Rai was not Satyendra Dubey. Barring his beardless innocent age and humble
background nothing was common between them. He was neither a whistleblower
nor an IITian. And, so Munna's quiet death failed to move the crusader,
constructive media managers and serious looking, afro hair-do and erudite
editors to be on page 1
or even four or five. No flier follow-ups
no moving letter-writing.
didn't Munna deserve all this? didn't Munna, like Dubey, was inspired
with inborn impulse of revolt ignited by a new spirit of action?, didn't
Munna, again like Dubey, paid the price of his life fighting the frustrated
system?, or did not Munna, once more like Dubey-ji, was a signal to the
corrupt society we live in today?.
year old Munna Rai was a rebel of our time. Camus's character. Or, so
cannot exist without strange form of love. Sure, Sir Herbert Read.
Munna mar gaya, last week.
you must not have heard this as it didn't make page 1 story. Invisible
single column on page five, agency report--- where politicians
of your stature don't even turn to.
you applied for more security cover, of late, didn't you?
sir, its not to demean your high-terrestrial tribe promising to
take the state ahead, in order with the country. Perhaps, beyond
neither even to make Munna's death a martyr. This is only to put
on paper what was his genuine grief---and relief as well. His
frustration. Complaints. Depression close to insane index.
Munna was certainly NOT a lunatic. Nor even a fanatic as many
led us to believe.
was like many of us. Like you, like me---and like most of our nearly three
crore youths of the state. His father even resembled name of my grandfather
for whom work has always been worship.
also had died a quiet death. Alone amidst abundance.
Rai aka Hulchul Rai quite really made ripples in the country with his
thoughts, light, katta and action. His first-hand pieces written on rough
pale papers guide us towards all: Tujhe fikr hai kisi ek ki, mujhe purey
Hindustan ki.--- [here, translation would be an another injustice with
was Munna's attempt to understand the time we live in--- a period, which
within 15 years uprooted, undermined, crippled and killed eighty million
human beings, should only, and forthwith, be condemned. Its guilt also
must be understood.
he did it with a fire-not aimed at precisely. Shot in the arm for Ravishankarji.
Pramodji, Ramprasad Churasiaji and their ilk too felt the shaking splinter.
them it was murderous attack. For Munna it was a signal reaction.
them it was attack on BJP. For Munna it was attack on corrupt political
them it was individual. For Munna it was for their tribe. For them it
was singular, for Munna, it was plural.
fifteen long years of suffering. Munna must be nine when things had started
falling apart. He had lived with it, felt it both physically and emotionally.
mother had died when he was just eight. Since then he was a loner, admitted
hard to meet his both ends he even drove auto-rickshaw on the bumpy Auranagabad
roads. Matriculate Munna then, like millions of us, left for Delhi to
earn his livelihood. Like millions of us he got it too, however, like
very few of us, returned to roots.
Depressed. Hoping against hope.
three months he kept fighting with his loneliness, thoughts getting rebellious
and pitying contempt
and societal ridicule. Fed-up with the perjury
of political masters and their Janus-face.
fine morning The Rebel rose to his haunting environs and introspection.
the rest of course is history.
on Bed No. 45 inside the surgical ward of PMCH, Munna fought a hopeless
battle for well over 18 days. Lost battle. Only his heart-broken father
by his side on a blue plastic stool.
Rai, though, nursed his hope for his eldest child's survival. Staring
vacuously at his sons' half-opened puffed eyes, poultice-like swelled
lips and eggwhite bandaged head hinged on the blood-soaked bed-sheet,
Rai after some time of interaction could not hold his held-up tears from
rolling down on his unshaved cheeks.
it started, tears kept falling down incessantly for more time. Like my
father or of many of us who come from such middle class, modest, desi-school,
religious man Lakshman Rai heard the news when he was performing kirtan,
puja at his village temple in Karhansi, Rohtas. Faith shaken.
shattered and subsequently failed. Why Munna?, how Munna?, whence Munna?,
asked he from his dumb yet always smiling gods and deities.
Bhagwan ko yehi manjur tha! [the most sought after solace of hindi heartland].
was never like this. He had a good company of friends and had never ever
hurt anyone, claimed many in his village.
have you heard this. Hope you might not have.
How could you? You had flown to Patna first and then to Delhi for splinter
injured hand. A trendy, state-of-the-art bandage later.
was brought to Patna by road and dumped into clinically paralysed PMCH
to die. You never even bothered to take any notice of him whom your party
supporters had lynched nearly to death.
you and your colleague in trauma, Pramod Mahajan even demanded a CBI inquiry.
But no one cared for Munna---not even the attending doctors at PMCH.
the four heavily armed guards were the seeming life support of Munna who
too looked interested only in being photographed standing by his bedside.
visiting photojournalists too took pride in getting exclusives each time
they clicked Munna lying under the shadow of gun at his hospital bed.
you could have had more political mileage by taking notice of, care of
dying Munna. You could have shown the world why your party BJP is a party
with difference. You could have displayed tolerance, forgiveness and benevolence
of your personality
. and of your party.
you missed the bus
and so the party also. Munna slipped into death
quietly on October 24. Last Monday.
rebel-cause too besmirched with his death
we need your ghost Munna
need your ghost to knock at the doors of toungeless tribe at night this
scare them in their noiseless AC sleep
don't make us fool and frustrated with your false promises, our dear Netaji.
is watching. This time many more by his side.
that could get Bihar rid of all ills. Who knows?
even Albert Camus or Sir Herbert Read.
story is very touching. I can imagine what circumstances and what
frustrations could ignite the mind of this youth? Our leaders or
should I say the so-called leaders must treat it as a wake-up call.
Every human life is precious and deserves respect and dignity. They
must also not forget, "Jis desh ka bachpan bhukha ho, phir
uski jawani kya hogi?"
Ann Arbor, Mi U.S.A.
comments by some readers living outside India are shocking. We always
thought or it is generally conceived that the more international
exposure we get, the better or broader our outlook becomes. But
it is disappointing to see our learned Bihari NRIs still addressing
these corrupt and immoral politicians by adding "Ji" towards
their name. Seems like we still live in the jamindari era and doing
the "jee hoozori" which shows our mentality of a slave.
Why should one bow his head towards anyone. Every work is dignified
and no one should bow in front of anyone but god (if not an atheist).
The writer is not trying to glorify the crimes of Munna but through
his journalistic piece he is portraying the complexities of a human
tragedy and particularly in Bihar. It also shows the gap between
haves and have-nots. In the more the gap grows the worse the situation
will get, i.e creating more frustration in the youth and hence leading
towards more of desperation. I would like to pose a question. How
many youths from a metropolitan city who have a full time good job
(I mean satisfied with their situation) will think about committing
a crime. I bet, none. But do a survey and ask the youth in Bihar.
I bet there would be hundreds who are frustrated by the current
situation and are willing to go to any extreme to express themselves.
Just by providing symptomatic treatment (e.g. killing Munna) and
not looking at the cause (providing adequate education, jobs etc.)
will not change the current desperate scenario. We need lots of
hard work, some luck and dedicated politicians who have an agenda
of development and can direct the raw energy of the Bihari youth
towards a positive agenda and not misuse it to better their lot
and most important rise above the caste and creed. Thanks
Kumar, Tampa, FL, USA
am the only reader who has referred to the politicians as Ji.
Therefore, I am obligated to advocate my point after reading your
second posting. While you may view addressing somebody as Sir or
Ji as something reminiscent of Zamindari era, I do not consider
it that way. Therefore, I have preferred to address you as Ji as
do not agree with the views of the author of this article (Amarnath
Tewaryji) and you strongly agree with him. Therefore, you have lambasted
me in your second posting and tried your best to find faults in
my posting. Well, you have got it wrong on couple of accounts:
I am not the only one to refer the politicians as Ji. The author
(Amarnath Tewaryji) has also referred to them as Ji. Do you consider
the author as a slave to the politicians, especially when he has
written strongly against them? If you look at the names of the three
politicians in my posting, they are just cut and paste from the
original article (an incorrect dot, instead of comma, proves this
Since when did addressing somebody as Ji started to mean subjugation?
Isnt there a word called etiquette?
When you entered the DMV office for your learner permit, the lady
at the reception desk smiled at you and asked, How may I help
you, sir? Did you consider her your slave? Same thing happened
when you went to buy a Subway sandwich or to deposit a check at
the bank counter. Do you consider all of them as your slave? What
about the lady at the payroll office at USF?
I am theist. I, of course, bow to the almighty God. But, I do not
consider addressing somebody as Ji, Sir, Mam or Ms as something
diminishing my dignity.
I believe that credentials on the wall do not make somebody a decent
humane being. Being polite and amassing wealth or degrees/certificates
are not mutually exclusive. They can go hand-in-hand, and in any
peaceful society they must coexist.
I am glad I referred to those politicians a Ji. I will do the same
a thousand times. I will do the same to you, and the author, and
the editor. Me addressing politicians or anybody as Ji tells something
about me and not them. There is no reason to draw conclusions about
politicians because I am referring to them as Ji.
back to the cause/frustration of Munna, there is no substance in
this article. It is based on a farce premise and it uses inappropriate
logics to arrive at utterly flawed conclusions. The article suggests
that three crores youths of Bihar should go ahead and shoot all
the politicians. This will solve all the problems of Bihar. This
is exactly what Munna did and this is exactly what this article
is glorifying. No, this does not make any sense. This must be stopped.
This is all so wrong. Munna is (was) a murderer. He is not a martyr.
He must be condemned. He must pay the price (he has already paid
the price) for his acts. He must be held accountable for the attempted
murder. There is no point in praising him.
Houston, TX 77005.
First, I would like to thank you for initiating this dialogue in
such a healthy manner.
Now coming to the point of the Jee or Ji. Any respect
or addressing each other has to be reciprocal. I am not against
using Ji or sir for that matter but I am against the use of jee
in the current scenario described in the article. For example I
have addressed you as ji this time as you have addressed me too.
But how many time you have heard or seen a politician or from a
person in power using the word ji for the common man?
a poor rickshaw puller who works hard all day
waiting for a rider might address the police crossing his stand
with ji, mai baap etc. But does the police addresses him with respect
such as Ji? I bet no. Now tell me why that guy working hard all
day and honestly has to bow (with Ji) in front of any one? So my
friend when you provide the example of the DMV in the US, it is
reciprocal and you are ignoring the differences in the ground realities
of USA and Bihar. And from these examples which I mentioned earlier
I derive the conclusion that Ji is not a wrong term but the context
in which it is and has been and being used reflects the slave mentality
or the relationship of the master and the slave. The respect has
to come from both sides.
Now coming back to the frustration of the youth or in other words
failing to stand up to the aspiration of the youth which the author
potrays. The author is not defending Munna. I think what he is trying
is to showcase the ground realities of living as a youth in the
rural areas of Bihar. Second if there was a crime committed, which
I also agree there was, the criminal should be prosecuted and not
lynched by the mob. But before you come to the prosecution, just
go back and rethink the whole scenario. From the media and other
reports what we know that Munna was not mentally sound. So in the
first place the person belonged to a mental treatment facility (which
sadly do not exist) and not at that rally (you will agree that sick
people are not prosecuted in the US even). So the system failed
I would say that dear friends, everything in our world is not exactly
black and white. There s gray line too. So before judging instantly
that anyone is criminal please get our facts together and let the
supposedly committed criminal have a day in court (fast) and that
should apply to everyone (the common man and high and mighty too).
How many times have you heard that a politician of criminal precedent
has been successfully prosecuted?
And the day when the rule of the land is applied evenly to everyone
regardless of the status then I think would be more appropriate
when we address each other with ji, or sir in an reciprocal manner.
in summary the author is not praising or glorifying Munna but just
making the readers aware that every coin has two sides. Please do
not rush to judge but have an objective view because some times
what we see from our naked eye is also not always true. And on a
lighter note, lets reserve the use of jee or ji or sir on the basis
of reciprocity and not unconditionally. And majority of our politicians
certainly do not deserve that.
Thanks for your
reply. I agree with some of your points, but not all. In particular,
points are contentious:
1.If you adjudged that I addressed those politicians with suffix
Ji because of subjugation or mentality of a slave, nothing could
be farther from truth. You know that you are misleading yourself
and others on this account.
2.I am glad that you agreed Munna did
commit a crime. I agree that Munna should have stood a fair trial
in a court of law. He should not have been lynched by the mob. I
never defended the public for their lowly act. But, the politicians
in question could not be held accountable for these acts of the
masses. The only way I rationalize (I emphasize, I am only rationalizing,
not defending) the behavior of public is: how your loved ones will
treat me when I throw stones at you?
