Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Freedom India

60th birthday of Sudha Bharadwaj

The human rights defender is still behind bars on trumped up charges; a heartless regime refuses to release her despite her deteriorating health

Smita Gupta 31 Oct 2021

Sudha Bharadwaj

Tomorrow marks the 60th birthday of Sudha Bharadwaj, her fourth in prison. She is an undertrial in the Bhima Koregaon case against 16 human rights defenders from different parts of the country. A prisoner of conscience, a political prisoner, held without bail or trial. In a case whose edifice is eroding day by day, as more and more expert analysts show that the evidence is dubious, inadmissible and inadequate. All because of the use and misuse of the draconian UAPA law, by the Indian state, which has made the process the punishment. 

We had hoped that this time she would get bail. We were hopeful all the previous times too. But more hopeful this time. However after all the arguments are over for default bail, after the judgement was reserved several months ago, we don't have a judgment to date. 

For her daughter Maaysha, her friends in Chhattisgarh, her friends across the country and indeed the world, this is very painful and difficult to bear. Sudha is always worried that Maaysha may slip into depression and so keeps up a brave front. The fear of her mother's worry probably prevents Maaysha going off the deep end and forces her to keep her chin up. 

As we watched with relief and joy the release of Shah Rukh Khan's son, many of us wondered: can't that galaxy of legal luminaries do our case, pro bono? But on more sober thought we realized that they won't, and even if they did, it would probably make no difference. We are not lacking in legal expertise. 

In the case of Sudha Bharadwaj and other political prisoners, the State wants punishment without crime, punishment without trial. And so it's all fixed. If the media would subject the evidence in the Bhima Koregaon case to as much scrutiny as it did in the Aryan Khan case, the country would know that it is planted. The whole thing is a big conspiracy against political dissenters. Like every child in India now knows about the sham of the "conscious possession" argument....they would learn about Pegasus and malwares and the remote tampering of computers in this case to plant incriminating material. 

But anyway, let's not talk of responsible media, fair trials, justice and other sad things. Today let me just say happy birthday to my dear friend Sudha Bharadwaj. With the hope still alive, my gift is this poem by Nazim Hikmet and of course, Joan Baez! 

Since I have been in Prison

By - Nazim Hikmet 

“Since I have been in prison
the world has revolved around the sun ten times
If you ask the earth, she will say:
‘It’s not worth a mention,
A time so little.’
And if you ask me, I will say:
‘It’s ten years of my life!’
I had a pencil
the year I came to jail.
It wore out in a week from writing.
And if you ask the pencil, she will say:
‘A whole life.’
And if you ask me, I will say:
‘It’s nothing, a mere week."


*Views expressed are the author's own. This first appeared as a Facebook post. The original post may be read here.

Related:

Sudha Bharadwaj’s Remarkable Journey: From Trade Unionist and Lawyer to ‘Urban Naxal’
Sudha Bharadwaj to spend birthday behind bars, third year in a row!
Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused
Has India betrayed its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis?

60th birthday of Sudha Bharadwaj

The human rights defender is still behind bars on trumped up charges; a heartless regime refuses to release her despite her deteriorating health

Sudha Bharadwaj

Tomorrow marks the 60th birthday of Sudha Bharadwaj, her fourth in prison. She is an undertrial in the Bhima Koregaon case against 16 human rights defenders from different parts of the country. A prisoner of conscience, a political prisoner, held without bail or trial. In a case whose edifice is eroding day by day, as more and more expert analysts show that the evidence is dubious, inadmissible and inadequate. All because of the use and misuse of the draconian UAPA law, by the Indian state, which has made the process the punishment. 

We had hoped that this time she would get bail. We were hopeful all the previous times too. But more hopeful this time. However after all the arguments are over for default bail, after the judgement was reserved several months ago, we don't have a judgment to date. 

For her daughter Maaysha, her friends in Chhattisgarh, her friends across the country and indeed the world, this is very painful and difficult to bear. Sudha is always worried that Maaysha may slip into depression and so keeps up a brave front. The fear of her mother's worry probably prevents Maaysha going off the deep end and forces her to keep her chin up. 

As we watched with relief and joy the release of Shah Rukh Khan's son, many of us wondered: can't that galaxy of legal luminaries do our case, pro bono? But on more sober thought we realized that they won't, and even if they did, it would probably make no difference. We are not lacking in legal expertise. 

In the case of Sudha Bharadwaj and other political prisoners, the State wants punishment without crime, punishment without trial. And so it's all fixed. If the media would subject the evidence in the Bhima Koregaon case to as much scrutiny as it did in the Aryan Khan case, the country would know that it is planted. The whole thing is a big conspiracy against political dissenters. Like every child in India now knows about the sham of the "conscious possession" argument....they would learn about Pegasus and malwares and the remote tampering of computers in this case to plant incriminating material. 

But anyway, let's not talk of responsible media, fair trials, justice and other sad things. Today let me just say happy birthday to my dear friend Sudha Bharadwaj. With the hope still alive, my gift is this poem by Nazim Hikmet and of course, Joan Baez! 

Since I have been in Prison

By - Nazim Hikmet 

“Since I have been in prison
the world has revolved around the sun ten times
If you ask the earth, she will say:
‘It’s not worth a mention,
A time so little.’
And if you ask me, I will say:
‘It’s ten years of my life!’
I had a pencil
the year I came to jail.
It wore out in a week from writing.
And if you ask the pencil, she will say:
‘A whole life.’
And if you ask me, I will say:
‘It’s nothing, a mere week."


*Views expressed are the author's own. This first appeared as a Facebook post. The original post may be read here.

Related:

Sudha Bharadwaj’s Remarkable Journey: From Trade Unionist and Lawyer to ‘Urban Naxal’
Sudha Bharadwaj to spend birthday behind bars, third year in a row!
Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused
Has India betrayed its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis?

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives