That Dr. Dabholkar and Shri Salgaonkar should die on the same day did not seem an irony enough so fate played a game even with locations of their deaths. Dr. Dabholkar, a man of medicine and an atheist was gunned down, reported the journalists, near the Omkareshwar temple; while Jyotirbhaskar left for heavenly abode in one of the most technologically up to date hospitals of Mumbai. The place of their deaths will forever be noted in history.
For all we know these may be random events and it is our compulsion that we envisage a brain or a doer behind every single event. But dimaagh hai ki maanta nahin! We rationalise every event, every single detail of the event. I say even attributing a series of events to destiny is rationalising.
|Jyotirbhaskar Jayantrao Salgaonkar|
I, like my father, being sort of an atheist have never indulged in rituals of my own accord. It so happened that the pitru-paksha had just started. Apparently, it is a belief that you ought not to buy new things or start new projects during this fortnight. It is considered to be a fortnight of mourning for ancestors. I was blissfully of unaware of all this and in his speech Jayantrao mentioned that he was surprised that I had inaugurated the programme in the pitru-paksha. He said that normally people don't embark on new ventures during this time. Then he congratulated me on not being superstitious about it and going ahead with the concert. He dismissed all apprehensions of any ill effects of starting new ventures in the pitru-paksha! And the reason he agreed to come, he said, was to quell this superstition!
Jayantrao was, more than anything else, a successful Marathi entrepreneur. I don't really know what to make of him as an astrologer as I never looked at him for any predictions. But Kalnirnay as a calmanac and as a magazine was Jayantrao's great contribution to the Indian ethos. He also sponsored a number of cultural events and encouraged the arts.
|Dr. Narendra Dabholkar|
What disturbs me however was that Dr. Narendra Dabholkar's death was not meant to be. His life was interrupted in the most gruesome and inhuman manner. As Hercule Poirot says in almost all his novels - "I don't approve of murder." And Dr. Dabholkar's murder was not just deeply disturbing, it was alarming.
George Bernard Shaw said, "Assassination is an extreme form of censorship." I have a gnawing feeling that his murder was not the result of fanaticism; it was the result of a corrupt economic and political order. After all superstition, in any faith, is lucrative business. From the people who travel with naked feet to the Siddhivinayak temple to the Novena at the Mahim church to the public display of spiritual healing there is more money involved than spirituality or even religion.
Aristotle said that democracy is the corrupt form of polity. The degeneration of a democracy is in a public dictatorship - dictatorship of the people, by the people, against the people. Dr. Dabholkar's assassination proves that. We live in times that has an excess of faith and a shortage of belief - not to mention an absolute dearth of tolerance. There is nobody more relevant than Voltaire today, who said - "I don't agree with what you say but I shall defend to death, your right of saying so."
And so while I feel saddened by Jayantrao Salgaonkar's death as I knew him as an acquaintance, it is Dr. Dabholkar's death that has moved me and changed something within me. It has been sort of a spiritual awakening. That their deaths came together reminded me that in their lifetimes they existed together and could grow together in opposite directions. Both, in their own ways, contributed to the society. Even today the Dabholkars and the Salgaonkars of our society continue to coexist. And a sane, tolerant society is one where they shall continue to coexist.
© Kaushal S. Inamdar, 2013
Note: The photos have been sourced from the internet. There is no intention to infringe the copyright of the copyright holders. Jayant Salgaonkar's photo has been sourced from wikipedia. Dr. Dabholkar's photo has been sourced from firstpost.com