The adoption of Umar Khalid

As tears are shed for him, other sons like Hanumanthappa die for the country unsung.

Written by Prerna Malhotra , Vipin Malhotra | Updated: March 10, 2016 12:06:24 am
hanuman Lance Naik Hanumanthappa

Congratulations, Professor Apoorvanand, your interminably cherished dream and pent-up hankering for a son have been fulfilled. As you declared in ‘Umar Khalid, my son’ (The Indian Express, February 23): “I do not have a son. All I have is a daughter.” So, at last, you have been blessed with a son, a grown-up 28-year-old who has already been moulded into an ideal son. As you wrote, “Umar is the son every parent should desire and be proud of”.

Oh, really? Do you think that you represent all the parents of this country? Professor saab, if all the parents of this country thought like you, this soil would never have seen sons like Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who lost his struggle with death around the same time that Umar and his friends were chanting slogans for “Bharat ki barbadi”. If all parents would have thought like you, Kashmir would not have remained an integral part of this country till now. Not just Kashmir, even other states would not have remained ingrained in the sovereign republic of India.

Therefore, a friendly suggestion: Please continue enjoying your newly acquired fatherhood but spare other parents your falsehoods. They might hurt Indian parental sensitivities.

You go on to ask, “For if not Umar, what should youth be?” Pray, as a teacher, do you teach your students this? Are you trying to make a youth icon out of Umar? Is no one other than Umar Khalid fit for this? Thank god a majority of this country’s teachers are not “super-intellectual” like you. Otherwise, they, their students and “sons” would have ensured the barbaadi of this country — the wish of the sloganeers at JNU.

While blatantly over-praising Umar, you label him as an “ultra-Maoist” and “a person constantly moving leftwards” — the yardstick and criteria for his “adoption” are revealed. Now we understand why you felt a sea of emotions for a person you claim never to have met. His following of Mao, the ruthless Chinese dictator responsible for the brutal killing of millions of Chinese, seems to have added sheen to his “bleeding heart”.

You have quoted extensively from Albert Camus to valourise and eulogise Umar and to prove that you “accept him for his eternal rebellion” because to “rebel is to affirm one’s humanity”. Can you please elucidate how Umar and his comrades were following humanitarianism by vowing to destroy and divide the very country that is responsible for their survival in a premier university? Can you also explain, what is your son rebelling for, or against? If he is a rebel against the sovereignty of our motherland and dreams of separatism, the destruction and division of this country, then he must be ready to face the consequences along with his fellow comrades. This is the challenge of ordinary Indian parents to any number of Umars and Afzals.

You say that “Umar is Umar by name but he is not a Muslim.” Then why are your comrade friends playing the Muslim card, just like they frequently play the Dalit and other cards?

You believe that “Umar sees himself as a person without borders. He does not want to remain imprisoned by nationalities.” That’s absolutely fine. Rather, it’s fantastic. He is free to go to another country. But not to fiddle with the boundaries of this one.

You have vociferously challenged this country by declaring, “Woe to a country that does not stand by its Umars and Kanhaiyas, one which cannot bear being challenged by them, one which punishes them for raising their questions. Let us not sacrifice our Umars.” But you are mistaken, Professor Apoorvanand, no Umar or Kanhaiya — not even you — could challenge the sovereignty of this nation. If this country knows to love its children most dearly, it is also strong enough to ruthlessly crush its enemies, internal or external.

In the end, we hope that Umar’s biological father won’t have any objection to this “adoption” by a university professor. After all, he has five daughters the way you have one — though, personally, we don’t underestimate the valour of daughters.

Another thing we are still wondering: Why didn’t you “adopt” Afzal Guru instead of Umar Khalid? The latter has yet to prove himself in certain areas in which Afzal is already an “accomplished master”. Moreover, Afzal is a bigger “hero”, a greater “icon” and, therefore, a stronger contender for “adoption” by a super-intellectual professor.

Please excuse us the audacity of all this questioning and our suggestions. But for your declared claim in the media about a person already in police custody for a charge as serious as sedition, we would not have spoken up. This is, after all, your choice in a family matter.

Prerna Malhotra teaches English at Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi. Vipin Malhotra teaches political science at Sri Aurobindo College, Delhi.

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