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Taking Stock
Come Fareedoon, come!
By Rizwan Ullah

Rizwan UllahThe British rulers may be accused of many misdeeds and ruthless acts including the cultivation of the evil of communalism on our land but the legacy left behind them had some elements which held independent India intact as a democracy. Those worthy elements include judiciary, the conscience keeper of India and its constitution as the expressed wish of the people; the bureaucracy with steel nerved administrative skillcraft-men and a well disciplined defence force. In addition to these there are other uniting systems such as the post and telegraph and the railways. These cohesive factors have worked so well that in spite of the divisive in stinct of the politicians they were not allowed to have the sway.

But before proceeding further let us see something worthwhile in a Persian tale, for the classical wisdom is secured in anecdotes and folklores. The story goes like this:
There was a cruel king Zuhhak by name. His atrocities and evil deeds invited the curse. Two ferocious snakes grew on his both shoulders. When hungry they pecked at his temples and they were satisfied only when offered a piece of human brain to eat. So a person from amongst the subjects had to be sacrificed every day to make the king happy and keep him going. Naturally, it caused a great unrest among the people and they rose in rebellion. One day they marched to the king’s palace under the leadership of Fareedoon, a young man whose father had been slaughtered to offer his brain to the snakes. They clashed with the king’s army, pulled the king and slew him. The snakes vanished. Fareedoon was crowned as king. As the concept of democracy had not been hammered out by that time there was no conflict about making him a president or a prime minister, neither was a conflict about the powers invested in his person. So he was the master, the conscience keeper, the administrator, the commander-in-chief, and above all, no one had any qualms about his omnipotence. The people lived a happy life engaged in their occupations.

Sir Winston Churchill who led Britain as its prime minister during the concluding years of the World War, being a true representative of the British parivar, was strongly against granting independence to India, for in his view India was not yet ripe for democracy. Whether he was right is a moot point for he failed to see great democrats among Indian leaders who were quite active in all walks of Indian life or being shrewd politician and strategist. He was very confident about the growth of snakes on the shoulders of the Indian democracy in not too distant future or he was a firm believer in the myth that the vices such as assassinations of Gandhis would result in the growth of snakes which if not chopped off would slowly eat up the democracy itself.

However, we observe the snakes sumptuously dining on human brains in Gujarat and hissing elsewhere and the terrorized masses holding their breath. Then there is a troop of frog-legging political fortune seekers who help picking up persons to be slaughtered through their vicious antiques in the name of democratic process. This is no less dangerous growth on the body politic.

The silver lining in the growing darkness of despair is the consciousness about the need of Fareedoon to come forward to save the people from the ultimate catastrophe. The would-be Fareedoon has indicated that his faculties are alive and active. The Supreme Court, the conscience keeper has awakened to the need of the hour. It has called to account everyone responsible for the holocaust - the vandal brigade, the ransacking ruffians and brigands of nondescript organizations and their patrons in the administrative set up. In view of the recent judgements and the stand taken on crucial issues it is hoped that the court will uphold the honour and prestige of a great nation so blatantly blotted by the blind evil forces. Next comes the bureaucracy which is generally believed to have a haughty and unsympathetic attitude towards the people. But recent instances have shown that there are people of high sense of morality in that system who can be pushed around for some time by the evil short-sighted political losses but refuse to go beyond a point where they must break their oath of service to the people. The members of the central cadre in UP recently showed their will to expose the black sheep among their ranks who had muddied their flock. Hopefully, the same people will show that they will no longer allow the hooligans from Gujarat and Maharashtra to destroy the peace and homogeneity of the largest state, the heart of India. Meanwhile, the helpless people, the bystanding spectators of the outcome of their electoral blunders can only pray that the worthy among the central cadre administrators be saved from the state of servitude to the ill-maneuvered, ill-honoured and illiterate political masterminds. And next comes the strongest faculty, the men cast in steel, trained to defend our borders but often called to quell disturbances within the borders. What a pity that in Gujarat they stood guard to witness the mayhem let lose on their own innocent and helpless countrymen. What is that evil malady that benumbs their faculty to act. If the conscience of India can find a remedy to that malady it would be a great discovery indeed.

The Churchillians must be feeling happy to see the seeds of poison sown by them grown into a plant in full bloom not allowing a thousand plants bloom under their inauspicious shadow. But at the same time the Britons must have been saddened by the report of their own high commission in India on the hay day for the ruling BJP in Gujarat. They may or may not have bothered about or believed in the exhaling of shame felt by our prime minister. But they might have regretted their own creation recoiling upon its creator. 

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