On the borders of an imaginary village, a man with white beard and white hair stood flexing his muscles and expanding his fifty-six inch chest, while shouting and making violent signs at the next village. He heard hurried footsteps behind him, but did not bother to turn around, as he continued his aggressive posturing at the edge of his village,gesturing fiercely at the one across.

“Sir, sir, it is time you came back sir!”

“I cannot, I have many actions up my sleeve which the people of our village enjoy, see!”

The man expanded his chest even more, curled his fingers into a fist and started boxing an imaginary opponent in the next village, again he did not turn as he asked, “Are my people watching?”

“No sir!”

“What? Can’t they see me waving my fists and pawing the air, at the village next door?”

“They have stopped looking sir!”

“Can’t they hear me shouting, ‘terrorist, terrorist’ at the headman of the village next door?”

“They have stopped listening sir!”

“But they made me a headman because of my jumping and kicking and shouting slogans at the village next door?”

“Yes, they did sir!”

“They elected me their chief impressed by this chest of mine!”

“They did sir!”

“So why aren’t they watching me anymore?”

“They watch their shrinking stomachs! They watch their jobs disappearing sir and cash vanishing! They sit at home with no jobs. Their families starve with no food!”

“But that is why I stand here at the border and create these border shows, so they will stop looking at their shrinking stomachs and their empty wallets. Till now they loved my chowkidar antics and clapped and cheered for me!”

“You entertained them well sir!”

The man with white beard and white hair stood flexing his muscles and continued expanding his fifty-six inch chest, while making violent gestures at the next village, “Tell them to look at my aggressive actions again!” he said. “Tell the people I will stand here and protect them from….”

“From what sir?”

“From the terror that comes from the next village! Once they look up and see me yelling and screaming and jumping around, they will clap and cheer and forget their tummies and hunger!”

“Sir the people have spoken!”

“They clap for me?”

“No sir, they want you back to deal with hunger and jobs!”

The white bearded man stopped his shadow boxing and shouting, turned roundand whispered, “But I don’t know how to do that!”

“Yes sir!” whispered the man who had come from the poll booths with the latest results, “The people are realizing that! Yes sir!” he said, looking at the poll results, “they seem to have stopped looking sir..!” 

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“He is fearless in expressing his opinions..”

Nirmala Banerjee, Abhijeet’s mother.

Did you know Tihar jail was where Nobel Prize winner Abhijeet Banerjee spent ten days of his life?

Till now, you must have been under the impression only politicians made a success of their careers after a stint in jail! Though, I doubt the ten days Banerjee spent in India’s most dreaded jail, had anything to do with his rise in the field of economics, I am sure it was that same questioning, analyzing mind, fearless in expressing an opinion, as his mother says, that got him and a number of other students jailed while studying at the JNU in the nineties!

And that is the dangerous attitude we have to intellectuals who question.

We tell them to shut up or else, and the ‘or else’ is not a threat, as we look back in history, and see people like Giordana Bruno, burned to death for saying the earth was round, Copernicus and Galileo also threatened for saying likewise. Hundreds of others who questioned ‘civil rights’, ‘women empowerment’, ‘slavery’, and hundreds and thousands who questioned authority put to death or harassed till they shut up.

Just imagine if Abhijeet had decided to ‘shut up’!

“Hey Abhijeet, the poor are crying out for help!”

“I don’t want to go to jail again! No! No!”

His work, his research, which has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty would have gone. Kaput. The poor, world over would never have benefited from the thoughts and brilliance of this man.

Now can you imagine the amount of brilliant thought stifled by authoritarian and oppressive bodies over time? Thoughts that if blossomed, could have revolutionized the world.

Which is why a Democracy gives freedom to thinkers. Unfortunately, those in authority, whether priests, politicians or even principals of schools and colleges, fear thinkers. In their minds, thinkers are troublemakers. No! Thinkers question an existing system, and offer suggestions for a better one like Banerjee has done.

Today, thinkers are muzzled and muffled, by cowardly methods: Filing false cases, using archaic and ancient laws like ‘sedition’ and finally even using the mob! When we use force on thinkers, we use ‘muscle’ against the ‘mind’. ‘Brawn’ against ‘brain’!

Brawn may win initially, but loses finally with no brain around!

Without brain, brawn with only their chest thumping, ridiculing tweets or building walls, starts losing. Aren’t we seeing it happen in the economic slide-downs all over?

All intellectuals may not get a Nobel prize to show how wrong the ‘brawns’ were, so let’s help, by voting the brawns out, if they don’t understand the language the Abhijeets of this world speak in..! 

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…India Today, 9th Oct

Ah sir, so a gruesome word like ‘lynching’ has been cleverly ascribed to Jesus, a man who lived on earth without sin? There were many who twisted such lines during his life, so that he could be killed, and yet, it was a Roman governor, who cried out after giving Jesus a trial, “I find this man innocent!”

And yet Jesus died, put to death by many who had actually seen Him healing the sick, and even raising the dead.

But sir, because He died, I now have direct access to my God! Because a sinless man, the Son of God, took on Himself, all my sin, now I can walk and talk with God every moment of my life!

What a joy it is, to have God as part of my life, giving me comfort when I am down, joy in my sorrow, helping me to forgive when I am bitter, and giving purpose in my life!

But, let us also go into the incident, which you attribute to the beginning of incidents of lynching:

I quote from John 8:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT).

A Woman Caught in Adultery

1. Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2. but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6. They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8. Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11. “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus did not start a lynching incident, He ended what was once a medieval practice of stoning by law, and which is still practiced in some countries; but never ever Christian!

Before I end, let me add that the freedom we got from the British, through Gandhiji’s ‘Non-Violent’ movement was completely, totally and fully from the Bible, the Holy Book to which you attribute the ‘violence’ of lynching and they were words of Jesus, from His Sermon on the Mount!

Sir, need I say more?

May God be with you..! 

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