OPINION

Monthly Archives: SEPTEMBER 2019


FAILURE OF THE STATE INSTITUTIONS
The Storm Ahead
30.09.19 - JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU
The Storm Ahead



"Hai maujazan ek kulzum-e-khoon, kaash yahi ho
Aata hai abhi dekhiye, kya kya merey aage"
 
(A turbulent sea of blood is before me
But see what is coming ahead)
                            - Mirza Ghalib
 
I am in the evening of my life (I just crossed 73), and my remaining years will be spent on educating the Indian people (including the NRIs of America, where I am living presently, who though very good in their technical jobs, are simpletons and gullible fools in other respects).

The crux of what I teach is this: in this world there are really two worlds;

First, the world of the developed, highly industrialised countries, i.e. North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and China.

Second, the world of the underdeveloped countries, including India (which is perhaps the most developed of the underdeveloped countries).

Our national aim must be to transform India from the second world to the first. In other words, from being an underdeveloped country we must make it a developed, highly industrialised one. This is necessary if we wish to abolish poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare and good education, etc, for only a high level and widespread industry can generate the wealth needed for providing for the welfare of our people, and generating millions of jobs to wipe out unemployment.

But how is this to be done? We no doubt had a limited degree of industrialisation after 1947, but then the process stalled. And of late our economy has tanked, GDP has declined to 5%, there have been massive lay offs in the auto, IT, and other sectors, and the real estate and power sectors are in the dumps (in fact it is to divert attention from this economic crisis that the Govt has resorted to gimmicks like cow protection, building Ram Temple, Yoga Day, Swatchata Abhiyan, abolition of Article 370, Howdy Modi in Houston, etc). But economic issues cannot be wished away by such gimmicks and stunts.
 
One can win elections on the plank of Hindutva (as happened in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections), but one can't eat Hindutva. One has to eat food, and to get food one must have a job. But jobs are getting less (as the National Sample Survey, a Govt of India organisation, admitted recently). 12 million Indian youth are entering the job market every year, but jobs are getting less (due to manufacturing decline). Consequently many Indian youth will end up as criminals, beggars, hawkers or suicides.

I submit that the Indian people must now make a choice: 

either, keep living in your miserable condition, with horrible poverty, record unemployment, appalling child nourishment (the highest in the world, with every second Indian child malnourished, as stated by Global Hunger Index, UNICEF, etc), 50% of our women anaemic, farmers distress (over 300,000 farmers suicides already, and the trend continuing unabated ), almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, discrimination against minorities, dalits, etc 

or, sacrifice about 10% of your 1350 million population in a gigantic, historical people's revolution which alone can destroy the backwardness and feudal casteist and communal mindsets and practices among our people, which are obstructing any progress, and are keeping us enchained to poverty and other social evils.
 
The worst thing in life is poverty. So the Indian people must now choose whether they wish to continue living in poverty, or sacrifice 135 million of their population.

Many would say I am presenting a horrible choice between the devil and the deep sea, and a cruel prognostication and augury. Do we really have to offer 135 million of our men, women and children to satisfy the appetite of the bloodthirsty God of Revolution?

I am not a bloodthirsty person, and I wish this great historical transformation could take place peacefully. But unfortunately that is not how history operates. Consider the historical experience.

The transformation of feudal Europe of the 16th century to a modern Europe of the 19th century  was not accomplished peacefully. It witnessed wars, revolutions, chaos, massacres, social churning, intellectual ferment etc (as any student of European history would know). It was only after going through that fire that modern society emerged in Europe.
 
Similarly, after the Chinese Revolution was completed in 1949, the Chinese authorities made an investigation about how many people were killed during the revolution (which lasted for a quarter of a century, from 1924 to 1949). It was found that about 10% of the then 550 million Chinese people, i.e. about 50 million, were killed in this revolution.

Similarly, about 3-4 million of the then 40 million Vietnamese people were killed in the war of liberation in Vietnam which lasted from 1945 to 1975.

Thus, historical experience shows that about 10% of the people are killed in a revolution. 
--------------
In India all our state institutions have collapsed and become hollow and empty shells.
-------------- 
For, after all, what is a historical revolution? It is a period when the old society and its values are being uprooted and torn apart, but new values have not yet replaced them.
 
Everything is in ferment, in chaos. Can this be a peaceful affair ? Not at all. The reactionary  elements in the old order will fiercely oppose any change, as happened in France in the period prior to the 1789 Revolution, and even during the Revolution, as in Vendee. And many of the ordinary people in society, being conservative by nature, will oppose any fundamental change. In India, most people are still with casteist and communal mindsets, and to replace that by modern minds is ten times more difficult than changing the physical environment.

In India all our state institutions have collapsed and become hollow and empty shells (see my article ' Why celebrate Republic Day when our Constitution has become a scarecrow?' online).

We adopted the parliamentary system of democracy, but this has degenerated into caste and communal vote banks, as everyone knows. Casteism and communalism are feudal forces, which must be destroyed if India is to progress, but parliamentary democracy  further entrenches them. So we have to replace parliamentary democracy by another system which enables us to rapidly progress. 

Today, India has two of the three pre-requisites to becoming a modern industrial giant, like China viz (1) a huge pool of technical talent (our IT engineers are manning Silicon Valley, and many Indians are Professors in Science, Maths, and Engineering Departments in American Universities), and (2) immense natural resources. What it lacks is the third pre-requisite--a modern, patriotic political leadership. Without this, our transformation from the second to the first world is impossible.

Unfortunately, the political leaders in India today rely either on caste or religion for winning elections. Taking advantage of the fact that our society is still semi-feudal, with rampant casteism and communalism, they polarise society further, and spread caste and religious hatred to get votes, and they are mostly corrupt. They have no idea of how to solve our massive economic problems, but are experts in manipulating caste and communal vote banks. Obviously such people are unfit to transform India into a modern, highly industrialised country. 

It is only modern minded, selfless and patriotic leaders who can solve India's massive socio-economic problems. Who these modern minded, patriotic leaders will be, when will the revolution which they will lead occur, what form will this revolution take etc is impossible to predict.

But about one thing there can be no doubt: the next two decades in our country will be very turbulent and bloody. As the great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib said "Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya merey aage".

 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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KASHMIR CONFLICT
India's Vietnam syndrome
29.09.19 - JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU
India's Vietnam syndrome



A time comes to speak the truth, and I suppose that time has come and it is I who will have to bell the cat. So here it is:

Kashmir will soon become what Vietnam was for the French and the Americans, Afghanistan for the Russians, and Spain for Napoleon.

Those who are today gloating over their 'great victory' by abolition of Article 370, will soon wake up to a nightmare when body bags start coming back in large numbers from Kashmir, as it happened in the Vietnam war.

Internet and mobiles are today a necessity, not a luxury. Depriving a person of these for even one day can make one miserable, so one can imagine the plight of people going without them for almost two months. Added to this are the curfews and other restrictions.

Remove the restrictions, and popular protests will engulf the whole valley. Continue them, and the pot will boil until it explodes. As is said in Hindi, the situation is such that 'na nigalte bane, na ugalte bane' (one can neither swallow it, nor vomit it).

The truth is that due to the ill conceived and short sighted policies of the Central Governments towards Kashmir for decades, and particularly after abrogation of Article 370 on 5th August, almost the entire population of Kashmir is today totally alienated and bitterly hostile to India. Consequently, a full blown insurgency, like that in Vietnam, is bound to emerge soon, and then body bags will start coming back.

--------------
When a non militant sees his innocent relative or friend killed in a cross fire, he becomes incensed, and joins the militants.
-------------- 
An army can fight another army, it cannot fight the masses. A tiger can kill an antelope, it cannot kill a swarm of mosquitoes. Napoleon realised this in Russia (read Tolstoy's War and Peace), and Gen Westmoreland in Vietnam.
 
