Sixty nine years of India’s freedom is over now. And fifteen and a half years of Abdul Nasar Maudany as an under trial is over today on August 17, 2016! Perhaps it is time to analyse the implications of both these facts.
`When the entire people of this country have food to eat, house to sleep, water to drink, light, education, health and legal protection and when they can live a life with affection for each other with proper security, only then, the meaning of freedom will be complete’ – Abdul Nasar Maudany from jail, August 15, 2014.
Today, thousands of people’s movements in India are struggling on the issues related to land, water and forests at this moment after India’s independence. The loot of the colonial forces on India’s natural resources back in history is being repeated today in such a way that even the British had not even dreamt. The power to loot was transferred, in a much more aggressive manner.
Who is a citizen in this country and who is not is being more clearly spelt out in these sixty nine years. The Adivasis, Dalits, women, sexuality minorities, marginalised nationalities, maginalised linguistic identities, religious minorities, marginalised nationalities and many other sections of suppressed identities are still struggling for their freedom – a freedom which was celebrated in this land every year for sixty nine years. The freedom struggle is a continuous process in history and it did not stop at August 15, 1947.
When the violators of freedom rule this land of celebrated free India, those who really struggle for freedom are given their due recognition and space: `In jails’! Those who question the process of such violation of freedom and those who defend the rights of those whose freedom is being violated, are being given an exclusive status of anti-nationals. They have not used bombs or advocated the use of bombs, they have not used guns or advocated the use of guns. They have not used violence or advocated the use of violence. Yet they are termed as `anti development’ and `anti nationals’. All they have done is to act with conviction for the freedom of their people, like our ancestors in political history who fought the British for India’s freedom. And the response of the State machinery in India in such situations can shame even the British rulers. To whom does this nation belong to is clearly being spelt out today after 69 years of our independence. There is no space for any spelling mistake on this.
Among those thousands who fight for freedom today, Abdul Nasar Maudany stands apart for many reasons. For knowingly or unknowingly he has touched a nerve through which the most crucial blood of life of India’s present freedom struggle is being regulated. He raised his voice for the freedom of many. His sustained denial of his own freedom is not just the result that vociferous voice alone, but that it touched a key to India’s present freedom struggle. And that key was his slogan for the unity of India’s minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised sections!
The reading habits of Maudany right from his childhood was diverse. Today, he cannot read! His blindness was a gift from the Parappana `Agahara’ jail authorities who denied his minimum medical needs for a long time. Why is this man hunted? Again and again? Who benefits from such a hunt? Who masterminded such a hunt? The picture is becoming more and more clear out in the open today.
Maudany was arrested on a fabricated case of his involvement in Coimbatore blast and he was kept as an `under trial’ in jail for nine and a half years. After nine and a half years, the judge gave the verdict that he was innocent. It was not his crime, but it was his innocence which cost him nine and a half years of his precious life. If such a crime on an individual is happening in this free India, then there is something wrong with our freedom.
After wasting nine and a half years of his precious life in jail for no reason Maudany came out and stated that he has forgiven all those who conspired to violate his freedom. He did not pursue any legal case on those who fabricated him. He did not file any case for compensation from the State for wasting his nine and a half years. The reason was his compassion and his compassion was his weakness. Abdul Nasar Maudany was a victim of his own compassion. For if he had filed such cases, he would not have been in jail again today. It would have given a message to those fabricate cases under India’s draconian laws on Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and human rights activists. India will be free only if those who exercise their powers are accountable to the public. The freedom struggle to make such accountability is a long process.
Maudany was arrested again with fabricated charges on his alleged involvement in the Bangalore blast under the draconian law called Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a law which is being fought by the human rights activist for a long time. This time, the conspirators are working more hard and determined to violate the freedom of this free citizen forever. For a long time, the Karnataka police was desperately trying to find witnesses for the fabricated case on Maudany. All the witnesses have been publicly proven to be false. Some witnesses were not even met by the Karnataka police, forget the idea of getting a document with their real signature. Many witnesses have come out in the open stating that the Karnataka police is lying. But now, the desperation of the Karnataka police is to find more witnesses so that Maudany can be kept inside forever. And the newly found witnesses are connected with BJP or RSS. It is therefore stark clear today, whose conspiracy it was to violate Abdul Nasar Maudany’s freedom.
