The Outrage11 mins 25.1K 11 mins 25.1K
We think we live in a world where human beings have evolved from being mere savages. We think that having acquired knowledge and education, we are now fully rid of our age-old bias and superstitions. This story will prove that we still live in dark ages. This is based on a true story that was widely reported in the press and media, but many of you would either have missed it or perhaps forgotten it like we always do.
“Shravan Kumar, what a name! Have you read the story about Shravan? Are your parents alive? Do they know about what you have done?”
The trial of Shravan Kumar was finally coming to a close today in the Barabanki court of the District Judge, Shikar Srivastava.
“They are dead My Lord.”
“Good they are not alive. Shravan Kumar, your trial ends today. The arguments of your lawyer and prosecution are over and I will now have to make a decision. Do you have anything to say?”
“My Lord, forgive me. I have a wife and a daughter. I did not intend to harm anybody. It was an accident.”
“Accident? You stabbed the lady seven times?”
“Sir, I am a petty burglar and not a murderer. This was a mistake, it never happened before. The lady woke up and raised an alarm and I was frightened.”
“Shravan Kumar, you could have just run away, leaving your loot and the lady alone. But you did not; you stabbed her not once but seven times!”
“My Lord, I never intended to kill anyone. The knife was just to keep her silent and make her afraid. But she would not stop and I became angry with her. My anger went out of control and I could not stop myself.”
“ So, you kept stabbing her again and again? And you are now pleading with me to forgive you and let you go free? Shravan Kumar, nobody is above the laws of the land, not even God. Thank God that the lady is still alive in the hospital though she may not recover to be normal ever again. You did not kill her, but you have left her more than dead. She will not have any life in her now. I cannot punish you for murder, I regret that.”
“I am sorry for her My Lord, really sorry.”
“Sorry? This is not a classroom Shravan, this is a courtroom and we do not accept apologies from criminals. You will have a lot of time in prison to introspect, repent, and redeem yourself. When you come out, be sure that you are a better human being.”
Two: Shravan’s story
Shravan chose to be a burglar and was not forced to take this path. He could not explain why he chose to be a burglar just as so many of us cannot explain why we chose to be a doctor or a pilot or something else. He was perhaps destined to be a burglar if one has a belief in fate and destiny. He did well and never got caught until he stabbed the lady.
He married Sheetal two years ago and his life changed. She belonged to a caste that his family thought was inferior to them, but he loved Sheetal and was determined to marry her. His family threw him out. His friends, neighbors, and relatives avoided him like he was a pariah. It angered him that people around him could change just because he did not conform to some idiotic caste norm that no one really knew why and when it was introduced. He was angry that he did not have the power to influence people and change them. He was angry that he did not have the courage to openly talk against this unlawful practice. He was outraged that his wife was being humiliated by society just because she belonged to a particular caste. He was sick of the fact that despite all this outrage against him and his wife, they had no option but to put up with the people around him. All this anger in him grew slowly and with each passing day it lay coiled inside him like a venomous serpent waiting to spring.
The burglary at the lady’s house should not have been botched up. None of his earlier burglaries had gone wrong and he took pride in his record. The lady was alone in the house and he had almost finished his job when he stumbled against the dining table and woke her up. She saw him and shrieked, which was normal. He pulled out his knife and asked her to keep quiet but she ignored his warning.
He could have run away as the judge had remarked. One cannot be very objective when it comes to situations that are as complex as this. He grabbed her with the intention of tying her up and gagging her before escaping. He wore a mask so that she could not identify him.
But we go wrong many times with our plans and the fault lies in the fact that we cannot anticipate how people will react or what external factors will come into play. The lady could have just shut up and let him go. After all, don’t we value our lives over jewelry and material? Some people choose to fight, like this lady. She managed to throw Shravan to the floor and started pounding him with her fists.
Shravan had no option but to use his knife to protect himself. The first jab of his knife caught the lady in her face and she screamed at the blood and let him go. That should have been enough, but at that very moment, the coiled serpent inside Shravan’s stomach chose to rear its head. It was at this point that Shravan lost control over himself. He was now not stabbing the lady; he was stabbing all those who had shunned him because of his marriage. He was stabbing because people humiliated his wife. He was stabbing because they deserved to be punished for their crimes.
Shravan would have perhaps cut the lady to pieces had he not been interrupted by neighbors who had heard the lady scream. He would now be put away in prison for 12 years. If the lady died in the hospital, the charge of murder would be brought against him and he could face the gallows. His only concern was for his wife and daughter.
Three: Back Home
It is indeed a miracle that time flies, though while it flies it seems an eternity. Shravan Kumar left the prison after twelve years but the district judge was wrong. His term in jail could not change him. He had introspected a lot but found it impossible to forgive those who had unleashed the serpent in him and were therefore responsible for sending him to jail.
