Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Blue Salaam 2 - The Temple In The Zoo

By Manuwant Choudhary

India's Saffron Brigade just hate the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and long before the Kanhaiya episode I faced their wrath once.

Here is the full story.

The Patna Zoo or Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is Patna's lungs with its 153 acres of greens, which includes 300 trees and 800 animals and 6 species of snakes, is located bang in the middle of the city just like its airport.

As a journalist with NDTV I got this news that someone was encroaching the Zoo premises and even building a temple Brahmsthan.

So I decided to find out.

Sure enough a temple had come up and they have even broken down the zoo wall opposite the airport gate for entry to the temple.

It was  clear someone wanted to grab this prime property.

Temples are usually programs close to the communal parties.

But on inquiry I was told that it was some Shankracharya who was behind the project.

And the reason he was so powerful was because he was Lalooji's Guruji...having accurately predicted every Laloo victory.

I had finished covering the temple and interviewing the people concerned and was returning with my team back to the exit when suddenly a group of men followed me.

One person in the group loudly said, "Iss Mudde Par Mujhe bhee kuchh bolna hai.." (On this issue even I want to say something..)

I politely told him that I had completed my story and was not interested.

But he insisted still.

I kept walking.

He kept shouting.

I kept walking.

He kept following.

It was menacing..and his group looked equally annoyed with me.

But I held my ground.

It was tough but I did not budge.

I had decided not to allow a single second airtime to someone like this...when he himself blurted out..."Jaante nahin hum Kaun hain....mera naam Dr. S.N. Arya hai...."

I kept walking.

He then tells his group loudly, "Yeh bilkul JNU ka hai !"

I smiled quietly and left them fuming. (I was later told he had strong links with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad)

I then wen to to interview the Shankracharya himself...sent the NDTV visiting card only to be told the Shankracharya does not give interviews.

As I was about to leave I met a retired police officer who knew my family personally and he asked me what I was here for. On being told that I wanted to interview the Shankracharya he said he will put in a word.

So the officer went and told something to the Guruji (perhaps about my ancestry) and the Guru agreed to talk to me.

It was a decent interview and my story was telecast.

The Patna High Court intervened and stopped the temple's construction, the broken wall was repaired and the property restored to the zoo.

A day later a group of TV crew went to meet the Guruji but his supporters pelted stones at them.

One journalist called me, "The Shankracharya is cursing you...."

A few years later the Dr. who threatened me was given a Padmabhushan by the Congress Party.

But in my quieter moments I wonder what I have in common with JNU.

Sonam Kapoor is to play a JNU girl and perhaps she needs to find out as well.

No comments: