Nobody knows how many they were in number. Official figures say at least 30,000. Unofficial figures go up to 1,00,000. But one thing is certain: what had started as a dharna and a students’ appeal to the vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University (JU) to punish the in-campus molesters of a girl student, had suddenly become a sea of passionate protest that flooded the streets of Kolkata last week.
How much progressive liberalism can our dear old right-thinking government take? How can it unflinchingly fall in line when our highest court looks below the belt? The avuncular, ostensibly God-fearing sarkar also needs to protect our revered social conventions, our cultural traditions, our delicate sensibilities.
It is not every day that I have the good fortune to agree enthusiastically with the venerable Dr Subramanian Swamy. Right now, I am in luck. Dr Swamy has been trying to quash a deal between Jet Airways and UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways; and this week the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond quickly to his charge that the government wrongfully facilitated this deal against the public interest.
In whatever he does, Narendra Modi likes to change the script. But for his maiden Independence Day speech at the Red Fort as Prime Minister he got rid of the script altogether. He spoke extempore. He spoke for more than an hour, he spoke with passion and sensitivity. And in general he talked sense.