Why is The Sedition Charge in JNU Justifiable and Necessary?

I’m not a Hindu extremist, which means apart from not asking my children to not celebrate the Valentine’s Day because it isn’t fit for our culture’, I won’t ever be one of the many enthusiasts equipped with a napkin who would wipe the ass of any political party driven by Hinduism every time it takes a dump. Having said that, I would now assert that I am a nationalist. It is likely to confuse you a bit because a major percentage of India’s young writers and thinkers seem driven by a belief in the fact that supporting any cause that is against the government or protests against its actions and demands justice will eventually make them look politically sound and more importantly, pro-human rights, which in turn has made them write in a manner that has merged the picture of an Indian nationalist and a Hindu extremist completely and which has since then reflected this merged picture as that of a ‘Hindu Nationalist.’ However these two entities are entirely exclusive of each other and therefore when I say I’m a nationalist, I want you to read it without any prefix.

Since Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the JNU Students Union was charged and arrested for anti-nationalist activities that mainly included protesting against the prosecution of Afzal Guru, a lot has happened in Delhi and a lot of people have raised their voices against it. The orientation of these voices is in many directions but primarily, while some are protesting because the motive behind his protest was accurate, some others who may not agree with that particular idea are protesting because it is against democracy and damages a person’s freedom of speech. I must agree that the argument here point on. If a government arrests a particular person for voicing his opinion, it sure is a damaging act to both – the democracy and the person’s freedom of speech. However in a situation like this, where the temerity of the speech goes on rising just because the democracy is lenient and allows it to rise, and goes beyond a certain level where it can become a reason to provoke anarchy, I wonder if freedom of speech still remains a right or does it become a privilege that has been misused? As a writer and a person who finds freedom of speech a basic right, it hurts me to call any kind of freedom a privilege but in cases as such, it becomes essential and just the right thing to do.

When a person is charged for a terrorist activity which precisely happens to be a violent attack on the nation’s parliament and after an imprisonment of 12 years – a time span in which no evidence of his complete innocence is found or collected in his defence, I believe he can rightly be declared as an enemy of the nation. And any enemy of the nation who tries to thwart the peace of its people rightly deserves a death penalty. I don’t think anyone would want to conflict with this idea. And further, that is what exactly happened in the case of Afzal Guru. Many Muslim Kashmiris believe that he was a hero, a martyr. The intensity of their words honestly keeps me from calling him a villain because I respect their opinions, however I won’t hesitate to say that Afzal Guru was an antagonist. In that respect, he was rightly sentenced to die for that would safeguard the conscience of the nation and I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that no individual is at any point of time, greater than the nation. That’s my stance about Afzal Guru’s death.

Now, when we come to think of the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the JNU Students’ Union, for protesting against this very death penalty of Afzal Guru, I would repeat and ask you, how much of his protest looks like an act under freedom and how much of it looks like the misuse of a privilege? While reading about this incident in the newspapers, I came across a statement by Kanhaiya Kumar’s father in which he had asserted that his son wasn’t an anti-nationalist, but only a leftist. It was funny because the term leftist covers a wide segment of ideologies and as much as it represents communists, it also as much represents anarchists and Kanhaiya Kumar’s protest indeed seemed to be fuelled with some kind of anarchic motives, if it wasn’t for just instant popularity. And that exactly is the biggest tragedy of any democracy. Due to the wide freedom it imparts, a democracy knowingly and sometimes even helplessly, boosts speeches and expressions that are a threat to its own subjects. In such cases I wonder if democracy should continue playing by its rules or not. Sometimes, to crush anarchy, a democracy requires to be reckless, restricting and even suppressive. And if that is going to safeguard and guarantee peace and order, as a nationalist, I believe that is the exact thing a democracy should do in such times – not because it is right, but because it is necessary.


Futile Mumbai Dreams

I could be an engineer

and smear my hands

in the happy evening grease.

And take you to the Marine

to sit like all those thousand couples

to feel the Arabian breeze.

We could dream of a home

in the match-box flats

in Mumbai’s monstrous heart.

And that could be my story;

of a man wise enough

who chose the stable life over his art.

But baby, I am a poet

and since my pockets have holes

I can’t give you that for which you so badly long.

I promise to love you fiercely, though,

so much that it breaks my heart

and then, I will write you a lamented song.

