IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community Vilakudy Days: December 2006

Vilakudy Days

Sunday, December 31, 2006


For once, I felt ashamed of BEING an Indian. On a cold morning while I was still fast asleep, when someone called up me and said Saddam Hussein, the former President of Iraq, not the Iraqi dictator, as foreign news agencies make us publish and believe, was hanged, I could not believe myself. Though the previous day, I read reports indicating his imminent hanging before the New Year. If the execution was sad, then India’s response was shocking. ‘Disappointed’. That one-word was India’s reaction to the murder of Saddam Hussein. Not that a 100-word stinging reaction would have mattered. But that would have made a difference. Saddam died a dog’s death. A man who loved India and Indians. A man who steadfastly supported India’s causes during all major crises. It was only Saddam who came out with open support when the Kashmir issue was discussed at the OIC conferences. He had great respect for the late Indira Gandhi, whom he called the “Iron Lady and “his sister”. Saddam’s Iraq was the only country which stood by India when the Babri Masjid was brought down by a bunch of hooligans. There were no Muslim or Hindu sentiments in that. Iraq was the only secular country, where women partied, wore whatever they liked, watched movies. There was no space for fundamentalism. He loved India. India played safe right from the moment he was pulled out of a rabbit hole by a jackal-supported Kangaroo government. His mock trial continued; he was tortured. India maintained a deafening silence. More than a poor Iraq, we wanted a richer US. Our foreign policy (if any) is in tatters. That is why watched the drama silently. Ordinary men and women shared the pain. But, where was Manmohan Singh? Where was Pranab Mukherjee? Where was the official India?
In Bombay, where I EXIST, nothing happened. Everything was normal. Or they were busy welcoming, partying for the New Year. Or they were busy thinking ways to make more money in the New Year. I was shocked even by the absence of an animated discussion or a serious talk over the execution. But I felt proud of a small state, where I was lucky to have born and brought up, in the tip of our country. It was Kerala, where I LIVE. It again showed the world that it is truly an International state. Whether in maintaining health standards, or in rural development or the human development index. Kerala went into a State mourning when the news was flashed by news channels. The state went into a bandh-like mode. In many places, nobody asked shopkeepers to keep the shutters down. They did on their own. Kerala was seething in anger. The number of calls I got from various parts of the state was a testimony to that. All parties, except the characterless BJP (if at all it can be counted as a party), organized protest marches across the state. George Bush was hanged and burnt in effigy. Everyone shed a tear or two. Fishermen refused to go to sea. Some fishermen dumped back all their day’s rich catch back into the sea in protest. They decided they would mourn their hero for the next four days by not going to the sea. On the famous Saddam beach in Parappangadi, women descended and wailed as if they lost a family member. Shattered Sivasankara Pillai, who had been to Iraq and felt the warmth of Saddam on many occasions, could not even speak on TV. The Citibank outlet in Kochi was stoned. Had there been a US consulate in Kerala, someone would have burnt it down. I wish it were. Unlike its Centre counterpart, the Kerala government lashed out at the US and Bush. Achuthanandan, Kerala’s luminous Chief Minister, led from the front and ripped the US government apart. So many others followed. I always carried my love for India on my sleeves. But this muted, spineless response even after a close friend’s death was a shock to me. Even after death, India owes an apology for that. But I was proud that Kerala did the damage control the way it could. For once, I was proud to declare that I am a proud Keralite than an Indian. Yet, on a larger picture, I bow my head in SHAME.