If ever you had ever wondered what the term ‘collective conscience’ was doing in an earlier judgement, chances are the High Court’s order on Kanhaiya’s bail application has cleared them. Assuming of course that you went beyond Manoj Kumar’s song from Upkaar which Kanhaiya would doubtless have heard with a lump in his throat as he waited to figure out whether or not he was getting bail.
Collective conscience badi cheez hai.
It is a recent phenomenon. If it did exist earlier it did so quietly in the courts. Some say it is the democratic equivalent of the rule-by-decree system of justice; the difference being that in this case the decree is issued by blood-thirsty mobs led by media hounds in TV studios. Typically unleashes itself at around 9 every night. Mercifully usually dies a death by the following morning but on the rare occasion it has the power to engineer riots. Or worse.
We wear our likes and dislikes on our sleeves and so CC is ridiculously simple to provoke. Random meat in the fridge can do it. Or even in your plate. So can cattle in a truck. Or an inter-faith marriage. Till now anonymous slogan shouting by masked men in virtually pitch darkness had been excluded from the CC roll call of honour. But apparently not so any more.
CC means different things to different people. You and I bay for blood, channels see it as TRPs and political parties see it as a means to achieve social re-engineering. But what it does to genteel upper echelons of the judiciary is charming. Quite in keeping with the broad avenues, bunglas and parks of Lutyens. Sparks their creative side.
Making them break into raptures over Manoj Kumar music to establish without a shred of doubt that their first commitment is to robust nationalism and not Justice which the lady with the scales has traditionally suggested. And indeed worn a band around her eyes to suggest that for her all are equal. With no extra marks for nationalism.
And then zig-zags over every possible issue including a lament on how a university has let itself, the nation and the world down and how its students are bent on destroying the wonderful season of spring when flowers are in full bloom in Lutyens. Maybe also in Tihar where the accused have spent three weeks. We really don’t know. They didn’t clarify; we didn’t ask.
And end with a gentle reminder that standing by masked strangers shouting seditious slogans (yet not established btw) could well be gangrene that would require amputation.