Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The long wait for the new Zeus

I stood in that gloomy valley, facing the magical beaming light which showered its golden rays across the horizon into my very enticed retina, which has not seen light for past thirty years. The light was so soothing - I acknowledged the new found warmth and freshness from it, the nice invigorating cold zephyr around me and I felt that this was it – I have attained what I was looking for. Destiny always finds you a bit late.

I had been idling in that dark valley for quite some time, and was waiting patiently for the better force to show me the way and take me with it. But HE had different ideas…It seemed as if HE knew the mission of my life and would not take me to the eternal bliss without letting me fulfill it. With that supernatural light fading, there was a torrent current in the air, the strong wind almost making me fall over, losing my balance. I could see a long rope being thrown at me, and through the darkness which still haunted one side of the valley, I could see four dark human shadows tied tight together at the other end of the rope. I strained my eyes to get a sight of their identity, but all I could see were four distinct figures taped tight in mysteriously black attires that hid their whole body. I could faintly recognize that they were wriggling in the tight bonds they were in, and their distant wails seemed to strike me hard. An unearthly voice whispered to me from eternity “Take them towards the sharp rock at the eastern tip of valley, which points to the unknown depths of grey gorges of suffering. Tie them to the rock and I will guide you from there.”

I was haunted by questions countless, as I pulled those distant voices to the east. I felt that I did not know who I was or what I was doing there, in that dark arena of mystery. I wondered if I was going to have a bout of nervous fits, but I realized that I was experiencing an unusually peaceful aura in mind. Although there were many a things that were unanswered around me, I was trying to be consciously edgy. I must have walked for ages, but I did trample down to my destination. The rock at the eastern tip shaped like a huge sharp nose, and there was an evil presence of the gorge, which seemed like a black hole sucking even the air around the rock. With a bit of difficulty, I managed to tie the four human figures to the rock. They kept on wailing and wriggling, even after being sealed strongly to the ropes. I slowly dropped off to a distance and got a resting place near the stream of sweet crystal clear water which I savored till it quenched my thirst, as I waited for that better power to guide me and take me further. My identity was still a mystery and I was hoping that I would be deprived of that pain as early as possible. I tried to look at the clear stream to see myself, but I was even dispossessed of reflections.

I was woken up by the cry of vultures from horizon. In the pale mysterious light that was peeping from the west, I could see the shadows of a number of vultures fast approaching. The scavengers neared within seconds, and headed straight towards the rocks. Hiding behind the trees, I looked at the horrible sight of the vultures hungrily devouring parts of flesh from the bodies of the four figures tied tightly to the rocks. I could hear the loud clear screams of pain that was endured by them, I could see the dark red color of flesh all around and I was engulfed by the nauseating smell of fresh blood in the air. I could see the vultures tearing off warm meat from the body and faces of the poor sufferers, and all I could do was stand helpless hoping that they would die faster void of all the pain they were suffering. The faint magical light started to fade out, and strangely, the vultures quit their cruel task and flew back towards the light. Life had not left the preys, and they were wailing from the pain they were enduring. I wanted to offer some water to them, but I could feel myself being tied down near the stream, unable to walk, unable to tender some helping words. They might have suffered for more than a day from that never ending pain, but never fell unconscious as if some mysterious force wanted them to suffer. By nightfall, the magical beam of light appeared above the rock and before I could get up it showered its rays on the victims and disappeared. I noticed that the wounds of the victims had healed up and the deep wailings of pain had stopped. I heard the healthy breathing as they fell asleep after giving some deep sighs of relief having been acquitted of all the pain. Before I could even think about the meaning of the drama I was seeing, I noticed the vultures arriving from the horizon yet again. Their cries of evil hunger woke up their preys at the rock, and they started screaming, knowing the dark fate that awaited them. Same trauma awaited them, and by the time the vultures left the same old chaotic atmosphere had sworn itself into power around me. These might have continued for days altogether. All of it looked like the story of Prometheus, who was destined for similar fate by Zeus, the god of gods. My thoughts became even hazier. Seeing the sufferings endured by them, tears started flowing from my eyes and as I wiped them off I could realize that my face was old with lots of wrinkles on it. I cried aloud for the magical force to come and take me – I had seen enough of these cruel sights, I had been hit hard by them. I prayed for my identity, I wanted to wipe off that mystery and the destiny that made me to see these people suffer.

