5 February 2005
Ghisingh could have sent a two-way club-class ticket to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and flown him into Darjeeling. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with a million-dollar bounty on his head, is responsible for the most number of suicide car-bombings, kidnapping and beheading of foreigners in Iraq. One of his aims was also to derail the elections by force.
The threat of “naked kukhri” over DGAHC election, that is already overdue by nearly a year, comes from the same stable of political reactionaries. They are more easily identified these days as terrorists. Some are driven by blind religious passions, others by blinding levels of power. Both are dangerous, to themselves and the citizens. For them people are just pawns: more Iraqis were killed by al-Zarqawi’s bombs than foreigners. And they also choose unlikely victims, like the mass-slaughter of Nepali labourers.
Yet there are limits to everything, including fear. This was proved by the defiance of the Iraqi citizens. When 60 per cent of the population came out to vote braving bullets and bombs, there must be no debate in our distant safety about Bush’s cowboy policy. The latter becomes a different issue, when you see women and men dance on the streets with joy for having voted. Those images bring home the meaning of the power of democracy, which the founding fathers wedded our country to more than 50 years ago - government of the people, for the people and by the people. There can be no substitute to that mantra, unless we want to regress back to hunter-gatherer days.
The Iraqis were denied voting for nearly 50 years. The common people came out to cast their votes, even as their towns and villages rocked with explosions. It is another matter whether the Iraqi authorities will be able to form a stable government and stop the insurgency. As of now, the ballots have won over bullets. Similarly, closer home, Kashmiris came out to vote in large numbers for the civic elections against which the militants had issued a fatwa. Again, there were triumphant images of people dancing on the streets. There are so many questions here for us all. Do we realise the importance of voting? Will we risk our life and limb and come out of our homes to exercise our right? Will we rise up, or at least speak out, against those who try to infringe upon our sacrosanct right to vote, which our previous generations struggled to secure? Will we too be seen dancing on the streets? Or shall we cower, like we have been doing for the last 20 years, under the fatwas of Ghisingh?
It is amazing that most common people seem unconcerned about the fact that their right to vote is being threatened. Apart from the Opposition, a man on the street seems to be unaware that the election is late by nearly a year! How is this comatose existence possible? If people like us were in Iraq now, forget coming out to vote, I guess we would have been dead by now out of sheer fright.
And yet we are always proud to describe ourselves as brave Gorkhas! There was no erroneous self-identification by a community as this perhaps.
Ghisingh is coming back from Delhi, no matter what he claims, with just more money and nothing else concrete. He might again rant against the elections; and compassionate Buddhadev Bhattacharya might just oblige. And we the people? Ghisingh need not bring al-Zarqawi. Our indifference is enough.