Prison itself teaches new lessons and Shravan too learned a few, though they were not the right ones. He learned the art of making crude bombs that are used by criminals seeking to create terror and riots. These were not explosives that could blow up buildings but were enough to create panic and rioting.
The serpent inside Shravan was alive and kicking and Shravan was now aware of its potential and possibilities. He knew exactly what needed to be done when he was out of prison. It would take some time to execute but the plan was very much in place.
Four: The Plan
We often choose to do things that appear to us as perfectly logical. We think that our thought process is right and the results would be exactly as we desire them to be. Shravan too had such a perfect plan.
His objective was for his family to be accepted in society by the people who had rejected his wife because of her caste. All he wanted to do is to make them realize their mistake and consider his wife too as a human being. He, however, knew that this would not happen by itself or even by his emotional entreaties to them. His jail mate had told him that men and women always obey when they are under threat or fear of losing something more valuable than their lives. He told Shravan that this was the reason why religions always put the fear of God in men and women. We are not religious because we love God, we are afraid of God and what he or she can do if we do not obey.
Shravan understood this well and planned accordingly. He would create fear and force people to accept his family. He would not harm anyone but if it comes to that, the bombs will surely explode.
His planning was simple. His daughter would turn thirteen years old soon and he would hold a birthday party for her. Children around the neighborhood would be invited. He hoped that at least some children would be allowed to come to his house. That would be enough to put his plan into motion.
Four: Hostage Drama
Fifteen children went to the birthday party at the invitation of Shravan Kumar. Perhaps their parents felt that the child should not be victimized, or maybe they thought Shravan Kumar had suffered enough to be given a second chance. Who knows?
There were cake and sweets and savories and toys for the children and all this was enough for the revelry. But little did they know that uncle Shravan had other plans for them. He locked up the house and told the children that they cannot go home. They were now hostages and they could not understand why? Even Sheetal was surprised that her husband had taken children as hostages. What was he up to?
Soon, the parents started visiting the house only to find Shravan at the door with a big gun in his hand.
“What the hell are you up to Shravan? Why are you standing there with the gun and what have you done with our children?”
“They are inside and safe. I have a few demands and I need you all to understand and accept them.”
“Are you mad? We thought that you had learned enough from your long stay in prison, but it seems you have not. What are your demands? Money?”
“No. You have humiliated my wife as an outcast and have boycotted me for not giving up on her. All I ask of you is to apologize to her and assure me that you will accept us as your equals.”
“What nonsense? Do you think that you can make us accept your family by kidnapping our children? Do not be foolish and let them go.”
“You see, I am very serious about this. I have planted bombs inside the house and if this is not working then I will blow up your children.”
Even as the arguments were going on, the local police arrived. Someone told them about the bombs. The police were not sure whether Shravan was bluffing but they could not take the chance for the lives of children involved.
Soon the area was cleared and the police had surrounded the house. Shravan appeared calm and told the police that his threat was real. Either his demand for an apology had to be publicly accepted by prominent citizens or he would kill everyone including himself.
The matter was complex and soon messages were sent to Lucknow headquarters seeking help. Meanwhile, a senior local politician arrived on the scene to take stock of the situation. When he heard about the issue he requested the police to allow him to talk to Shravan.
“Shravan, I can understand your problem and I am really sorry that your wife and child had to undergo so much suffering. You know that discrimination on the ground of caste is not allowed even by the constitution. Tell us who did this to you and we shall punish them. You have the word of the government that we shall not allow this to happen anymore. Release the children because they are innocent.”
“Netaji, you are a politician and your job is to play politics. I know there are so many laws but who cares for these laws? What can your government do to protect people like my wife? What have you done all these years? Are you not the real reason for the discrimination to exist even today? No, Netaji, I do not need your assurance. Let the elders come and I will deal with them. I alone will punish them.”
“Shravan, you cannot do anything. You are surrounded by police and will be caught soon. So surrender and we shall hear your complaint with lenience.”
Shravan went inside the house and brought out a boy and shot him point-blank.
“See, Netaji? I can do it and I will. Do you want me to prove myself?”The serpent inside Shravan was fully awake.
The politician beat a hasty retreat.
48 hours later, a crack commando team raided the house and rescued the children. Shravan was shot dead.
A few days later, Sheetal and the child were ambushed in a market area by an irate mob. They blamed her for the incident and the death of the boy. The mob then tore her to pieces, limb by limb before her daughter. It was too late when the police came.
The girl is now in an orphanage wondering what went wrong and why her parents were killed. They both loved her a lot, but why did her father kidnap her friends and then kill one of them? Her mother had always defended her father when he was in jail saying that his father was the victim of a conspiracy by the policemen. Was this too a conspiracy or was her father really a mad man and a hardened criminal as everyone was saying?