3.In the same token/spirit,
those politicians should stand a free & fair trial for their
crimes and complicity in corruption/immorality/inefficiency. They
should not be shot at in a public gathering.
4.Ex-premier of India,
Late shri P.V. Narsimha Rao, did stand a trial. Outcome of the trial
is a minor issue. Of course, you are reading news about Shahabuddin
former UP minister Amar Mani Tripathi.
5.Please allow me to pose a question to you and the author as well.
The gist of this
article is: Munna is an educated, frustrated and unemployed youth.
People to blame
for his worst plight are all the politicians. So, Munna is perfectly
justified to shoot at
the politicians. Now, imagine another scenario: I have twenty something
are educated either intermediate pass or BA/BSc/BCom. Also,
all of them are
unemployed. They had their bit of luck and fame in Aurangabad (Maharashtra),
Surat (Gujarat), Nainital (then UP, now Uttaranchal) and Hisar (Haryana).
are back to pavilion. Of course, tired of everything. So, here is
my question: Shall I
ask all of my unemployed and frustrated cousins to pick some politicians
them? After all, this is what Munna did and this is what this article
is glorifying. This
is the teaching/message of this article. If your answer is YES,
you will define
anarchy. If your answer is NO, then this article does not deserve
to have been
written at first place by the special correspondent of The
6.Eliminating a politician is not an exemplary way to lead a struggle
7.Killing a politician will not rectify the corrupt political system.
8.Shooting somebody (politician or sweeper) is not a right way to
vent the frustration.
9.By no means, I am defending Ravi Shankar Prasadji or any other
politician. I have only negative words for all the politicians.
But, no matter what, I
cannot sympathize with a person who chose to use gun as a solution
story touches the heart and your point is well expressed that it
is the system which is creating this response from millions of our
youth like Munna whose vision was dashed right at the childhood.
is not about Ravishankarji, it is not about a political party, but
it is about what we as individuals are doing to make difference
in Bihar so that Munna could have got help when it was needed at
the age of 9 when he started to fall apart physically and emotionally.
excellent work and I hope the heart touching real stories about
ordinary people are brought up more often by other journalists in
the same way as you have done.
can not be brought back, but the learning and commitment to make
a positive difference in Bihar will keep on going. A new start a
new Bihar for our Youth and next generation.
is sad that such a good piece also will be buried along with Munna.
The elite has lost all the morality. And no one understands any
color or creed but only the color of money. Good job and atleast
you did your part. Thanks
Ambuj Kumar, MD, MPH
Department of Cancer Control
H.Lee . Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
at the University of South Florida
is absolutely amazing, and surprising that a journalist of your
stature would try to condone the actions of a criminal. Im absolutely
appalled. There can be no justification for shooting and trying
to kill any1. and it is absurd that this criminal has been compared
to the 3 crore other youth in bihar, being a bihari youth, it is
an insult and a disgrace.
Im shocked and im sure there would be a lot of other people who
and its people deserve an apology from Mr. Amarnath Tewary. I had
no idea that journalists had casteist considerations while writing.The
whole point of the article is absurd and repulsing.I had to vent
Programmer, Fujitsu Australia,
don't have words to say after reading this article. The subject
touches deep in your mind. I am proud that BIHAR has such depth
in its journalism and in its youth.
I salute Mr. Journalist. If your heat can reach me, who stays 7
oceans far at other end of the world, I wonder why dont
people get burned who stays near by you??
Thanks & Regards,
Chile Regional Development Centre,
Citibank N. A.
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
you trying to justify that Munna was right? Just because he wrote
a wonderful piece of poetry: Tujhe fikr hai kisi ek ki, mujhe
purey Hindustan ki, it does not mean that his motives were
right. No matter what his motives were, you cannot justify him aiming
at Ravishankarji, Pramodji, Ramprasad Churasiaji. Nothing can mitigate
his crimes. By the way, how do you hold Ravishankarji. Pramodji,
Ramprasad Churasiaji responsible for the plight of Bihar since Munna
was eight years old? Please tell me how your loved ones will treat
me when I throw stones at you?
Munna was not a whistleblower. There is no point in comparing him
with SK Dubeyji.
Houston, TX 77005
based special correspondent of The Pioneer