Thursday, 31 December 2015

Ashrafs, Ajlafs and Arzals

In theory Islam does not recognize castes.

 But practice among Indian Muslims is very different from theory

Some of the backward or lower-caste Muslim castes include Kunjra, Dhobi, Halalkhor, and Kalal (so called ranki involved in the profession of wine selling and making.)

 The upper caste Muslim castes include  Pathan, Muslim Rajput, Turk, Sheikh, Khan, Syed, Rizvi, biradri, and Malik.
Ansari, Qureshi, etc are intermediate castes among Muslims,. like Hindu OBCs
 Genetic data has also supported this stratification.

The report commissioned by the government of India and released in 2006, documents the continued stratification in Muslim society.
While in the mosque all Muslims pray together,  but when it comes to marriage their attitude is very different, and most ashrafs ( upper caste Muslims ) will not marry Muslims of the lower castes.
I have many Muslim friends who tell me with pride that they are Rajputs.

Asiya Andrabi

I am against almost everything Asiya Andrabi stands for and advocates.
She advocates freedom for Kashmir, while I advocate reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh ( and including Kashmir ) under a strong secular government which does not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry of any kind, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. 

The main problem for our subcontinent is poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, etc which can only be solved by rapid industrialization on a massive scale, for only large scale industry will generate the wealth we require for the welfare of our people.. But for that we must have a large market for the goods produced by this industry, and for that we must have larger units, not smaller.

Asiya is in favour of burqa and/or hijab for Muslim women, while I hate it as being oppressive to women and a symbol of obscurantism, feudalism, stupidity and backwardness. Islam spread from Spain to present day Indonesia because of its great message of equality, and therefore it was a great emancipator, and led to social emancipation for the downtrodden. But today's Islam as preached by Wahabis, Salafis and people like Asiya Andrabi has become a great enslaving force.

 However, that having been said, I am against persecution and harrassmen of Ayisa and like minded people, and support their right to say what they want
 In a recent meeting in Chandigarh organized by the Sikh Human Rights Organization, which was attended by over 600 persons including a large number of Sikhs, I referred to the recent Sarbat Khalsa meeting in Amritsar on November 10th in which some people voiced their demand for Khalistan. Many people, including many organizers of the function, were arrested, chargesheeted for sedition, etc and harassed in many ways.

 I said in the function that mere demand for Khalistan is no crime. Many people in India demand independence for their states or regions, e.g. in Kashmir, North East, etc. and they have freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution to do so. After all, in a democracy, people must be allowed to let out steam.

 It is only if they go beyond that and (1) commit acts of violence, or (2) organize a violent organization, or (3) incite persons to imminent violence that it becomes a crime. This was held by the Indian Supreme Court in Sri Indra Das vs. State of Assam, 2011 ( see online ). In that decision the Supreme Court followed several decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court .

  Thus, in Noto vs. U.S. 367 US 290(297-298) Mr. Justice Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court observed :
." The mere teaching of Communist theory, including the teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action. There must be some substantial direct or circumstantial evidence of a call to violence now or in the future which is both sufficiently strong and sufficiently pervasive to lend colour to the otherwise ambiguous theoretical material regarding Communist Party teaching."

Similarly, in Brandenburg vs. Ohio, 395 US 444(1969), the U.S. Supreme Court by a unanimous decision observed : 

"The Constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." 

    In Whitney vs. California  274 US 357 (1927)   Mr. Justice Brandeis, the celebrated Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court in his concurring judgment (which really reads like a dissent) observed :
"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of free speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the danger apprehended is imminen The wide difference between advocacy and incitement, between preparation and attempt, between assembling and conspiracy, must be borne in mind."
   Mr. Justice Brandeis in the same judgment went on to observe :
"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." 

 So unless there is cogent and credible ( i.e. non manufactured ) evidence of Asiya and others like her committing violence or organizing a violent organization or inciting people of Kashmir to imminent violence she and others have a right to say what they want, including the demand for freedom for Kashmir ( which I personaly disapprove of ).

After all, words break no bones

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Kejriwal and Tughlaq

 I find striking similarities between Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi Sultan Muhammed bin Tughlaq ( 1300-1351).

 Like Tughluq, Kejriwal appears to be personally honest and well intentioned. But like him, he seems to be totally unrealistic, capricious and quixotic.

 Tughlaq whimsically transferred the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, causing untold suffering to the people, and debased the currency, causing economic chaos.

