Days and years are flying . Then came “Dark“; Making all of us wonder, how time is playing with us. The more we try to mess with it the more we end up in a mess. But at some point in life, we all would yearn for a time machine, so that we can go back and change the way we lived.
The small second hand in our watch is running tirelessly, taking each seconds away from us. It does not promise a new second in return. Consider ourselves lucky, if we get one. On each new year eve, we stare at the clock and wonder where did all our time go! When the grey hairs become more visible, we start to question ourselves; “what did we do in our prime?”. Time is like snow in our hands. It will melt away.
We take photographs, to freeze some moments for eternity. But years later, those frozen moments, will emerge us reminders for the days we can’t get back. But won’t it be better to have an attic full of frozen moments which we can visit often, than a dusty, empty and forgotten one?
Noone has ever taught us what to do with our time. We were told every day to do everything for the future. Ultimately, we become someone who doesn’t have any past. We were so invested in making a brighter future, without knowing that the future we were looking for, came by and left.
None of us have the time machine. So better freeze some moments and make some memories to create an eventful past and a remorseless future.
Only half a year is gone, but it has brought us sorrows of a century. The horrible deaths of Jayaraj and his son Bennicks is a new violent chapter about the disturbingly repeating accounts of police brutality in India. I could not finish listening to the distressing account of the alleged custodial torture which had allegedly led to the death of father-son duo, the first time I heard it. It was so horrific that, I had to stop listening to it in between.
Like many, I also want to believe, this year does not exist in my timeline. We saw migration of human beings for kilometers on foot, with no food and water; with nothing left in their hands except marks of hard labour. Their flesh burned on the tarred roads. We saw people dying in huge numbers day by day and the leaders immersed in throwing dirt at each other. We saw children eating grass. Then we also saw government looting people in the name of poor, and the rich being spared from spending their wealth. We saw man pleading of breath under the chockholds of power. We saw people being killed brutally, torturing ech inches of their body by the men in uniform, who had sworn to protect them. We saw our lands being encroached. We saw denials. We saw miseries, everywhere.
But the fate Jayaraj and Bennicks had suffered surpasses all boundaries. Is there any humanity left in us? As per newspaper reports, father and Son were taken into custody alleging that they kept mobile shop open beyond the permitted hours. What happened next is beyond human imagination.
Brutal custodial murders are not isolated incidents in India. It is a recurring phenomena. The Hindu had reported that, 1,731 custodial deaths happened in India in 2019 and that would mean that five deaths happens in India, in such manner daily. This is the outcome of a rotten and barbaric policing culture followed by many of the police officers.
One of the main reasons for repetition of these incidents are the lack of evidences, which makes it impossible for the prosecution (if any) to win. This gives a feeling of security to the criminal minds present among the police. Marshal Miller in his article ‘Police Brutality’ has listed the reasons for lack of success faced by the prosecutions in cases of police brutality. According to him “evidentiary problems render prosecutions of police officers difficult to win and thus infrequently brought” and “institutional pressures work against local criminal prosecutions”. He adds that this is “because of their close working relationship”. That is the reason why cleansing of the police department is as important as prosecuting the accused officers. Because, most often the undemocratic and corrupt elements present in a system will actively work towards rescuing the offenders.
Custodial deaths are not the only thing to be prevented. The police force all over the world are being accused of unwanted arrests, custodial rapes, harassment, non-registration of cases and the list goes on. Strategic reforms aiming at removing the criminal and illegal elements from the police is the only effective solution for all these.
Discussion on police reforms is not new in India. It started even before independence. From time to time, new suggestions were put forth and few of them got implemented as well. The first post-independence committee on police reforms were set up in Kerala, in the year 1959 and many other states followed suit. In 1971, Gore Committee on Police training was appointed and thereafter, in the year 1977 National Police Commission was appointed. When the recommendations by the National Police Commission were being ignored, seeking implementation of those, public interest litigation was filed before the Supreme Court of India. This resulted in the iconic judgment of Prakash Singh v Union of India (2006) .During the pendency of said case two committees were appointed, namely Ribeiro Committee in 1998 by the Supreme Court and Malimath Committee on reforms of Criminal Justice System in India, 2003 appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Apex court had issued seven directives in Prakash Singh case for Police reforms. They include, constituting State Security Council to ensure that to prevent State Government from exercising unwarranted influence or pressure on police, appointing State police chief based on merit and through a transparent process ensuring at least a tenure of two years, separation of investigation and law and order wing in police, Police Complaint authority to enquire into the complaints against police.
But many of the States were reluctant and slow to even pass laws for implementing the Supreme Court directions. The Supreme Court had to appoint a committee to monitor the steps taken by states, after two years of monitoring the implementation process by the court itself. This committee had once expressed its dismay before the Supreme Court stating that only 17 states chose to enact an Act, to implement the directions in the judgment. This shows the attitude of the Government towards reforming the Police Force. Incidents like Thuthukkudi deaths shows that, the reforms are yet to reach the ground level. Even now there are many promises of reformation are remaining unfulfilled.
The reluctance to remove criminal elements from the force has cost us many lives . It is threatening the security of the citizens, thereby negating the very purpose of having a police force. It is high time to take steps. The training given to police should also focus on instilling humility and constitutional values in them. The should be focus on rescuing the force from intrusion by corrupt elements and punishing the offenders in Uniform.#justiceforJayarajandBennicks.
