22 January, 2021

The Couplet of Ruin

Murder of a small-time poetess, the mafia, sex, ministers. Will her killers be caught? Updates

The Couplet of Ruin
In death, Madhumita Shukla has hogged more headlines than in her short-lived career as a poet of sorts. L'affaire Madhumita—with its masala mix of an ambitious small-town girl, mafia, ministers, sex, sleaze and murder—hasn't been much of a deviation from the script of what has by now become an almost archetypal plot in the hinterland. And like ever so often, this tale of a woman's vaulting ambition gone sour has become the talking point in Lucknow. So much so that the different registers in which outlandish stories about her hectic social life are being told are getting blurred.

Madhumita's murder and the sleaze it's raked up has, as is the well-set norm with such incidents, obliterated the thin line of incredulity that separates stories in the local media from the feverishly imaginative neighbourhood gossip—of the netas she moved around with, the bureaucrats who called on her and the criminals who craved for her attention.

Her murder, and the salacious gossip left in its wake, has sent the BSP-BJP ruling coalition into a tizzy. There are fears that unless...


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