Once there was an Azad whose stories we are taught. He was declared by the government of the day to be a wanted terrorist, but was considered a freedom fighter by the people. He was ultimately hunted down with the help of treacherous informers (so we are told by books sponsored by today’s government). He was killed in an encounter with the security forces in a park. That was a real encounter in a real park, even if some details might be contested.
Then there was another Azad who was also declared by the government of the day to be a wanted terrorist. A lot of people of the country considered him to be fighting for them. He too was killed in an encounter by the security forces, except that the encounter this time was a fake encounter, something which we Indians have come to take pride in, so much so that we have films made in honour of (Fake) Encounter Specialists, sometimes by directors belonging to the minority community whose members are much more likely to be the targets of such encounter deaths.
We are, after all, a secular democracy where the Rule of Law is respected.
Another thing common to both the Azads was that they were revolutionary socialists (krantikaris: क्रांतिकारी).
And another difference was that whereas the first Azad was hunted down as part of the declared policy of the government, the second Azad was one of the revolutionaries with whom the government claimed to be planning to conduct a dialog. He was shot to death from point-blank range in cold blood (in the honorable national tradition of fake encounters), apparently after picking him up from a place where he was traveling in connection with the preliminaries of dialogs which were supposed to be held. In other words, unlike with the foreign colonial government, with our own democratic government he was most probably enticed for a dialog and then got murdered in cold blood. The purpose, it seems, was just to show what we can do to people who dare to oppose us. And no one can touch us. So don’t mess with us. Such a thing is also known by another name: assassination.
The stories carried in the colonial media were biased to the extent that they called the first Azad a terrorist, while the stories in the vibrant free media of the our great democracy were almost total fabrications fed by the security forces.
Security? Really? For whom? From whom?
Along with him, another person was killed. He, a freelance journalist, was summarily and secretly executed for being sympathetic to the Maoists, or perhaps just for being found with the second Azad.
Is any strategist talking about the blowback?
What about the things going on in the region that is (as we were taught) India’s crown? Or should we say the Jewel in the Crown?
I apologize for writing this unoriginal and boring piece. I know hardly anyone will be surprised by anything contained in it.