05 August, 2021

Armour Of Goodness

Solitary confinement and an arbitrary system fail to dispirit Binayak Sen. He lives on in hope.

Armour Of Goodness
In Chhattisgarh's theatre of the absurd, nothing should surprise. Not the fact that the genial Director-General of Police (DGP), Vishwa Ranjan, who vigorously defends Salwa Judum—the state-armed militia that has wreaked havoc against poor tribals—has a Husain print of Mother Teresa behind his desk. Or that he considers Binayak Sen a "very good doctor" (clearly, he hasn't read the official chargesheet) even if "a Maoist". Or that, on this particular day—though maybe not on some other day—it's OK for a journalist from Delhi to meet Sen. Or that the jail superintendent at Raipur Central Jail offers not just tea but unsolicited praise for the jail's best known inmate. "I don't know about his vichardhara (views), but he is a sajjan admi (good man)," he says. "You can tell from the way he speaks and the way he carries himself."

More hospitality, in the jailor's room, where I am to meet Sen—but with a tell-tale glimpse of reality. There is a cushioned chair for me, but for the man who has just been awarded the Jonathan...

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