WHY CAN’T OUR POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENTS ACCOMMODATE VOICES LIKE KOVAN?

While striking down the Section 66A of the Information-Technology Act, the Supreme Court bench had observed, “It is clear that Section 66A arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech and upsets the balance between such right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on such right.”

The Supreme Court decision on March 24 this year officially declared a ‘draconian’ law finally draconian.

The observation focuses on ‘balance between right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on right’, here in the context of the freedom of expression, and rightly so because the law enforcing agencies have had a pretty bad track record in that.

The SC bench of J. Chelameswar and Rohinton F. Nariman said, “If Section 66A is otherwise invalid, it cannot be saved by an assurance from the learned Additional Solicitor-General that it will be administered in a reasonable manner. Governments may come and governments may go, but Section 66A goes on forever. An assurance from the present government, even if carried out faithfully, would not bind any successor govt.”

Going by the bad precedent set by the law enforcing agencies, the apex court rightly refused to trust the words of the country’s political establishment.

Because the political administration has time and again acted so – with incidents like cartoons and Facebook posts being the reasons for charges like ‘sedition’ and follow-up arrests. Flurry of such cases and the widespread outrage over them were the central reason behind the SC’s decision on 66A.

But what about the concerned Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)?

66A was obstructing the freedom of expression with incessant cases of its misuse, and the right logic was put forward that anything of serious nature causing some serious offence could well be handled by the concerned Sections of the IPC.

What about the misuse of the concerned Sections of the IPC?

There is a long list and yesterday’s arrest of a Tamil folk singer, S. Sivadas or Kovan, for writing and propagating songs with ‘allegedly derogatory’ lyrics on Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, has not come as a surprise.

Yes, but as it is to be, and as it is, the anger and the outrage is pouring all across – including from the political establishments anti to Jayalalithaa.

Activists or people like Kovan or many like him, like, for that matter, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra who was arrested for circulating emails with cartoons of Mamata Banarjee, the West Bengal chief minister, are not known beyond their immediate field of activity or their immediate geographical spread – before their unjust arrest.

They have every right to criticise anyone within the democratic norms. The Constitution gives them this freedom.

But who takes guarantee of ensuring that when the administration acts on the contrary, compromising the rights given by the Constitution?

Courts have to intervene then like the top court did with Section 66A. But it doesn’t happen in a day and the struggle with the controversial IPC Sections takes years for saner voices to prevail, like we saw in Dr. Binayak Sen’s case.

Why can’t our political establishments accommodate voices like Kovan or Ambikesh Mahapatra or Binayak Sen or many others who have a different conscience than our ruling establishments?

What about culture of tolerance in our political establishments?

This May, the Kerala High Court observed in a case, “Being a Maoist is of no crime, though the political ideology of the Maoist will not synchronise with our constitutional polity. The police cannot detain a person merely because he is a Maoist, unless the police form a reasonable opinion that his activities are unlawful.”

This and other similar court observations follow from a landmark observation in 2011 given by the Supreme Court while granting bail to Dr. Binayan Sen. The court had said, “We are a democratic country. He may be a sympathiser. That does not make him guilty of sedition. If Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is found in somebody’s place, is he a Gandhian? No case of sedition is made out on the basis of materials in possession unless you show that he was actively helping or harbouring them.” (Here ‘materials’ means Naxalite/Maoist literature.)

If Kovan has done anything that goes against the state then his arrest can be justified but not on the pretexts like his songs are maligning the image of the state’s chief ministers or he is openly criticising the state sops selling liquor/alcohol – especially when ‘prohibition’ has become a sensitive issue across the country.

Kovan’s case reminds me the Marathi movie ‘Court’, India’s official entry to the Academy Awards (Oscars) this year. In the movie, the main protagonist is jailed time and again as police links his anti-establishment songs to the ‘alleged’ suicide of a person, even if there is evidence on the contrary.

Here are links to Kovan songs. I don’t understand Tamil but I am free, and rightly, to express my solidarity.

Shut down TASMAC and Amma TASMAC (Tamil songs – TASMAC is the Tamil Nadu government outfit that runs the liquor shops in question.)

And here is a photograph, sourced from Twitter, showing S. Sivadas or Kovan performing his art.

