New Delhi, 25 April 16. Sunday morning TV channels and various publications, including Firstpost, reported that the JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar alleged that a man on a Jet Airways flight tried to strangle him. Everyone who carried the piece were very careful to use the word 'alleged'. It was imperative because the strangulation, which was alleged, was not confirmed in those words. Jet Airways released this one line statement after the news broke: "Some guests on board this morning’s flight Jet Airways fight 9W 618 Mumbai to Pune have been off loaded at Mumbai airport in the interest of operational safety."
This was the only confirmed statement media houses received, after Kanhaiya alleged the 'strangulation'. The Jet Airways statement did not mention names, it did not mention strangle or strangulation. What we know for sure is that two people were deplaned because they posed a threat to the flight's operational safety. Except for these facts, everything else is hearsay. Even what Kanhaiya Kumar claims.
But clearly we do not know enough. Because here's this piece that will tell you that Kanhaiya Kumar was 'strangled' because he made "enemies". Because that's the treatment you get when "you go around having vituperative outbursts on the mike and being petty in that the comments on the IPL and linking it to the drought were pointless since the courts have already issued marching orders." Who cares about facts? This is how it is. If it is a person we do not agree with, strangulated or not, he should be deplaned. Because the Montreal Convention tells us so. Ok, I might get accused of getting personal here.
It takes a strong feeling of complete displeasure to overlook an alleged situation and make it a real one and then blame the alleged victim for the problem. It is probable that Kanhaiya might have blown the thing out of proportion, but we still do not know that. The only information, believable information, is that two people were deplaned. But off late there's this overwhelming need for people to take a side and prove that the side they are on is right. Pun unintended.
Kanhaiya Kumar catapulted to popularity after a video surfaced in which he was shown shouting anti-national slogans — it later turned out to be a doctored video. Rest is history.
He was in prison for 21 days. He was beaten up by goons dressed as lawyers in the Patiala House court premises in New Delhi. There were sedition charges. His supporters were arrested after a dramatic chase (and all of this is very un-alleged). But the JNUSU president emerged fearless and even more determined to take on a government he was not happy with. What is the harm in that? Let's say this boy does actually want to join Indian politics. So what? Aren't we taught our entire lives to speak our mind? Yet, when there's an example of a PhD scholar from a so-called 'left-leaning' college standing up and fighting for what he and his fellow mates believe in, there are skirmishes. There is mud-slinging. There is politics of sorts. And that's when Kanhaiya, from a student who speaks his mind, becomes a Kanhaiya, someone who speaks the language of a Congress or a Left Front. Wait for a while, soon Kanhaiya will be blamed for being pro-BJP!
According to the author, Kanhaiya should "stop whining" because he has "become mean, cheap and tacky and your speeches are now demagoguery at its worst best. And when all you do is underscore problems and offer not a scintilla of solution then you have great nuisance value but that is it." And precisely for this reason he has created the situation he is in.
So, today if I have a problem with a political leader with heavy clout and crazy mass following in the country, it's totally justifiable for someone to "strangle" me and then deplane me because of a Convention. And if I try to talk about it, I will be told that I deserved it. There's a word for such extreme reactions and it starts with I.
The author of the aforementioned article is not at fault here, the problem is with the thinking. The attitude that every voice that says a different thing has to be muffled into something which soothes your senses and suits your sensibility. Otherwise, you belong in Pakistan. You cannot be an Indian.
I agree on one point with this author. "No pilot in this day and age is going to tolerate an on-board physical scuffle." True. But it becomes a big deal because the person involved is Kanhaiya Kumar and guess what, we did not make him a celebrity, the haters did. They hated him so much that he is everywhere now and they don't know what to do with the sheer magnitude. So when this author says:
"...Do not flatter yourself.
You were not singled out, dude, cool it..."
I am sure Kanhaiya is feeling super cool right now. Seeing journalists slugging it out for or against him. But he too would be a fool to do that. It is not about him. It is what he represents.