Remembering Rajbala Devi, woken from sleep and killed under UPA

She had been fasting for days. She was a 52 year old woman. It was midnight. She was asleep, stretched out on the ground.

The Delhi police arrived at the Ramlila Maidan where Baba Ramdev and his followers were holding a protest. The same Delhi police that answers to the Ministry of Home Affairs, then under UPA in 2011. And possibly to the extra-constitutional National Advisory Council, headed by Madam Sonia Gandhi.

They rained blows on her. With thick lathis, they hit her again and again, breaking and dislocating her spinal column in multiple places.

She did not die immediately. Instead, she was put on constant ventilator support. She suffered nearly four full months before finally succumbing to her injuries in late September of 2011.

The government’s excuse? The permit was for a Yoga camp, not a Satyagraha. For this, Rajbala Devi paid with her life.

Truth be told, I don’t know much more about Rajbala Devi. The media never cared to tell us anything about her. That night when they came for her, there were actually hundreds of television crews watching. But nobody was interested in telling us her story. Who was she? What were her hopes and dreams in life that were squelched that night under the jackboots of the UPA government as she was beaten to pulp?

Nobody knows. The prima facie evidence suggests that she was not a leftist and so it hardly matters what happened to her.

These days, we hear a lot about “dissent” and the price that leftists are allegedly paying for it. Some have had to spend a few hours in police custody. Some are facing “arrest” within the confines and comforts of their lavish properties in Delhi and Mumbai.

Everything they do qualifies as “dissent”. And it is not just ordinary dissent, it is all brave and heroic; paeans are sung to their greatness and nobility. Apparently, one of them was born in America but decided to move to India. How dare we arrest her?

Convicted terrorist who has served time in jail after getting arrested in connection to recovery of nine detonators and twenty gelatin sticks? Legitimate dissenter.

Raising provocative slogans in an airplane, the obvious equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater? Legitimate dissent as well.

Meanwhile the left liberal elite laughs off the death of Rajbala Devi. They say we shouldn’t do “whataboutism.” They say we should focus instead on the left-liberal “dissenter” who wakes up in the morning to find her timeline crowded with angry tweets.

Rajbala Devi woke up to find lathis raining down on her spine. And then she never woke up again. But so what? Who cares?

There are so many like her that I could tell you about. Their bodies are strewn all across time. There is Trilochan Mahato, the BJP worker who was found hanging from a tree in West Bengal. He was just a boy. They even wrote on his shirt: “Killed for doing BJP politics.”

Who cares? Trilochan was just a BJP worker, that too a tribal. His death is not as big news as the arrest of some “tribal rights activist” who may have come from the big city, maybe even from America. Trilochan was from a modest family in a tribal district. That too he was doing the politics of BJP, probably not realizing how thankful tribal people should be to have “tribal rights activists” visiting them. Let him die. It’s his fate, right?

Some bodies of BJP workers are found hanging from electric poles. Some bodies of BJP workers with their hands tied together are fished out of ponds. These people don’t matter one bit.

I remember a case from Tripura where a woman who dared to quit the CPI(M) was tortured, gangraped and blinded in one eye. The incident is fresh in my memory because it was reported in a major newspaper only recently, almost two years after it happened. Because her dissent was not cool and hip of the Press Club of India variety and so it took two years before it was reported. Her dissent did not trend on Twitter. They say that talking about her might invite the sin of “whataboutism.”

Do you know the name of a single person who perished in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra junction on Feb 27, 2002?

Don’t answer that.

Last night, I happened to catch snippets of the primetime show of a celebrity journalist. He seemed quite incensed about the “fascism” of people getting arrested for raising slogans in planes. Because airport security and DGCA rules don’t matter any more in a post 9/11 world. Only “dissent” does.

It reminded me of an earlier time when the same journalist lunged at somebody on the open street because they were heckling him. It reminded me of a few months ago when people were reportedly interrogated by police for screaming at him while he was in a restaurant. It was reported that the accused in question were let off with a warning. I wonder what was in that police warning. Do not exercise your free speech rights within 20 feet radius of a celebrity journalist, which increases to 50 feet if the journalist in question is also a Goud Saraswat Brahmin?

I watched bits of his primetime show. I felt his views on dissent have evolved between then and now.

Call me crazy, but it appears to me that we have two classes of people in this country now. The slightest inconvenience to people of one ideological bent is considered a national tragedy. As for people of the other ideology, they can be deprived of life and liberty at will. An apartheid like mentality has taken hold in our national discourse. And a civil rights like movement is needed for the emancipation of the underclass.

Not asking for very much here, merely the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If that is “whataboutism”, so be it.



15 thoughts on “Remembering Rajbala Devi, woken from sleep and killed under UPA

  1. Dear Sujoy,

    Thank you for reminding me of the name of the unfortunate lady who was killed by the UPA-II dispensation, something that the sold-out MSM never did.

    Fortunately, as your column yesterday stated, the damage potential of the leftists, the media, and the Congress Party is now severely limited. So now, predictably, the arena of action has now become the Sharia Court. Please see the news item at the end.

    If indeed the Sharia Court entertains a PIL on the Rafale deal and asks the GoI to respond, the correct response would be “None of your effing business!”

    Remember Napoleon’s response when asked about the Pope: “How many divisions does he have?” The Sharia Courtiers are bullies but without any actual power on the ground. They cannot write a single cheque for a single Rupee. They can “order” this, that or the other thing, but they depend on the executive to implement the orders. So of the GoI declines to implement their orders, there isn’t one thing that the Sharia Court can do.