Out of the blue, a bright sunlight engulfed the valley and I saw the rocky terrain lighted for the first time. I eagerly looked in the stream to see who I was. I saw myself – A strong old man, with sharp pointed eyes with lots of depth in them, determination radiating from each miniscule of the face, grit and strength written all over the psyche. I recognized myself – I was the father of Rajan, who died mercilessly in police custody around 30 years back – I am the professor who had advised words of wisdom and knowledge to generations of students – I am the man who suffered endlessly in the hands of tyrants, I am the man who endured the worst of fears, the worst of pains – I am the man who had been pricked by a thousand needles falling on me in the rain, when I heard the cries of my son who has been calling for me in the pain for past 30 years. Yes, I am the same helpless man, who fought years for justice, for bringing out the truth to public, for creating a new dawn in the place I was born – all as the last rites for my son. I am Professor Eachara Varier - I was pushed into dark by some heartless forces. They gave me a dead son, a mentally ill wife and an even darker 30 years to live. But I had the rage, I had the spirit to shout against the advent of dark….I, being an old man, needed an outstretched hand at times, but was deprived of that too. But, I fought. I fought hard with vigor, with verve.

The mystery about my self was solved, when I saw my face in the bright light. I turned back towards the rock and I saw the faces of the people who were enduring all that pain. The same people for whom I was sympathizing while wondering about the heinous crimes they did to get so much pain that was mounted on them. I could clearly see the visage of each person. The same faces that were pricking my consciousness for ages. The same faces which made me, wonder whether I can ever forgive them. The same faces that created doubts in this old man’s mind whether I had tiny droplets of vengeance in me. They were

Mr. KK, a well-known bureaucrat in Kerala who believes that every evil that he did in his holy life can be wiped out by visiting a holy temple. The state home minister during the time of emergency, who fought vigorously for injustice to prevail.

Mr. JP, Deputy Inspector General of Crime Branch - who personally orchestrated the sadistic entertainment of implementing heights of physical torture. The man who proved to the world that such nazist treatment can be implemented as a part of democracy as well, at the well-known Kakkayam camp, where Rajan was brutally murdered.

Mr. PN, the duty officer who supposedly kicked the life out of Rajan’s body on the nod of Mr. JP. From the descriptions of the fellow students in the camp, Rajan was pleading for his life when Mr. PN kicked him. I saw the images of Rajan’s young face begging for some more years in this earth, all nights for last 30 years. Will Mr. PN ever know what I lost?

Ms. IG, the mastermind behind hundreds of brutal deaths like these. Under the pretext of securing the country from danger, a single leader who was the Prime minister of India then brought in emergency which stayed from June 22, 1975 till March 21, 1977. Just before she had declared emergency, she was defeated in elections. She filed election petitions, filed cases in different courts of law, in vain. There comes declaration of emergency, and the darkest age of Indian democracy has come into existence as a result of the search for power from one tyrant person.

These were the people who contributed most for ruining my life. These were the people who killed my only son. Now, I can hear their cries closely. I see the pain that they are going through. I see their red tears flowing down their facade. I see their open flesh being torn apart by vultures. I should be happy. I should be celebrating. But….But, I am in a vacuum - I don’t know whether this is what I sought for. I am not a person who believes that counter sufferings would open the world for me. All I was looking out was for confession – Blunt confession for all the sins that this world has done to me.

Then, I saw the magical light again. I knew that the better power had written this verdict for them. I knew that HE wanted me to accompany him only after my destiny was fulfilled. I walked with HIM, hand to hand. I whispered “Free them. Let them learn”. I saw the smile in HIS face as we walked, and I heard the four mouths chanting confessions aloud from behind. We kept walking. When we neared the golden forest ahead of us, the chanting ceased and I turned back. There was no nose-shaped rock facing the evil dark gorges of the east. It had fallen. It fell to the depths of the valley where darkness of anguish lurked. I turned back. As I walked into tunnel of light with him, I had tears in my eyes. “Please let them learn. Let them have a chance, which they never gave my Rajan. I rest my case”. HE smiled at me again. At the very end of that tunnel of light I saw the shadowed silhouette of a young man with open arms welcoming me. He looked happy to see me, after 30 years. He brought hope in my mind, after 30 years. I….I realize that it’s the end of my journey. I smiled…with tears in my eyes, as he held me.


Since the moment I finished reading "Memories of a Father" - The autobiography by Prof Eachara Varier, I have been disturbed. I think I dreamt about it that night when I slept. I saw those vultures flying in, and I was happy. That's when I thought even more deeply about the professor and his life. The above reflections are my fiction and not a part of the book. Please use the link at the end of the article to see the book.

I remember Achan narrating the horrible incidents that happened during emergency (some of them in which he also suffered) during our long talks in the terrace. Although I had heard lots of stories about emergency from him and his books, I did not possess much info about Rajan murder case, until our dear Dhanush (Thanks to you!) passed the autobiography of Sri. Eachara Varier - ‘Memories of a Father’ (Translation to English by Neelan). I started the book at 1 am after I reached back home from work, and finished it by around 3 am, with a heavy heart. The pain and suffering that Sri Eachara Varier had undergone is beyond comprehension. If I had read this book before, I am sure that I would have given a visit to this great person before he passed away. Let there be more people like him who grace and touch the heart of our God’s own country. Let there be more warriors who are embodiments of mental strength and spirit. Let there be more people like Adv. Ramkumar (who was with Sri Varier from beginning till end, as an ace support in the fight for justice), Mr. Appukkuttan Vallikkunnu (the journalist who brought the inside story of Rajan case), Adv Eeswara Iyer (who took the case in court), Mr. Vahabudeen (the then, principal of REC, Calicut who assisted Sri. Varier for finding the truth). Let there be more people who can impart some change. Let there be more of us with open eyes and warm heart.

As has been mentioned by the translator (Neelan – An amazing job of translation by him), when we finish the book we feel that we are drenched in a rain. We feel that there is much more to be done to make ourselves more beautiful. It takes a lot to do something which can make our mind feel lighter and better. Let me stand in this rain for some more time, searching….yes…searching for a new Zeus, who can bind these dark forces to the rocks….I am waiting, with water in my eyes. It’s still raining and the horizon is dark and cloudy for me, with no magical ray of light or hope in the vicinity. Let it rain, let us drown in it.

http://www.ahrchk.net/pub/mainfile.php/mof/– Get the book from here.


Immigrant in Canada said...

I do remember my father telling me the story of an engineering college student murdered for cussing a politician...pathetic aren't we?.. we stood by and watched a father struggling to find wht happend to his son...we were too busy with our own life.. where was my voice? Why didn't I do anything?

Dhanush said...

They gave me a dead son, a mentally ill wife and an even darker 30 years to live.

The sad thing is they even didn't give him thebody.
Beautifully put in Man. You know what , I haven't read it till now. This forces me now.

Rose said...

The first thing I am gonna do today is start reading this book...

Alexis Leon said...

A very sad chapter in the Kerala history came to an end. I was a small kid when the emergency was declared so didn't know about the atrocities that were carried out all over India.

Sometime back, I remember reading in Malayala Manorama about the real Rajan in search of whom the police came to the campus and how the wrong person got arrested, tortured and murdered. Very tragic.

Venkateshwar Sahai said...

