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Musings of the Law and Society
There is an apparent irony in today's paper. On the front page you have a half page story talking about India's investment and how Mukesh Ambani is the world's richest man (63 billion $ is a lot). On how the sensex has risen 1000 points in 14 days and the top 5 companies have contributed to it.
A few pages afterwards we have a story about 25,000 people marching to the capital to demand land rights and stressing that they have been betrayed by corporates, rich landlords and the likes of them. I was aware that this march was being organised during my stay in the Gandhi Peace Foundation. This march is no joke and I was witnessed the people at ekta parishad planning out everything to the detail.
The above above two instances tell us the story of the Indian Nation. Those who get rich do so at the cost of thousands of others. The Planning commission has released a document stating that the issue of naxalism is directly linked to land rights of the poor. Helloo!!!!! "did you take that long to realise it?". The Prime Minister says that he shall form a committee to look into this land issue. Now that he's made the statement the poor will be 'packed off'. That's how diplomacy works in this country. Give them an assurance, a ray of hope and there shall be no issue in the future. The same was with the Gujjars too. Ah well! nobody seems to realise the gravity of the situation. I can just imagine 25000 people coming from gwalior to Delhi on foot just to hear this statement without understanding that 7 Race Course Roadmight hardly do anything. They have bigger things to do; remember the Nuclear deal and saving the coalition!
That is the irony of India Shining. We see it, we know it, but most of us don't raise a voice about it.
The recent events in Gujarat are tattering to an Indian's heart. It's not just the Tehelka tapes that have come out in the open; the banning of TV news channels in Gujarat, disgusting comments by the Press and politicians are all a consequence of it which further saddens me.
Mirza in an wonderful read pens down the responses,
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said “This sting has rendered Tehelka as the investigative wing of the Congress”. BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said “Definitely the sting operation and its content are suspect, because we are aware for sometime that there are detractors against Modi in Gujarat and there is the Congress party, which has lost all ground in the state.” They talk about everything but not about the inhuman brutality. Vir Sanghvi wrote very aptly regarding this in 2002 “I was not surprised when the political establishment scrambled to look for conspiracies: the CIA was behind it, the ISI sponsored Tehelka…My point then, as now, was simple enough: let us first deal with the revelations and then worry about Tarun’s so-called backers.”
Today Chandan Mitra, the editor of the 143 year old newspaper Pioneer and a BJP supported Rajya Sabha MP, invoked the third and the fifth point; Modi has won various elections and why do you take out dead issues now. This is the editor of one of the oldest national newspapers of India! In which moral system and when was justice decided by the street? If someone wins elections does it exonerate them? Mr. Mitra, is the state of journalism going down to this level in India? And since when did we start forgetting about injustices on the pretext of moving ahead? Should we have said the same to the Sikhs who were hounded in 1984? Should we have said the same to the utterly vulnerable Jews who were brutalized and killed in millions by the Nazis? That it will be all decided in the court of law and forget about it in the social aspect.
When I myself went to Ahmedabad last december, I was shocked to learn about and see the ghettoization of the Muslims; rich and the poor in the officially put 'world class city'. But the other issue was, whoever I met (hindus only), were sort of equating Modi to Gabriel as a messenger of god.
And what about free speech? The governments decision to ban all the TV channels that showed the news clip is now a rider to the free speech clause in the Constitution. Hah! gone are the days when Article 19 1(a) was the ultimate sword for the press. If my readers are interested, I'd request you to read Express Newspapers v. Union of India; an amazing case that exposed the link between Gov action and free speech in 1985 and the Delhi riots. (A related article here)
We seem to live in a world of our own. Assuming time and again that Governmental action is free from violence, where as it is so evident in such situations. Those who know that law or are learning it, refuse to budge a little and understand it in terms of its impact on the society. The incidents show a fallacy in the law. That rights in India are only meant to be in thick Constitutional law books and when it comes to situations like Gujarat and media exposes, they seem to vanish into thin air.
There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.
That was Albert Camu, from Resistance, Rebellion and Death on the French conduct in Algeria. The Indian Express in an editorial writes,
What a sting operation in 2007 says has been in the public sphere since 2002. We have always known that the state in Gujarat allowed the gruesome violence to play out, when it didn’t actively collude in the killings. But there is more to this moment than just that. It frames the special resonance of Gujarat 2002 in the nation’s consciousness. In a country where outbreaks of communal violence have been much too frequent — the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi 1984 ranks among the most shameful — the post-Godhra carnage will not allow us to move on. The evidence of state culpability and the absence of reparation is far too insistent. It calls for some form of accountability to be enforced, before any possibility of closure.
There should be an end to this. My heart goes out to all the victims of such actions.
Bobby Jindal has one! He is now officially the new governor of Louisiana.
Think I'm writing this for the main fact that he's an Indian and has won in a once segregated state. Born of native Indians in New Orleans, this guy has actually come up the ranks the hard way to win and become the top man in a US State.
The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state. Still, it is one with qualifiers attached.
And yes, like always, the sirens have started hounding louder in India than in the US of his victory. Indian news channels have already started showing videos of Bobby's Indians home and lineages in his town. Similar instances happened when Sunita Williams went to space and when she came to India after that, not one day did i not see her photograph with some school children on the cover page talking about their future.
Bobby Jindal is a nice man. Deserves the credit. But do we Indians always have to make big issues about such instances as if History would never witness them again?