The Lion in Winter.... Husainsaab was one of the most inspiring figures in my life. I was so lucky to know him, spend time with him, watch him paint.... just hang with him .... run into him in different cities of the world, enjoy chai at home, tuck into his matchless kheema with fresh green garlic shoots finely chopped, or the biryani at his home, and the sheer korma during Eid. I miss him.
This appeared in Asian Age....
Sexy,Sexy,Sexy Mujhe Log Boley….
Raghavji aandar chala gaya. Jai ho! But just one sexual fiend paying for what he did to a man servant over years , is not going to change a thing. Sexual exploitation in some form of the other has been an inextricable part of the political duniya for the longest time. It’s just another component of the power games netas play – no shame, zero apologies.Nobody talks about it openly. Nobody wants to. It’s a given. Netas have their perks.And those perks include sexual slaves. Period. Earlier, rascals like Raghavji used to get away with the crime.Today, they have to be wary of whistle blowers who rush to the media with incriminating evidence. Gone are those distant days when our netas routinely abused their positions… and the helplessness of victims… without anybody daring to speak out against them. But Raghavji, unfortunately for him, got caught with his dhoti down. And now faces a 7 year jail term. Yes, his red faced BJP bosses have been compelled to expel the man who has been the finance minister in Madhya Pradesh twice over after the sordid saga went public. But somehow, Shivshanker Pateria,the man who exposed Raghavji, and who piously calls himself a ‘crusader against sexual slavery’, sounds like just another publicity seeker. He claims he outed Raghavji in order to cleanse the party of ‘dirty elements’. If anything, the script of this particular sex scandal is far worse than the scripts of C-grade porno films churned out by the film industry . Pateria, mainly known as a stooge of Uma Bharti, is a small time political worker, hoping to hit big time by sucking up to a succession of local leaders.Thwarted in his political ambitions and frustrated at the lack of ‘respect’, perhaps this was Shivshanker’s last ditch attempt to attract the attention of his political mentors. An attempt that may have backfired now that he has been suspended from the party by the State BJP chief, Narendra Singh Tomar. It’s almost comical to read Tomar’s statement urging party workers to ‘serve humanity’. Pateria’s response to that piece of advice is funnier still. He said he was indeed serving humanity when he made the incriminating sex CD that finally nailed Raghavji. It features the victim, Rajkumar Dangi,Raghavji’s domestic help. Forget Pateria’s nobility for the moment.Here’s a case that deserves deeper scrutiny. Sexually exploiting domestic help ( male or female) is a common enough occurrence across India. It involves various elements – caste being the main one. Exploitation of lower caste individuals takes several nasty forms - rape is just one of them. While details about this particular case are still coming in, what it sounds like is just another manifestation of how easily caste and class can be used to destroy weaker individuals - in this case, Rajkumar Dangi.
As of now, this case interests the media. A month down the line, nobody will remember or care . Raghavji’s political career is effectively over. But hey…. he is 79-years-old and has served two terms as Finance Minister of his State. It is Dangi, the young accuser/ victim whose life stretches ahead of him. Right now, he is being looked at with a mixture of disgust and sympathy. His ‘usefulness’ will soon be exhausted, once the public’s curiosity fades. What then? Will Dangi seek employment as a domestic help in some other politico’s home? Will a political party pick him up and promise to make him an overnight neta in his own right? Will he be stupid enough to fall for the bait? Contest elections? Participate in a reality show? Anything is possible – kidnapping, assault even murder. Poor Dangi is a nobody. He is entirely dispensable. He has served a certain purpose and can be eliminated – no questions asked. Look at the notorious Noida serial murder case in Delhi. 17 innocent victims were lured into businessman Moninder Singh Pandheri’s den and subsequently butchered, allegedly by Surendra Koli, his servant. Where is that bizarre case going? Who is tracking it? In India, we have become a bit too cynical to bother about the kinky,disgusting sex lives of perverted buddhas like Raghavji or Pandheri. And we are too lazy to see the bigger picture or observe a sinister pattern . How can we forget the nasty whispers one used to hear in the old days about another piece of work called Sitaram Kesri?
We accept sexual exploitation as a part and parcel of our complex and convoluted feudal social system. Sodomising a servant is merely an extension of the master’s absolute right over the domestic help’s life….his/her body, mind and soul. It is considered pretty ‘normal’. Which is why the current outrage won’t last beyond this weekend. Which is also why the political class can afford to be this complacent. Worse stories have appeared and disappeared . The horrific Nirbhaya rape case is all but buried. Give it a few more months and it will be totally forgotten. For all our moral huffing and puffing, for all our public posturing and big talk about being a peace loving people, the ghastly truth is that we are nauseatingly , gut churningly violent as a nation. We care nothing for our women and children. We look down on those born into lower castes. We have no real fellow feelings for those under privileged citizens surviving on less than 20 rupees a day. And deep down we really don’t believe there is anything all that terrible about a randy old minister buggering his man servant. Which is why, Dangli should give up any dream he may be nurturing about a better life in future… a life of dignity. He is doomed to remain the ‘Launda-who-squealed’ on his master. Tragic… but true.