Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Indian politics-Bandit queen

Mayawati, the undisputed bandit queen of UP, has not uttered a single word in the case of her MLA Shekhar Tiwari, killing an engineer, Manoj Gupta in 2008 and receiving life term in the process.

It is a known fact that Shekhar Tiwari was collecting money from all and sundry for the Bandit Queen’s birthday celebrations. The engineer’s refusal to contribute for such a deserving and noble cause angered Tiwari and he and his stooges killed Manoj. Tiwari’s wife was also involved in the gruesome deed, woman power in Bandit Queen’s Raj.

This incident reminds me of, not so similar yet identical, incidents in Calcutta years back. Though they seem minor now, in those days they were cause of concern. Every street (Para) in Calcutta used to celebrate Durga Puja (even now they celebrate) when I was young. A group of aggressive young lads from that particular Para or locality, used to collect donation (Chanda) from each family in that locality. It was called donation but it was compulsory, particularly for non Bengali affluent residents of that area. If you wanted to live peacefully through the year, you paid what was asked.

Similar is the case with our Bandit Queen’s birthday, only stakes are higher, to put it mildly. Where in Calcutta, it was a question of living in peace, in Mayawati’s case it is a matter of life itself. You pay with your life. If you want to live, you contribute, or else.

But what poor Tiwari got for his enthusiasm was that he was expelled from the party that year itself and was left in lurch to defend for himself. Mayawati had no further role to play and washed her hands off him. In the process Tiwari got a lifer and our queen in her wonderland continues to celebrate her birthdays year after year and people now pay without questioning the authenticity of the process of collection. That is Maya’s Maya.

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Header image credit: adapted from David Niblack

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