The wrestlers ‘story’ is an Eklavya-Dronacharya ‘conflict’!
By Haider Abbas
The country has never been subjected to so much shame, as never before in history, Olympic medalists, medalists at World Championships, had been forced to protest over their ordeal of sexual abuse! The likes of wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sangeeta Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik etc., had been protesting against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the sitting BJP MP from Kaiserganj, UP, accusing him of sexual abuse, molestation and child abuse. BBS has did not resign from his MP seat, nor did he step down even from the rank of President of Wrestling Federation of India, until his 12 years office term ended.
Consider the achievements first; Tokyo Olympics Bronze medalist Bajrang Punia, two-times world championships gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik. Such figures are page-3 celebrities, but had to sit, at Jantar Manta, New Delhi, since January 18, under cold, heat and rain since January 18, and could get FIR lodged only on April 28! That too only after Supreme Court intervention! Why? The answer lies in the centuries of biasness which makes the Indian society under Brahminical Social Order, where the Upper caste Hindus like Brahmins, Kshatriya and Vaish hold the crest while the rest 80% make the untouchables i.e. Shudras or Dalits, SC or STs. The sportspersons, despite holding aloft the Indian tricolor, obviously could not qualify for such luxury as they are Shudras. Muslims, of course, since 1947, are the new Shudras.
The wrestlers have now been uprooted from their protest site after they had tried to march to the inauguration of the New Parliament on May 28, and later had to threaten to drown their medals in the Ganga river at Haridwar, which made the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on June 5, to grant them an audience. The nation’s best athletes had to reiterate their woes, when ‘it’ was all well known to the PM Narendra Modi himself, who was related to ‘every trauma’ much before the sit-in dharna was started, according to the FIR. One of these seven female wrestlers had even contemplated suicide. BBS Singh is accused under POCSO too, which warrants an immediate arrest but that is not to be. Now the poor juvenile girl is reported to have retracted her statement. The news is false, but delay in the arrest is the sheer cost the victim are paying.
What matters here the most is to contextualize the Brahmin centric party BJP vis-à-vis its specific slogan, absolutely betrayed now, of Beti Padhao Beti Bachao ( educate daughter/save daughter) while the trauma of female wrestlers increases every day. The skeptics however argue that there is no surprise as BJP has already accorded the Brahmin rapists of Bilqis Bano, during the Gujarat riots of 2002, under the then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi, as sanskaris ( cultured). The ruling party, in Gujarat since more than two-decades , and at the Center, since 2014, find rapists as cultured! Imagine if these wrestlers were to be Shabana Phogat or Rubina Malik? There was not to have been any helping hand for them.
This is not the occasion to make the wrestlers remember they did not support Muslim women during the anti-CAA stir (2020), as the issue here is to safeguard the honour of every women in the country. It takes a lifetime courage for any victim girl to come on to the stage to speak about her sexual abuse, and these girls have done it, against the patriarchal and misogynist male centric system. But, there is also a need for a parallel. Remember the hapless eight year old Asifa Bibi in Jammu, who was repeatedly gang- raped in a Hindu temple and later killed in 2018. The incident was barbaric but what came out as more than barbaric, is that fact that, Deepika Thusu, the lawyer of Asifa was threatened to not to provide even legal aid to Asifa’s family by the Jammu Bar Association! This is where the real and ultimate fascism lies!
This had come, particularly, after the so-called Criminal Amendment (2013) Act of the Parliament, necessitated after the New Delhi Nirbhaya gang rape (December 2012) case. Who does not remember, the public memory isn’t that short too, when the entire Delhi was on the streets, after Nirbhaya episode, which swept-away the Sheila Dixit Congress government from Delhi and later led to the advent of BJP in 2014. Where are those who had then thronged the streets? Not even one-percent of them for the wresters today? They all sit in the comfortable environs, as the accused hails from BJP. Where is the Pied Piper Anna Hazare? Will he wake up from his hibernation since 2014.
The Hindu society based on its hierarchy is astute. If the accused are BJP affiliates, there is never to be any popular protest, the latest as well as Asifa Bibi episodes are a living example. The Hindu saints of Ayodhya, known for Lord Rama, were to organize a rally in support of BBS, which has been denied the permission, the same way BJP ministers had a joined a rally for rapists of Asifa Bibi in Jammu! Now the wrestlers, have joined their offices, but without deserting their protest, and are supposedly to enter ‘into-talks’ with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. Talks for what? When there hasn’t been BBS arrest? Ironically, he is the same minister who had made extreme communal statements which led to the Delhi riots of 2020 against Muslims. No FIR against him has as yet got lodged. SC has sent notice to Delhi police over it.
There is no denying the cardinal fact that the ultimate wrong for the wrestlers in question, is their birth in the wrong Shudra strata, hence, the compulsory civilizational bigotry had to come to the fore. They may know, that despite the Constitution, the law and judiciary/democracy etc. the Mahabharata legend Karna who belonged to the Lower Caste, has to be revisited. He was a master archer but was denied a place as equal to Arjuna-the Upper Caste and Eklavya from the low category had to do away with his thumb to carve for the supremacy for Arjuna-by the Upper Caste coach Dronacharya!
No one can undo the way the civilizational anti-human caste system has stigmatized humans. Down the centuries. Despite the calls for social justice in the so-called age of modernism. Will the dawn ever occur? Perhaps never?
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner, a lawyer and writes on politics.