‘Rizwan and I studied English together at Xavier’s. His first girlfriend is also known to me. Why did they break up? If he was alive, I’d have asked him how he could take Priyanka away from her parents at his age. To answer he’d have to be alive, isn’t it?’ This is what a classmate of Rizwan’s told on condition of anonymity. On Orkut his friends from his Xavier’s days continually reminisce about him.
Rizwanur Rehman, 30, Muslim, and poor married Priyanka Todi , 23, Hindi speaking Hindu and super rich girl against her parents’ wishes in the Bengali bastion of Kolkata. Priyanka’s dad is the owner of the pan-Indian undergarment manufacturer Lux industries. Later he was found dead on a railway track in Calcutta. Details emerged about possible police interference in their marriage. Certainly, Priyanka left her in-laws before Rizwan’s death and continued to live with her parents. If this was all then the Chief Minister of West Bengal would not have gone to Rizwan’s house and met his family.
The following questions/motives remain unanswered:
a)Why did Rizwan break-up with his first girl-friend? She, like Priyanka was from a higher social stratum than Rizwan. She went on to do her Master’s in English while Rizwan had to change career for not being able to get a berth at Calcutta University. Friends from that period remember their agony.
b) Should not Rizwan have asked Priyanka Todi to delay wedding? Remember he was 30 while she 23. What was the need to hurry for the nuptial knot? They knew each other for just a year. If Priyanka or Rizwanur could not wait longer then the motives of the marriage may be suspect. Marriage, by its very nature, is a public and social act. Though not required by law, parents are integral to anyone’s life. Because we as a nation neglect older people, we have now laws that the young have to care for the older. Yet this author maintains that neither adults nor anyone else should have the right to prevent or coerce them, leave alone kill anyone or abate suicide.
c) Why did the Kolkata police interfere and then go on record in front of the media stating their need to defend Mr. Todi, the father of the girl. Why had Rizwanur to die and how the police sounded so sure of everything they said even before they got the reports of the post-mortem?
d) How could Mr. Snehashish Ganguly, brother of Sourav Ganguly, just take Mr. Todi to meet the Calcutta Police Commissioner? If that is so easy, why cannot the public just walk in and meet him?
There are two sides to this whole saga of grisly events. The strictly legal side: who killed Rizwanur Rehman? If it was a suicide; who forced him, or did anyone forced him at all? If he committed suicide, then was he of the requisite maturity to get married at all? And why have no arrests been made till date? The other side is humane and begs some very hard questions: What role, if any, has differences in religion and politics have to play in this hue and cry in the aftermath of the death? Did Rizwan act maturely, as a man of 30 should behave in this whole saga? Why did the Police in Kolkata interfere at all?
Lastly, what will happen to Priyanka Todi? What lies in store for her? Who can help her now in her hour of need and in the future? How does it feel to lose the love of your life and your father made a mockery in your own community? Alas. We can only ask Rizwanur to take care of Priyanka from heaven for he was a guy who at least dared to confront forces bigger than himself. After all, heroes are no more. The heroic age has passed.