No doubt we have half a million military and para military forces in Kashmir, but how do they fight an enemy which cannot be seen, which moves in the shadows, which is nowhere and everywhere? We have created a situation where large scale guerilla war is bound to emerge, and the guerilla has the advantage of surprise, using hit and run tactics, and deciding the place, time and duration of the attack and also swift withdrawal.

Guerilla war is a cruel war, in which none of the rules of conventional war are observed. As it develops, as is bound to happen in Kashmir, more and more non militants will become militants, for when a non militant sees his innocent relative or friend killed in a cross fire, he becomes incensed, and joins the militants. So the number of militants, which presently are said to be only a few hundred, are bound to rapidly increase.

Where all this will end no one can say. But one thing can be said for sure: we are in for the long haul in Kashmir.

 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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Wake up India, Dark Days Ahead!
24.09.19 - JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU
Wake up India, Dark Days Ahead!



SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED in India which reminds me of what happened in Germany during the Nazi era.

After Hitler took power in January 1933 almost the whole of Germany went mad, people shouting ‘ Heil Hitler‘,  ‘Sieg Heil ‘, ‘Juden Verecke‘, and adoring that madman like hypnotised zombies. One can see it all on YouTube.

Germans are such highly cultured people, who produced great scientists like Max Planck and Einstein, great writers like Goethe and Schiller, great poets like Heine, great musicians like Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, great reformers like Martin Luther, great philosophers like Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel and Marx, great mathematicians like Leibnitz, Gauss and Riemann, and great statesmen like Frederick the Great and Bismarck. I found every German I met to be a fine person.

Nevertheless, when Hitler came on the scene and said Germans were Herrenvolk (master race) and Jews were responsible for all their ills, they stupidly swallowed this nonsense, and did little against atrocities on Jews, which led to the Holocaust (many even supported it).

How did this happen? Surely Germans are not stupid people, nor are they inherently evil. I have always maintained that 99% people of all countries, religions, races, etc are good. Then how could Germans send 6 million Jews to gas chambers?

In my opinion it happened because modern propaganda is such a powerful thing that minds of even the most cultured and intelligent people can be poisoned by it. This is what happened to most Germans of that time. The distress of Germans after their defeat in the First World War and the massive unemployment, inflation and economic crisis following the Great Depression of 1929 was easy fodder for a rascal like Hitler for his evil propaganda, which most Germans swallowed lock, stock and barrel.

--------------
My own understanding is that most Hindus, as well as most Muslims in India are communal. When I am among my Hindu relatives and friends most spout venom against Muslims. When a Muslim is lynched most Hindus are indifferent, some even happy. One terrorist less!
-------------- 
The same has happened now to most Indians. Ever since the BJP, which is a right wing Hindu neo-fascist party come to power in 2014, a huge communal propaganda has been unleashed in India against the Indian minorities ( particularly the Muslims ) by hate speeches, accusing them of killing cows, seducing Hindu girls (love jihad) etc thus poisoning the minds of most Hindus, who are the majority in India. Demand for building Ram temple and lynching of Muslims was a regular feature in the last few years.
 
The air attack on Balakot in Pakistan, and the war hysteria whipped up by the pliant Indian media was part of this campaign (watch video), and all this has paid rich dividends in the form of a landslide spectacular victory for BJP in the recent Parliamentary elections. The abolition of Article 370, which to my mind is just a gimmick (since it will not solve any real problem of India), has resulted in most Hindus becoming jingoistic (as was even witnessed in the Howdy Modi rally in Houston recently), celebrating a great ‘victory’ over that devil Pakistan.

The real problems in India–record unemployment (as revealed by National Sample Survey, a Government of India organisation), appalling child malnourishment (every second child in India is malnourished), huge number of farmers suicides (over 300,000), almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, widening gap between rich and poor (7 Indians own more wealth than the bottom half of India’s 1350 million population) – were all non issues in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Secularism is a feature of industrial society, like those in North America and Europe. It is not a feature of feudal or semi feudal societies, as in most Asian countries. Merely mentionining secularism in our Constitution does not make the country secular. India is still semi-feudal, as is evident from the rampant casteism and communalism prevalent here. Most Indians are deeply religious, and since about 80% Indians are Hindus, they are easy prey for communal propaganda.