 Siimilarly, Kejriwal resorts to stunts like car free day, driving a bicycle, lokpal ( which some have called jokepal ), etc. His latest odd even car scheme to be introduced from 1st January, 2016, though well intentioned ( to reduce air pollution in Delhi ), is a chimerical brainwave which is bound to be a flop, causing immense chaos, and a new source of corruption. One hears that in Delhi there are already bogus license plates with a sliding final odd/even digit for sale at Rs 400.

 When the Aam Admi Party was started, tens of thousands of people, in India and NRIs abroad,  voluntarily joined it and financially and otherwise contributed to it, thinking it will herald a new era, a new hope and alternative to our corrupt politics. But now this hope has largely dissipated, after the unceremonious and undemocratic expulsion of some of its co-founders, allocation of Rs.536 crores ( 21 times last year's amount ) in the Delhi budget for Kejriwal's self propaganda, drastic increase of salaries of Dehi's MLAs, stunts, etc. I have received scores of facebook messages and emails from persons who had joined AAP enthusiastically, but are now totally disillusioned.

When AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi legislature Kejriwal had a splendid opportunity for doing good work for Delhi. The first thing he should have done was to have appointed competent and experienced advisers. Kautilya has written in the ' Arthashastra ', and Tiruvalluvar in 'Tirukkural ', that for success, a king must have good advisers who can fearlessly give him advice, which may even be against his views and even unpleasant to him

Thus, in Tirukkural, Tiruvalluvar writes :
 " Sevikkaippach solporukkum panpudai ventan kavikaikkezhttankum ulaku "
" The patience to hear bitter truth and bold advice ( from his Ministers ) is the umbrella which protects a wise ruler "

Emperor Akbar's success was to a large measure because of his outstanding navratnas, e.g. Abdul Rahim Khankhana, Todarmal, Abul Fazl, Faizi, Man Singh, Birbal etc.

But Kejriwal has wasted that opportunity. He has surrounded himself with chamchas, a chandaal chaukdi ( gang of four, as in China after Mao's death ) who are non entities, yes men and Sancho Panzas who cannot or dare not stand up to him even when they feel he is wrong. The expulsion of the Bhushans and Yogendra Yadav from AAP have sent a message that ' billee oonth le gayi, to haanji haanji kehna '. ( if the king says that a cat took away a camel, just nod your head and say " Yes sir, yes sir ).
My own assessment is that unless Kejriwal develops some maturity and sagacity soon, and replaces his 'gang of four' ( who are proving to be his ' bhasmaasurs ' ),by competent and experienced advisers, he will, like Muhammed binTughlaq, soon meet his Waterloo.. An administration cannot be run long on whims, stunts and capers

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

What has happened to AAP ?

An email I received recently. I have taken the permission of the sender to post this on fb

Rohit Handa
Respected Sir,
I am writing this letter regarding AAM AADMI PARTY. If you think what I write is right, please post the same on your facebook and also if possible pass this to Sh. Arwind Kejriwal

Sir, I am one of the volunteers of AAP who wanted that our country to be free from corruption of any type. I joined AAP with a thought that we try to start reducing the corruption and have a great country where all will live happily.  I know Sh. Arvind Kejriwalji is alone, but he is not following the rules to be non-corrupt. 

We Volunteers of Kasturba Nagar Informed him about the non functioning of our MLA during the 49 days of AAP Sarkar in Delhi even after MLA got the fund for the area which was Rs. 4 Crore. We met him 4 times exactly for the same issue. On our first visit he said that he is aware of the issue and his own Assembly observers reported the same. Next time when we met him, he was with Atishi Marlena (one of the AAP leader) who said that everything is all right. 3rd time he ignored us, if we talk about anything about the non working of MLA he went to other side. We were about 100 (Pure Volunteers who devoted their time and money on AAP) just few are left now who still think that some day it will change. However, nothing is happing at all. 

Even during Arvind Kejriwal's Speech in Constitution Club after he came out of Jail, he said now what ever volunteers are going to bring about the work in their respective area it will be looked into and first priority will be given to that
I with some other volunteers made a report and collected photographs of the work to be done in our Assembly and submitted the same to the MLA through email, direct handover (a letter to MLA), even reported the same to then In-charge Dilip Pandey through Email and to Ashutosh Ji, however nothing happened at all. Once we requested after the end of 49 days of AAP Sarkar in Delhi that to think before choosing the Candidate for Kastubra Nagar again. But nothing happened and again the same candidate was chosen who is now MLA of the Area (Sh. Madan Lal Ji). The area of Ward 160 in his assembly where I live is not taken care of at all. We even reported about the issues on Whatapp chat group where the respected incharge are there, however, no action till date is being taken.
So, I request you, please do mention this comment as a post by you.. Hope Arivind Ji, reads it and if possible send a letter to Arvind Kejriwalji about what is actually happening in the area. Most of the Volunteers who had faith in AAP have lost it totally. I request you to mention this to Arvind about what is actually happening on the ground level. And where the AAP is going at present. 

