, police vehicles were utterly damaged and gutted. Five people actually died in the violence. Policemen were also hurt badly in the fracas.

Sad day. Very bad way of saying farewell to one of the simplest, most humble men we've ever seen. He'd have hated all this, I'm sure. He would have preferred to be buried in his little village, beside the lands his family owned and which he wanted so badly to till and cultivate in his golden years(one of wishes, apparently).

There is one theory that this is the anger of 'fans' who were not able to catch a glimpse of Dr Raj's body one last time. Bull!! They weren't the only fans who were unable to do that. Millions of others had to watch the event on TV, too(and this telecast, as I've already said, was a very bad idea). Not all these millions went and smashed windows, set jeeps ablaze and killed strangers.

Another excuse being provided for these miscreants(by famous Bangaloreans, no less, on TV and in print) is that they are from the lower strata of society and this is their way of showing anger at the government. By destroying public property? If they were so frustrated with the government, they should have taken out their anger on the government. Ideally, they shouldn't have become violent at all; but even if they did, it shouldn't have been against poor, ordinary folk.

I'm not trying to compare the two men(that would be absurd), but Dr Raj's farewell engendered the opposite of what Gandhiji's funeral did. That mild-mannered man's funeral brought the rioting to a standstill and ushered in a peace, even if an uneasy one. Unfortunately, some of our people resorted to the exact opposite behaviour at Rajkumar's funeral. They reduced our fair city to a shambles. Bangalore became a ghost city for two days. Streets were deserted, shops pulled down their shutters, people stayed in their houses and nary a soul was to be seen anywhere.

We sent him off in a poor way.

1 comment:

The Orotund One said...

True, so true, O Stalwart One, I agree. The demonstrations were very much uncalled for, and seemed false too. True pity doesn't involve stone throwing and killing.
And as for Dr. Raj, what can one say, but "May his tribe increase..."