Friday, February 15, 2013

Letter from the gallows....

That's Arundhati, shot by me as we sailed into the historic port of Dubrovnik, Croatia..

***************
This appeared in The Week....

                       Letter from the gallows….
Since I am not Omar Abdullah, I don’t have to be politically correct, incorrect, or even political. The case of Afzal Guru’s hanging is far too complex for any and everybody to jump in with an opinion. But, as a woman, wife and mother , I was deeply concerned about  Tabassum ( Afzal’s wife ) who received what would be the last communication ( the rejection of his mercy petition)  about her husband at 10. 20 am , hours after her husband was hanged. The letter was delivered to her home in Sopara by John Samuel, the Post Master General of Jammu & Kashmir Circle. Afzal’s hanging (code named Operation 3 Star ), was conducted on a Saturday. Afzal, the condemned- to- die prisoner, wrote a farewell letter to his wife and son (Ghalib) on Friday night, after he was told he would be hanged the next morning. The letter ( written in Urdu) was posted to the woman who went from being a wife to widow without even knowing when or how or why it happened. This action by the  authorites has been described as ‘inhuman’, with arguments that say Afzal’s family members should have been allowed  a final meeting. The State insists all procedures were adhered to as per the rule book (“ Secrecy necessary or the State cannot execute”). So be it. It’s a done deal now. What’s the point of quoting from rule books and jail manuals. The man has been hanged. Afzal Guru is dead.
 But Tabassum is alive.Unauthorised and unauthenticated leaks about the contents of this important letter  suggest Afzal wrote his aakhri khat  most thoughtfully. Apparently, he advised his wife to remain calm and dignified, to hold her head high and raise their son with the special responsibility her position demands. There is a great deal of poignancy in those words. Afzal must surely have known the historic value of that final letter. And I ask myself, how does anybody frame such a letter knowing it will inevitably be in the public domain now and forever? What about the emotions of the writer who is composing the text, not just for a beloved to whom he is bidding goodbye….but for the prying eyes of the world? For posterity? Imagine the inconceivable tragedy of that moment : A man knows the gallows await him at dawn. He has but a few short hours left in this world. He is asked if he has any final wishes – something he’d like to eat, maybe? A favourite dish ( I find this the most absurd of all the procedures listed in jail manuals). Which human being can think of food at such a time? Not even a glutton. Well, the ironies continue to pile up… the condemned man is offered treats as he prepares to die. Afzal asks for a paper and pen, instead. The world shall never ever know what went through his mind as the countdown began. Most prisoners turn to prayer.  Afzal also turned to his wife…
And what of her emotional state when she received a letter from beyond the grave? Did she tear it open? Push it away? Did her tears prevent her from reading it? Perhaps, she felt cheated and angry ?Maybe her rage at what had happened superseded every other feeling? Did she collapse? Faint? Stop eating? Weep uncontrollably? Hug her loved ones? Lock herself into a room ? Block out the pain somehow? Go into denial? Spent  quiet time with her son? Mourn in the privacy that only the dark offers? Seek solace in the scriptures? Contemplate her bleak future? Remind herself that the inquisitive eyes of the watching world would be boring holes into her during her hour of grief? And  that she was duty bound to honour the memory of her dead husband by not breaking down in public? I have tried to put myself in Tabassum’s place and ask what I would have done. It is a useless, meaningless, exercise. There are no answers. No rules. No manuals. In any case,how many women in the world have been  in Tabassum’s extraordinary position and been informed about their husband’s hanging… that too, 50 hours after it has taken place? Was Tabassum mentally prepared for such an eventuality? Can any wife be ‘prepared’ for her husband’s death?
What happens to Tabassum and Ghalib now that Afzal Guru is dead? Philosophers will say they will eventually move on… life will go on… as it must. Tabassum and Ghalib will become footnotes in history, regardless of any fresh development in their lives. Soon , the world will forget. And the name of Afzal Guru may cease to interest even those who are trying hard to keep it alive right now. By this time next year, most people will ask, “ Tabassum? Who’s she?”
Life is indeed fragile, uncertain and precious. Cruel, too.

32 comments:

Pooja Rathore said...

sensitive and touching post!

aditi bhide said...

Thats a very good post. Words transformed into images.
emotional and touching.

aditi bhide said...

Thats a very good post. Words transformed into images.
emotional and touching.

Rahul said...

KAPUTT

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

When I read that the wife was informed after his death, I felt sorry too. For the woman. Well. Again, this lady will be forgotten, as you said. Her pain will die with her. A very very sensitive post.

Unknown said...

But the wife knows that he will be hanged any time especially after Kasab's execution, the whispers were floating around.
Even after Supreme Court death sentence, he was kept alive for more than 10 years.
Though looks cleche, why no emotional tears are said for thousands killed both hindus and muslims by terrorists in the name of freedom?

Vinay Bhushan Bhagwaty said...

The attack on Parliament in 2001 resulted in death of five policemen, a security guard and a gardener. their families had no notice of their death. those people are totally for gotten now. no one mourns them. your sympathies are misplaced, De.

Ajay Roy said...

Time has arrived when you can share your love even with your elderly dear ones too with eggless cakes. Cakes baked especially without eggs can be delivered easily through www.expresscakesindia.com/eggless_cake.asp with these special cakes. ExpressCakesIndia.com is getting popular with sites like ExpressCakesIndia.com that is concerned about customers’ requirements.

Crystal David John said...

I read this article "Shed a tear for Tabassum' in The Week
A lovely - piece -- I feel like you for her . And sure enough she and her sons names will become 'footnotes in history' and footnotes very few people actually read :(

Dr Dang's corner said...

