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Even as the former spokesperson of the largest political party on earth, Nupur Sharma – currently under the protection of the intrepid constabulary of the Delhi Police – successfully evades a tryst with the Mumbai Police for her truly incendiary statements and Deepak Tyagi aka Yati Narsinghanand continues to finger the rosary of genocide under the guard of the Uttar Pradesh Police, Mohammed Zubair, fact-checker and bête noire of Hindutva, has been arrested by the Special Cell of theDelhi Police in the course of an operation that is both stunning and audacious in conception. Credit must be given where it’s due.
I mean who but the maverick geniuses of the Delhi Police’s very special cell can conceive of a ruse as smooth as summoning Zubair to investigate one FIR registered against him in 2020 (against which there is a high court order restraining arrest), in order only to arrest him, on the basis of another FIR, freshly baked in the oven where the dough of the flimsiest of charges warms to rise as the well done cake of serious allegation.
And so, Mohammed Zubair – first held under a day’s police custody – has now been remanded for four more, to allow the police to ‘investigate’ the accusations written against him in FIR no. 172/22 under sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code.
Forget Machiavelli, Chanakya himself would be proud of the way in which the regime has demonstrated its capacity to restrain its designated principal adversary in social media (which has, of late, been cluttered by way too much AltNews-The Wire-Scroll-Caravan-Newsclick facticity) on the very same day when its titular head pledged to safeguard ‘online liberty’ with the G7 group of countries. Now if that doesn’t count as a sanskari PR coup – massaging hardcore Hindutva at home while simultaneously shaking a leg with gullible liberals abroad – I don’t know what does.
Anyways, to return to the Hindutva Heartland, I saw, Swami Anand Swaroop, one of the original genocide mongers of the Haridwar Hate Assembly, issue, and then swiftly retract, a tweet saying Zubair had it coming for having exposed him and his cohort in saffron for their genocide calls. A tad embarrassing, because it amounted to an admission that the Haridwar Haters were effectively pulling the Union home ministry’s strings.
I also heard Narsinghanand calmly state that the charges against Zubair were far too mild. He didn’t exactly spell out what punishment he had in mind. But going by his past pronouncements against people who happen to be Muslim, I have a fairly good idea.
But before we consider what the FIR against Zubair actually says, we need to know what transpired within the mind, heart and soul of its progenitor. Sub Inspector Arun Kumar of the Delhi Police, whose complaint forms the basis of the relevant FIR, has said that he recently came across a tweet from a handle named ‘Hanuman Bhakt’, objecting to Zubair’s 2018 tweet on the 19th of June. It was after reading this tweet that SI Kumar felt compelled to register his complaint. And so, FIR no. 172/22, came into the world, as fresh and as fragrant as a marigold placed by a true constabular devotee at a cherished Hanuman temple at a regular police station somewhere in North India.
The Twitter handle ‘Hanuman Bhakt’, located in Rajasthan, had made only one post (the one against Zubair) on the 19th of June, subsequent to registering itself in October 2021. The handle had zero followers at the time of making the allegation.The allegation itself objected to Zubair linking the Hindu deity Hanuman with the word ‘Honeymoon’ in a tweet uploaded by him in 2018. According to ‘Hanuman Bhakt’, the aforementioned tweeter, this is an insult, because Hanuman is considered to be celibate by many devout Hindus. How, cried the injured soul, can Hanuman go on Honeymoon?
What the epics actually say
As with most stringent vows cited in the Hindu epics, Hanuman’s vow of celibacy is subject to the pulls and pushes of Shastric flexibility. The intractable problems is as follows – how can the son of the wind bear sons if he is celibate. And like any good Indian male, he must have progeny. How else can today’s Bhakt claim a patrilineage worth going to the akhada with.
