Set in a small residential locality in Delhi, this short story explores, through the viewpoint of a fifteen year boy, the issues of fundamentalism and cultural policing . The “L-Block” boys have for many years staged the “Ramlila”, the traditional street play that re-enacts the life of the god Rama, in their park. However, there is now a fundamentalist party in power who, with their cultural policing, manage to bring to an end this long standing tradition.
A Short Story: M., the protagonist of this story, unwittingly gives the"up-yours" salute to the Great Leader (instead of the patriotic V for Victory salute) and faced with the prospect of being sentenced to the "Un-Patriotic Zoo", pays it a visit. There he acquaints himself with different grades of un-patriots: the freshly interned "Doggies" fed on a diet of noodles; the famished "Ghosts" being trained for their "Patriotism Certificate" examination by virtuous and patriotic children; and the sacrificial "Goats", who are soon to be fed to the lions and hence have attained the status of gods, for with their sacrifice, it is believed, they will take the sins of the devotees on their own heads...
Speak: for your lips are free... Speak: for the tongue is still yours... Faiz Ahmed Faiz's poem "Bol" translated from Urdu by Harsh.
The Trial seems to suggest that we as a society willingly accept surveillance, create our stereotypes, accept registries of discipline and so forth and refuse to accept that it is us doing all these things. We blame it on the other, we "transfer" our own negative traits on to others and then blame them. This is our societies "shadow".