Thursday, April 17, 2008
Torture Relay: The Delhi Farce
Well, its gone off without a hitch according to the very silly, preening Suresh Kalmadi. Of course no one wants to remind him of exactly "what" it was that went off without a hitch.
Lets see: 15000 armed paramilitary sealing off central Delhi to protect the torch of shame being paraded through 2.3 kilometres of a barren Rajpath. Yes, that did go off without a hitch, if we forget the following:
1. The absurd spectacle of a single Tibetan protester trying to unfurl the Tibetan national flag being bundled off by twelve or fourteen policemen.
2. The Rajyasabha not being able to reconvene after lunch as the MPs were unable to reach the Parliament building.
3. Cost to taxpayer - in loss of working hours, funding for an extra Republic Day security etc - ABSURD.
4. The sickening spectacle of Chinese national flags being waved at India Gate, with the farcical Olympic cauldron hiding the far more significant Amar Jawan Jyoti. But then perhaps we should not expect the party of the Emergency, Bofors scams, missing PoWs, to care for the dignity of the fallen soldier.
So while Suresh Kalmadi claims that the world was watching and he has ensured that we have not been embarrassed, guess what? Things looks quite different from beyond his tunnel-of-shame vision. The image of the Chinese embassy surrounded by rolls of barbed wire makes a stronger visual point of that country's oppressive nature.
And after the farcical relay in Delhi, the only place for the "sacred" Olympic flame (any ideas why a regime that prosecutes all religion suddenly is talking of sacred anything?) is a government provided cage, one that replicates the brutality of the Chinese state, and ironically reinforces the point that the Beijing torch symbolizes imprisonment, oppression, lack of freedom.
A word of thanks to all those who refrained from participating in the relay: Bhaichung Bhutia especially deserves a salute from all those who believe in the freedom of conscience. Kelly Dorjee whose gentle statements revealed not only the immense compassion of Buddhism but also an intense belief in individual freedom of expression that a democracy guarantees. And of course, to that old warrior - George Fernandes - who continues steadfastly to fight for a cause that much of the world has forgotten.
Finally, our immense gratitude is due to the Tibetan exiles in India. They followed the directive from their leader to not embarrass their hosts - us, Indians - by engaging in violence. The Delhi protests were peaceful and heart-wrenching, all the more powerful as symbolic acts of conscience as they contrasted with the massive machinery of the state guarding the torch of shame.
This has been a day of moral victories indeed - for the Tibetans who continue to struggle for their freedom, and for us Indians who asserted our right to satyagraha and democracy despite the cupidity of our leaders. And it has been a day of shame for our leaders who would do well to heed the message of on banners today: Azad Tibet, Surakshit Bharat!
Jai Bharat! Jai Tibet!