And so, there is the semi-simian/half crocodile – Makaradhwaja – born of a sliding sublimated-sweat-drop of Hanuman, dropping (as he, still hot from his exertions in Lanka, dipped to cool off into the water of the sea) straight into the fertile and the expectant mouth of a lady-makara, a fortuitous sea-she-crocodile. After a few months of incubation within this sea-creature, out comes Makaradhwaja, son of Hanuman. And so the vow of celibacy and the need for propagation are reconciled. The great Hindu genius of ‘Upaya’, expediency, is once again triumphant and finds a way. Makaradhvaja has a later career as the valiant gatekeeper of the hell-kingdom of Ravana’s brother Ahiravana, but that’s another tall story.
Interestingly, the birth of Makaradhwaja gets an interesting twist as one moves a little to the east. The Ramayana’s adoption of a ‘look east’ policy is replete with interesting consequences. And Makaradhwaja being a product, not of accident, but of desire, is one of them.
In Ramakien, the much celebrated classical Thai version of the Ramayana story, Hanuman’s son, Makaradhwaja, now called Macchanu, is a love-child.
Hanuman is helping Ram build the bridge to Lanka with his monkey-cohort, but each night, the stones they place are mysteriously taken away. Hanuman dives into the ocean to find out what’s happening and chances upon a legion of mermaids, busy undoing by night what he and his monkeys have built so arduously by day. Hanuman confronts the leader of the mermaids, Suvarnamaccha, (literally, ‘Gold-Fish’) who happens to be Ravana’s daughter. The celibate, as often happens when confronted with sudden and exceptional beauty, is smitten. What follows is a long seduction, a protracted submarine Hanuman honeymoon in which Hanuman gets Suvarnamaccha to switch sides, ditch her father, stop dismantling the bridge, and so help Rama win his war. Suvarnamaccha, in exchange, gets to have Hanuman’s baby.
The great Bengali comic writer, chemist, lexicographer and redactor of the Sanskrit epics Rajshekhar Basu, better known under his pen-name – ‘Parashuram’ – wrote a wonderful short story called ‘হনুমানের স্ব্প্ন’ / ‘Hanumaner Svapna’ (‘Hanuman’s Dream’) in the 1930s, in which the retired Hanuman, troubled by dreams he has in which his ancestors remind him that he has not fulfilled his debts towards them by producing progeny, proceeds, with Sita’s blessings, to try and find himself a monkey-bride, suspending as he does so, his vow of celibacy.
His adventures and misadventures in his quest for a bride take him through the Dandakaranya forest back to Kishkindha (where he doesn’t get the welcome he thinks he deserves) and then to the domain of Kicchat, to seek the hand of the reigning princess, the beautiful she-monkey, Chilimpa. In the end Hanuman fails in his quest, and exchanges a reluctant return to celibacy with the promise of immortality, thereby seeking an eternity of servitude to his ancestors in lieu of producing progeny.
It is, if nothing, a tale of Hanuman’s perpetually deferred Honeymoon, told in the mock-classical, faux-high Bangla scansion beloved of Rajshekhar Basu.
Luckily for him, Rajshekhar Basu ‘Parashuram’ died in 1960. He was spared the attention of the celibacy obsessed ingrate ‘Hanuman Bhakta(s)’ and their inept agents in the Special Cell of the Delhi Police.
The world-wide-web of conspirators
Currently, Makaradhwaja, the son of Hanuman is on the market as an Ayurvedic tonic sold by the corporation known as Patanjali Ayurved. Baba Ramdev’s efforts at securing the health and well being of his customers has ensured that 2 grams of Makaradhwaja retail at the modest price of a hundred rupees only. Patanjali Ayurved’s promotional and marketing literature around this product named after Hanuman’s progeny promises, among other things, to increase the libido and stimulate physical desire. The tonic seems designed to be an aphrodisiac.
Now, we have a problem. And it’s not just in the atma-nirbhar indigenous pharmaceutical industry.
