Finding the Conscience of a Constitution

Lately the Indian scene has been enlivened somewhat by the appearance of someone who likes to shoot off his mouth – that of course is nothing new, loquaciousness is the norm  – in somewhat different directions than the run-of-the-mill more-or-less-owned-by-big-business mouthpieces that are the editors of the main newspapers or else anchors of the various TV channels.

The appearance of Justice Katju’s ideas in the Indian press – they have to give him some space because he is the chief of the Press Council now, a body meant to look into ethical transgressions of the press – is like a breath of fresh air.  Though he can often be very homey in his thoughts – and the super sharp wily brains at the helms of the various newspapers, e.g., the chap who is the editor of the Indian Express, don’t miss any chance to make tongue-in-the-cheek fun of Mr Katju, and generally mess around with him …

But for all his, often indeed – sorry, Mr Katju, but this is the apt word – buffoonery on his part, one Mr Katju is worth a dozen worthies of the kind we just exemplified.  He has laid bare the way in which the Indian establishment and their mouthpieces  have totally forgotten the common man in all this hysteria about “growth” and “development” which have benefitted only those running this sham democracy and fooling the masses, who are being left behind at an even more increased rate economically, educationally, etc, etc.

But here we note a big gaping error on which much else of Mr Katju’s ramblings are based:-

Having sworn fealty to the Constitution of India, this ex-Supreme Court judge’s thoughts are constrained by this allegiance.  The words in any document, however carefully drafted and with whatsoever intentions – and as we Sikhs well know some important parts of this document were crafted by mischief towards the minorities, for example, the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, all separate religions were lumped under the name “Hindu” deliberately in this document.  Anyway this blog is not to discuss such things, split hairs on this and that historical or legal thing, but to keep the focus on basic human rights and wrongs, and in particular, as it pertains to how the thousands of Sikhs murdered in November 1984 have been, and still continue to be, deprived of due justice even after so many years, and despite the existence of this shining document which to Mr Katju is apparently more important than anything else…

Some time ago Prashant Bhushan– a dedicated lawyer, dedicated that is, to truth and freedom of expression– said very reasonably in some convention that we ought to consider that first solution to the Kashmir problem once again viz a referendum or a plebiscite under international supervision to determine what its people wanted.  All hell broke loose at this – such is the reality of the freedom of speech that is enshrined in this constitution – and amazingly enough some goons labeling themselves Bhagat Singh’s Fauj – how laughable, Shaheed Bhagat Singh was a communist or almost one, but we don’t go for labels here, this Shaheed must be turning in his grave at the kind of “free” India his shaheedi and many other shaheedis has brought into being – broke into Prashant Bhushan’s Supreme Court lawyer’s office and beat him right there …

Days after, being interviewed by that wily Indian Express editor who naughtily pretends to honor the Press Council chief while all the time he mocks him, Katju denounced the goons for this beating alright … but … this was a mere perfunctory line or so … then he sailed into Prashant Bhushan for having crossed the lachhman rekha itself, of having uttered a total no-no! Anything remotely resembling an attack on the “ekta and akhandta” (integrity and unity) of India – here we are talking of verbal “attack” or as was the case this time a meek suggestion only by Mr Bhusan– is apparently, at least as Mr Katju reads this document, is a total total no-no in India. 

A democracy, a true democracy, can continue to exist only if it has the heart and the intelligence to let those intellectual voices speak that beg to differ … it is the whistleblowers, the loose cannons, etc., that ensure that a system, any system, stays honest.

Such a pity that the great writer, the only one from India to be honored so far by the Nobel Prize in literature, the one who penned the beautiful lyrics singing the praises of this multi-faceted subcontinent, the song that became the National Anthem … well such a pity that this great writer’s thoughts on this topic shall now perhaps not meet with Mr Katju’s approval either?

Tagore said that worship we should reserve for something bigger, namely Truth, to worship our country instead would bring a curse on it … Yet despite his pleadings then his country, Bengal, did fall a victim to that curse … similar humbugs on all sides ensured it.

So much blood has been spilled in the name of God and in the name of Country, let’s stop or try to stop this now at least.  After a series of violent riotings there came into being an artificial partition of Tagore’s beloved and beautiful country Bengal.  Likewise there was another, even more bloody and tragic – a half a million Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims were butchered in a few months – was the partition — equally artificial — of our country Punjab in 1947.  And amazingly enough this was the unparalleled-in-violence culmination of the so-called “non-violent freedom movement” that brought us this “glow of freedom” in 1947.

This Constitution of yours Mr Katju, or at least your interpretation of it, has by now led to, since 1947, well over a million murders in “free” India.  Kashmir we have already mentioned.  The situation in Punjab was, and latently still is, no different:  Well-meaning sincere Sikhs totally against violence but desiring that “glow” of freedom.

 

Asking for rights peacefully is forbidden under your constitution, you say, Mr Katju and of course it goes without saying, asking for them non-peacefully is forbidden too.  Likewise for Kashmir, likewise for Manipur, likewise for Tamils too, multiply this with all the freedom movements going on in akhand bharat and you can soon see that that million deaths that we laid on the conscience of this piece of paper that you worship Mr Katju is perhaps a gross under-estimation.

It is worship of Truth that is needed, not worship of this Constitution of yours … and Truth can appear quite different to other people, just as sincere and justice loving as you, Mr Katju … we would have really matured when we allow all these sincere people to speak their various thoughts freely and openly … when we stop silencing dissenting voices like that of fearless Simranjit Singh Mann – against whom more than 50 cases for shouting slogans (he didn’t pick up a gun) for Khalistan have been filed so far one after each cases he is acquitted for, just to keep him tied in legal knots.  And less high profile people than him and Arundhati, but even more courageous, have paid for such sentiments with their lives or long stints in jail for dissent that was totally “Gandhian,”  which the Britishers allowed, but those who “won” that allegedly “non-violent” struggle won’t allow to dissenters now.

That oft trotted out sentiment “I totally disagree with you but I’ll fight with my life for your right to give your point of view” which so many eulogize is very hard to live up to … but unless we try at least there is no hope for this Bharat or India of yours, Mr Katju .

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