Writers and the Rioters


A movement has been gathering strength in India. To protest against the murder of writers and the silence of the literary body, writers are returning their awards. The recent lynching of a Muslim man on the suspicion that he had beef in his house brought back vividly the violence of the Gujarat riots that took place when the current Indian Prime Minister was the Chief Minister of that state. Below is a piece I wrote about deaths and dissent in India:

A postmortem report was posted on Twitter the other day. It said that a man named Mohammed Yakub Shaikh had died an unnatural death. This was at a Toyota Service Centre in Mumbai on September 29. The report described the cause of this unnatural death in the following terms: “Respiratory failure due to pulmonary air embolism with pressured air in large and small intestine, thoracic and abdominal cavities and scrotal sac.”

The medical language is clear but doesn’t conjure the brutality of this obscure death: Yakub Shaikh died because pressurized air was inserted into his body through his anus. His body filled-up like a balloon and his eyes appeared to pop. He was dead within seconds.