Because as we know from Nupur Sharma’s televised outburst, there is no domestic social media kerfuffle that does not have its external relations catastrophe lie in waiting. Having just about recovered from drama across the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, the MEA, otherwise known as the Ministry of Embarrassing Arguments has to deal with the possibility of a tropical cyclone brewing astride the Andaman Sea. What if, following Bhakt-Police action against the fabricators of the evil idea of a Hanuman-Honeymoon nexus, there were to rise a demand for the immediate sanitisation of the Thai Ramayana to meet Hindutva’s exacting expectations of Hanuman’s celibacy? Will demarchés be issued against the Thai ambassador. Will Yogi Adityanath no longer make his regular trips to Bangkok for higher Dharmik purposes and feeding photogenic baby Tigers? Will the ‘look east’ policy become cross eyed and the delicate negotiations with assorted Naga rebels in Bangkok’s toniest hotels now have to come undone? So much hinges on the fate of a little FIR.
But let’s come back, after this long submarine digression, to what the FIR actually says. It proceeds, as follows :
“Transmission and publication of such posts has been deliberately done by Mohammed Zubair@zoo_bear through electronic media to insult the religious feelings of a particular community with the intent to provoke breach of peace…,”
Apart from considering what to do with the officials of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in New Delhi, I am waiting for SI Arun Kumar to make posthumous complaints against Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Rahi Masoom Raza and Farooq Sheikh, for the deliberate transmission and publication of the film ‘Kisi Se Na Kahna’ in order to insult the religious feelings of a particular community with the intent to provoke breach of peace.
Naomi Barton has demonstrated successfully in her recent article in The Wire how this film is at the root of all this trouble caused by Mohammed Zubair and I need not repeat what she has argued.
All I want to say is that a Supreme Court constituted SIT must also be formed to investigate those officials of the Central Board of Film Certificate who surreptitiously gave this dangerous and anti-national, anti-Hindu Hindi film directed by a perfidious Bengali, a ‘U’ (for Universal Exhibition) certificate in 1983. If any conspiracy is unearthed, all conspirators must be punished for realising, or attempting to realise, any or all of their ulterior designs.
Clearly, Mohammed Zubair was only acting under the influence of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1983 film, Kisi Se Na Kahna. That much is clear, from the visual tweeted by him.
In the fitness of things, in addition to using the four extra days of custody a magistrate gave them to interrogate Mohammed Zubair and unearth details of this anti-Hanuman conspiracy, the Delhi Police must also conduct a seance to summon the wayward spirits of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Rahi Masoom Raza and Farooq Sheikh, with a view to arresting them, as soon as is possible. All angles, including the possibility of ‘love-jihad’ propaganda being surreptitiously offered under the guise of a rom-com featuring a Muslim actor (who has a Hindu name in the film) wooing a Hindu woman must also be considered.
Perhaps the occult powers of ‘Hanuman Bhakt’ – the man, woman or group behind the now-deleted Twitter handle which the Delhi Police stumbled upon before filing their FIR against Zubair – can be mobilised and deployed to read the Hanuman Chalisa, just in case any officer or constable gets scared or incapacitated while confronting the ghosts of the dead conspirators.
Understandably, any spirits that will answer to names like Rahi Masoom Raza and Farooq Sheikh must be especially dangerous for good Hindu policemen. Accordingly, the careful and diligent adoption of abundant caution is strongly advised while undertaking this difficult but extremely necessary task.
The Delhi Police, with us, for us, always, must stay on high alert.
Postscript: In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Golmaal’, 1979, there is a hilarious scene in which Bhawani Shankar, played by Utpal Dutt has his moustache tugged by a cop in the police station because the senior police officer, played by Om Prakash, mistakenly think that Bhawani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) is a smuggler.
It is then that the angry and misunderstood Utpal Dutt delivers that memorable line to the policeman Om Prakash –
‘aap pulis officer nahin, foolish officer hain’
Whatever else may have changed during this interval of time, the substance of Utpal Dutt’s charge remains as solid as ever.
This article is based on Facebook posts by the author, a Delhi-based writer