Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Tejpal Should Not Be Lynched by the Mob

We think it’s unfair. This mob-lynching should stop. (Disclosure: We don’t know Tejpal, never ever met him, and are no apologists for his crime.) Some of Tejpal’s good friends have turned lynchers. Yet, nobody is saying a reasonable word about him. True a man in his fifties can make an error of judgment, and get carried away. Heard of crimes of passion?

We live in very deceptive times, especially the generation that flowered in the age of flower-power and “make love not war” age. Then we talked of a just and equitable society where peace was the ultimate aim of mankind. May be, there was a lot of free sex then, and a lot of what is called intellectual fornication. (We never were part of any orgies!) The youngsters of today are very different.  They haven’t been through a war and have been brought up very protectively by their idealistic parents. They belong to an interconnected networked world where results are immediate and punishment for wrongdoing is given instantaneously. They believe that being young they have the power in their hands to change the world, and indeed they do. But do we really need this hastiness? There is a danger here of forming “lynch mobs” which is contrary to what a democratic environment entails. Are we proceeding towards a system of instantaneous punishment or are we keen on reinforcing our legislative-executive-judicial system?

If a person is suspect it’s the duty of the law machinery to apportion justice and not of a lynch mob. Politicising the matter, we feel, as has happened now, may be counterproductive. Where is the need for politics in a criminal-judicial system? The Nirbhaya case has opened a Pandora’a box of sexual indiscretions in India. We aren’t saying this is bad. It’s good that sexual crimes are being reported and offenders caught. But forming a lynch mob outside the accused’s home reeks to me of a lack of understanding of basic democratic principles.

Abuse of power by a person at the top is a common occurrence. Roosevelt is said to have had many mistresses and one of it was his secretary. If the secretary had gone to the police Roosevelt would have been prosecuted because American justice system is such. In India there are many such affairs happening and we aren’t even aware of them. If found out they are said to be platonic relationships, brother-sister relationships. Indian corporations are full of such stories of abuse of power for sex. However, they do not come out, they are well hidden, only known to a few.  Tejpal’s must have been one such. So let the law take its course now that it has been revealed.

As we said we aren’t votaries of the kind of work Tejpal did nor of the way he behaved. But now that it is in the realm of law why did a certain political party demonstrate outside an accused’s bungalow? Why is a chief minister giving undue attention to the case? This only reinforces our theory of the lynch mob. When a country is taken over by a mob then chaos prevails, law and order fails, and there’s absolute anarchy. That’s the time when a dictator finds it easy to take over.

We said it first. Watch our words, and this space.

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