March Blues

It’s a long, forlorn March night

of the sweet victories that stop the tears awhile, before more tears of another kind, the feeble ones, make way in our lives.

The coffee shop is sad, the crowd is flat and the lights are dimming like

the lights of a borough’s diner sixty years ago that I constantly imagine.

Looking at the coffee, breathing in the smoky haze, I wonder if this will be one of those moments where I feel accomplished

for doing nothing but sitting in a short, shabby chair for thirty minutes straight with my book and tissues and pen and jotting down the incomprehensible madness in my mind, bottomless madness coming from the bottom, as my lighthouse liked it.

The woman thinks everything might soon fall apart. But isn’t that one of the many things women think?

They want the world for us, the selfless way while also wanting the world for themselves that doesn’t collide.

The world is a strange place, your world, my world, his world, her world, the black world, the cunning world.

Everything happens to everyone here, but the times are never quite right and you watch wagons of promise shoot past by

Gently enticing you to hop on, knowing that you won’t have the heart to refuse the entire station that sits unexplored behind your back.

The knack is to take a quick glance and an exhausting stride and never stop for if you choose thirst-quenching, comforting juices

Your thirst of the real kind will never be quenched.

The knack is to drink all you can, without actually stopping to drink.

“Why Can’t You Trek Holding My Hand?”

Funny, innit? But this isn’t about how it sounds funny because you can’t write funnily about something that is already funny, which in turn, is because then it is obvious that you are utilizing a situation that has already made n number of people laugh to make n + n number of people laugh but because it is obvious and can be seen as clear as the day provided that you don’t stay in the smog infested Delhi, people end up calling you cringe worthy, which is in no way synonymous to funny. So then, what is this about? Last month, Isha forced me to go trekking. I was in no mood to spend my weekend seeing a bunch of fucking rocks but she insisted. One thing about me is, if you insist me enough for something, I most probably end up doing it and so, I went.

Now I don’t know how do you guys trek as couples but I don’t think trekking is a couples’ thing unless both of you belong to the same sex. Or if the guy is a twat who wants to sing Hindi songs while climbing down dangerous peaks. Girls can do that because it’s their thing; they want to look around and feel nice about walking out in the sun for once in their lives instead of clicking dog filter selfies in their washrooms. And what do guys wanna do on treks? Guys want to be ahead of the other guys and be the first ones to reach the top of the rocks to eventually realize that there’s no glory in this. And so, that’s what Isha and I did, respectively. She sang songs and laughed and enjoyed the hike with the others in the group while I became Tensing Norgay of the group.

isha prabalgad

Isha posing for a photograph on the top of the most dangerous peak in Maharashtra like it is made out of LEGO. 

Towards the end of the ascend, Isha seemed pissed so I asked her what had happened and she said I hadn’t been around with her the entire time of the hike, which made her feel annoyed. She then said, “Now, hold my hand on the way back.” I said okay but it was the kind of okay I had said to my dad when he had asked me to stop watching porn nine years ago – the ‘not so serious’ kind of okay. So I began jumping rocks during the ascend and really enjoyed it, which was the whole point of the trek but when Isha arrived at the base camp with the rest of the party half an hour later, she was livid. There were angry words, feet stomping (not recommended when you’re climbing down a fucking peak but Isha is a rebel) and there were tears too. Isha’s tears scare the shit out of me because she cries like she is the most innocent woman on the face of the earth and also makes reasonable arguments while crying. When this happens in public, other guys very easily think that this damsel is stuck with this evil, bearded guy and that they should play the savior prince on the white horse and although no one has punched me yet, they all look at me like I am a criminal. Since I obviously didn’t want all of those things to happen, I asked her to stop crying and tell me what had happened. Wrongest move ever. It made her cry more and she then said, “Why can’t you trek holding my hand?”

me prabal

Random moment when I was trying to comprehend Isha’s question. 

And I really wanted to say, “Why can’t I trek holding your hand? Why can’t Abhishek Bachchan win an Oscar? Because all of it is fucking impossible baby!” (for the record, Isha thinks Abhishek Bachchan is a good actor). But I controlled my urge to say any of that and did the unreasonable thing that any smart man would do despite knowing it is unreasonable – I offered her my hand to walk down the last small hill at the end of the trek. She refused angrily and inside five minutes, fell flat on her ass and hurt her knee and I didn’t really know if I was to say, “See? That’s what happens when you don’t listen to me!” or “Sorry, all of this is my fault.” But my experience of being with her for two years coaxed me to choose the latter and I did so but that didn’t make much difference and we went home tired and grumpy. Me tired, Isha grumpy.

