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Those Probing Flames

March 2, 2009

What can we do, Raja”, stammered Pandian. That outburst came from a frustrated soul.

The question was answered by a defiant glare because Raja did not know the answer, but the people in the group never doubted Raja’s view on the subject because his eyes were alive with a rage, with a passion and the spider veins on his face throbbed in a violent manner.

All the people in the group were journalists in leading Tamil papers and all of them had met up to discuss an important issue. They believed in the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils and they all wanted the Lankan government to stop the genocide.
The dark settings along with the acrid cigarette fumes gave the room a sinister look and the somber, melancholic expressions of all the people did not help either. Raja was the person who had organized this meeting in the hope that they could come up with something concrete on the issue but the answer managed to elude them even after hours of debating.

With a heavy heart, Raja concluded, “I believe that our state government is doing what it can in this situation but unfortunately help is not forthcoming from our centre. We have tried everything here in Tamil Nadu, organized protests, called for hartals, written a lot on this in our papers, but alas nothing had happened so far”.

He looked around the room, noting the expression of every single person and with all seriousness continued, “We need to do something that will send shock waves that will rock and invoke the humanity in each one of us; waves that can be heard in faraway Delhi as well”.

He noted with satisfaction, as the tired eyes in the room lit up with curiosity and he felt the flicker of hope rejuvenate the whole room. His close friends knew that he was a man of very few words and that he usually backed his words with actions.

So what is the plan?” they all cried in union.
You will all see that tomorrow”, concluded Raja and his face hardly betrayed any emotion.

Raja could not sleep the whole night and he got up early the next morning and wrote his four page manifesto. He wrote his heart out, wrote all what he wanted. He was a pragmatist, but now, he threw all caution to the wind and wrote about peace and equality; mere words that he knew were just a dream. He wrote about his cause; things that he felt deeply about; things that would never be achieved in a hundred year coz he knew that he did not live in a Utopian society. With an idealistic smile, that resembled a sneer, he signed and dated the letter and placed it on his desk.
He looked at the clock and since it was eight, he made his way to the Shastri Bhavan in Nungambakkam. During the bus journey that lasted an hour, he had time to reflect on his decision. He knew that the path that he had chosen was irrevocable and not a good one but that one hour ride gave him time to calm his nerves.

Finally after a nerve wrecking hour, he found himself in front of the Shastri Bhavan at nine. The place was teeming with people who went about their daily life and he wanted to laugh at all of them; tell them that everything they knew was a lie and an illusion.

When the time was right, he bellowed a few slogans in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils so that people would take notice and doused himself with kerosene. He saw everything in slow motion and felt the stares of a hundred people. With a short prayer to Lord Murugan, he torched himself with a lighter and started laughing. Even though he could see the red flames all around him, he did not feel the pain as he was beyond physical sensation.

This was his way of making a difference; a difference to the society that he lived in; a difference to the society that he was going to die for and in his last sane moments, he felt at peace with the world……….

PS: Links: self-immolation . but why?

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Winnie the poohi permalink
    March 3, 2009 12:07 am

    15 min fame may be.. and desperation that the life is going no where…

    prolly they didnt think at all!

  2. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 3, 2009 12:16 am

    🙂 winnie, I think that is the second with a bit of the first… 🙂

  3. Bones permalink
    March 3, 2009 4:07 am

    Did his self immolation make a difference?No it did not…It only made a difference to him and his family…He gave up his life and his family lost a son…Self immolation is a bad idea all the way…

  4. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 3, 2009 5:06 am

    🙂 i agree but I wanted to show the reasoning behind such acts…..:)

  5. Kislay permalink
    March 3, 2009 6:13 am

    Tamil Genocide in SL ? I had no idea . All I heard about was that Vaiko and Prabhakarna want a Greater Tamil Ealam .

    Self-immolation is still better than suicide bombing . I guess , the thought of sacrificing himself for the cause , the martyr that will make out of him , propelled him to do it .

  6. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 3, 2009 6:56 am

    Kislay,
    a lot of civilians are getting killed in Lanka now….

    the thought of sacrificing himself for the cause , the martyr that will make out of him , propelled him to do it
    ——-
    yes, but I do not think that it has made a difference to Sri lanka or our centres views on the matter…

  7. Renu permalink
    March 3, 2009 7:05 am

    self immolation is not good for anybody, he has left his family and not fulfilled his dutyb towards them.
    But this sympathy wave..I really dont understand. Once anyone decides to live in a country..he must abide by the law of that country. suppose today any muslim country speaks on behalf of Indian muslims, shall we like it? wouldnt we call it an outsider’s interference in our internqal matters?