My own understanding is that most Hindus, as well as most Muslims in India are communal. When I am among my Hindu relatives and friends most spout venom against Muslims (after making sure there is no Muslim present). When a Muslim is lynched most Hindus are indifferent, some even happy. One terrorist less!

Communalism (hatred of minorities, particularly Muslims) was always latent among most Hindus, only waiting for a spark from somewhere to turn the powder keg into an explosion. Between 2014 and 2019 the communal fire was kept stoked up by the BJP, which is dominated by the RSS, a rabidly anti-Muslim and anti-Christian organisation.

Now that the BJP and its leader Modi have won an astounding victory, there will be great pressure on them from the people to deliver, that is, create jobs, alleviate farmers distress, reduce child malnourishment, provide proper healthcare and good education etc. But this they have no idea how to do. And instead what has happened of late in India is that the economic situation has taken a sharp nose dive, with GDP dropping down sharply to 5%, steep decline in manufacturing (e.g. the auto sector), real estate, power, etc and record and mounting unemployment.

So to divert the attention of the people from these real problems, which are unsolvable within the present dispensation, and in fact worsening, a scapegoat has to be found, just as Hitler found in the Jews. In India this scapegoat will be our Muslims, and I fear that now there will be recurrent atrocities on them (and to a lesser extent on Christians).

Just as science in Germany was perverted in the Nazi era into a racial mumbo jumbo, so was science in India after 2014, and just as  history was perverted in Nazi Germany, so was it in post 2014 India. And just as Goebbels took over the German media, the Indian media has largely caved in, and is saluting our master ‘Ave Caesar Imperator’.

Dark days are ahead for India. 

 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 9


Comment by: Abdul Hameed

Nice article by Justice Markandey Katju.

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THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO LIFE & LIBERTY
The Indian Supreme Court on trial
20.09.19 - JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU
The Indian Supreme Court on trial




The most important case going on in India today is not the Babri Masjid/ Ram Mandir dispute but the trial of the Indian Supreme Court by the people of India. And a litmus test in this trial will be the behaviour of the Court in the case against the arrest and detention of Farooq Abdullah under the draconian J&K Public Safety Act.

The Supreme Court was created by the Constitution of India on 26th January 1950, and a few months after the promulgation of the Constitution it was held by a Constitution Bench of the Court in Romesh Thapar vs State of Madras that "The Supreme Court is constituted as the protector and guardian of the fundamental rights of the people". This view has been reiterated in several subsequent decisions of the Court e.g, the 9 Judge Bench decision I.R.Coelho vs State of Tamilnadu.

The most precious of all the fundamental rights is the right to life and liberty, enshrined in Article 21. In Md Sukur Ali vs State of Assam the Supreme Court observed:

"Liberty of a person is the most important feature of our Constitution. Article 21, which guarantees protection of life and liberty is the most fundamental of all the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and it can be said to be the heart and soul of the fundamental rights".

Article 21 was enshrined in the Constitution because the Founding Fathers were themselves freedom fighters who had seen the civil liberties of our people trampled under foreign rule, and who had themselves been incarcerated for long periods under the formula 'No Vakeel, No Daleel, No Appeal'. Hence they were determined that such arbitrariness does not recur in free India.
--------------
Many people demand azadi e.g. Khalistanis, many Kashmiris, some Naga groups, etc, and such demands are protected by the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
-------------- 
However, during the Emergency of 1975-77 arbitrary arrests became the order the day, and instead of declaring these illegal, the Court shamelessly abandoned its solemn duty under the Constitution by rendering the disgraceful ADM Jabalpur vs Shivakant Shukla judgment holding that a citizen had no right to life and liberty once Emergency is declared. In other words, in an Emergency, citizens could be shot or jailed without trial by the executive with impunity.

In recent days too, when fascist tendencies have again emerged, the performance of the Supreme Court and many High Courts has been disappointing. For instance, bail was denied by the Supreme Court to Abhijit Iyer Mitra who had only made a satirical tweet about the Konark temple (for which too he had soon apologised), which was against the settled principles for granting bail laid down by the celebrated Justice Krishna Iyer in State of Rajasthan vs Balchand. While rejecting bail, CJI Gogoi made the flippant and cruel remark, least expected of the pater familias of the judiciary, that the best place for the petitioner was in jail.

We may contrast this with the observation of the distinguished judge of England, Lord Denning, who in Ghani vs Jones (1970) 1 Q.B. 693 observed:

"A man's liberty of movement is regarded so highly by the laws of England that it is not to be hindered or prevented except on the surest ground".
 
This decision of Lord Denning was approved by the seven judge Constitution Bench decision of the Indian Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India (1978), and hence it has become the law of the land in India too.
------------
"Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting"
------------ 
In the case relating to the Bhima Koregaon accused (Romila Thapar vs Union of India) the Court should have quashed the entire prosecution relying on the Brandenburg test (see my article 'The litmus test of free speech'), observing that there was no danger of any imminent lawless action by the acts of the accused even assuming the allegations against them to be true (though they appear to be on the basis of manufactured evidence).
 
Coming to the arrest of Farooq Abdullah under the draconian Public Safety Act, the grounds given are that he incited violence. This is manifestly absurd, and the Supreme Court should forthwith quash the order of the government applying the Brandenburg test which had been followed by two decisions of the Court viz Sri Indra Das vs State of Assam and Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam

Farooq Abdullah's record has been that he was always an ardent Indian nationalist all his life, and he was never a secessionist. But he was deeply upset by revocation of Article 370 which gave a special status to Kashmir. Even assuming he wanted azadi for Kashmir, this is no crime. Many people demand azadi e.g. Khalistanis, many Kashmiris, some Naga groups, etc, and such demands are protected by the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. It is only if one goes beyond that and commits violence or incites to imminent violence that it becomes a crime. There is nothing to show that Farooq said anything which incited imminent violence.
 
The J&K Public Safety Act, which permits detention upto 2 years without trial, has been declared 'a lawless Act' by Amnesty International. It is similar to the Rowlatt Bill of 1919 against which the Rt Hon'ble Srinivas Shastri said these memorable words in the Imperial Legislative Assembly:
 
"When the government undertakes a repressive policy the innocent are not safe. Men like me would not be considered innocent. The innocent then is he who forswears politics, who takes no part in the public movements of the time, who retires into his house, mumbles his prayers, and salaams the government officials all around. The man who interferes in politics, who addresses public meetings, becomes suspect. Possession in the hands of the Executive of powers of this drastic nature will not hurt the wicked alone, it will also hurt the good, and there will be such a lowering of public spirit that all talk of responsible government will be a mere mockery. Much better that a few rascals should walk abroad than that the honest man should be obliged for fear of such a law to remain shut up in his house, to refrain from activities which it is in his nature to indulge in, to abstain from all political and public work, merely because there is a dreadful law in the land".

These are the times that try men's souls, to use Thomas Paine's words, and especially will they try the souls of the men in our judiciary. If the judiciary fails in its duty to uphold the civil liberties of citizens provided in the Constitution, as it did during the Emergency, then it will be said of it by the people of India, as was said in the Bible (Daniel : 5 : 27) "Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting" (words used by Winston Churchill to the Neville Chamberlain Government on 5th October 1938 after the signing of the shameful Munich Pact with Hitler). 

 
Justice Markandey Katju retired from the Supreme Court in 2011
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

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KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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UNDERSTANDING WHY IT IS DONE?
KASHMIR — Human beings, citizens, people or Homo Sacers Living A Bare Life?
18.09.19 - Swarajbir
KASHMIR — Human beings, citizens, people or Homo Sacers Living A Bare Life?