 AAP party was made with a commitment towards Mohalla Sabhas, It is never done.  Even if it is done it is with some RWA members who are nothing but political persons and collectors of the area who actually do nothing but share the money of corruption among themselves.

Arvind has said once "Hamare Andar Ahankar Nahi Aana chahiye", though it seems it is now a Jumla by AAP.
with regards

The Odd Even Scheme

I know many people will again call me negative, but I can predict that the odd even car scheme from 1st January 2016 will be a total flop, and in fact will create chaos in Delhi and become a new source of corruption.

 I believe that Kejriwal is personally honest and well intentioned, but he is immature and totally unrealistic, and does stunts. Moreover, he is surrounded by a ' chandaal chaukdi ' ( gang of four, like in China after Mao's death ),  his yes men and Sancho Panzas, who will be the cause of his downfall unless he rids himself of them soon.
Hari Om

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Odd Even Car

Delhi policemen should thank Kejriwal for odd even car scheme
From 1st January, 2016 Delhi police walon ke achche din aane wale hain.
 Khoob rishwat milegi
Dene wala jab bhi deta, chappad phaad ke deta
 Hari Om

Friday, 25 December 2015

Grave Injustice to Prof. Saibaba

My email correspondence with Prof. Saibaba's wife Vasantha. I have taken her permission to post it on fb

Respected Justice Katju,

I just read your mail. I read your article and I am circulating it with everyone. I am really touched by this gesture of yours to reach out to me. I write this letter to you in great pain and distress. Today Saibaba had to leave for Nagpur jail once again. We were shocked to hear the order and it gave us no time for taking further legal recourse in Supreme Court as the Christmas vacations started. He has gone back to prison today.

As you might be aware, Saibaba was suffering from multiple ailments after his 14 month long stay in the prison. He had developed severe problems in multiple organs like heart, spinal cord, kidney, liver and gall bladder and his left arm which was well functioning before he went to prison, became completely paralysed owing to gradual muscle death. He was in the middle of the treatment when this judgment forced him back to prison. He was taking regular treatment and physiotherapy in Indian Institute of Spinal Injuries. The treatment that he was taking there is unique and is not available in any other institution in the entire country. This sudden discontinuation of his treatment is going to affect his health severely. I am particularly concerned that the process of regeneration of his muscles in the left hand, that had slowly started after long treatment and physiotherapy, will reverse once again. As you know Saibaba is 90% disabled and is wheel chair bound. His legs are dysfunctional and he is heavily dependent on the use of his arms. The anda cell of Nagpur Prison where he was lodged during his prison term is the most hostile place for anyone to be. Saibaba particularly with his disability finds it extremely difficult to stay in the anda cell. Moreover, the prison authorities do not allow him assistants. Saibaba has to do everything from going to toilet or washing his clothes on his own. Moreover, the anda cell is an open space which becomes unbearably cold in the winter. Because of his disabilities Saibaba’s muscles suffer anyway in the winter. His fingers and toes have a tendency to get bent in extreme cold, which further restricts his mobility. Taking all this into consideration I am extremely worried that the current incarceration will affect Saibaba’s health beyond recuperation.
Saibaba has been witch hunted and framed because of his political beliefs. The trial of the case that has been slapped on him under UAPA is going on very slowly. Five other accused in the same case have all been granted regular bail whereas he is being imprisoned without even bail, despite his medical conditions and disability. I hope in the long run justice will prevail and we shall win the case against this baseless framing and slapping of bogus charges on him, but I am worried that irreparable damage will be done to Saibaba’s body in the mean time.  

I am in consultation with senior lawyers who are working on Saibaba’s petition in the Supreme Court. But even filing the petition and subsequent hearing on it will take a month’s time. In the mean time I wonder what options are left to me to ensure Saibaba gets his medical treatment. Our experiences with the Nagpur prison authorities so far have been pathetic. They had blatantly flouted even court orders that instructed them to give Saibaba requisite treatment and in January we actually had to file a contempt of court to ensure his treatment. 

I am appealing to you to intervene in whichever capacity  possible, to minimise the unjust ordeal that Saibaba is being subject to right now. May be a few prominent citizens like yourself can go and meet the Home Ministry in a delegation and pressurise them to bring Saibaba back for his treatment. I shall deliberate with you further the possibilities of such programs.

I once again thank you wholeheartedly for showing your concern.

p.s. I am attaching you the copy of the Court orders.

On 25 December 2015 at 14:30, Markandey Katju <> wrote:
Dear Madam,
 I am a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, who believes that grave injustice has been done to your husband. I want to be of help in any way he or you want.

 I have written an article about the recent developments, which has been published on the website and on my facebook page. 

I am sending the same herewith
Every moment of Prof. Saibaba's detention on trumped up charges is a flagrant violation of our civil liberties guaranteed by the Fundamental Rights in Part 3 of our Constitution 

 The order denying him bail must be challenged in the Supreme Court, and I am prepared to give all help in this connection.

 Please contact me on my landline ---- or mobile -----
 Justice Katju

Prof. Saibaba's detention

Every moment of Prof. Saibaba's detention on trumped up charges is a flagrant violation of our civil liberties guaranteed by the Fundamental Rights in Part 3 of our Constitution.

The order denying him bail must be challenged in the Supreme Court, and I am prepared to give all help in this connection.

 Can anyone ask his wife to email me on ?
 We will take up this matter in The Court of Last Resort

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


When I was a Judge in Allahabad High Court a case came before me in which some Muslims prayed that I should pass an order restraining some other Muslims from taking out a procession on the occasion of Eid-ul-Milad-un Nabi ( birthday of the Prophet ). They said that celebrating the Prophet's birthday amounts to worshipping the Prophet when Islam permits worshipping only Allah, and so it is 'shirk'.

  The opposite party said that they did not worship the Prophet, but were only showing respect to him.

 I dismissed the petition, saying that if the petitioners did not like taking out a procession on the Prophet's birthday they need not participate in it or even look in the direction of the procession, but they had no right to get it prohibited.
 Under Article 19(1)(b) and (d) of the Indian Constitution all citizens had a right to assemble peacefully and move about freely, and under Article 25 there is freedom of religion.

 Religious bigotry has no place in India, which is a country of great diversity. Even in the same religion different people may have different views and practices, and all must be allowed

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Juvenile Justice Bill

Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill passed by Rajya Sabha.
 It has appeased the mob, like the Moscow Governor Rostopchin appeasing the mob during Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, depicted in Tolstoy's ' War and Peace ', or like the mob in Shakespeare's ' Julius Caesar ' which hanged Cinna the poet for his alleged bad verses, only because he had the same name as Cinna the conspirator.
 Hari Om

Monday, 21 December 2015

Nirbhaya case

I did not want to comment earlier on the Nirbhaya matter, but the Supreme Court has rightly rejected the appeal of DCW, saying that the law has to be followed.

 Even amendment of the law by Parliament cannot affect the present case, as under our Constitution a criminal law cannot be amended retrospectively vide Article 20(1) which says :

"  No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence "

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

:If a donkey kicks you, do you kick it back ? Kamlesh Tewari,

a resident of Sitapur and a man listed as 'working President' in the Hindu Mahasabha website, issued a press note on December 3 declaring that the first homosexual in the world was the Prophet Mohammed.
 Many Muslims and groups have demanded death for Tewari.
  Tewari's statement was of course deliberatively prococative, but what should be the reaction of Muslims ?
 I submit that the rational reaction would be to completely ignore it. Reacting to it only adds grist to the mill of the mischief mongers, who deliberately want to incite communal tensions, and that is precisely what they want. So if you react to it you are only playing into their hands.
 So just ignore it.
 When Mirza Ghalib, the great Urdu poet, was told that some people have unjustly criticized him, so why was he remaining silent, he replied : ":If a donkey kicks you, do you kick it back ? "

Monday, 14 December 2015

Shakur Basti and the Grapes of Wrath

In my post relating to the recent demolitions of a slum in Shakur basti in west Delhi ( published in ), I referred to The American writer John Steinbeck's great novel 'The Grapes of Wrath', and compared the conditions of our jhuggi jhopdi dwellers to the migrants described in this novel.

