Monday, 20 October 2014

Mahatma Gandhi as a lawyer
People know Mahatma Gandhi as a political leader, but few people know about his law practice in South Africa for 20 years.
 I may mention about one of his earliest cases in Pretoria,when he had just started law practice, as a young man in his early 20s.
 The case was a civil dispute between two businessmen of Indian origin settled in South Africa and doing business there, Dada Abdullah and Tyeb Seth. Gandhiji was the lawyer for Dada Abdullah.
 I may now continue this narrative in Gandhiji's own words, in his book ' The Story of my Experiments with Truth ' :
" I saw that the facts of Dada Abdullah's case made it very strong indeed. But I also saw that the litigation, if persisted, would financially ruin both sides, who were relatives, and belonged to the same city. No one knew how long the case might go on.
 I approached Tyeb Seth, and advised him to go for arbitration. I recommended him to see his counsel, and suggested that if an arbitrator enjoying the confidence of both parties were appointed, the case would quickly finish. The lawyers' fees were so rapidly mounting that they would devour the financial resources of both litigants, even though they were big merchants. Moreover, the case occupied so much of their time that they had no time left for any other work. In the meantime, mutual ill will was steadily increasing
 I became disgusted with the legal profession. I felt that my duty was to befriend both parties, and bring them together. I strained every nerve to bring about a compromise. At last Tyeb Seth agreed. An arbitrator was appointed, the case was argued before him, and Dada Abdullah won.
  But that did not satisfy me. If my client were to seek immediate execution of the award, it would be impossible for Tyeb Seth to pay the whole of the awarded amount, and there was an unwritten law among the Porbander Memons living in South Africa that death should be preferred to bankruptcy.
 It was impossible for Tyeb Seth to immediately pay the whole sum awarded, but he meant to pay not a pie less, and he did not want to be declared bankrupt.
 There was only one way. Dada Abdullah ( Gandhiji's client ) should allow him to pay in moderate instalments. He was equal to the occasion, and granted Tyeb Seth instalments spread over a very long period. It was more difficult for me to secure this concession ( from Dada Abdullah ) than to get the parties to agree to arbitration. But both were happy over the result, and both rose in the public esteem.
  My joy was boundless. I had learnt the true practice of law. I realized that the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.
  The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises in hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby, not even money, certainly not my soul. "
William Penn ( 1644--1718 )
One of my heroes is the British Quaker, preacher, and founder of the state of Pennsylvania, William Penn.
 He was a remarkable man. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, at a time in England when these were dangerous ideas, and he was imprisoned several times because of his views, writings and teachings.
 He was the son of an English Admiral, a very rich man, who had great ambitions for his son. At the age of 16, in 1660, William Penn was sent to Oxford by his father. There he became associated with a dissident Christian religious sect called the Quakers.
 The Quakers were a sect founded by one George Fox, who, after the English Civil War ( 1642-1651 ) was dissatisfied with the Church of England ( Anglican Church ). He claimed that it was possible to have direct experience of Christ without an intervening clergy, and was critical of organized religion.
 The sect founded by George Fox became known as 'Quakers' ( though they called themselves ' The Religious Society of Friends ' ), because they 'quaked' or trembled before God.
 The Quakers had several distinguishing features, which marked them off from other Christians :
(1) They never used the pronoun ' you ' when addressing someone, and only used the term ' thou'.
 Nowadays the word ' thou ' is not used in English for addressing anyone, and only ' you ' is used.
 In Hindi, for addressing someone there are 3 pronouns which are used. ' Aap ' is used for elders or persons whom one wishes to give respect. ' Tum ' is used for equals. And 'tu' is used for inferiors or younger people ( it is often also used as a word of affection between two close friends ). In English, however, ' you ' is used for all 3 categories, and 'thou' is out of vogue.  ' Thou ' is equivalent to 'tu' in Hindi.
 The Quakers used ' you ' only for addressing God.
(2) They never took off their hats before anyone, and took it off only while praying, because they thought only God deserved that honour.
(3) They refused to bow before anyone, not even the King of England, believing all men to be equal
(4) They refused to participate in wars
(5) They wore plain clothes at all times.
(6) They refused to swear oaths, or oath of loyalty to the king
(7) They were strict teetotallers
(8) They opposed slavery
 (9) There were no rituals , and no professional clergy, among them
( 10) They did silent meditation in a meeting hall.
(11) They regarded Catholics and Puritans as hypocrites
 While at Oxford, William Penn became a Quaker. In those days ( the reign  of King Charles the Second ) this was dangerous, since Parliament had outlawed Quakers, and declared their activities criminal. Despite this, William Penn attended Quaker meetings regularly.
 When he came home from Oxford for his holidays he refused to take off his hat before his father, as was expected to be done before elders or superiors, and he addressed his father as 'thou' ( like the Hindi 'tu' ). His father thought that his son had gone mad.
 In those days there was a custom that high dignitaries would present their sons to the King. William Penn's father told his son that he would like to present him before the King. However, he told his son, even if he did not take off his hat before his father, and addressed him as ' thou', he should take off his hat before the King, and address him properly as 'Your Majesty'. William refused, saying that that would be against his religious principles. This made his father so angry that he turned his son out of the house. Probably he feared for his own position at Court if he allowed such a dangerous rebel to remain in his home.
 William Penn then became homeless, and started living with poor Quaker families. He refused to compromise with his principles, and started preaching to people on the streets, for which he was often imprisoned in the Tower of London. There he declared " My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot, for I owe my conscience to no mortal man ".
 In 1668 Penn was put in solitary confinement in the Tower of London for writing a tract ' The Sandy Foundation Shaken '. While in prison he was given pen and paper, in the hope that he would write an apology. Instead he wrote another inflammatory tract ' No Cross No Crown '.
 In 1670 in what became famous as 'The Bushel's Case', William Penn was accused of preaching the principles of Quakerism on the streets. When he asked to be shown the charges against him, and the law he had supposedly broken, the Judge angrily refused, though that was a right guaranteed by English law. Furthermore, the Judge directed the jury to return a verdict of guilty against Penn, without even hearing him.
 Despite heavy pressure by the Judge, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The Judge then asked the jury to reconsider their verdict, but they refused. This so infuriated the Judge that he said "  You shall go and bring a verdict of guilty, or you will starve ", and he ordered the jury to be imprisoned in a cold cell, where they were kept for several days without food or water. Penn and the jury were in addition fined the equivalent of one year's wages each.
 The members of the jury and Penn fought their appeal before the High Court from jail. They ultimately won their case, the High Court holding that all English juries can give their verdicts free of the Judge's control, and that the verdict of the lower Court was a travesty of justice.
 Penn was imprisoned several times for asserting his right of religious freedom. His father, though initially hostile to him,later  started respecting his son in his old age for his integrity and courage, and said to him " Let nothing in this world tempt you to wrong your conscience ".
 Penn later migrated to America, and founded the state of Pennsylvania on the democratic principles of John Locke. He was one of the earliest supporters of unification of the American colonies, a vision which was realized only after the American War of Independence ( 1775-1781 ).
Great Injustice to India
Great Britain and France have populations of about 64 million each, and have a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council.
India, with a population of about 1250 million, does not.
 Thus India is about 20 times bigger in population than Grat Britain and France each.
India's land area is 3, 287, 590 Great Britain's land area is 229, 848, while that of France is 640, 679
 Thus India is about 14 times bigger than Great Britain, and about 5 times bigger than France, in land area.
 Despite this, India is denied a permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council.
 This is great injustice to India

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Verses from Tirukkural, Chapter 22

" Kaimmaru venda kadappadu maarimattu
  En Aarrum kollo ulagu " ( Verse 221 )

  " The benevolent man should serve society seeking no return
     How can the earth recompense the bounty of the rain clouds ? "

" Puttel ulagattum eendum peral aaridey
  Oppuravin nalla pira " ( Verse 213 )

" There is no pleasure in this or the other world
   Equal to the joy of being helpful to others "

" Otta tarivaan uyirvaalvaan
  Marraiyaan settaarul vaikkap padum " ( Verse 214 )

" Only those who help others are living
  The others are as good as corpses "

Friday, 17 October 2014

Rich people are leaving Pakistan

I am informed by some immigration lawyers of Pakistani origin who are settled in  Washington D.C. and London that a lot of Pakistanis who have money are frantically trying to immigrate to  U.S.A. Canada or England because of the security situation in Pakistan, and also because of the drying up of economic opportunities in Pakistan. The immigration business of these London and Washington D.C. based lawyers has increased manifold due to the developments in Pakistan over the last few years.

Some Pakistani businessmen have sold their assets in Pakistan, and remitted the money abroad.

As I said in my earlier posts, this is the inevitable result of creating a theocratic state in this sub continent of such diversity. Pakistan has become a Jurassic park

Read my article: The truth about Pakistan

A Fool's Paradise

Those who talk of  ' improving ' relations between India and Pakistan are living in a fool's paradise.

 The very purpose of creating Pakistan ( which is a fake, artificial entity ), as a theocratic state, on the basis of the bogus and wicked British two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations, ( propagated by British agents like Jinnah ) was to ensure that Hindus and Muslims keep fighting each other, so that India may not emerge as a modern, powerful and prosperous industrial state, like China, of which it has now all the potential, with its huge pool of engineers, scientists, etc .

 If there are good relations between India and Pakistan, the very basis for Pakistan's existence will disappear.. The only solution to the problem is reunificatioin of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a strong, secular government which does not tolerate religious extremism of any kind

Musharraf and Kashmir


General Musharraf said yesterday that Pakistan should ' incite ' those fighting in Kashmir. He also said " In Kashmir we can fight the Indian army from both front and back. "

Musharraf is a well known mischief maker. He started the Kargil war, and is a well known hater of India. Kashmiris should not be misguided by him. The only solution to the Kashmir problem, as I have repeatedly said, is the reunification of India and Pakistan ( and Bangladesh ) under a strong, secular, modern minded government which does not tolerate religious extremism of any kind, and crushes it with an iron hand.

Kashmir was part of India ever since it was incorporated into the Mughal Empire by the great Emperor Akbar in 1586. Not only is Kashmir part of India, even Pakistan is part of India.
 Pakistan is no country. It is a fake, artificial entity created by the British on theological basis to keep Hindus and Muslims fighting each other, so that India does not emerge as a modern, powerful, and prosperous industrial state, like China ( for which it has now all the potential ).

What is Pakistan ? It is Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP. These were always part of India since the time of the great Emperor Ashoka ( some of his edicts have been found in these places ). They were part of India in Mughal and British times. They were separated from India by the wicked British who created ( through their agents, Jinnah, etc ) the bogus two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations. They will surely be reunited one day with India, but that will take a long time, maybe 15-20 years, because those who divided us will not let us easily reunite.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Daniel Webster and National Unity

 The great American statesman and lawyer Daniel Webster ( 1782-1852 ),  is one of my heroes. Apart from being a great lawyer, he was a member of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress for 10 years, a Senator for 19 years, and Secretary of State under three Presidents. He could not become the U.S. President, although much less deserving persons became President, mainly because he refused to make any compromise on the question of unity of America.

From the 1830s onwards upto the Civil War ( 1861-1865) many of the Congressmen of the southern states of U.S.A. ( the slave holding states ) propounded the theory of nullification, which in effect meant that any state in U.S.A. could secede from the Union. This doctrine of nullification was first proclaimed by Senator John Calhoun, who later became the U.S. Vice President.

In Janury 1830 the Senator from South Carolina ( which in 1861 became the first state in the Union to secede ) Robert Hayne gave a strong speech in the Senate in favour of the right of a state to secede.   Hayne,following Calhoun's doctrine of nullification, said that liberty comes first, and union comes only thereafter.

Daniel Webster joined issue with Hayne in what became known as the Webster-Hayne debates.

On 27.1.1830 Daniel Webster delivered his famous 'Second Reply to Robert Hayne " in the Senate, which is regarded as the most eloquent speech ever delivered in the U.S. Congress.

Absolutely refusing to compromise on the question of preserving the union of the nation at any cost, Webster ended his speech with words which have immortalized him :
" When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in heaven, may I not see it shining on the broken and dishonoured fragments of a glorious nation, on states dissevered, discordant, and belligerent, on a land rent with civil feuds or drenched in fraternal blood. Let my last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the glorious ensign of the republic, not a stripe erased or polluted, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as " What is all this worth ?", nor those other words of delusion and folly " Liberty first, and Union afterwards ", but everywhere spread all over in characters  of living light, blazing in all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart---Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable ".

Again on 17.7,1850 in his address to the U.S. Senate, Daniel Webster said " I shall stand by the Union, with absolute disregard of personal consequences. What are personal consequences in comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great nation in a crisis like this ? Let the consequences be what they will."

Daniel Webster's stand is the stand which all patriotic Indians must take, if our country is to survive and progress. Let the separatists know that we will fight for the unity of our country, with our blood if necessary.

A National Disgrace

(16.10.2014,' The Hindu ', page 11)

A Manipuri youth, Michael Lamjathang Haokip, who had been studying in Bangalore for 3 years, while he was with his friends Ngmakholen Hankip and Rocky Kipgen at a fast food restaurant, was attacked on Tuesday by 3 persons at Byrathi Cross on Hennur Main Road, in Bangalore, which resulted in injuries to his head, shoulders and knees. He was bleeding profusely, and had to get stitches on his forehead.

According to him, 3 persons came and said that we were in Karnataka, eating food of Karnataka, and so we should speak in Kannada. When they were ignored, they attacked the Manipuri students. Michael said that he was attacked because he did not speak Kannada and his facial structure was different from Kannadigas.

 This is a national disgrace, and must be condemned by all patriotic Indians. All Indians are one, but such incidents weaken our unity. Whoever weakens our unity is an enemy of the nation. At this moment of our history, when so many challenges are before us, we must remain united if we wish to make India prosper

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Crisis in Kashmiri Handicraft Industry

Handicraft industry is the backbone of the Kashmir econonmy. These handicraftsmen inherited their skills and small businesses from their forefathers. They were self employed, as there are not sufficient government jobs in Kashmir.

The recent natural calamity in Kashmir has resulted in unbearable losses  to the handicraftsmen. Many of them are ruined. Most of them could not afford to insure their goods, which were lost in the floods. They have to pay back loans to the banks, suppliers, etc and wages to their artisans, which they are unable to do.

Urgent measures are now necessary by the state and central government to save the Kashmiri handicraft industry