Kovan-Twitter

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHAT MINISTRY PORTFOLIOS OF UP TELL US!

Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with maximum legislatives seats in Sansad (the Parliament of India) and in the state assembly, in a reform step (or in a corrective step), yesterday, dismissed some ministers and divested some others from his cabinet.

When Akhilesh Yadav had stormed the power corridors of Uttar Pradesh in early months of 2012 with a thumping majority, he had reignited hopes of expecting some positive change in the hopeless political culture of Uttar Pradesh – being dragged backward by a politics riddled with caste and religion – with no development.

The state saw hopes in a young CM, at 38, in spite of the past bad name of political excesses associated with his Samajwadi Party members.

Now, after almost four years, we can say it has been a complete letdown. We can safely that only the government changed in Lucknow, not the culture of governance. In fact, functionally, it got even worse than during Mayawati’s days. Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati was UP’s CM for five years before Akhilesh Yadav won the office in 2012 election.

We don’t need to write much here. A cursory look at portfolios of some of the sacked and divested ministers is enough to tell the story how has been the political culture in the state. Here is the list (the complete UP Cabinet list is even more interesting):

Sacked – Cabinet Ministers

Ambika Chaudhary – Backward Class Welfare, Handicapped Welfare
Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh – Stamp and Court Fees, Civil Defence, Registration
Shiv Kumar Beria – Textile and Sericulture Industries
Narad Rai – Khadi and Village Industries
Shivkant Ojha – Technical Education

Sacked –Ministers of State

Bhagwat Sharan Gangawar – MSME, Export Promotion
Alok Kumar Shakya – Technical Education
Yogesh Pratap Singh alias Yogesh Bhaiya – Basic Education

Divested from their portfolios:
(To be allotted fresh ones on October 31, i.e., tomorrow, when the Cabinet reshuffle takes place.)

Brahma Shanker Tripathi – Homeguards, Prantiya Raksha Dal
Iqbal Mehmood – Fisheries, Public Enterprises
Mehbood Ali – Secondary Education
Ramgovind Chaudhary – Basic Education
Awadhesh Prasad – Social Welfare, SC&ST Welfare, Sainik welfare
Parasnath Yadav – Horticulture and Food Processing
Raja Bhaiya – Food and Civil Supplies Minister
Ahmad Hasan – Health
Durga Prasad Yadav – Transport

So, there are quite innovative portfolios, even for petty functions like ‘Stamp and Court Fees’, ‘Civil Defence’, ‘Homeguards’ – there are different portfolios for ‘Social Welfare and Backward Class Welfare’, – clubbed portfolios like ‘Fisheries and Public Enterprises’ – various portfolios for Education, i.e., Technical Education, Secondary Education, Basic Education – and so on.

Obviously, most of the portfolios allocated in Uttar Pradesh don’t have functional spread of a size that require full time ministries – but as there are ministers – so there are ministries – with names that naturally bring a satirical smile.

After almost four years, Akhilesh Yadav has sacked some, and has divested some more, who will be given fresh portfolios tomorrow.

But there are many more with many controversies with them associated – and there are ministries like separate ‘Irrigation and Minor Irrigation’ portfolios, ministry for ‘Political Pension’, ministry for ‘Zoological Gardens’ and so on.

A look at the ministerial allocations in UP tells the emphasis has been more on accommodating as much names as possible than introducing a culture of ‘governance efficiency’ – and it reflects well in his government’s performance so far – and one more year is not expected to bring any change on the ground – even after this big reshuffle intended to give a ‘political message’ of ‘Akhilesh Yadav being more in control with a young Cabinet’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CHINA’S ‘TWO’ TO TANGO?

“China will allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced after a key meeting on Thursday. The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population, according to a communique issued after the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held from Monday to Thursday.”

Xinhua – October 29, 2015

One of the biggest global news stories of the year came from China today – and second such in a week from the world’s most populous nation – or the world’s biggest tyranny now with ‘fully blossoming capitalist’ hues – after the US-China tension in the South China Sea.

It is already one of the biggest global headlines of the day – as has been widely reported in the global India.

Well, China was in fact, at ease in losing its ‘most populous country’ tag to India – as various studies project – but its ‘demographic problem’ was reaching to an alarming level.