Colours! some dark and some bright; Some like a garden and some like a night sky. They are vibrant varieties of rays travelling with its own unique wavelength. Their contrast and their similarities, their willingness to blend together and then diverge into thousand perspectives make our lives intense.
To the human world, colours are not just the images that fall on our retina. They carry many more meanings. Languages adopted colours to define times and explain moods. Politics took up colours and changed it into ideologies. Colours became festivals. Colours got converted into moments caught up in pixels.
But the colours, that mean no harm were destined to carry unfortunate burdens as well. World got divided into black, white, brown, red and yellow. People with same emotions and similar dreams got split. They were thrown into pits filled with hatred and anger. Colour decided right and wrong. Colour enslaved lives, and started wars. Colours, that are supposed to merge with each other emerged as a barrier.
Some among us have become so senseless that, they can no longer see beyond colour of skin. They have turned our lives into a mess by preaching about greatness of one over the other. They could have held hands irrespective of the colour and led our generations through a peaceful history; to an optimistic future.
Lives are blooming in different colours. These variants are meant to strengthen our society and nurture our culture. More lives will be lost and more dreams will be crushed if we just refuse to believe it. It is painful to see humanity pleading for breath under choke-holds. And I am terrified of the chaos it will uncover.
Colours are characters with pure souls. They are spread out for us to see the beauty in all things. Do not get fixated on one colour. Let us not make our lives a monochrome. Fill it up with every colour. Remember, all colours together make this world alluring.
There was a WhatsApp status put by my friend, asking for suggestions from others for the title of her autobiography. She has a beautiful name, “Maitreyi” . It is only due to my love for that name, I suggested “Maitreyam”. She also has the crazy habit of scribbling and keeping notes like me. When I asked whether she is planning to write one, she told me she might write an autobiography in future, if she feels like her life has become meaningful. May be if she was the one to ask that question first, I also would have answered the same way.
But every life is meaningful. When Anne Frank wrote the diary, she was an ordinary girl, hiding from the Nazis. But later what she wrote, became inspiration for millions. Our life become meaningful, from the moment we are born. It is not any celebrated status or position that makes our life meaningful enough to write an autobiography. Honest words are always meaningful. One should write if one feels like.
As I am writing this, I cannot help but wonder, how many great experiences we might have missed, because the writers decided to conceal their ink? We have set unspoken standards, making everything so tangled and confusing. We will spend our entire life trying to untangle it; doubting our abilities; questioning our desires and will slowly get lost in the maze drawn by us.
We scribble down our thoughts, re-read them, alter them and then hide those from the sight of others, thinking those are not worth reading. Then the very same us, will read other books and will be jovial for establishing a mental bond with the writer; never realising, our lines also would have made such wonders.The fear of being tagged as ‘not worthy’ make us abort our creations in the womb itself.
Writing turns words into emotions, and when someone else reads, those emotions turn into relations. When we hide what we have scribbled, we are closing the door towards thousands of invisible but meaningful relations we could have had. We are cutting the ties with ourselves and with the world; without knowing it.
All those words, idle on the pages of our note book, sleeping silently near the dry rose petals and colourful peacock feathers; they should be awakened. They don’t deserve to be forgotten like a lost love. They were us once; Our pain, dreams, laughter, love and anxieties. Without them, we may not have travelled this far. They deserve to see the light. Let us not judge them. They will derive meaning for themselves on their own.
Data protection is a growing concern now. When the locked down world is practically living inside the internet; when we are giving out more information than we should; I feel so insecure thinking that my privacy, which is priceless for me, might not be private anymore. To fight Covid, data collection of the infected individuals and that of the possible cases are inevitable. But, we don’t know how this data is going to be used in an ‘after Covid world’.
My friend Nithin Ramakrishnan had wrote an interesting article on the data protection scenario in India in connection with the Sprinklr data issue going on in the State of Kerala in India. He has rightly raised concerns over the lack of effecive data protection provisions in India. How far, our information available, in the servers of others, are safe? Isn’t it like keeping my valuables in the locker of another person? In my opinion, there is no effective law to protect one person’s private data in India.
Isn’t the issue of drawing a line between our privacy and public health be treated at least as important as showing the number of unfortunate demises, the number of infected, the curve and the peak. ? Isn’t it as important as the economy? Isn’t it more important than showing what the celebrities are doing in their homes during lock down?
There should be an active poltical involvement to educate the citizens- not mere political gimmicks. Actions should be taken for spreading awareness and holding public discourse on the topic of data protection. There should be positive steps taken to make individuals aware about their right to privacy and how the misuse happens. There are no active and effective awareness campaigns on how one should protect his or her privacy in the virtual world. The presense of large number of digital illiterates, demands, an active social movement in this regard.
We are proudly marching towards digitalisation, without teaching the masses what it is really about. My thoughts, my dreams, my conversations and my opinions are mine. I don’t want those to end upon the desk of an analyst working for an MNC or an election campaign team, without my voluntary consent. We should realise that, our data might be worth more than we can imagine. We need to protect the most lucrative commodity in the global market- “our data”. Like Stephane Nappo said, my “privacy is not for sale”.