I first read this great novel half a century ago, and still enjoy reading it again. It is one of the most powerful novels of the 20th century, written with intense passion, but after careful personal observation to keep the account truthful.
The novel is about the 300,000 migrant small farmers from Oklahama, Texas and Arkansas in U.S.A. who had to abandon their farms because of the Depression, drought and dust storms which hit that area in the 1930s and migrated west towards California.. The novel revolves around the migrant Joad family

  Normally nobody likes to abandon his home, but desperate circumstances may compel him to do so. The migrants, who had lost their livelihood,  travelled west to California, which had been depicted in movies as a land of plenty. However, they were met there with hostility by the local people, who thought that the migrants ( who became known as 'Okies',  named after Oklahama, from where many of them came ) would take away their jobs or depress their wages by competition, and bring in slums and diseases. They jeered at the migrants, physically attacked them, and sometimes burned their camps.

The migrant families lived in horrible conditions, without proper food, water or sanitation, and often travelling from place to place looking for work. Families which once owned a farm and raised vegetables, corn, chicken and pigs were now living in squalor  in card board houses ( somewhat similar to the juggi jhopdis in India ). their clothes soiled, and barely enough food to eat.

Steinbeck decided to study conditions among the migrant camps himself. So to avoid attracting notice he bought an old, battered bakery truck and travelled all over. He personally saw horrors which he never imagined existed in America. He saw families too poor to buy food, people drinking from dirty irrigation ditches, and diseased and dying children.

In one poignant scene the novel describes how a young malnourished woman, Rose, whose own child died stillborn, breast feeds a starving old man who would have died otherwise.

  The novel describes vividly the journey of the Joad family from Oklahama to California, the grandparents dying on the way, and some family members splitting off. The Joads allowed a priest, Jim Casey, to join them on the way. Casey lost his belief in God seeing the misery, and remarks " There's no sin, and there ain't no virtue, there's just stuff people do ".  The Joads' food supply keep dwindling.

Steinbeck gives a vivid account of life during the migration. Twenty migrant families might camp beside a road together. " In the evening a strange thing happened : the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. ". The families temporarily became a phalanx, because that was the only way to survive. Young men could not have casual sex with a girl. If you liked her, and she liked you, you could marry her, but one night stands or casual affairs were simply inconceivable in these conditions.

Writing the book became a single obsession for Steinbeck. It took him 3 years to write it, from 1936, when he started collecting material for it and making notes, to 1939, when it was finally published.. He wrote in a journal he kept during this period " My life is not very long. but I must write one good book before it ends. My other books ( 'Tortilla Flat', 'Of Mice and Men', 'Dubious Battle' etc ) have only been makeshifts, experiments and practices. For the first time I am working on a real book that will take every bit of experience, thought and feeling which I have."

Writing 5 or 6 days a week, sometimes as many as 2000 words at a stretch, Steinbeck worked himself to exhaustion. " John had never been so concentrated " his sister Beth recalled later " You almost couldn't talk to him ".

Steinbeck called his novel ' The Grapes of Wrath '. Ripe grapes spill their juices when pressed for wine. The migrant families were ripe with wrath or anger that was ready to spill forth. Steinbeck wrote : " In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage ".
Steinbeck's book was published in 1939 and created an uproar in America. Some people like California planters and big businessmen launched a campaign to defame Steinbeck and discredit his book. He was called a liar and a communist. This greatly discouraged Steinbeck, but his spirit revived when Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin  Roosevelt visited the migrant camps in California and said " I do not believe there is any exaggeration in the book 'Grapes of Wrath' " .

Twentieth Century Fox made Grapes of Wrath a film, with Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Many people expected studio executives to dilute Sreinbeck's social messages, but producer Darryl Zanuck researched the migrants' camps, and found conditions there much worse than that reported

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Work culture in India

A cousin of mine who lives in USA came to my residence yesterday for lunch. He had just returned from Lucknow, and related an experience there.

 He had some work in a bank in Lucknow, and when he went to one counter he was told to meet a Mr. Khan at another counter. When he went to that other counter, he was told by someone that Mr. Khan had gone for namaz.

 Only after 2 hours did Mr. Khan return. My cousin had to keep waiting all this while. Does namaz really take that long ?
This, he said, illustrates the work culture in India. Such a behaviour is unacceptable in USA or other Western countries.

Delhi Air Pollution and Malthus

Much hue and cry has been raised in the media and elsewhere about air pollution in Delhi, and a host of solutions have been proposed, e.g. the odd-even car scheme, banning diesel engine vehicles, etc.

I submit that these schemes will all remain on paper and will not work, for two reasons :

 (1) Schemes in India have to be enforced by the bureaucracy and police, which have largely become corrupt, and will turn a Nelson's eye to any violation if suitably remunerated. As the Urdu poet Josh Malihabadi said in his poem ' Rishwat ' ' Agar hum rishwat na lenge to phir khayenge kya ? '.

