by Dr. Madhav Prabhu
God, once called a meeting of all the humans in heaven especially from Belagavi, he said he wanted to solve the problems on earth and because of all the good deeds of the people of Belagavi he has selected them as the torch bearers of this plan.
God believed in the legal system and so decided the best way was through the court since he had limited budget available and all the cost cutting as austerity measures he decided to file a PIL (public interest litigation) for the problems. He called forward the ex-citizens of Belagavi to file PIL’s and promised he would make a budgetary allocation to fight the cases.
He was a little skeptical as he knew he could not afford the lawyers on earth but decided to go ahead with the plan. No ex-citizen of Belagavi was ready to come forward, we don’t complain when alive why do it after death.
Just when God was about to give the chance to Bengaluru there was commotion and a few people stood up, we are after all a land of brave Rani Chennamma and so three women came forward as volunteers, one small girl, one teenager, and another old lady. God wondered what their problem could be and wanted to know which issue they wanted to fight.
First, the little girl put forward her story.
Well, my Lord almighty all powerful, ever present, I was born a girl, which was in itself a disadvantage in my town, I was, however, my dads favorite, I enjoyed playing with my baby sister and all the kids in the locality, I was four and hardly knew boys are different from girls. My dad took me to his fields and I loved playing in the river nearby, we were a happy family. I loved chocolates like any other child of my age, chocolates were difficult to get in my village. One day an uncle came to my house, I was alone as mom and dad were working. He promised me a chocolate and took me to our field. There he took undressed me, ravaged me, beat me, he used stones and sticks to injure me, I fainted due to blood loss and was found there later, people around me kept saying something called rape, I did not understand any of it, I only knew it was difficult to breath, I did not feel my body, the pain was so much that I stopped feeling it. And then the pain stopped and I woke up here in heaven.
Soon there was outrage, all the elite women came out to protest in their best blacks, they had the media covering it all. People lit candles, politicians blamed the police, and police became active for some time. I thought that uncle who gave me so much pain would be punished. My hopes were however dashed down, all the aunties went back to their parties, the press stopped covering my news and were more interested in some actresses newborn, the police went back to sleep and the outrage felt silent. That uncle is out on bail and he keeps looking at other little girls with those crooked eyes, I have been forgotten and it seems the courts will run my case for the next thirty years, judges will change, that uncle will grow old and my parents will die in grief.
My PIL is not for justice because that I will be denied, my PIL is that someone should remember me, the pain, the suffering, don’t I deserve that much. I want those beautiful aunties to tell me whether they will be happy with someone protesting for merely a day for their daughters too. I want the court to tell the world that my life matters and that’s my PIL. God wondered how inhuman, humans could be but decided to ask the teenager what she wanted to fight.
The Teenage girl put forward her story
Dear God, the giver of all life, I was born in a middle-class family, the only daughter of my bank manager and teacher mom. My parents loved me, I was the apple of their eyes, I was great in studies and always stood first. I was always treated as equal to a boy, I was pampered by my parents and they got me everything I asked for including a bike. I was the pride of my family, I joined the engineering college near the city and was amongst the toppers in class. I was Miss Belagavi and my teachers thought I was very pretty. That day my college bus was stopped because one political party decided that there has to be a bandh, I had my internals and had to go to college. I took my bike and set out, I did not think a helmet was necessary. The road to my college was recently repaired but had developed huge potholes, I had to dodge the holes and that distracted me, suddenly a truck came out from nowhere and all I remember is that I was crushed by some very heavy thing, I woke up here in heaven.
The policeman who was taking a money from a non metered rickshaw came only after I stopped breathing. People were very angry, they blamed the local politicians, the police who were all the time after truck drivers now started doing their job.
My parents were shattered, their only daughter was dead, people wrote lovely obituaries for me on Facebook. The roads, however, were never repaired till the president came to Belagavi when patchwork was done and many people died before this happened. The press covered my death for some days and finally, the news slipped from page one to seven and finally disappeared. The road is still dangerous to transit, kids keep dying every day. The politicians and contractors have prospered, I heard there is a new tender for the road again, as the contractor is planning his daughter’s marriage something my parents dreamt for me all my life. I feel so angry, was my life not precious. I want to file a PIL, I want to ask the court why the roads are not made to last, why is the nexus between the administration and the contractors not taken to task, why do college going students have to keep dying, I want a PIL to recover all the money my hard-working parents paid as taxes, because the taxes they paid could not save their daughters life.
God wondered how his creations could be so corrupt. He still went on and asked the old lady what could possibly bother her after living so long.
