The ink culture: protest or political intimidation?

There was a time when ink was considered sacred: it bore literary works of profound interests. Men, in possession of the royal blue, were looked upon with deep respect. However, neither nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, nor the Sahitya Akademi awardees — they did find their awards useful in protest against ‘intolerance’ — were able to ascertain the multi-purpose behaviour of ink: sometimes to protest, other times as a tool of political intimidation.


Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal became victim of ink-attack by a protester while he was addressing a rally to thank people for the successful implementation of the odd-even traffic formula on Sunday. Unexpected and sudden that the attack was, the woman, Bhawna Arora of Aam Aadmi Sena, also claimed evidence against the 2002 CNG fitness scam.


Just as the commotion ended, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia alleged Bharatiya Janata Party of orchestrating the attack. He went on to add that the saffron party is plotting with Delhi police to get Kejriwal murdered.


Earlier, too Kejriwal had suffered the brutality of ink. In 2014, members of a radical right-wing organisation attacked him with eggs and ink when he was campaigning for the Lok Sabha general elections in Varanasi.  


In recent years, there have been a series of ink-attacks against the Indian politicians.  


In mid-October last year, six members of the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena, smeared black paint on the face of politician and writer Sudheendra Kulkarni. The act, which was a protest against Kulkarni for organizing the book launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, got appraisal from Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.



A week later, Rashid Engineer, an independent legislator from Jammu and Kashmir, was attacked with ink and mobil oil by a right-wing group Hindu Sena, for hosting a beef party at a MLA hostel in Srinagar, a day before the J&K Assembly was to take up a bill on beef ban.



Former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, Sahara chairman Subrata Roy, and spiritual leader Baba Ramdev have also been smeared with ink. Numerous politicians, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Indian home minister P. Chidambaram, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani were attacked with shoe.


India is the world’s largest democracy, we take pride in that. But hurling shoes and throwing inks: that’s not what people believe in the essence of ‘incredible’ India.


By: Mayank Mohanti