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People?s silence killed Prof Sabharwal!

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 14:55 IST

People’s silence killed Prof Sabharwal!
Speak Up!

Before it is too late In Germany the Nazis came First for the Communists, And I did not speak Because I was not a Communist Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak Because I was not a Jew Then they came for the trade unions, I did not speak up Because I was not a trade unionis. Then they came for the Catholics, And I was a Protestant and so, I did not speak up Then they came for me, And by that time There was no one left to speak For me.
Martin Niemoler  (1892-1984)

I GIVE a clean chit to all the youth wings of the major political parties in the murder case of Professor H S Sabharwal, who perished during Madhav College student union elections at Ujjain. I also assure you that he did not  commit suicide and did not die of self-inflicted injuries, for he couldn’t have broken his own ribs causing lung puncture leading to his death. Now, you would want to know who then killed the professor? Yes, I know who killed him. You and I killed him.

Doesn’t this sound like the thirteenth stroke of a crazy clock? But it is true. It is we, the so-called responsible, prosperous, decent, gentlemanly, well-meaning citizens, who have allowed violence to prosper, and encouraged the cult of violence to get legitimised. The late professor Sabharwal fell prey to this cult of violence that we patronised, advertently or inadvertently.

Whether or not one likes it, we are followers of our religions first and Indians only later. It is this, which has played havoc with our nationalism, and as a consequence it is the country that has suffered. We cease to be Indians when it comes to our religious and political faith, for which we are ready to condone even the worst of crimes perpetrated by our hirelings and hoodlums, who fear no laws. This is true of every political party in power, again without exception.

We talk of the underworld, which has its gangsters who do the bidding of their dons. Do we not have musclemen in every political organisation that  carry out their masters’ biddings, assured that they would be baled out of any situation, unscathed?

It is this political and religious violence that has given birth to social violence, which killed Prof Sabharwal, and we, the middle class citizens—teachers, doctors, engineers, writers, journalists, lawyers, scientists, middle cadre  administrators — are directly responsible for all that is happening in the society, for we have never raised our voice against the growing all round  violence..

The middle class citizens of the country have failed to demonstrate even workable honesty; intellectual honesty is a far dream. To the great detriment of the nation they have developed a pernicious habit of looking at things and events  from private, political, religious and ideological perspectives, which they foster at the expense of the national perspective.

In their flawed wisdom and self-complacency, they fondly believe that in some mysterious way they would remain untouched by the violence and the corruption that surround them. They assure themselves that what happens to others will somehow never happen to them.

Beware, the next man killed may be your or my son or father; the next girl raped may be your or my daughter or sister; the next house burnt may be your or my house; the next man or child thrown out of a running train may be your or my dearer one. And all this would be happening to us just because we have opted to be silent and allowed goons to take over the society.

Let us break this ominous silence as a tribute to the late Prof H S Sabharwal, and let us take on the hydra of violence, wherever it is operating, with all the might of our patriotism.

Our patriotism is on test.