He sure had a tough Thursday, our man Kanhaiya. But then, when you reach for the stars and begin to pass cavalier judgement on people and institutions, take on masters of the game and fling stones, you have to be sure you don’t have glass windows, never mind the glass house. And you don’t take a leak against it.
Kanhaiya was 27 when last year in June he conducted himself, reportedly, with ill grace and crassly in front of a girl student who was asking him not to urinate in public. So goes the report. And he was fined Rs 3000 and issued due warning. Whether he back answered her or was rude and crass is not the only point.
What is worrying is that the current flavour of the week as India's savior was not embarrassed at being caught with his pants down. Any decent young man caught in such an act would have been shamefaced and apologetic and skulked away into the shadows. If indeed he did behave aggressively and indecently that shows a specific set of values. It is a subtle but tangible difference in the response.
To be fair, I do not imagine the girl in question is lying. The lack of shame in what has transpired sits uncomfortably. Messiahs don’t do this. You can scarcely look upon him now without imagining the incident in your mind’s eye. The crack has formed.
Reading about this indiscretion, I was thinking how on the annual hostel night in college in Chennai we would go on the town and ‘piddling’ on a rich man’s wall was a childish but exciting challenge. We were 17 and silly. One such night, three of the guys were caught by the guards outside a judge’s home. Two ran away and one was held. If memory of that night serves me correctly about 20 of us, most sheep-faced and humbled went to the judge to seek his forgiveness. We were mortified and if we had been seen by any girl we would have shot ourselves.
To a great extent Kanhaiya is a victim of those who blindly supported him and those who blindly attacked him. They whitewashed him and shoved and pushed him on to a pedestal.
The supporters who harnessed him to their personal agendas (yoke?)and thought nothing of rocketing him up the ladder to the stars were so busy peddling their own hostility they never thought for a moment that normal flaws in this manufactured perfection would emerge. He became a symbol for this lot and the adulation has drenched him.
Those of us who advised caution and restraint were labelled and vilified as cowards and it is a safe bet that our responses were more in the nature of being against the utterances and not the individual. Yes, we did find the anointing of this boy man a travesty and in the realm of the absurd.
That difference between the two interpretations never was given a showing and the rage and venom by the cabal is what is ultimately going to slam him down to earth.
At the risk of being called presumptuous I truly hope he survives the fall…because it is a long drop and it has only just started.
Perhaps it is time to draw a curtain on this act, to bury the sword and let the young man go back to getting his PhD or whatever he wishes. Let him off the hook people before it tears him apart.
By which token the person who slapped him outside JNU deserves no sympathy. That is gross.