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Despite serious allegations against him, he is there as though unaffected

Despite serious allegations against him, he is there as though unaffected

The country’s top wrestlers have been staging a sit-in at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar since April 23. They have levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh. And, yes, he is the same man who in the winter of 2021 was seen slapping a young wrestler during a national championship event held in Jharkhand capital Ranchi, where he was the chief guest on the first day of the Under-15 National Wrestling Championship and whilst he was present there he went upstage to slap a young participant in the Under -15 category. He was seen slapping that young upcoming wrestler in full public view, yet he was not ousted from his top post. Perhaps, ruining and denting the very psyche of that young boy, yet nobody could dismiss or even question him.

Even today, in the summer of 2023, when women and men wrestlers have levelled serious allegations of sexual harassment against him, there he is, as though unaffected!

Why does this government of the day talk about welfare when it can’t protect the dignity of women and children! It’s these top wrestlers who have slogged for years, bringing glory to this country, yet they are getting treated so very shabbily. Why?

How hollow seems those political speeches and all those frilly well-crafted slogans of ‘beti bachao…’, when our sportsperson can be seen sitting in the open at Jantar Mantar, demanding action against this politician. It is an absolutely just demand. Yet their pleas seemingly going unheard.

Why is this particular politician getting this level of protection though he is accused of a serious crime – that of sexual harassment? Are women and the young safe when criminals can go about doing what they want, without any hurdles or fear of arrest and dismissal?

What’s happening, rather than what’s been happening, seems all too horrifying. If the country’s top wrestlers and their cries for justice can go unheard in this land, then one can well imagine the fate of the ordinary citizens, who could be going through hell. Imagine, the agony and apprehensions of Bilkis Bano, whose rapists and murderers of her young child, are roaming about so very freely after their release from the prison cells.

In fact, during rioting and pogroms, women and children and young boys are subjected to abuse by the rioters and the Right-Wing goon brigades unleashed all around, yet they, the riot pogrom victims, have to keep shut for the sake of their survival. I recall soon after the Muzaffarnagar rioting and displacements, women survivors detailing that though they know their molesters-tormentors but dare not name them, otherwise whatever remains of their homes and hearth will get ruined and demolished…Even during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom the injured- molested-raped survivors had to keep shut and sit all too quiet, for fear of the aftermath. Ironically, the very culprits moved about freely. Till date no closure. There’s an entire generation which suffered brutality and this fact alone means generations to come will be affected and yet here we think that after the initial round of political speeches, all’s under control. Okay! Not really!

This is the reality of these dark dangerous times.


Born were two significant personalities in the month of May- Saadat Hasan Manto. And also Mrinalini Sarabhai.

And on Mrinalini Sarabhai’s upcoming 105th birthday, on 11 May, I must focus on her sensitive outreach. Around the Spring of 2002, soon after the Gujarat pogrom, I’d written a piece for The Indian Express, along the strain: ‘Where is our God ?… Not In Bharat, Apparently!’ It was a painful cry from my heart. Perhaps, the cry was piercing enough to have touched Mrinalini Sarabhai.

Within a week of the publication of that piece, I’d received a handwritten letter from her. Soothing, gentle, sensitive words, relaying that together we are going to fight this battle against communal poisoning and also that no matter what happens we, the people of this country, have to put up a united front.

She had reached out to me at such a crucial juncture. This, when she didn’t know me. Nah, we had never met or spoken with each other. Yet, after reading my piece, she took pains to write to me at the Indian Express address, which was later re-directed to me.


Leaving you readers with this verse of - RAHUL GAUR - from the Amity Peace Poems ( Hawakal Publishers):

‘I Am Sorry./

I really am./

I am sorry for the little child/

Who waited and writhed in hunger,/

Whilst our saviours/

in their ivory towers,

lay with their bellies full/

in a deep slumber./

I am sorry,

oh, old lady,/

because you waited,/

while tears dried up/

on your cheeks/

for the one who would never return:/

he - your son,/

and the frantic crowds/

in the distance,/

smeared in his blood,/

danced in fun./

I am sorry/

for you - the poor man./

Barefoot you trudged along,

searching for the promised land,/

and your blood wet the ground,/

and your sweat,/

and the world raved and chanted

about the deeds

of our leaders great./

I am sorry/

for me/

because I waited and watched, /

as they cried for help/

and their eyes begged of me /

to stop./

I laughed at my helplessness./

And then I cried./

For all of you - mankind,/

because I was sorry,/

and I still am/

I still am.’

( the end )

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TAGS:Sexual HarassmentWrestling Federation of IndiaBrij Bhushan Sharan Singhwrestlers protest
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