Richa Bharti’s act is truly courageous, not Barkha’s   

“Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear” – Mark Twain.

Two women have been in the limelight on Social Media for reasons which could not have even been imagined before. One is a famous personality and has years of experience behind her. The other is a teenager who has her whole life ahead of her. Yes, I’m referring to Barkha Dutt and Richa Bharti. The one thing in common with both of them is also very surprising!

Richa Bharti, a first year student at a local college in Ranchi, was arrested on Saturday night (13th July, 2019) after a case was registered against her for a post on Facebook. Apparently the content of this post hurt the sentiments of a minority community. It hurt them so much that the Anjuman Islamia Committee complained against her post and within two hours she was arrested. The court granted bail to Richa Bharti only after people from the Hindu and Muslim communities mutually agreed upon it and expressed their consent in the court. Judicial Magistrate Manish Kumar of the Ranchi court set a condition for bail that she would have to distribute five copies of Quran as a punishment, one to Anjuman Islamia Committee and rest four to the libraries of different schools and colleges.

But this gutsy girl, who has her whole career and life in front of her, has decided to defy the court. This is something that no one would have expected. Not just this, she went on record stating that she had done no wrong in questioning the people from the minority community, who keep stating that they would avenge using violent means. She also stated point blank that tomorrow she could be asked to read from the Quran or convert into Islam, if she gave in to the directions of the court. She bravely questioned the atrocities done to the Kashmiri Hindus, something that most knowledgeable journalists are tight-lipped about.

On one hand we have this courageous girl who is willing to stake her freedom, her career, her education for a cause she truly believes in – Freedom of Expression. On the other, we have a well-known journalist who has opened her mouth to make sure that she is paid every penny due to her, by an allegedly scheming politician. She too has been dubbed as ‘courageous’ for exposing this politician and challenging him, with copious references to the woes of her work colleagues. It is commendable that she took to the Social Media to expose him, but one wonders whether it was because she was not able to get her promised amount, and not because of her concern for her colleagues. This journalist has in the past been a supporter of Freedom of Expression only when it suited her agenda, and that too it was more often than not, a strategic, biased support. So would it behoove us to call an opportunistic display of bravado as ‘courage’, especially when neither her freedom, nor her dwindling career, nor her FOE cause is affected?

Regarding what is common between both of them, well the answer should be obvious – it is mainly the so-called Bhakts or Right Wingers who are speaking in support of both these women. The Left wing lobby, the politicians from the Opposition parties, the other ‘famous’ mainstream media people, have all but dumped both these women in their search for JUSTICE. And that is the price that Courage has had to pay in Bharat today – Justice! If the Government and the people do not act today, this price will hover over our heads like the Damocles Sword, BECAUSE JUSTICE CANNOT BE AGENDA DRIVEN AND BLIND.