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Fighting Fate and Dirty Power

Neelam Katara’s sole struggle

How does one speak of a woman who is optimistic and gentle despite the abominable way fate treated her? How does one make sense of her exalted ideals, which have not been seen around for ages? How do you understand the grief which didn’t touch you, but stirred someone else to stand up against heavy odds? It is tough to profile Neelam Katara.

When people ask her do you think you will get justice, she replies: “This is the only way I know; this is the only way I have been taught; this is the only way I would like to see work.”

Neelam Katara — the mother who lost her son in a gruesome murder, the wife who lost her husband to an illness in a matter of two years — is still a believer. She still believes in God, in the goodness of people. It is impossible to understand why.

Her son, Nitish, a business executive, was hacked to death and then burnt when he was out for a marriage party. “It was a complete biology lesson; the digestive system had fallen out.” Days later, two men apprehended in Gwalior confessed to the crime. The two men — Vikas and Vishal Yadav — are the son and nephew of up don DP Yadav.

Katara has taken on DP Yadav and his sacks of money head on. Any lesser individual would have crumbled under the weight of the dirty power. The case has been dragging on in various courts for more than two years.

Yet, surprisingly, there is “no bitterness” in her. She has changed much, though: it has turned her into a permanent activist, on a constant lookout for similar causes. Her battle has morphed into a war: it has taken a wider dimension. Now, “it is about proving to myself and to others that the system works.” But, why?
“Nitish believed in standing

up against injustice. His fight has to be carried on,” she reasons. No doubt, there would be few who understand such reasoning. It is tough to understand
others’ relations.

Perhaps Mrs Neelam Katara cannot be analysed. Perhaps heroes, like others humans, cannot be. Only their actions can be pieced together to create a shattered picture of their fortitude and resolve.

Hero (noun): A man, now also a woman, of superhuman strength, courage, or ability favoured by the gods.

Aman Khanna

September 11, 2004

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