Great post da. I cant help but relate it to Punjab - Partition (bcoz of IG's dad), and Operation Bluestar (IG herself). And to think that these 2 crooks ruled India for around 30 years in India's 60 years of freedom!! Makes you wonder if we were better off under British raj..

pophabhi said...

Sarah: Really. The scenario is not easy too. If you try to do something about it, the gangs of the politician will start messing with your family. Basically, you return to the unresponsive mode again. We always keep saying that the basic root of problem is corruption in police, corruption in govt.offices etc...But actually the basic problem is the System itself. I firmly believe that if Patel or Netaji came into power instead of Nehru, a lot of things would have worked out better.
Dhanu: You are right da. Its said that JP actually arranged for burning the body of Rajan in sugar so that they cant even retrieve the bones back. They deprived the old father any chance to perform the last rites for laying Rajan's soul to rest. Abuses won't do anything for their heinous acts.
Rose:Thanks for passing by. Hope you went through the same journey in that book.
Alexis:Let me give you one more information. That very newspaper lived to its tradition by publishing an editorial 4 days after the case started - about lot of false stories and information about the character of Rajan. Sri. Varier who was pained a lot had replied back to the editorial, but Manorama did not publish it. He had to publish it through some other newspaper. Hypocrisy to the core!
Venkat: Spot on, Venkat! You spoke my mind. Just that - Imagine that these two spoiled the country so quickly! If there is a way to go back, Patel should have been the PM. I dont know if India would have been a super power, but certainly would have been far better than what it is now. This is where we need to admire Japan and Germany - to build such strong nations after they were totally wrecked in 2nd world war.

neermathalam said...

Still my heart beat for truth
It is an exceptional incident
It happens everywhere in the world
All are grey none is pitch black

Am I blind or just confused
I lost my spine where did i lose ?
The more I shout I find silence
Am I wrong or is it you are right ?

When all justifications shun me
I will be a crusader,to cleanse
Cleansing is a moral act ! Now I
know how extremists are created

I dont know whether I m too emotional..But the piece did the job of wetting my eyes again.. the agony the helplessness..the shout..evry thing was evident..
You are born writer...Admire you sir !!! just plain admiration...

Anonymous said...

KK is not well known buerocrat(i dont get the spelling)...typing mistake :-)
He is a politician....who lives up to the saying that politics is the last resort for scoundrals.

But I believe that all men are grey none is black or white...unless proven wrong...

But KK is more black..and find real darkness in his smile..and when he was asked about Echara varier ? he retorted..who i know many variers..

Kanna...paritranaya sadhunam...
vinashaya chadushkritaam...ennalle....
What for are you waiting...to take him up..are u building a new hell for all thes people..

silverine said...

I hope at least in death, Eachara Varier found the answers he was seeking when alive.

Suji said...

Touching post. Why does power makes man become so inhuman?

starry nights said...

have to read that book.really sad.

Anupama said...

Thanks for the link, its really very touching. Evevn though I have heard much about this before , never though too deep about it.

pophabhi said...

Neermathalam: Its a bad bad world. Finding white in black is difficult and thats what we try to do. Thanks a lot!
Anon: The question 'are you building a new hell for these people' caught me unaware. Awesome!
Silverine: Lets hope so and pray for that!
Suji: Its all in the immaturity of mind. Power should make people better. Converse is always true!
Starry Nights: Hope you liked the book.
Anupama: It gets to your heart. It is touching. Thanks for visiting.

Deepak said...

though i have hrd, its the first time i have tried to know the details.

thanks a lot for that link.

peter said...

Its simply superb abhi..no words to it rigthly laid down words,never u faltered in the line to acheive this great work, i quite admire you on comming up with such a good work

pophabhi said...

Deepak: Great to know that this has been of some assistance for you.
Peter: Getting a compliment from you is very valued for my personal self. Its even more satisfying to know that you enjoyed reading the article. Thanks, buddy!

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