Old Lady put forward her story
Dear God, the all knowledgeable she said, I was from a middle-class family, I had everything one can desire, I had two sons and a loving husband. My sons were the pride of my heart. We were quite a family, my husband owned a Kirana shop and the entire Galli bought all their grocery from him, my son’s showed good inclination to study, so my husband spent everything he earned on their education, I wanted to see my son’s being successful in life, we husband and wife ate only once so they could study. They did very well, one went to an engineering college and the other to a school of management. The colleges charged huge fees, claiming it was required for maintenance, and I sold most of my jewelry so they could get through, my son’s would buy me plenty of gold when they would start earning. Both my son’s passed with flying colors, they were called to America and offered jobs, they found beautiful girls and got married, they called us like guests for the marriage, we had to return alone as they had no leaves and had to rush back, I never saw my daughter in laws after that.
One fine day we got a notice from the municipal corporation that our shop was going to be demolished as they are executing the master plan, the shop was demolished the next day, my husband who owned the shop for thirty years could not take the shock and die on the third day, I was all alone I thought my sons would come back, but they did not find leaves again, their job and green card was at stake. My nephew did my husband’s last rites, he was paid by my son’s of course. I had nobody to even speak with and each day hoped my sons would come back. My son’s put money in my account and I was put in an old age home, I had lots of mothers and fathers like me there. One day while in the bathroom I fell down and broke my hip, I was rushed to the hospital, the old age home asked my son’s to pay for the expense, they did but they could not come, there were no holidays. I could not walk and I lay there in the bed, that winter was my last, I was shivering in the chill of Belagavi, in pain and in the cold I closed my eyes and woke up here in your presence.
I want a PIL in court, I want to ask my son’s to return my jewelry, I want the municipal corporation to compensate for my husband life and our shop. I want to know who benefited from the broad road now full of hawkers and parked vehicles. I want to know where my love failed that my son’s refused to do our last rites too. I want to know why we the elderly should die for want of love when love is all that we have given all our lives. God was shocked, all he wanted his children to do was love each other, how can there be so much apathy. And then, when he thought there was no one else, one young man stood up and said he wanted a PIL too, God wondered what his problem could be.
Oh Lord of all three worlds, I was a simple farmer from a village in the outskirts of Belagavi, we were four brothers and hence the four acres of land owned by my father was divided and I got an acre to my name, it was not easy for me, although we were getting our own land, we had to pay a hefty sum for the transfer and registration of the land deeds. I was all excited when I got the land, finally, I got to do what I wanted, I was full of enthusiasm. I was recently married and we just had the cutest kid ever. I planted sugarcane like most people around me and the crop came up very well, I sold the sugarcane to a sugar factory owned by a local politician, I was told I will be paid in installments and was given the first one, I was very happy with my first installment, I bought new clothes for my family, bought a small toy for my child. But soon the factory refused to pay my installments, they said they had a shortage of money, and the politician came in his Mercedes and told us all, how much money he had lost, he, however, promised to pay soon.
In the meantime, I had no money, but I did not give up, I sowed potatoes taking a loan from the local sahukar. I was sure my politician master would pay and till then the potatoes would see me through. After I harvested the potatoes I took them to the local market yard and to my surprise the rates of potatoes had fallen so much that even my investment could not be retrieved. I had no money in hand, no money to plant a new crop, no money for my child, no money for food. One day the politician offered me some old notes of thousands and five hundred, he told me I would get two hundred for every thousand I put in my bank and took out. I fell for it, I got two thousand rupees, I wondered where the politician got all the old notes from, every farmer in my village did this for him, I guessed the money was not his, I visited his palace to return the eight thousand.
I had nothing left, I was fed up of my life, one day I found an old bottle of pesticide outside my home, the loan had now grown beyond the price of my land, I took the poison in my field, it was bitter, it burnt my inside, I started frothing, struggled for air, but soon I fell asleep and woke up in your presence. The politician came to see my dead body, the opposition parties, the press everyone came, they promised justice, they agitated, the government changed, its been two years but the sugar factory has still not paid my family, they are still in a loss it seems.
I want a PIL asking the courts to give my money back to my family who beg to eat, I want to know if the farmer’s life is so cheap. I want to know how that politician got all the money and yet could not give me my due. I want to know why the courts become so slow in giving us the common man some justice. I want to know whether the people I feed working day and night, bother to help the hands that grow their food. I want to know where the profits of the sugar factory went.
At the end of it all God had tears in his eyes and he repented at what he had created, he put his hands on the four and told them, my dears you live with me, be happy, I don’t think I want you to go back and suffer any more for the mistakes I have done, I wish I had a PIL to get my world to be the way I wanted it to work.
As a layman from Belagavi, I wonder if these PIL’s really needs a dead man to be filed. While we are alive can’t we take this up. Is it necessary for us to have a problem in our homes to wake up to? Why is it that we have lost our spine. Sometimes I feel we are already dead while we claim we are alive if we can’t feel the pain of those around are j we not merely dead men walking. I know one day I will die but I hope I do something which showed the world I lived and lived to give a better deal for those who live after my life.