It was the real worry about an ‘ageing’ population that made China finally bow – after its controversial ‘population control policy’ that it started with in 1970s and did all to forcefully implement. This ‘looming demographic crisis’ threatens China to push the country away from the economic gains that it has achieved in the last over three decades – with opening of its economy in 1978.

India, poised to take over China in being the most populous country is also staring at population explosion. India, in fact, is at more at odds than China when it comes to resources. China, the world’s second largest economy, is more than five times (at $11.2 trillion) of India’s (at $2.3 trillion). China’s geographical spread is more than thrice that of India’s. And India’s over 1.25 billion population is not far from catching up with China’s over 1.3 billion. India’s has the big task to control its population control.

But, then it is this population only that provides hopes for India’s economic potential in the days to come – with India already being the world’s fastest growing economy.

India is the world’s youngest nation demographically and Narednra Modi, its prime minister, is focusing heavily on this ‘demographic dividend’ to take India’s economy to newer heights – and even the world is trying to tap into it – with studies projecting India to have the world’s largest middle class by 2030 – BBC puts them at 475 million.

65% of Indians are below 35 years of age while China is forced to handle the problem of reducing working age population. A report in Reuters wrote today, “For the first time in decades the working age population fell in 2012, and China, the world’s most populous nation, could be the first country in the world to get old before it gets rich. By around the middle of this century, one in every three Chinese is forecast to be over 60, with a dwindling proportion of working adults to support them.”

The United Nations says China will have around 440 million of people above 60 by 2050 (as various reports say). So, a serious crisis is imminent if not checked in time.

Chinese leaders of its ‘one party autocracy’ had realized the problem long ago but given the fact that they are a hardened breed of autocrats with over six decades of solid and unchallenged grip on the world’s most populous nation, they took a long time before acting finally, in the same way as China kept on refusing to devalue Yuan before it was forced to do so.

Dictators have some peculiar habits and it goes without saying that what they plan and do are the ‘final words’ and the world for such a nation ends there. China’s ‘one child norm’ was a cherished policy of its ‘evolving and revolving dictators’ and they resisted ‘forces’ (read economic) as far as they could. But for the first time in 2013, they gave an open public notion that they had realized they could not take it anymore – with easing family planning restrictions – but the plan failed to take off as was urban-centric and was with layers of restrictive conditions.

They could finally shed the inhibition they had today, during Communist Party of China’s ‘Fifth Plenum’ while coming out with China’s next five year programme for 2016-2020.

But can it undo the excesses of over three decades committed in the name of ‘controlling one boom for another – population growth for economic progress’?

After decades of economic growth, China is slowing down, and is losing its demographic advantage that made it manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Most importantly, can it work on the mindset of countless of couples who feel they are more comfortable with the one-child norm than being burdened with the financial woes of bringing up another child in an ‘increasingly expensive country’ as Reuters and different experts say?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PROTESTS WILL CONTINUE..AND RIGHTLY SO..

Today, after 139 days, students of the Film & Television Institute of India, decided to call off their strike – but not their protest.

They will continue with their resistance – and aim to show the ‘darkness’ they have seen in these 139 days. Yes, all the right thinking minds were agitated when Gajendra Chauhan was appointed as the FTII Chairman, an actor that many don’t recognize beyond his only credible role – as Yudhisthir in 1988-1990 television serial Mahabharata – a period long enough to make him even more obsolete.

Appointing him could never be justified – and can never be – not even in the name of changing ideologies in the government.

Yes, a government’s move to appoint persons following its ideology/thought process is only natural and there will be natural ‘political’ slugfests.

But we need to think why many even in the government couldn’t digest Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment like the ‘famous’ helplessness shown by Arun Jaitley or the ‘trademark technical compulsion of the government’ in removing him or even the vociferous disapproval expressed by Anupam Kher who today ‘vociferously’ disapproved the ‘National Awards returning act’ act by any filmmakers in support of the FTII students.

If Gajendra Chauhan would have even the slightest of idea of what was coming around, he would never have welcome the move by the students and would never have thought to go to the extent to invite students on ‘talking table’.

And there came the presser by many filmmakers including Anand Patwardhan and Dibakar Banerjee – giving clear indication that the protest is going to intensify even more – yes with changed ways and tools – as the students said:

“We will not engage with the information and broadcasting ministry in any talks till these appointments are revoked. We are respecting what all the students want and will rejoin classes. We have tried every democratic means to make our voice heard.”

“We will go back to cinema and our work will show what we have learnt in last 139 days. We call upon all academicians and citizens to take our voice forward.”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VALMIKI JAYANTI TABLEAUX: DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

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VALMIKI JAYANTI TABLEAUX: DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VALMIKI JAYANTI PROCESSION: DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

Dalit Assertion-1

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

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VALMIKI JAYANTI PROCESSION: DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DALIT ASSERTION THIS WAY! WHAT’S WRONG IN THAT!

We cannot shy away from the fact that in spite of almost 70 years of Independence, and over six decades of legalized affirmative action, that was extended from such measures present in our colonial history, we have failed to bring majority of our Dalit population (the Scheduled Castes or what Mahatma Gandhi named them – Harijan, i.e., people of God) into the mainstream.

They still live in such places like along sides of city drains and slums in big cities, along railway tracks or on outskirts of cities or in separated, closeted, remote places of towns and villages.

After such a mammoth failure, we should not have any right to question them, to advise them to behave as some of their acts, like this Valmiki Jayanti procession, disrupting the normal traffic, causes inconvenience to us.

After all, it is not new to us, with so much of VIP culture or VVIP elements enveloping our day to day lives. Traffic inconveniences or for that matter, any other sort of bad public experience in our day to day lives, are so ingrained now that we take them as routine – during our countless festivities or routine traffic diversions due to VVIP movements.

So, why should we question them, especially when they get these not so regular events to enjoy some moments of life – to enjoy life in those moments. We can wait a bit to let them pass, dancing and singing, celebrating their lives in the ways they deem fit. Constitutionally they are equal and socially and righteously, we should treat them as our equal brothers. We owe them because we have failed them.

Dalit Assertion-10

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE SOCIAL MEDIA EMPATHY

It was a day of scrambles and mad rush – to express solidarity – to show empathy – to look socially up – to sound socially concerned – especially on social media – with many of the so called Twitterati who see their 140 word Twitter presence imperative on anything and everything – and today was an eventful day for them.

Geeta, an Indian girl who lost her way and ended up in Pakistan was returning India after over 10 years. Her story has been the first take ever since it was rediscovered after Salman Khan’s movie ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ hit the theatres. One of the main characters of the movie had story similar to that of Geeta. Ever since the story broke, it has kept India and Pakistan at a platform, at least on her issue.

And that girl was returning India today and it was imperative for many names to come, most preferably on Twitter, to oblige others by letting them know what they thought (even if they didn’t think, even if they didn’t know the subject matter properly).

And to add to the frenzy of ‘Geeta event’, two other major news events broke on the day.

The one was arrest of India’s dreaded gangster Chhota Rajan in Indonesia. Rajan was on run the run for last 20 years and makes for an important part of the Underworld tales related to Dawood Ibrahim. Okay, it was not so attractive for many in the Twitterati who are always on the look out to look for a development to pour out their hearts.

But the other one was certainly.

The whole North India felt jolts of a massive earthquake today the epicentre of which was in Hindukush region in Afghanistan, some 250 Kms away from Kabul.

Various geological estimates varied from 7.5 to 8.1 on the intensity of the earthquake. The US Geological Survey and the Indian Meteorological Department finally settled for 7.5.

The enormity of the earthquake can be gauged by the fact that though it did not cause much reportable damage in India, its deep tremors were felt for around 6-7 minutes. So far, no direct casualties have been reported, except some unconfirmed reports on two heart-attack deaths or an accidental death.

And every report has been pretty clear about this earthquake impact in India.

And every report, naturally, has been crystal clear about the widespread destruction that the earthquake has caused in Pakistan. And the quake damage in Afghanistan, though not to the extent of Pakistan, is being reported as well.

Yes, the October 26 earthquake is nowhere close to the enormity of the one Pakistan saw in 2005, but is still a major one. The 2005 quake was a shallow one, causing widespread damage while this one is around 200 Kms deep.

