The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 10 September 2012


Cartoonists were never so much at the centre of nerves – would politicians take credit?

But politicians will remain politicians.

A cartoonist was arrested by the might Mumbai police. It was a slap back in the face as was clear from the fact that the Mumbai police that went at lengths to ascertain the Uttar Pradesh whereabouts of the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, accused with sedition charges, pleaded the Mumbai court to surrender his custody just after a day of questioning even if he was given to 7 days of police remand on Sunday.

Arrested on Saturday, sent to police custody on Sunday, and sent to judicial custody on Monday - What the guy had done? - Nothing, but depicting the building of the Indian parliament as a toilet seat, and replacing the lions with wolves in the National Emblem.

We may differ with our ways of expression but sure, it was no crime at all. Times have changed and even if it was trespassing some draconian Indian law (sure, there are plenty), it didn’t warrant any action, certainly not what the Mumbai police did.

We all have birthright to express our dissent in a non-violent way – this is what many of us understand and some of us go to the extent to express – but this is what none of the politicians seem to understand. They like to treat their voters as dumb subjects and do all to suppress the voice of dissent.

Mamata Banarjee has been its perfect example. Her hammer has come down heavily on voices of dissent. Her victims include peasants, professors and cartoonists, all alike. ‘Mamata cartoon row’ simply generates volumes of analyses and informative pieces.

I cannot say if it was her inductive effect but Mumbai police behaved the way Mamata has got ‘her’ police to do so often. Maharashtra politicians might have taken a cue from Mamata as she is a coalition partner of the ruling UPA and so of NCP-Congress. 

The different lines taken by R R Patil, Maharashtra Home Minister, and NCP clearly tell this. While Patil spoke of efforts for a speedy release, NCP was adamant on an apology that this cartoonist would not offer, as it looks by his response so far.

And our police - the folks in Mumbai police slapped the fellow with sedition (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code - nonbailable) and other charges.

The problem is not that the police didn’t expect the backlash over the arrest. It must have, after the widespread outrage on Mamata’s antics. The problem is it went ahead even after realizing it. And if police is to share the blame for it, the major share goes to the political establishment.

It shows insensitivity and disregard to the basic unit of a democracy – the citizen, who, in theory, decides the fate of politicians in a democracy, by exercising his power to vote-in or vote-out. Yes, but practically, that is not happening yet in the Indian democracy.

The problem is even though the police surrendered his custody, and even though Aseem denied engaging any lawyer or moving bail application, he was not freed of the grave charges he has been slapped with. He is rightfully demanding that the sedition charges be removed.

That should be the spirit of democracy if he had been released without any charges.

That should be the spirit of democracy if he had been told to be sensitive about his methods of protests and let go.

I had thought to place Aseem’s cartoons here as a mark of my protest but decided not to do it as these symbols, the Indian parliament and the National Emblem are and will remain Indian pride. The problem is not with these institutions and their symbols. It is simply with their custodians. Can anyone take them in preventive custody please? Yes, but I am putting here the photograph of the courageous activist.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 
Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi (Photograph source from Internet)