“I am a student of Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. Pakistan did not kill my dad, war killed him. Because if there was no war, my dad would still be here. I fight for peace between India and Pakistan. Enough is enough.”
These were the words of a young Delhi University student and the daughter of a martyr, which led to her being trolled, belittled, mocked, abused and threatened with rape. Her clear and bold message of peace over war and dialogue over violence rattled the insecure patriots within our society.
To state in brief, cricketer Virender Sehwag mocked her, actor Randeep Hooda patronised her, RSS leader Rakesh Sinha accused her of exploiting her father’s death, Union minister Kiren Rijiju blamed her for playing into anti-nationals’ hands and another BJP MP Pratap Simha equated her with India’s most wanted terrorist – Dawood Ibrahim.
Sehwag’s Batting and Entrepreneurship
In the past couple of years, we have had numerous TV debates and a few real ones on the rising intolerance of the right-wing in India, so to save you from monotonous reporting, this blog is dedicated exclusively to Sehwag.
Of all the Twitter-savvy celebrities, why did he choose to stress his brain and mock Gurmehar Kaur? Is there anything peculiar about him? Or did he just happen to be a jerk for the moment?
We all know Sehwag for his unorthodox style of batting but many of us are oblivious to his similar style in entrepreneurship. In 2008, about 23 acres of prime land in Shilani Kesho village on Gurgaon-Jhajjar road was given to Sehwag’s Krishna Drishti Educational Society on a 33-year lease to set up a sports facility along with a school. The lease amount was set at Rs 3 lakh per acre by the Congress government in the state after consultations with the panchayat of the village.
However, even before the much-publicised sports facility, Sehwag launched an international school beginning academic year 2011. The school started charging around Rs 3 lakh per student for a single academic year, and the villagers since then have been up in arms against it because what they were promised was a high-class sports facility for their children instead.
To add to their frustration, the lease amount has been reduced to Rs 51,000 by the government without consulting the panchayat.
Is Sehwag getting this favourable treatment without any political patronage? Is it possible that Sehwag is cozying up to the BJP in order to make sure his golden hen stays blooming and fertile?
Sehwag’s BJP Connection
In 2004, there were numerous reports of Sehwag campaigning for the BJP’s Sahib Singh Verma in Delhi. Now that we think about it, it does not appear to be a coincidence that in the same year, the then Law Minister Arun Jaitley offered his official bungalow for Sehwag’s wedding.
Recently, when voices were raised over Jaitley’s role in the DDCA scam, Sehwag was the first one to defend him. So I guess, nobody should be surprised if Sehwag throws his hat in as a politician wearing the “lotus” in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
To put it straight, he has the full right to do so – fight elections, campaign for any political party, and even make jokes or express himself. The point is, do we then have a right to judge him, sure we do! He acted as a silly troll against an intelligent, civil and well-mannered university student.
The sad part is that even after being aware of the consequences of his trolling, which included rape threats for the innocent 20-year old girl, he neither apologised to her nor tweeted a single appeal to his fans or the BJP followers to stop the hate and abuse until Gurmehar withdrew from the peace campaign after three days of mental trauma.
Now that we know Sehwag has political views and ambitions, will he come clean and transparent on the issue of Jat reservation? The BJP government in Haryana is against it and Sehwag being a Jat himself should tweet soon as to what does he think of it. All of us are eagerly waiting for his next placard photo.
(Jaspreet Oberoi is a PhD scholar, working as a Research Scientist. He writes on politics & economics related to India, Canada & USA. He can be reached at @iJasOberoi. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)