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Paresh Rawal's suggestion that Arundhati Roy be tied to army jeep is example of villainy masquerading as desh-bhakti

Paresh Rawal should have stuck to cinema instead of joining politics. As a toonish villain, he would have had plenty of opportunities to parade his misogyny, contempt for human rights and fascination for violence. For his masculine rage, there would have been a few rape scenes thrown in too.

It is a pity Rawal is a lawmaker whose subconscious desires still reflect the mindset of the characters he played as a Bollywood baddie, before turning into a jester.

Rawal's astonishing suggestion that author Arundhati Roy be tied to an army jeep instead of stone-pelters is an egregious example of villainy masquerading as desh-bhakti; of a mindset that advocates violence, especially against women, to silence dissent, debate and freedom of speech.

His predilection for violation of human rights, public lynching and extra-judicial measures shows Rawal is violating the very principles he is obliged to protect as a member of parliament — the rule of law, principles of democracy and rights of individuals.

File photo of Paresh Rawal. CNN-News18

File photo of Paresh Rawal. CNN-News18

What exactly is the difference between Rawal's mindset and the loonies who killed children and youths at Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester on Monday? The fidayeen who carried out the attack used innocent children and youth as collateral in his fight for whatever he is fighting for. The terrorist used violence against unarmed people in his hatred for the basic tenets of civilisation, the very founding principles of humanity. Rawal is also suggesting that innocent, unarmed dissenters like Roy be used as collateral, their voice be silenced through violence for the cause — essentially that of cheerleading pseudo-nationalists — that he is representing. With a little more courage perhaps Rawal too would have turned a fidayeen for the Caliphate of tyranny and misogyny he believes in.

Rawal's defence of his call to violence against Roy would have been as hilarious as his Babu Bhai act had he not been a parliamentarian advocating lawlessness. “She is an armchair critic. She sits in AC rooms and writes against the army," he told The Indian Express.

“When she is condemning the army, demoralising army and criticising the Kashmir policy, she is humiliating the country. Well, you can criticise the prime minister, the ruling party and the government. But when it is on the army, she should understand that it is not alone. The entire country is behind the army,” he said.

Had Rawal cared to venture out of his own AC room to understand the ground-realities of Kashmir, he would have realised that the Indian Army doesn't need to hide behind human shields to carry out its duties in the Valley. Its brave soldiers stand in the open bazaars and chowks of Kashmir, their eyes reflecting determination, chests thrust out in defiance and courage, to face terrorists and dissenters. Hiding behind human shields, taking hostages is just an exception not a norm for the army in the Valley. So, it is Rawal's call to cowardice that actually humiliates the army.

Also, standing up for human rights, liberal values, criticising faux-nationalism and freedom of choice — the alleged crimes for which Rawal wants Roy lynched — is not essentially a criticism of the army. It is essentially a critique of the failure of the politics that puts the army in a situation where it has to fight its own countrymen, put young men in the line of fire from its own brethren. So, Rawal's rage should have better directed at the politicians who have brought about the current round of hostility in Kashmir.

But, being a keyboard warrior is a cinch compared to understanding the complexities of Kashmir, standard operational protocols of the army and the basic principles of humanity and democracy. In a milieu where being a gau rakshak sounds more respectable than being an author with a Booker, Rawal can't be blamed for taking the lower moral ground for instant applause of jingoists and faux-nationalists.

But, if taalis and seetis of front-benchers is what Rawal still craves for, wouldn't he be better off going back to where he came from — the make-believe world of cinema where he may find suitable roles to channel his rage, misogyny and lust for violence?


Published Date: May 23, 2017 16:05 PM | Updated Date: May 23, 2017 16:05 PM

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