No Peepli Live: this Nattha could not be saved

Indira Gandhi went out to families of massacre victims, Kejriwal needed to take only few steps, if only for politics


Shishir Tripathi | April 23, 2015 | New Delhi

#gajendra singh   #farmer suicide   #aap rally   #aap rally farmer suicide   #arvind kejriwal  

Ram Gopal Verma would have been readying himself with his next ‘realistic’ cinema on what unfolded at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday afternoon, if only Anusha Rizvi’s had not portrayed the absurdity and the irony of a farmer’s “scheduled death” in her directorial debut ‘Peepli Live’ some five years back.

Rizvi was right in many respects while making scathing satires against politicians-bureaucrats-media trio along with civil society that we are so proud of. However, she went wrong on the most important aspect of the whole irony.

She could not predict the depth of insensitivity of our political class, which is obvious from the fact that none of those present at Jantar Mantar rushed to save 41-year-old Gajender Singh, until it was too late.

Singh was holding the mighty ‘broom’, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) election symbol, which claims to clean the democracy of all the dirt-spilled on it by the vested interests. Sad enough, it turned out to be too weak to even have saved its follower.

The insensitivity of the political class wrapped in the absurdity of power was on full display on Wednesday afternoon. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal after the death of the farmer said, “We kept asking the police to bring him down. Police may not be in our control but at least there should be a semblance of humanity among them.”

Of course, police did not listen to the CM and in that case the CM could not have done anything. He is nothing without his state appendages and apparatus. Is it the case?

No, no one should buy this argument. He has enough clout to move the entire Delhi people to vote for him and get a landslide victory. Only, if Kejriwal would have walked up to the farmer when he was trying to kill himself, AAP cadres would have followed him and the man would have been saved. It required nothing but some humanity which he sought from police.

On March 30 a judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court jumped into the Sukhna lake to save a young girl from drowning. During his morning walk on the banks of the lake Justice M Jeyapaul observed a commotion with several people shouting for help. He noticed that a girl was drowning. He immediately ran to her rescue and dived into the lake. He was with his security officer but did not wait for him to do the job.

Leave humanity, if only the Delhi CM would have thought about politics, he would have done his best to save the dying farmer. In 1978 Indira Gandhi, who was ousted from power after her emergency excesses, rushed to Belchi, Bihar, using all available modes of transport – including an elephant – to meet the family members of the dalit victims of a massacre. Whether it was a humanitarian call or a political calculation is difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, it served her well and helped her to be back in power within a year.

In ‘Peepli Live’ Nattha was lucky enough to have escaped the fire and subsequently the madness that his attempt to suicide brought. But then in real life unlike our Hindi films happy ending is not guaranteed.



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