INJURED EGO, THAT KILLED By Harshita Malik from Amity University, Delhi
Pramod Vyankatesh Mahajan was an Indian politician from Maharashtra. He was the Bharatiya Janata Party's suave, sophisticated mascot. From Laptop Brigade to Five-Star Politician, Mahajan gave Indian politics new colour, new phrases -- spawned around him -- and a whole new face to a party that had till then the air of a strict, regimented lot. He lived glamorously, organised meticulously and never bothered about the controversies that would keep cropping up around him. In a party of triangular eminence-Atal Bihari Vajpayee the patron saint, L.K. Advani the elder statesman, Rajnath Singh the chosen leader-he has carved out a space that singularly suited him-him alone. Every inch a man of his times, he's a doer and a thinker, a talker and a tactician, a winner and a graceful loser. Controversies do not contain him, personal flaws cannot slow him down, political failures cannot deter him, and media-friendly modesty is definitely not his trademark. He has made politics interesting; and made the BJP a lot more compatible with the digital age. Pramod rhymes with panache.
He was the dynamo of the Indian right at the peak of his career. In a morning horror story enacted in a south Mumbai apartment, he became the victim of his younger brother who came visiting, armed and enraged. The crime was sensational and the consequence political.
"Friends Welcome Anytime. Relatives by Appointment Only." The irony was not all that apparent on that bumper sticker pasted on the door of 7 Safdarjung Road, Pramod Mahajan's residence in Delhi. The brother who walked in without an appointment would make it a dark prophecy.
On the morning of April 22, at his hometown residence, where at around 7.30 a.m., he could not have been expecting any friend or relative-and there was no warning at the entrance to discourage unwarranted intrusions. Much to his surprise, the door opened to his younger brother, who came armed with passions that could kill. In a few minutes that would bring out the demons buried within the brother who hated, the dynamo of the Indian right collapsed, with three bullets from a Browning.32 inside him.
Mahajan's wife, Rekha, answered the bell and though she knew Pravin was an infrequent visitor and relations between the brothers were strained, she let him in and went into the kitchen to make tea. Pravin then in his conversation with Pramod, complained of being ignored, of his own brother having no time for him or helping him in his business, and reminded him of the many occasions he had tried to meet Mahajan and had been rebuffed. The younger brother could not take the pain of being unsuccessful and being ignored by the successful elder brother, to an extent that he had to book an appointment every time he wished to see him. The fact that Pravin arrived unannounced with a fully-loaded pistol is clear indication that there was enough pent-up anger and frustration for him to have contemplated murder.
At 7.40 a.m., 10 minutes after he had rung the doorbell, Pravin whipped out the pistol and fired three shots into his brother from a range of about five feet, that traveled downward, damaging his liver, pancreas and intestines extensively, causing heavy internal bleeding. On hearing the gunshots, Rekha ran out of the kitchen to find Mahajan slumped on the sofa, conscious but pale and in a state of shock. Mahajan was rushed to the Hinduja Hospital by his wife, accompanied by Gopinath Munde, Mahajan’s brother-in-law and former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.
The personal tragedy of that morning was only matched by the political shock. Mahajan, the most articulate and resourceful face of the BJP, was at the peak of his career, as thinker, fighter and speaker, first among equals after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and Rajnath Singh. Even with three bullets lodged inside his body, the fighting spirit had prevailed.
Mahajan’s assailant just a few kilometres away from where the doctors were battling to save Mahajan's life-putting him on life support and starting surgery that would last four hours, was enacting another part of the drama. Pravin, who had walked out silently went directly to the police station and told a startled sub-inspector Jaikumar Shankar in Marathi: "I have just shot Pramod Mahajan and come to surrender." He handed over the pistol and was taken into custody.
The first surgery was aimed at stemming the blood flow from the vital organs, mainly the liver, which continued to ooze affecting the functioning of his kidneys and pancreas. Little attempts made by Mahajan to talk to Munde and his son spelt hope. Hope that was shortlived. Mahajan's vital parameters had become unstable due to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. With his kidneys failing, Mahajan was put on dialysis.
As news of the tragedy spread across the country, media and political leaders queued up outside Hinduja Hospital to keep a vigil on Mahajan's condition. The stream of visitors from politics, Bollywood and the corporate world to Hinduja Hospital was endless. Both, Rajnath Singh and Advani rushed to see Mahajan. Even Vajpayee could not stay away from the man whom he had just six months ago anointed the BJP's Lakshman. Other high-profile visitors included Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, NCP ministers Praful Patel and Sharad Pawar, SP leader Amar Singh, industrialists Mukesh and Anil Ambani and Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan.
Greed for money and injured ego were the two main reasons that prompted Pravin Mahajan to kill his elder brother and BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan, according to the charge sheet filed by police in the court. Pravin always felt as if his elder brother is humiliating him. He had differences with Mahajan for the past 20 years and although the latter was helping him financially, he (Pravin) felt it was not enough and thus his injured ego made him kill Pramod Mahajan.
Pramod Mahajan lost the battle to death and passed away on 3 May 2006. "No battle is lost till the last ship is sunk." That's Mahajan's motto in life, and it was there for you to see on a desk in his Delhi home. The fighting spirit of the man has been on a grand display throughout his volatile political life. It was there even as he hovered between life and death.
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