And, Mehar kindles a new light

MEHAR BHARGAVA is dead. The issue, she triggered, is alive and burning. Thousands of lighted candles at the GPO Park beneath the Mahatma?s statue were proof of that as the creme-de-la-creme of Lucknow converged at the park on Monday evening to light a candle before a smiling portrait of Mehar that was placed beneath the statue of the Mahatma. ?She might have gone but still did you notice Mehar?s larger than life presence even here?? asked Sudha Prakash, a close friend of the Bhargavas while pointing towards the portrait.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 00:19 IST

MEHAR BHARGAVA is dead. The issue, she triggered, is alive and burning.

Thousands of lighted candles at the GPO Park beneath the Mahatma’s statue were proof of that as the crème-de-la-crème of Lucknow converged at the park on Monday evening to light a candle before a smiling portrait of Mehar that was placed beneath the statue of the Mahatma.

“She might have gone but still did you notice Mehar’s larger than life presence even here?” asked Sudha Prakash, a close friend of the Bhargavas while pointing towards the portrait. Indeed. Mehar’s life-size photo loomed large over the mourners. There was no mistaking the effervescence in the photo even here.

More proof of how much Lucknow loved Mehar poured in when a socialite remarked, “not many of us have believed in such protests. But, this one is so different and that’s why we have come out of our AC rooms and hit the road.”

Faraha, Mehar’s daughter from her first marriage, who flew down from Dubai with her husband Stuart, explained: “That was the beauty of my mother. She connected to each one on an individual level. Everyone whom you see here has had a personal connection with her and it shows.”

It certainly did. For there were ex-Colvinians like Sudhir Halwasiya, Gopal Agarwal, Kishore Tandon, Saurabh Chaturvedi, Rajeev Bakshi, there were academicians like Dr Amrita Dass, Dr Farida Abraham, Carlyle Mcfarland, politicians like Salman Khurshid and Louis Khurshid, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, advocates like Jaideep Mathur, Prashant Chandra, businessmen like Ashok Sur and several bureaucrats among a host of other prominent names. Each tied with the same emotional thread, driven by the same desire of seeing Mehar’s assailants behind bars.

“On the day she was shot at, I went to see her at trauma center and the moment she saw me, she asked whether the culprits have been arrested,” recalled Irfan, who knew Mehar since his childhood.

The culprits are still at large, 26 days after the incident.

And it perhaps was a spontaneous build up, that saw several women including Louis Khurshid, Smita Chandra, Reeta Bahuguna Joshi along with others deciding to march till the CM’s residence to demand prompt action against the culprits.

On being stopped near the Raj Bhawan, the women,including Mehar’s family members, squatted on the streets, jostled with the security and held up placards and virtually entered into an altercation with the SSP.

They had reasons to be angry. “So, much time has already elapsed and Mehar’s killers are still free. Yet, we are being stopped from making our point,” they shouted.

Finally, better sense prevailed and the women agreed to call off their proposed march when assured by the SSP that Mehar’s killers would be brought to justice within five days. “In case that doesn’t happen we would come here again in larger numbers after the fifth day,” they shouted. And by the looks of it, they mean business.

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 00:19 IST