    In order to go that route, NaMo has to make up his mind that a confrontation with the Sharia Court is unavoidable. He might have wanted to wait until after the elections. But his hand might forced. And remember that the ever-faithful (to the Congress Party) Ranjan Gogoi will become CJI on October 3rd.

    On the other hand, a confrontation with the Sharia Court just might tilt the fence-sitters towards the BJP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The easiest way for NAMO at this stage is to supersede the 3 seniors who had called a press conference, and make the No 4 as the head by giving exactly the same reason of publicly opposing their senior. If Namo does not do this (which in my opinion is very easy), then let us forget about any other confrontation he would take against them either before elections or after.


      1. Dear Mohan,

        The news item I cited is evidence that the anti-nationals are marshalling their forces and concentrating on the Sharia Court. So I see it as a make-or-break fight for NaMo. I agree with you that if he rolls over and makes Gogoi the next CJI then he might as well forget about any governance even if he is re-elected, because the Sharia Court will run the country.

        BTW I believe that two of those four judges (Chalameswar and Kurien) have retired.


  2. Dear Chaiwala

    I am a regular reader of your blogs…both here as well as on opindia. I am from kochi, kerala and i happen to be a Goud Saraswath Brahmin. We happen to be the staunchest supporters of the BJP in Kerala (and You know what odds we are up against). So, for one black sheep please dont tar the whole community


    1. Rajdeep night be a born GSBrahmin, but he has long back converted to Christian. Only when it suits him, he recalls being a GSB, like comparing him to Parikkar, Suresh Prabhu etc, or for getting a medical seat for his son in KMC, Manipal under GSB quota.


  3. I can’t believe I deeply respected two media organizations – The Economist and The New York Times – at one time. Those days are now long past. They are, today, as partisan as our very own desi English media who, as it turns out, are the lap dogs of these famous cousins.

    So here I was at the library yesterday and happened to read a print copy of the Economist. The links are given below. The first article “Comparing India’s two nationalist prime ministers” has this one line in the first paragraph in reference to the RSS: “a Hindu “volunteer” network”. You might ask, why the word volunteer in double quotes? And you would be right; why indeed. Why not the Taliban or the LeT as “volunteer” networks – well, we might even see this description one day. The second article wears the magazine’s partisanship on its sleeves: “India’s government turns down disaster relief”.

    That begs the question – are the pink sheets of yesteryears being slowly taken over by the left as well? You would think the particular stripe of a political ideology describes their economic philosophy and that of the UPA was abundantly one of appeasement, tokenism and elitism wrapped up as some kind of reforms. Both Live Mint and BS in India often reveal similar strains, unembarrassed by the irony of a Socialist State that is farthest from freedoms, both individual and economic. And they ostensibly cater to the business class.


    1. Dear “Kaushik”,

      The Economist is one of the last bastions of Anglo-Saxon superciliousness. They would sneer down their noses at ANYTHING that India tries to do. In their political views they support the UK Tory party. The NYT is more the classical “liberal” paper but its India desk has been outsourced to various India-haters. This more or less coincides with the US “liberals” making common cause with Islamists. So to summarise, both hate India but for different reasons.

      Within India, the BS generally lives up to its initials. Only Livemint occasionally has a sensible article. For whatever they are worth, those are my observations.


  4. I dont watch news otherwise but tune in whenever the word “Fascism” starts trending. It means the government is doing something right. Hugely right. Like punishing criminals and enforcing the rule of the law. And these days, every time the word trends, I add +1 to the Modi governance score.

    Yogi was termed “Fascist” when he went after the mobsters who were running amok in UP. The result – Samsung built its biggest factory in Noida. If a little “Fascism” can bring in a world class company and many jobs, imagine what a lot of “Fascism” can do.

    Last night, I also saw the secular newscaster on NDTV frothing with anger at the “Fascism”. The same newscasters slept when Rajbala was getting her bones broken. The Modi government is finally using the power and authority granted to it by the people of India. And that can only mean more “Fascism” hashtags. And more jobs.


  5. People on this forum should follow this story:

    Apparently some body called the NBSA told Republic to apologise for having broadcast that one of their reporters called Shivani was molested by Jignesh Mewani’s goons. Republic was ordered to run an apology on its screens on Friday. I wonder what will happen if Arnab simply refuses! After all, his broadcast licence comes from GoI, not some self-appointed busybodies like NBSA.

    Fun times ahead. BUT that should not detract from the story I originally highlighted, namely that the Congress is approaching the Sharia Court to elicit the details of the Rafale deal or to put it on hold. What would happen if the Sharia Court stays the deal and the GoI says “Eff off!”. It would be interesting to watch.


    1. I think this is one of the rare “Heads I win, Tails you loose” situation for the Republic TV.

      If Republic TV does not comply, then the NBSA looses face and it will be a victory for Republic TV.

      If Republic TV complies, it will cure Republic TV newscasters of the secular bug that bites them from time to time. Arnab will understand that just because he plays nice with the Left does not mean the Left will play nice to him. The Republic TV will become a true right wing channel and that will be good for both the channel as well as those who watch the channel.


    2. But what do we expect from such lumpen elements – for that is exactly what the Left comprises of. Ill-educated, with no good work skills, a persistent vision of pulling down social order and peace, and bring in a “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

      We have seen enough evidence of this in the Soviet Union, China during the Cultural Revolution, Cambodia under Pol Pot, North Korea, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. Need any more evidence?


      1. I saw this on Sujoy’s twitter line. It explains why the “right wing” can NEVER be like the loony lefties.

        Regarding Arnab being in a win-win situation, Pagalika has posted a tweet in which she refers to him as Grosswamy. I won’t say she is losing her marbles, because she never had any in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

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