The most recent witness produced by the Sangh Parivar in court is M.A. Prbhakar. M. A. Prabhakar is qualified. He is a BJP local leader. And the Sangh Parivar has a specialised team of people who are qualified to convert reality into fiction. They work within their organisation, with the police or with the media. M.A. Prabhakar has definitely received his M.A. in converting reality into fiction. He has stated in court recently that he had seen Maudany in Coorg. Now what can the court say? It is a different story that Maudany has never been to Coorg in his life. And the time that the Karnataka police states is within the time when Kerala police was with Maudany all the time. The proof is there in the home department of the Police Department of Kerala itself. As per the RTI enquiry received from the Home Department of Kerala, Maudany had visited only 11 places during the period stated by the Karnataka police. Coorg is not one among these. So if Maudany had visited Coorg, how come Kerala police did not know? But the BJP qualified M.A. Prabhakar has pointed out Maudany in court saying that he had seen Maudany in Coorg. In spite of his high Sanghi education, like all Sanghi blunders, this Master of Arts Prabhakar also blundered. The date he mentioned in the court of having seen Maudany in Coorg was after the Bangalore blasts! God knows why Maudany came to Coorg to plan Bangalore blast after the blast!
As I have stated in my earlier writings, my problem with the case of Abdul Nasar Maudany is not that he is fabricated. My problem is that he is stupidly fabricated. The mainstream media has so far parroted the words of the police machinery without doing any independent investigation. There has been no real investigative journalistic report on Abdul Nasar Maudany’s case all these all these fifteen and a half years except from the late Mukundan C. Menon during Maudany’s Coimbatore jail term as an under trial and from KK Shahina during his `Agrahara’ jail term. Mukundan C. Menon is no more. And KK Shahina has already paid a heavy price for when the Karnataka police charged her under UAPA for her investigation.
Media is a presumed pillar of any democratic society. If the media can not bring out the truth, then who can? The question remains is not just whether there is a free, fair, just and ethical and press in India more than whether there are ethical institutions of police machinery and legal system in this democracy. The question is also the silence of the fence sitters who understand the problems and yet `afraid’ to take a stand publicly. The `image’ they may lose for defending a human rights defender like Maudany, seems to be more than the human rights violations on Maudany himself. The real democracy will function only if these opportunistic fence sitters open up their views in public. They include cultural personalities, legal experts, journalists, activists, politicians and laymen like you and me. India’s freedom can be dumped into a dust bin if all these factors collide. The challenge is to be seen in the later portions of this theatre.
But the real question is who pulls the strings to fabricate Abdul Nasar Maudany. For all I know of Abdul Nasar Maudany, I can only consider him as a human rights defender. When the Babari Masjid was demolished and attacks on the Muslims followed in Mumbai, Gujarat and many other places by the Kar Sewaks, I have seen Muslims who shaved their beard and changed their Muslim name plates in front of their houses in Mumbai. But Abdul Nasar Maudany stood prominently in Kerala defending the rights of his own community. He started paying the price of his convictions on human rights from that time onwards. His house in Kollam was attacked twice, forcing his parents and family has to leave the house for two years and his leg was bombed by the RSS. The only bombs Maudany has seen in his life was one which hit his head without blasting and the other which hit his leg, crippling him forever. When the RSS worker who threw the bomb at him fell at his one foot and cried to save him and his family, Maudany’s compassion played again. He saved him and his family. But Maudany and his family were not saved. The fascist forces did not spare even this compassionate cripple. They created stories of `provocative’ speeches of Maudany filing fabricated cases on him. Even the Hindu judges did not find any substance in their claims. What Maudany at that time and till today repeatedly said was: `Even if a thousand mosques are demolished, let no fistful of sand be removed from a temple, my children!’ But the Sanghi propaganda was accepted more by the mainstream. And nobody compared the vicious, provocative hate speeches conducted by the leaders of the Sangh Parivar. They did not end up in jails. They became ministers in this democracy!
