The seats meant for the economically weaker sections in some Delhi schools are being sold at prices ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, according to reports. Reputed schools including those run by religious organisations figure in the list of the culprits. It is not clear whether the school managements are directly involved in the crime though it is impossible to believe that such rackets function in schools without the knowledge of the managements.
When today’s Times of India came with many headlines about the above racket, I had just completed reading a short story titled ‘Pilla the Thief’ in Roji Abraham’s collection, Kaleidoscopic Lives. The story is about Shivan Pilla, a very efficient thief, who later gets converted due to the affection shown by an elderly woman. Pilla becomes a religious preacher after his conversion. The people who called him a thief earlier now call him “Pastor”. His reputation changed after he presented a ‘testimony’ at a religious convention. The participants of the Convention were all ears as they listened to Pilla narrating his story.
When I saw the names of some of the schools that figure in the Times of India’s reports on the EWS racket, Pilla and his conversion rushed to my mind without any rational connection. There are religious organisations that do excellent works in trying to convert Pillas from a petty thief to a pastor. Some of the very same organisations may figure in a list of racketeers too.
How do we accept such contradictions? The last thing I read before I went to bed last night was an email from a good old friend who recommended to me The Book of Mirdad. I checked a few details about the book and came across this quote from it: “Ask not of things to shed their veils. Unveil yourselves, and things will be unveiled.” I am unveiling myself. Trying to, at least.
PS. I promised Roji Abraham a review of his collection of short stories. Dear Mr Abraham, I’ve managed to read only two stories so far. Please bear with my sluggishness.