Friday, January 24, 2020

The Discrimination of Barbed Wires

The entire city is wrapped up with the sights of barbed wires, burnt roads and armed men. The empty streets and homes filled with people glued to their TV screen, reminds some of the year 2008, but to the others still sitting in gardens and walking on the sidelines, it is no different than what they face every day back home.

Police, Army, Special Forces, Administration, Judiciary – they are told never to discriminate as everyone is equal before the eyes of the law. A barbed wire would stop a rich and poor alike. A bullet does not stop in the face of a Hindu or a Muslim. It doesn’t ask someone their age, gender, religion or ideology. A tear-gas would choke up the throat of a child and an old man to equal or worse extent. But no man can breathe through it and call it unfair.

But there are always loopholes in what is told and what is practiced. A barbed wire can be removed for the powerful or stretched further for the weak. It is not the wire that discriminates but the hands that put it in place. It is not a bullet which kills but the hand on the trigger which decides whose life is worthy more than the other. It is never the fault of tear-gas but of the ways of the winds and of the hand that choses the side where the shell is thrown.

A common man walking on the road in curfew might get beaten with a lathi and accept it to be his fault. An ex-MLA might try to ram his car past the barbed wire and call it his right. A funeral procession may pass through the mobs while Hindu and Muslims both join hands to pay respect to the dead, but that respect doesn’t extend to the ones that are alive once the funeral is over.

I have seen it both ways as someone makes a few phone calls to get in and out of any sealed-off place and others who must show their ID card to even step outside the street. I have seen officers who refuse to violate their orders and ones who are all too willing to bend rules for the relevant people. I have heard one-sided stories told with perfect narration to tug on one’s heartstrings and truth being spoken so aggressively that no one choses to believe it.

Why must one stone cause inconvenience to the entire city? Why must you burn up the hard work of seomone’s years in minutes? Why must the broken windows be a reminiscence of all that wasn’t so before and might never be so again? Why must the marked walls be witness to a frenzy no one can explain logically?

There is this ghettoization now and fear in people’s hearts. There is anger mixed with absurdity and alienation no one talks about out loud. But more than that, there is a memory that will be imprinted on the minds of all those who saw the discrimination of the barbed wires, pellets and shells.

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