Last Sunday I was watching NDTV programme “We, The People” aired directly from the premises of St Xaviers College in Kolkata. The subject was the love story of Rizwanur, a graphic designer with an established industrialist Ashok Todi’s daughter, Priyanka and sad filmy end of Rizwanur: “Muslim boy meets Marwari girl. They fall in love. The girl’s family is vehemently opposed to the match. Boy and girl get married and the couple moves into the boy’s house. When pleas and threats fail to bring the girl back home, her father calls the cops and ensures that she is sent back to her parents for seven days. Ten days later, the boy is found dead near the railway tracks.”
While Barkha Dutt was at her best, it appeared she could get every representative young persons and intellectuals of Kolkata They appeared to be really sad and to a very little extent angry. It reminded me of Nitish Katara and Bharati case. Rizwanur’s brother Rukbanur, with her mother was also there in the crowd and beyond my imagination, Rukbanur was very rational in all his views he expressed and appeared to be very mature. As expected, I couldn’t hear the mother’s view.
Kolkata is very alive to such issues. The incident has already brought the Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Jyoti Basu, Chief commissioner of police Kolkata, and other senior police officers in dock. While CID has been asked to investigate, a judicial enquiry also has been ordered. But the aggrieved family is seeking CIB probe and the people are with them. As usual, with the money power, the girl father has brought the police officers on his side. Priyanka has not appeared or has not been allowed to come out and speak publicly on the case. Her father, it appears is too big, in the industrialist-friendly West Bengal to be called by the police to express his views on the death of Rizwanur. Can someone imagine what he would have done if he would have been party to the marriage of his daughter and his son-in-law would have meted a death like one Rizwanur had to?
Marwaris are generally conservative. However, many are today much more modern than many from other communities. But what is that animal instinct that makes one take such an extreme step? Most of the people present in the programme didn’t believe that Rizwanur would have killed himself. I feel even if he killed himself it was because he was agonized to that extent. In both cases, the killer is someone else and he must be punished. But most importantly, Priyanka must come out on her own from the family of her parents and show the grit that she showed in marrying Rizwanur. The society must support her living independently and facilitate her to come out with the name of the conspirator if she knows. She should not repeat the story of Bharati Yadav who was transported to UK and made to tell a lie.
For many years, marwaris are in control of the politicians and officers, particularly police of West Bengal. How could a police commissioner declare the killing of Rizwanur as suicide without any investigation unless he knows what he is to conceal for his financier marwari friend? It reminds me of one of my own nightmares with my marwari tenant in Kolkata. The community shows extreme unity when one marwari rises against someone of other commuity. It is unfortunate but a reality. It was very much evident when Barkha snubbed one such marwari present among the people.
It hurt me when someone present in the programme remarked: “If Rizwanur would have been from an industrialist family such as Premji, Priyanka’s father perhaps would have never objected to the marriage.”
This is certainly ‘Shocking India’ that simultaneously lives in many centuries with many customs, traditions and social values of the Stone Age still continuing. But it becomes more disgusting if the politicians and police get into the business of saving criminals in garbs of rich men of the society.
Once Rizwanur is not there, the story is taking the usual turn. It is clear from a report in Telegraph: A state women’s commission team met her today, and according to them, “Priyanka said she did not know if it was suicide or murder, but she wanted the truth to come out. Priyanka still loved Rizwanur but would not speak a word against her father Ashok or the police.” Suicide story will get confirmed from reports and findings. Priyanka will forget Rizwanur and Ashok Todi will carry on with his business and keep on supporting the influentials that may be helpful someday.Who will bother about the poor old mother who lost her son in the process?