Social media today is the place for the fourth battle of Panipat and the third world war. If Napoleon was born today, his Waterloo would have been a poorly written tweet and in the kingdom of Troy, Achilles’ heel would have been a troll.
In all these battles, however, that day of yore and today of gore, the tramlines of the warrior and the victim are defined the same. Here is King Geoffrey slashing the ghastly head of the hapless Ned Stark. The King laughs and dances in all his glory, the crowd chants on, the attacker and the supporters of the attack are all joyous. And amidst them, his daughters look on, one from the crowd and one from the podium where his head rolls away like a bloody hairy ball.They are the victims- silent, crushed, weak and voiceless.
Be it in the badlands of Syria or the goodlands of downtown New York, be it in the supposed heaven of Kashmir or the supposed hell of Boko Haram, when a head is rolled there is always someone who cheers and someone who grieves. When King Geoffrey executes Ned Stark, law is the attacker and a supposed outlaw the victim. When the night’s watch ambushes Jon Snow, outlaws are the attackers and law the victim. The insurgents of Boko Haram rejoice, the extremists of ISIS do, the white supremacists of New York chant the Christmas Carol for Trump, the separatists of Kashmir arouse the crowds, the ones in Chechen form human cordons, the chest thumping GauRakshaks wash the cows with human blood. Everyone has their leaders leading a revolution, everyone has their followers proud of being a part of one. The path is ominous, but they all have a reason. The law and the outlaw clash. Who is the attacker and who is the victim? Who is a revolutionary and who is an insurgent?
It is confounding. It should fill us with reason to believe that the law will always take the right course. But then, 100 years of slavery and 400 years of colonialism have been products of law. Gandhi thrown on the railways platform was an act supported by law. Warriors like us, the progenies of Achilles, are fighting it out in the fourth battle of Panipat. We all have a voice, we exercise it, we lead the attack on each other, we bleed, we fight back, we are sure we will win. We forget the victim, the one who hasn’t yet fought back, the one who is weak and disarmed, the one who has no voice.
When it comes to Kashmir, who then is this voiceless victim? Is it the Kashmiri Pandits exiled in their own country? Or the Kashmiri civilians blinded by pellet guns? Or the armed forces with their camps burnt away by a coward enemy overnight? The attacker is rejoicing, laughing away hysterically like King Geoffrey, at both our bravado and cowardice. The people at his kingdom are chanting the king’s name. And the victim is lost, weak and voiceless in the jungles. We the followers have a voice. Outside the law and the outlaw, we have a choice to give our voice to either the victim or the attacker. Or, we can wait for the victim herself to become an attacker. Then what will we do?