Angry at rising food prices, a man recently resorted to slapping Sharad Pawar (the Agriculture minister linked with more scams than he has hair).
Violence can never be condoned. However, often, one can empathize with the underlying emotions behind the violence. If a serial murderer or a rapist was found out – and seen to be walking the streets free, one could understand his getting slapped/assaulted on the streets. In fact, one might even approve of such acts. Similarly, if someone like Osama Bin Laden was presented (captured) in front of the American people, one might see an enraged American ‘break through the security’ only to slap or punch Bin Laden. That single act would capture the pent up frustrations and anger of an entire citizenry against Bin Laden.
Why then, do we cringe when someone slaps Sharad Pawar? Is he not a murderer? Wheat, sugar, onions – they are all out of reach of the poor Indian today thanks to Sharad Pawar. He single-handedly masterminded the price hikes in each of these (Wheat-2007, Sugar-2009 and Onions-2010). He has stolen from state governments, central governments and private institutions alike. As Anna Hazare once stated, Pawar has corruption running through his veins. Each of these corrupt acts – is not just a theft. There are lives associated with these decisions. Money meant for agricultural improvements and farmers goes into Pawar’s pocket. Farmers starve and die. Money meant for roads and bridges goes into the pockets of bureaucrats and politicians. Bridges collapse, roads turn into nightmarish accident zones – people die.
Corruption is not just theft. Corruption (at least in India) amounts to lost lives. Pawar should be (and by all looks, will be) tried in a court of law. But he shouldn’t be tried on corruption charges. He should be tried on murder charges.