Of the gun factor and Seshan Effect

I have known Dr. Javeed Nayeem as a social activist, student of Mysore’s folk-history, book-lover, coffee-planter, Star of Mysore columnist, a Haji and, of course, as a reputed cardiologist. His latest column however shows him up as a gun-lobbist. I wouldn’t associate him, though, with die-hard crusaders of US gun lobby. Would suggest he read – Guns and Losses – by B S Prakash, India’s consul general in San Francisco.

Dr.Nayeem’s gun-talk stems from the poll time humiliation that a section of law-abiding citizens have to go through, for the ‘fault’ of owning licensed guns. They are required to deposit them at the local police station during the election process. This ‘revolutionary’ measure was thought of by former chief election commissioner T N Seshan, a ‘sabre-rattler, given to theatrics’. These are Dr Nayeem’s words, not mine, though I wish they were.

The Seshan Effect continues to cast its shadow still; it has gone into the rulebook, as a pre-poll sanitising measure. What is worse, as Dr Nayeem puts it, “we have all shamelessly tolerated it without a whisper or a whimper” all this while. His point is:

1) The gun, especially a licensed one, has never played a role in any poll in Karnataka.
2) When all and sundry, ‘the bad and the ugly’, come to know that weapons owned by law-abiding residents are safely locked away in police stations during election time, they take it as an open invitation to ‘make hay as soon as the sun sets’ over the Chamundi Hills. Isolated bungalows, farm-houses and outlying residental layouts are particularly vulnerable.
3) The police can’t be everywhere; and during election time they tend to be ‘nowhere’, presumably, under pressure of campaign bandobast.
4) Gun licences come at a hefty price; and a handgun, says Dr Nayeem, is literally worth its weight in gold. He reckons that police stations are certainly not the place where licensed weapons should be tossed around. Priceless ones are known to have been ‘misplaced, replaced, or even lost while in police custody’.

He would like to see public opinion moblised to persuade the three wisemen in the election office to see reason. And towards this end, columinist Nayeem is prepared to go beyond his ‘Over a Cup of Evening Tea’ column in Star of Mysore . He invites you to a cuppa of the real stuff, this Sunday evening at King’s Kourt.
Mail (or nail) him on this at kjnmysore@gmail.com or call 9880179722


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