But still, there have been reports of loss of property and lives from various parts of Pakistan. So far, the death toll has already crossed the 200 mark and the figure is expected to go much higher as many remote areas still remain unaccounted for. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in London, is immediately leaving for Pakistan to manage the rescue and relief efforts. The army in Pakistan has been pressed into operation.

So, if there has been significant destruction from today’s earthquake, it is from Pakistan and certainly not from North India.

So, when I saw this tweet, it naturally caught my attention. Incidentally, Vijay Mallya retweeted Kiran Mazumdar Shaw on the quake:

Vijay Mallya retweeted
kiranshaw’s avatar
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw @kiranshaw
Heartfelt condolences to all those families who lost their lives in the massive ‪#‎earthquake‬ in North India.

Vijay Mallya Twitter Page

Screen grab of Vijay Mallya’s Twitter Page 

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw tweeted it and Vijay Mallya retweeted it. The tweet shows how disconnected and indifferent these super wealthy are!!

They probably just saw the headline only and didn’t bother to go inside or didn’t care at all than expressing her (or their) Twitter sorrow.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw gave link to this write-up in her Tweet that very clearly says what was the context. Here is the screenshot:

NDTV-Quake

I can write so because I wrote back both to Vijay Mallya and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw on their Twitter handles about it but I am yet to get any response while writing this. Anyway, I had not expected any response.

And then, there was another one. I read somewhere an article that wrote that ‘how this earthquake left many Bollywood stars shaken’ even if Bombay or in other parts of India than North India, the earthquake jolts were not felt. Anyway, many of them, in their ‘wisdom’, can say that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WAHT RAHUL GANDHI COULD NOT DO?

Rahul Gandhi has been missing the point – and the phenomenon is now so famous that it has become a routine stuff in Indian politics of the day.

He could not capitalize on the ‘brand Kalawati’, a grand opening that he had got in Indian politics (with a possible tag of ‘politician with a difference’), and let her be a dragging point for his political career when it started maturing.

He could not come forward and take the country’s leadership in unorthodox ways that the country needed. He had the golden opportunity of taking credit of giving India’s its Lokpal after the massively popular anti-corruption movement of 2011 and thus had the space to present himself as the ‘new type leader of Indian masses’ but he failed to do so, even if he later on, famously tore down his own government’s document to ‘protect’ tainted lawmakers.

No effective movement on ‘Lokpal’ or no effective curb on political corruption later on told us that Rahul failed to translate display of his public aggression and maturity into action. In fact, if we go by the need to set the precedent, even his family needs to come clean on corruption allegations on Robert Vadra, his brother-in-law.

He very eloquently spoke about his hatred of corruption at a FICCI event in December 2013 – “Biggest issue is corruption, it is an unacceptable burden on our people. We must fight corruption.” – while just before that, his party’s government in Maharashtra had ‘summarily rejected the Adarsh Housing Society scam report (report which implicated many political leaders and bureaucrats). While speaking at the FICCI AGM, he was silent on this report.

Questions over Rahul’s intent were being raised as early as 2010 with Congress’ debacle in Bihar assembly polls. And with every such political development where Rahul could have scored a point well above the others, something that he never did, questions on his intent became more and more routine.

Why did Rahul Gandhi took almost a week (Nido Taniam’s incident happened on January 29 last year) to call the Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, to ensure justice for Nido? Nido Taniam, a 20-year old student from Arunachal Pradesh, was beaten fatally by some shopkeepers in the Lajpat Nagar market of Delhi after he reacted to the racist comments by them, and who, later on, succumbed to his injuries.

There was a visible ‘bias’ in Rahul Gandhi’s visits to places like Bhatta Parsaul, Michpur, Maval and now to Bisada and Sunped, the Haryana villages.

Where his party was in power, Rahul Gandhi took some 8 days in visiting the crime scenes, i.e., in Mirchpur in Haryana in April 2010 where Dalits were murdered and tortured and in Maval in Pune in August 2011 where protesting farmers were killed in police firing.

While he was very active in visiting places where he was in political opposition like Bhatta Parsaul in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), the symbolic point of 2011 Uttar Pradesh land acquisition protests. During May 7-9, 2011, the village had violent protests leading to death of some policemen and villagers and Rahul, despite prohibitory orders, was in the village on May 11 to protest along with villagers. Same, we can say, about Bisada in Greater Noida and Sunped in Faridabad (Haryana, that has now a BJP government).

Farm suicides in Maharashtra have been a regular curse but Rahul was never so alarmed about visiting the state when his party’s government was there, but he mapped the country in most other areas considered crisis hotbeds of farmers’ suicides and agrarian crisis.

And if we scratch more, we will easily come across many more such instances.

The nation knows Rahul Gandhi is not corrupt. Instead, most political commentators prefer to call him a ‘reluctant’ (or forced) politician.

In retrospective, it seems he could never set his eyes on his targets or we can say he could never set his aims for his trajectory ahead or he was never careful about his political future ahead.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IT KILLS SOULS. MAKES HUMANS ‘ANIMALS’ AGAIN.

“..and how that one long night was actually ten violent years in the making.”

“I thought I was doing the right thing.… I’m sorry that I let you guys down.… My count is 20 [the number of Afghans he believed he’d killed].… You will thank me come June [the height of the fighting season].… We shouldn’t worry about collateral consequences.”

“No conscious person wants war. No conscious person wants to kill people.”

These lines from an extensive GQ interview of Robert Bales, a US Army soldier sentenced for life without parole for 2012 Kandahar Massacre, again reaffirm what protracted wars do to a man, tasked to ensure that the soldier in him must conform to the war doctrines laid out by his superiors.

By the very nature and movement of geopolitics globally, the United States of America has been involved in most of the wars post World War II. And in all these wars, it has been an outsider that has taken the role of the main insider – at least in the combat zones.

And has sent countless soldiers to the war fronts – many of them have lost their lives while serving their troops.

And it has not been without its repercussion back home.

The US has seen widespread backlash and domestic protests over loss of American citizens, beginning from the first mass scale intervention post World War II, in Vietnam. The domestic sensitivity of the issue continued with Iraq and Afghanistan intervention. And the enraged public opinion deterred further efforts by the US administration to adopt ‘similar interventions’ in crisis torn Middle East countries and in Iraq in this round. The ‘enraged public opinion’ in fact was the reason for the ‘much hyped pullouts’ from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But war does much more than killing soldiers.

It kills souls.

It makes humans ‘animals’ again.

Protracted wars like the ones in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq and again in Afghanistan change soldiers in killing machines who don’t see beyond taking orders from their superiors, who in turn, are pawns and dices in a larger global geopolitical game.

The GQ write-up says quoting Bales’ lawyer, “The government is going to want to blame this on an individual rather than blame it on the war,” he said during a press conference. His instinct was to argue that Bales snapped under the pressure of four deployments and was not in his right mind when he committed his crimes.”

The GQ interview further spreads out, “Part of PTSD is dissociation,” says Charles Golden, a neuropsychologist who wrote a report on Bales for the defense. “The person feels like he’s watching himself or outside himself—he’s not himself. And head trauma—we don’t have a lot of research on that—but head trauma may exacerbate that tendency to dissociate when under stress.”

Years of violence, as Bales puts here (ten violent years), make soldiers like Bales (and there have been and there are multitudes of them) savages objectified with ‘taking human lives’. Coupled with the emotional loss (and healing) of working away from home and family, in an alien land, in the lap of death, they quickly unlearn the basic tenet of all human civilizations – live and let live. Disregard of human life, of their own and of others, takes primacy on every other ‘conscience consideration’ in the mind of such soldiers – as Bales rightly says – “No conscious person wants war. No conscious person wants to kill people.”

I did not decide to write the article here after reading this GQ interview. What Bales did can never be justified. The savage in him has no place among us. But why he did so, and why others like him do so, must always be looked into, must always be reasoned with, to realize ‘horrors’ of war.

It is just that I had just finished watching ‘Apocalypse Now’ once more and this time, I was thinking to write something on it, and was mulling over my thoughts when I, by chance, came across this write-up. And I found it quite a relevant one – aiding and adding to my thoughts.

Now to ‘Apocalypse Now’.

Robert Bales-Kandahar Massacre-My Lai Massacre

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Featured Image Courtesy: Wikipedia pages on Robert Bales, Kandahar Massacre and My Lai Massacre