When Maudany came out of Coimbatore jail, after the judges were completely convinced that his case was fabricated and that he was innocent, warning the prosecution not to bring such fabricated cases before the court, he was still drawn to the struggles of freedom of people in this country. With one leg he travelled to Chengara where he expressed his support for the Dalits struggling for land rights. It was during this time that Maudany supported the struggle for the land rights of the Adivasis in Waynad also. The paradox in this situation is that Abdul Nasar Maudany supported CK Janu in her struggle for the Adivasis. But CK Janu ended up with the BJP family.
Later, while remaining in the Parappana`Agrahara’ jail of Bangalore, he supported the on-going struggle against POSCO in Odisha, when the leader of the anti-POSCO struggle, com. Abhay Sahoo was in Jail. Said Maudany: ` I would like to express my support to the struggling villages in Orissa and their leader Abhay Sahu, who is spending his time in jail with fabricated cases. I appeal to all freedom loving citizens in this country to support the campaign against this invasion on the fundamental rights of our citizens and campaign against the fabricated cases on Abhay Sahu and hundreds of villagers in Orissa. I also express my full gratitude and thanks to the anti POSCO movement in Orissa for supporting and expressing concern over the human rights violation on my own case.’
Comrade Abhay Sahoo is a CPI leader and the anti-POSCO movement is one of the rarest people’s movements that the Communist Party of India can be proud of. From jail to jail, Abhay Sahoo and Abdul Nasar Maudany understood each other. But many leaders of CPI would still go along with the false propaganda of Sangh Parivar on Maudany. Again, it was when Maudany was in jail, that he supported the ongoing struggle of the villagers against Koodankulam nuclear plant. It was at a time when the CPI(M) leaders were still confused about the term `nuclear energy’. It was only much later that Prakash Karat, the then General Secretary of CPI(M) stated that `nuclear energy is not viable for India’. Abdul Nasar Maudany was much ahead on this issue. But those villagers who struggled against Koodankulam nuclear plant facing sedition charges of being `anti nationals’, would understand Abdul Nasar Maudany much better than our CPI(M) comrades. Many of our comrades would still go along with the propaganda unleashed by the Sangh Parivar on Maudany.
But the catch word in Kerala’s political scenario is `fascism’ – without understanding a wee bit about what it means and how it operates. I would advise my leftist comrades that if you want to study how fascism operates in India, just study what it has done to a human rights defender called Abdul Nasar Maudany. His life and experience speaks everything about how fascism operates. For he is a Muslim target in India, like the Jew target in fascist Germany. The only difference in the Indian context is that the fascists in India were more successful in building popular opinion against their target, generating support even from some of the secular forces.
Abdul Nasar Maudany is a human rights defender. What is happening to Maudany is only a symptom of what is happening to human rights in this country. India has no right to celebrate the freedom struggle and independence day, unless this country can protect the human rights of the human rights defenders. Indian democracy will crumble, if the freedom of the human rights defenders is targeted. The only force which knows this, unfortunately, is the fascist forces.
Given all these negative shades of present reality, the only thing that the court can nail him is on his appearance. The appearance of a Muslim! But is that legal enough under the Indian Constitution drafted by BR Ambedkar? And whatever may be the decision of the court, I as an atheist who does not share Abdul Nasar Maudany’s Islamic views, am proud and inspired to say loud and clear that `Maudany, your freedom is our freedom!’
K.P. Sasi is a writer, cartoonist, activist and film maker. His documentary film on Maudany can be seen at: https://countercurrents.org/sasi090414.htm