  8. Indyeah permalink
    March 3, 2009 3:59 pm

    this mindset is the kind that can develop in any gullible/naive/foolish youth and make him feel like he is something if only for a moment or two..
    this was about being a martyr and in other cases it is about picking up a gun and joining a ’cause’and becoming a martyr..

    its crazy ,solves nothing and as Renu says you leave loved ones behind..what consolation do they have?their son died for some cause in asome distant land?
    the cause would have been served better by living and fighting and raising one’s voice..

    I had read of this incident and was saddened…immensely..

  9. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 3, 2009 5:26 pm

    Renu,
    we will not like it if someone from outside speaks for us… 🙂
    you are right when u say,
    self immolation is not good for anybody, he has left his family and not fulfilled his dutyb towards them.

    Indyeah,
    you are right when you say that the cause would have been served better by living and fighting and raising one’s voice…… 🙂

  10. Solilo permalink
    March 3, 2009 5:59 pm

    Self-immolation!

    Just brought back the time of Mandal commission. So many of upper caste Hindus got influenced of some incidents of TV where a political party paid some to self-immolate themselves and then so many young got influenced and did the same.

    It was sad. Even some in our school did the same to oppose Mandal.

    Self-immolation or suicide just hurts your loved ones. Nothing comes out of it.

  11. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 3, 2009 6:27 pm

    yeah Solilo,

    all this does not pay….
    It was sad. Even some in our school did the same to oppose Mandal.
    —-
    that is unbelieveable Solilo…

    people need to grow up..

  12. Indian Home Maker permalink
    March 4, 2009 1:01 am

    Ajit I always feel if we are ready to die for a cause, then might as well totally and fearlessly devote yourself to it … I mean one was prepared to self immolate, what could be worse?

    So why not work in ways that would really help. Dying doesn’t help, sadly public memory is very short.

    But Yes, I can understand the desperation that causes it … that was your aim 🙂

    It isn’t purely idealism, I think some people are more ready to die than some others … could it be they are made like that, kind of ( though not the same) suicidal?

  13. Chirag permalink
    March 4, 2009 8:06 am

    We are are too tired and the hope is on a very thin thread, rational people feel they are walking with bullseye on there backs and our leadership is hopeless, so self-immolation though may not be rational but we must also understand there is nothing worst than the Helplessness.

  14. Poonam J permalink
    March 4, 2009 4:31 pm

    Very sad,i have always tried to understand the psychological foundation of self immolation and human bomb..expressing concern by acts like this cannot be said is cowardly. But this is an extreme expression of self denial, of denouncing injustice…and definitely not the right way to resolve issues.Sacrificing ones life with a commitment to a cause..is it a silent revenge or is it valor..i for one fail to fathom.

  15. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 4, 2009 5:33 pm

    yes IHM, you are right…

    I have always found out that the people who are desparate are either:
    1. Have nothing to lose
    2. have everything to lose
    3. are insane…

    Chirag dude,
    self-immolation though may not be rational but we must also understand there is nothing worst than the Helplessnes
    —-
    but these poeple are indians dting for Sri Lankan cause.. why is that…
    It is not helplessness…. 🙂

    Poonam,
    you are right when you say that it is not the right way to solve things…
    I also have the same question:
    denial or valor… 😦

  16. kanaguonline permalink
    March 4, 2009 8:51 pm

    I wont support Self immolation any day… because it is a loss of precious life.. anyway a well written story with an unexpected end 🙂

  17. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 4, 2009 9:28 pm

    Thanks Man… 🙂
    and yes I will not support it myself

  18. Happy Kitten permalink
    March 8, 2009 12:10 pm

    Ajit: that was smartly written.. you really do have a way to make others judge situations..

    While I have all sympathy for the civilians who slogged in Sri Lanka and who are now caught between the devil and the deep sea, I can never sympathize with those who turn helpless kids into killers and suicide bombers. I think It is only a few who are helplessly caught in this idealism and who gives up their life (self immolators) but as for the rest of the politicians, it is just another game that they play. And will the mighty leader of the LTTE send his children to die? There are multitudes of Indians who have been slogging in the Gulf for over a quarter to half a century or even more.. do you think they can seek any better rights? But then it is not for us to judge.. but I do hope Sri Lanka has also learned a good lesson and will tackle future issues politically.

  19. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 9, 2009 4:37 pm

    Thanks HK…

    I agree with this statement:
    I can never sympathize with those who turn helpless kids into killers and suicide bombers

    yes it is always the politicians who distort everything…

  20. Renu permalink
    March 10, 2009 3:37 am

    Ajith, I want to say that if anyoutsider speaks for me, I wouldnt be happy and it will aways complicate my problem..I shall give you a very simple and true example…..Whenevr I and my hubby had any arguement, my daughter will start supporting me and most of the time she will take the discussion to a different label and sometimes even to a wrong conclusion, becuase she loved her mommy and wanted to support her:) and I asked her nevr to speak between us, and i can goive you many examples, but it is also becuase I am a very righteous person….even in a quarrel, i would like to go wrong way to win.

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