Isn't it the season of darkness, as Dickens wrote 162 years ago?

Isnt it the season of darkness, as Dickens wrote 162 years ago?

The drama over Lakhimpur Kheri is developing on predictable lines in the country.

The drama over Lakhimpur Kheri is developing on predictable lines in the country.

Our politicians have got away with anything and everything. To control the turbulent electoral politics of a State like UP, all parties prefer their 'Dabangg' leaders. Be it the TMC, Shiv Sena, SP, BSP, BJP, Congress, RJD or even the Left, they all turn a blind eye to the criminal antecedents. A third (34%) of 543 MPs who were elected faced criminal charges, up from 30% in 2009 and 24% in 2004. Some of the charges were of minor nature or politically motivated. But more than 20% of the new MPs faced serious charges such as attempted murder, assaulting public officials, and theft.

In the Lakhimpur Kheri case, too, the person accused of mowing down people is none other than the Union Minister's son. The Junior Minister of Home Affairs from the region himself was accused of a broad daylight murder. Arguments over in 2018, the High Court only reserved the judgment. This man's son is now accused and is now under arrest. Will he be brought to justice? The other day, the Minister (after the Kheri crime) presided over a meeting of the top prison officials of the country. Will there be justice with such a person continuing in the Cabinet? He may be ready to quit the party, but is the party ready to forego his muscle power in the region? The rich and powerful always have their way. Even if they go to jail; they wear the sentence like a badge of honour. Remember Sashikala, the Chinnamma? What was the treatment in jail for her? Tikait defended the post-Lakhimpur mowing down killings, claiming "it is a reaction to an action." How many times did we not hear the Shiv Sena leaders talk of violence? Have we not heard some BJP leaders asking critics to go to Pakistan? Was it not an AIMIM leader who said, "keep police out of streets for 10 minutes and then see."?

Let us have a look at Charles Dickens. (A Tale of Two Cities - Chapter VI – when the horse-drawn carriage runs over a child):

"Its owner went downstairs into the courtyard, got into his carriage, and drove away. .... rather agreeable to him to see the common people dispersed before his horses, and often barely escaping from being run down. His man drove as if he were charging an enemy, and the furious recklessness of the man brought no check into the face, or to the lips, of the master…With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.

But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses' bridles.

'What has gone wrong?' said Monsieur, calmly looking out. A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of the horses and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.

'Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!' said a ragged and submissive man, 'it is a child.' 'Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?'

'Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis—it is a pity—yes.' …...

'Killed!' shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. 'Dead!'

The people closed round and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they had been silent...The voice of the submissive man who had spoken, was in its extreme submission. Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats coming out of their holes.

He took out his purse.

'It is extraordinary to me,' said he, 'that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is forever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses...'

He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up. Without deigning to look at the assemblage a second time, Monsieur the Marquis leaned back in his seat, and was just being driven away with the air of a gentleman who had accidentally broke some common thing, and had paid for it.

He was driven on, and other carriages came whirling by in quick succession; the Minister, the State-Projector, the Farmer-General, the Doctor, the Lawyer, the Ecclesiastic, the Grand Opera, the Comedy, the whole Fancy Ball in a bright continuous flow, came whirling by. The rats had crept out of their holes to look on, and they remained looking on for hours; soldiers and police often passing between them and the spectacle, and making a barrier behind which they slunk, and through which they peeped.

The father had long ago taken up his bundle and bidden himself away with it, when the women who had tended the bundle while it lay on the base of the fountain, sat there watching the running of the water and the rolling of the Fancy Ball …"

That's Dickens for us! It was written way back in 1859 and yet has that ring of contemporaneity to it? says and so...we understand that the tale whenever it is told will be just a recurring theme perhaps? Is not the reaction of our leaders similar to that of Monsieur the Marquis? This Union Minister and also the Chief Minister of Haryana say they know how to handle such protestors as these farmers.

They do so because they know that elections are fought on caste calculus. Social engineering, booth management, caste considerations and Dabangg leaders are essential to win the elections. As Dickens says "the whole Fancy Ball" is here to serve such leaders.

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