Harcharan Bains' pain is understandable. The way he reacted to an open letter that appeared in the columns of this newspaper on Friday was foreseen. Perhaps, the writer was doing his job. He called the "journalist-turned-letter writer" a modern-day Antony. The character in Shakespeare's masterpiece Julius Caesar seems to have fascinated Mr Bains a lot. Well, it is difficult to even recall the number of people he has called Antony in these columns, which appear quite often in this newspaper.
Mr Bains needs to move over Antony because the problem is not Antony. The problem is Nero. And Nero's guests. I hope this teacher of English literature remembers Nero.
Bains said I paraded my art on a dead body. But my question here is who is responsible for turning that full of life 14-month-old Rooth into a body. It was not an accident; it was not negligence; it was a tragedy manufactured by police and administration of the government which Bains represents. Now, let's not turn the tragedy into a comedy of errors, Mr Bains.
Letter writing is not an art. It is a very personal communication not to be shared. But, sometimes, personal boundaries need to be crossed over when things get political. It would be least preferred by a journalist to write a letter over a news report. I am sure your government must have received many such letters and you must have made sure to throw them in the dustbin of history.
Hence that open letter.
It was nice that Bains talked about journalism and tried to give all of us a Rapidex course in this most beautiful profession. Have you read Marquez, Mr Bains, who had thus addressed journalism? Maybe you and your army of media advisors will argue that it is not journalism but stenography, which is more beautiful. And P Sainath, have you heard his name? He says that the entire history of journalism is about dissent. By the way, can you name even one wonderful pro-establishment journalist whose name has been etched in history? A watchdog of society shouldn't turn into a lapdog of establishment. Yes, there are pet dogs too, who are unleashed by their masters when they feel danger.
Yes, Bains was right when he said "not even the letter writer's father would have given up his job for other qualified candidates". He is right, because it is difficult to give up a job for a person who took a loan to fund his studies and later had a family to raise and look after his elderly parents. It becomes more difficult to quit when you deserve the job. The case of those who got jobs on Badal Saab's mercy will always be different. But I find it difficult to find the answer that why Bains left his job as a teacher to chase an advisory.
If Bains and the government he represents had not sold their souls, they would have visited the aggrieved family by now. But he is right when the education minister and 'advisors' say that there are provisions in the Constitution under which the mother can be booked.
Does Bains remember the tale of tears that the chief minister shed when his nephew walked out for a better political future? You shared on your own channel. Did he shed tears when this 14-month-old died?
Bains' pain is understandable; it is difficult to clean the hands when they are stained in the blood of a child. You may call me Antony, or anything else. But how did you forget Nero, Mr Bains? How could you forget his guests who feasted while people were being burnt to lighten Rome for the grand party. Today that carcass is of Rooth, the 14-month-old.
Tell your masters that Rome is already burning; there's no time to fiddle with the flute or the pen, if you say so.