A recent article by Dr Swarajbir, Editor, Punjabi Tribune, and one of the leading influential voices of our times in this region, has caught the imagination of the larger intellectual world. A number of our readers who have an equal felicity with the English language had asked us to get it translated so that it can be made accessible to a much wider audience.

PUNJAB TODAY is happy to bring you this thought-provoking piece that brings out the socio-political matrix in which today’s KASHMIR becomes possible, a paradise reduced to a Bare Life.

This translation has been undertaken at PUNJAB TODAY’s own initiative.
— Editor

KASHMIR — Human beings, citizens, people or Homo Sacers Living A Bare Life?
 
Swarajbir
 
A FEW YEARS AGO, a friend opened for me the wonders of the intellectual world of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, particularly the concept of "the state of exception" that he had developed.

Some of his constructs engage the readers with some troubling queries: how does the State or kingdom gain sovereignty; how, in order to maintain its hold over power or extricate itself from a state of crisis, it can run roughshod over civil liberties and rights and could even deprive a large populace of all human rights. He calls this the State of Exception, a state where all notions of rights can be diminished, superseded or altogether rejected in the process of a government stamping its authority.

He postulates that any State derives its sanction from some piece of law but when caught in a certain tough situation, the first response is to suspend the law, thus ushering in the State of Exception. Effectively, such a state invests one person or government with the power and voice of authority over others, extending well beyond the existing legal parameters.

But what about the people who get caught in this State of Exception? 

Agamben, addressing how this prolonged state of exception operates to deprive individuals of their citizenship, says that in these circumstances, only the ruler decides which section of people can be allowed to intervene in the political life of the State, and which people will be allowed to merely live their physical lives, to the utter exclusion of all that which constitutes their humane being, i.e., the power to think and to play out their emotional self. 

He calls this "bare life", a life bereft of all notions of human values, sensations, securities, a life just of the body.

Much of mankind's history is a story of destruction, cruelty, atrocities and pain and travails of people.

Lust for wealth and power has never allowed people to live without fear of their peace being disturbed for any significant length of time.

Much human blood has been spilled in the name of one or the other alleged high ideal, often couched in terms of race, religion, colour, community, country or national interest etc.

The tale of atrocities heaped upon people in the twentieth century is much too long: two world wars, the excesses of colonialism, the concentration camps backed by Nazis and Fascists peddling the Final Solution to the 'problem' of Jews, the critics of Communism pushed into the icy recesses of Siberia, the deadly bombs that rained over Vietnam and many other untold and unspeakable tragedies. No list can be exhaustive, and any description will give goosebumps to any reasonable student of history.

In order to wipe the entire Jewish population off the face of this Earth, they were stuffed in concentration camps which were nothing but zones of exception. Agamben considers these camps as a naked example of the logic of sovereignty.

The inhuman conditions obtaining in such camps become a reality of life while notions of law, Constitution, rules and conventions are suspended and lost to people. No more do the subjects have the power to ask about the state of the law.

He termed these conditions in the camps as "conditio inhumana" and the state of the people caught in these as the "state of exception." He terms those who live this physical life sans the life of mind or any sense of security as "Homo sacer."

Agamben, referencing the language of ancient Roman Law, defines Homo Sacer as one banned from the life of religion and of politics. He basically denotes the living dead, all of whose rights as a citizen stand revoked. He cannot participate in any lawful activity because he has been excluded from it. He is someone outside of or beyond the law. Counted, but excluded.

It is lawful to kill them, but they are outlaws. He needs to constantly fight to stay alive or find himself expelled from the State.

Agamben thus says that the Homo sacer is differentiated from the Homo sapiens since he lives a bare life in a State of Exception.

Today we need to ask if the life of the residents of the Valley of Kashmir has not been reduced to the "bare life” depicted in the writings of Agamben?

In respect of Jammu and Kashmir, the provision of Article 370 was abrogated through a means  that seemingly gave an impression of being legal/constitutional; the explanation being offered is that the proviso was temporary in nature (even though the Supreme Court had said years earlier that even though the provision was temporary, its effect was one of permanence.)