Author has tried very hard to make this post touching...all I found it to be is a touch boring....

obssesor said...

That's a nice picture.

Jogeshwar said...

I feel very sad that we have such an insensitive system. It is my observation that such a system serves the insensitive persons the most, they take advantages of the many loopholes existing in the system.
About Reginald Massey comment, my view is that I thought the intellectuals were averse to stereotyping.

Madhu said...

Me De for once I don't agree with your sentiments. I mean, I am sorry for the wife who has to learn that her husband was hanged and all...but, isn't it the exactly the case with death. I mean, be it an accident or a jail hanging, usually family comes to know about it only after death occurs. Parliament attack isn't a joke. It's an insult to the government and honestly (as angry as I am with politicians), they are the symbol of the democracy, just like every citizen is. So, I guess this hanging shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone, specially the wife.

Will I be saying this if it were my husband? Who knows, there is no manual which says I will or I will not.

Les said...

Same must've been the condition of several families whose husbands, then part of security forces at the parliament, were executed fighting against the troop led by Guru. Were their wives, children, family prepared? So many families have been torn apart because of one man's irrational madness!

saurav saxena said...

hi, Mem!. day after his hanging i had seen his interview in a news channel, i don't know why , but there was something unheard from his side. what u narrated in your post is the most human side of a matter which is rare in public, political discourse!!

it is quite fortunate for me not to wait sunday times for your article....now i have a useful link---your blog....

thanx!!!

Iqbalsingh Garcha said...

sar i am iqbal singh sar your grate work tis is my site http://www.internetentertainment.org/

Rehan Ahmed said...

Most Expensive Cars in the World, Top Concept Cars, Top Strange Vehicles in the World and Car latest hot top Wallpapers
worldlatestvehicles.blogspot.com

Rajesh Doraiswamy said...

This is ofcourse touching and sensitive..... I too have nothing to do with Politics....But i am sure the Govt of India had no other option but to act the way it did...because there are too many Shobhaa De's roaming in India to only criticize without logic.

Raj said...

The letter was deliberately sent late for obvious reasons; all hell would break loose in Kashmir otherwise costing many more lives.

You ask a rhetoric question; What will happen to Tabassum and her son Ghalib? Exactly that which happened to the seven policeman's families who were also not informed in advance that their innocent husbands would be shot down in the Parliament attack.

Have you run out of all freeloading options that you write such inane s*** these days?

Shainex TM said...

Thats very good post  Packers and Movers . We really like it and enjoyed to read. Very useful information.
Shainex, is in the row of top Packers and Movers in Delhi. We are a certified packers and movers company.
Packers and Movers in Gurgaon

Priyanka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priyanka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priyanka said...

yes ,you are absolutely right if we as an individually put ourselves into his wife's shoes for all the emo's articulated above , she is well aware why he is been punished and kept in jail, but there were so many women's who weren't prepared for their husband's /brother's death who were completely innocent and went unnoticed . do you have anything to justify about this?
every body suffers in their own ways. one's pain is neither more or less than one another's

No Offense
Thank you

Manu C S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manu C S said...

Really, Ms.De?
Senility catching up with your sentiments? For this is not the first instance I've read of your misplaced sympathies (ref: 'Spare a thought for Sridevi'. But let's not go there now.)

Ms.Tabassum knew her husband was in jail, awaiting a death sentence. The only thing she didn't know for certain was the date he would be executed. She, at least, has a farewell letter from him to cherish and pass on to her child.

How many women do you think went from being wives to widows 'without even knowing when or how or why it happened', due to the misguided acts of Afzal and his kind? They didn't have the luxury of a final meeting with their loved ones either, and worse, no last letter to treasure.

Did you miss seeing the 'inconceivable tragedy' of that? Did you pen a post about your concern for them as well? I seem to have missed it, if you did.

Not to say that I think not informing Tabassum was correct. But karma is a strange bitch, you know? Life has a way of coming full circle.

Shainex TM said...

I like it.
Packers and movers is the top packers and movers company in India, best movers and packers company in India, good international packers and movers company in India. We provides best class services to their clients.

arcmovers said...

Though ARC Packers and Movers vapi you can save time and improve care of your good’s or material, there has been resistance to its implementation and use. In January 2009, research done by the ARC Packers and Movers Association, found that only 28% of Indian Customers utilized Packers and Movers s, compared to 89% in the Other Country. Resistance to the implementation and use of Packers and Movers can be attributed to customer not wanting to spend more time on Moving Activity or relocation their office material or household good’s. Some of this resistance may also exist because the process of selecting which Packers and Movers to use can be overwhelming. http://www.arcpackersandmovers.com

Puneflowersdelivery said...

Send flowers to Pune, flowers to Pune delivery,flowers to Pune, Pune flowers delivery, flowers Pune, Online flowers to Pune.

chennaicakesdelivery said...

Send cakes to chennai, cakes to chennai, cakes to chennai delivery, cakes home delivery to chennai, buy, online, same day, cake delivery to chennai

Aditya said...

Touching Post
Get Tech Updates at TechTantrik
Enjoy Funnier Side of Life at TheRoyalPoke

harsha n said...

This Packers and Movers are significant with customer for deliver best packing and moving services at the most inexpensive price, thanks regards packers and movers marathahalli

Siva Cool said...

A truly motivational and life changing book
This book is really a good book which shows us right path. but i read
one more book named "ONE BOOK FOR LIFE SUCCESS" which is truly
motivational and life changing . .The writer has described in PlainEnglish with lot of examples which is easy to understand...For More
Please watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biORjS8ngv0
YouTube video