A brute Chief Minister and the end of Protest Picnics
So the Lucknowi Comrades and their peaceful counterparts decided to get a piece of the action on the ongoing Shaaheen Bagh drama.
They quickly weighed their options and it turned out that unlike the kind hearted Delhi Police, they’re gonna have to deal with war hardened guardians of the badlands, the UP police. If anything, their actions of the past month made the state look like a land of the brave and home of the patriots.
Besides, it’s said, when road rollers have posters of Yogi on their side, the wise advice against dharna on roads.
Nevertheless, as comrades have come to put it- where there’s funds, there’s a loophole. They decided to start with appearances of a casual gathering for a picnic. They arranged for weatherproof tents, thick blankets and quilts. A huge tandoor and big
pots were set up for a non-stop supply of beef & biryanis (yeah, Lucknowiites get carried away in their Mughlai utopia).
A large bonfire was places besides the tents for a sweet shayari night. They would get goosebumps already just imagining the recitation of “Hum Dekhenge”, come nightfall. This promised to be the first such protest picnic with biryanis and kebabs for the proletariat and chai & biscuits for the daily wage protesters.
And soon it began. The lutyens media swooned upon them, gushing at their Bade ka kebab and Faiz poetry. Heck, they started worshiping them; Editors & reporters of NDTV, Ajtak and likes danced with joy, sang hymns to those 150 Dharnaites in a city of
five million. Their eyes were wet with excitement. Seemed they’d steal Delhi’s thunder, put Shaheens to shame in this show against CAA/NRC. The world will have something to speak of Lucknow besides Shia-Sunni riots.
But they forgot to account for their Frankenstein CM in this whole equation. The man they called saffron clad brute. One may ask, how would he take the joy of those frolicking dharnaites about to be the center of attraction of the world media ? ( the
local ones were ignoring them for some obscure reason). Well, not very well it seems. as soon after sunset the police barged into the Protest base camp built in the park and demolished the entire gimmick within minutes. They put in very clear words
that a protest has to be honest and has to be done like a protest is, not a picnic. Why Sir? Well, such an exercise in luxury-protesting would dash the hopes of the suppressed & oppressed classes of this nation. And clearly the UP Police won’t have it. Not under their watch.
All items were promptly confiscated. The sponsors of this glossy protest were nabbed and escorted to police stations to give them a guided tour of the lockups. It’s said the tourists had a real taste of Lucknow that night. Looking at their proclivity
to carnal desires, the ‘public utilities’ of the park were locked up and drums of water were poured upon the bonfire, extinguishing any remaining hopes of Faiz and other flames that night. They turned to protestors and said “Now.. go ahead, you’re free to protest here as much as you want, for as long as you like” and left the venue with the spoils of war illicit protest paraphernalia.
As the night went darker, sitting under an open sky and moon and stars, the very subjects of their romantic poetries felt like harsh overlords out to freeze and squeeze and take their souls away. First to sport disobedience were those who refused to part with their lives for petty daily wages. Once the crowd was gone, most others inconspicuously slipped out on one pretext or another.
The next day, protest venue was shifted, putting them right under the mercy of UP Police and it’s hard to say what’s more silent- the protest or Yogi’s justice.