Now, to repent for this sin of not holding her hand while trekking, she wants me to go trekking with her every month of the this year and hold her hand through it. That’s the entire story. There’s no happy ending. The moral is, if your girlfriend asks you to go trekking with her, be a man and tell her the real number of cigarettes you smoke in a day and face her wrath for that because, and I say this out of experience, it is a much better than having to hold her hand during a trek.


Isn’t it sad, isn’t it scary

How we’re all, in our beds, so weary?


That marriage makes you anxious

and that pendant makes you sad,

But you cannot justify it

because that is the pendant you never wished you had.


You want to covet all that you can see;

you want to covet another’s dream

Despite yours having the ocean

and theirs only a stream.


Of course, dreams you are allowed to share but only with one

for two’s passion, you can be proud

But when you’re the third,

three is only a crowd.

Don’t Want

Don’t want your harrowed eye-sockets

Don’t want no stuffed pockets

Don’t want that all ‘hey look at me’

Don’t want what you want me to be

Don’t want battered dreams

Don’t want motel-room screams

Don’t want twenty years

Don’t want happy tears

Don’t want life in a veil

Don’t want what you can so easily steal

Don’t want restaurant shows

Don’t want pointless rows

Don’t want to cope

Don’t want the life-saving dope

Don’t want fragility that you’ll mend

Don’t want the postcard love you send

Don’t want to wear a bitch-face

Don’t wanna pretend running the lost race

Don’t want to prove it to you

Don’t want to get validated by a few

Don’t want to tell you won’t fall

Don’t want nothing to do when you walk tall

Don’t want the visions on the hand

Don’t want your castles in the sand

Don’t want Christmas sweaters to smell

Don’t want to stand listening when you yell

Don’t want the false promise of a better dawn

Don’t want anything that makes me yawn

Don’t want you to fear

For I am not falling, I am right here

Don’t want you to think I will run

No, I am not searching for more fun

I only don’t want you to come and take

My solitary moments, of which the most I make

Let me be as I let you be

And we’ll live together happily.

The Sidekick

Can the hero become the writer?

No he cannot, brooding boy

For the hero has to play his part. He has to be the hero. He can act and do and go.

The writer is the sidekick – the one who observes, who sits in cars in April nights, waiting for the hero, waiting for him to drive them out of oblivion.

He tells the hero that the bay is clear, that there is no danger, Ameya, and you can walk out, winning the mission, jumping the roof in the ecstasy of your heroic being.

The sidekick is the one who tells the tale, making men gleam in sheer joy in hotel parking lots.

He is the one who cherishes the past, reminiscing stories and incidents that happened, when the hero and the folks wish to reminisce. He is omnipotent. Present everywhere, recording every move, putting his crude equations of right and wrong and good and bad to test.

He evaluates. He understands. He improvises.

He filters the necessary, letting the dark matter of insignificance wash down the drain.

He walks when he is drawn to walk by the irresistible aura of his best friend, the hero.

He smiles and shakes his head and bends down on the coffee table to write what he understands – to justify the hero’s deeds, to justify his absolute, entire being.

‘He sings and is known through centuries with different names – a bard, a poet and a playwright and a writer.

He is questioned for the obscurity of the hero while the hero sits and listens in silence.

He is the absolute proof of what happened there and it is his word that the listener chooses to have.

For he may not be the hero, and may never have the mettle to be one,

But without a sidekick, every hero ever, would be left unsung.


Why is it that you refuse to look

beyond this field, across the brook?


Why does the beauty of this field

satisfy you, when beyond, the world has a spectacular yield?


What is so special here

that you would not get there?


Why, when there are places full of kicks and fun,

are you looking but only at one?


Is it the bonds that you hate to break?

Is it why you put experiencing the vastness at stake?


Broaden your vision and for once, see

all that there is, all that you can be.


You can chain yourself tomorrow if wish

but look at the creeks today, is that would you want to miss?


Why shackle yourself to four walls and one dome,

When there awaits an entire world you can call home?