The extraordinary speed and hurry with which this provision was scrapped and Jammu and Kashmir was reduced to a Centre-run Union Territory, that bears no precedent. The people of Kashmir were not consulted at all.

Clearly, citizens of the area were rendered as inferior and powerless, or in other words, Homo sacer.

People have been stripped off their fundamental rights, including that of freedom of speech, writing, publishing. The judicial forums of this country are mum. The law of the country has been suspended for these Homo sacers through the law of this country. People are being told that the State is sovereign; that its logic is right and correct; that only its logic is the valid one; whatever is happening was not as per law or the Constitution but in keeping with the logic of the State. Law or Constitution can be tweaked as per the logic of sovereignty. 

Agamben saw the concentration camps meant to render extinct the Jews as places where what happened is outside of the juridical concept of crime and is simply omitted from consideration. The camps proved the unlimited power, the sovereignty of the State as well as the logic of sovereignty. People were forced to live a life that had no meaning.

Agamben says that now, apart from fighting the Nazis or the Fascists, the conditions mandate a battle against the logic of power advanced by State as well as the logic of sovereignty. 

Today, when the regime tells us that there is peace in Kashmir, we need to ask what kind of peace is it that the people living in "conditio inhumana" are now enjoying? What kind of peace makes sense to people who remain incarcerated inside their homes and have no means or power to speak up and express their feelings? What kind of peace the State gives to the citizens where the sick are crying out for want of medicines?

The daily wagers normally do not have enough to help them tide over for five to seven days. What are they going through?

The poor often find themselves in a hapless state in the hospitals even in 'normal' times. Now that Kashmir's hospitals are not receiving any patients, we need to ask where are the patients? Where are the daily wagers finding work? Where are the labourers?

Where are the people? Abdulla Hussain, in his novel Udaas Naslen, dealing with the partition of Punjab, has portrayed those times so poignantly and yet so precisely:

नंगी शाखों पर परिंदे खुराक की उम्मीद में बैठे हैं और एक दूसरे को दिलासा दे रहे हैं।
नीचे उनके खुदाओं के कारवां अपनी हम्दो-सना गाते हुए गुज़र रहे हैं,
पर पेड़ कहाँ हैं? 
मैं दुनिया के चौराहों पर बैठ के भीख मांगता हूँ 
और दुनिया में पैगंबर आना बंद हो चुके हैं 
अब लोग सिर्फ कहानीयां  सुनाकर चले जाते हैं
पर लोग कहाँ हैं?
 
Where are the people? What should be written? Nothing that is being written or can be written can depict the lived reality of the people of Kashmir. We are living in an information deficit zone. The government is telling us one thing, while we feel that the ground reality is different.

What are these ground realities? Is it so, as the regime wants us to know and believe, that a majority of Kashmiris are happy? Or is it true, as some journalists have been bringing out, that a veil of silence has fallen over the Valley, there is anger, a storm brewing inside hearts and a false calm ready to explode?

This government is our government, isn't it? Surely, it could not be telling us untruths of this scale? Then, what should we write? A blank space stares at you in this narrative, for this is the space in which nothing can be written. No words can fill this void. Those words just haven't come out of the Valley yet, we haven't heard them yet. The virgin space is awaiting those words, the quill is not yet equipped to write these out.
 
 



[This space awaits the narrative of the Kashmiris who are currently locked up inside their homes, and who, the State tells us, are too happy with the government’s move to change their land, lives and more.]

This is a space that betrays a void, helplessness, utter powerlessness. The words remain unwritten, unscribbled. This blank space staring at you represents the "conditio inhumana" space in which Kashmir finds itself living today: a civilisation turned into Homo Sacers in a camp called the Valley of Kashmir, earlier known as Paradise on Earth.

(You can read the original in Punjabi by clicking here: ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ: ਅਲਪ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ ਜਿਊਂਦੀ ਲੋਕਾਈ)

 
 
 
The author is Editor, Punjabi Tribune.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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