 (2) The citizens in this country are too selfish and egoistic to accept and follow any scheme, even if it is for their long term benefit, and will  find out some ingenious way of avoiding it.

 So what can be done to check air pollution ? I am afraid nothing can be done, and a modified version of Malthus' Law will apply.

 The British economist Thomas Malthus ( 1766-1834 ) propounded his famous theory of population in his ' Essay on the Principle of Population ' published in 1798. In this essay Malthus said that while population increased by geometrical progression, the food production increased only by arithmetical progression. Hence a time comes when there is not enough food for the entire population, resulting in deaths by starvation, disease, etc. This reduces the population, and restores the equilibrium between the population and the food available.

 In Delhi  the air pollution is because of too many trucks, buses, cars, scooters, etc, and this is because of too many people. So the real solution is to reduce the population.

 I submit that the increased air pollution will result in many deaths ( due to respiratory diseases, heart attacks, etc ) which will reduce the population, and thus restore the equilibrium between the population and the air supply.  Less people will mean less vehicles, and so less pollution. This way Delhi's air will once again become pure and clean
 Hari Om

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Alice in Moorakhland

One summer day a little girl called Alice was dozing in a meadow when she saw a strange sight. A white rabbit wearing a blue coat was running on its hind legs, and looking at its stopwatch was muttering " My goodness, I am late ". And having said so it jumped into a hole in the ground.

 Out of curiosity Alice followed the rabbit, and having entered the hole found herself tumbling down and down until she landed with a loud thud on some ground.
After recovering she looked around, and saw a circular shaped building, on whose gate was written in bold letters ' Parliament of the Sovereign Republic of Moorakhland.'.

 Alice got up and went inside the building and sat in the visitors' gallery besides some queer characters.

An uproar and commotion was going on in the members rows, the members shouting and screaming and rushing to the well of the House, often with placards while the lady Speaker tried to pacify them by saying " This is not a zoo. Human beings do not howl or bray like asses ", but all her efforts were in vain.

 Alice looked at the members of the House, and to her horror found that they resembled a rogues gallery.. There were leaders of the Mumbai underworld--Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel, Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, etc. There were racketeers, controllers of gold smuggling, drug trafficking, 'protection' rackets, blackmailers, extortionists, illegal gambling, contract killing, money laundering, hawala transactions, etc. There were also Chambal ravine dacoits like Man Singh, Tehsildar Singh, Nirbhaya Singh Gujar and bandit queen Phoolan Devi. Natwar Lal was there, the expert in forging bank cheques, and so were Sultana Daku, Roopa, sandalwwod smuggler Veerappan and Anokhe Lal ( who had committed dacoity in Lloyds bank, Bombay in 1950 ).

 Also among the members of the House were some American Sicilian Mafia members like Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, Frank Costello and Al Capone. These had been made members of the House by the Italian lady who had been the defacto Empress of India when her party was in power. 

 " Why are the members of Parliament all criminals ? '' Alice asked a neighbour in the visitors' gallery.

" Hush '' said the neighbour, " don't ever say that, or you may be sent to jail for contempt of the House. And always address them as Honourable, the way Mark Antony spoke of the conspirators at Caesar's funeral ".

 " But why are the members yelling and creating a ruckus ? " persisted Alice.
" That is because the Opposition party's leaders have been summoned by a Judge for embezzlement ' replied her neighbour.

" But that is surely for the Judge to decide. What has Parliament to do with it ? " asked Alice.

 " Of course " said the neighbour. " But it is only a pretext. The real reason  is that the main Opposition party was in power for half a century, and is now feeling very uncomfortable sitting in the Opposition, like a fish out of water. "

 " And what about the Speaker " asked Alice, " Why does she not evict the unruly members ? "

 " Don't talk nonsense " said the neighbour, " The Foreign Minister who was the Leader of the Opposition before the previous elections had herself said that disrupting Parliament was a normal democratic prerogative of members. Moreover, the Speaker knows that Parliament has become a corpse, an empty and hollow shell which will never function again. So she simply adjourns the House and goes home to enjoy life instead of sitting in the midst of these goondas and ruffians ".

 " But why have the people elected such rascals and goons ? " asked Alice.

 " Sister, this is Moorakhland. The people here have no brains but only gobar ( cowdung ) and bhoosa ( hay ) in their heads. When they go to vote they only see the candidate's caste and religion, and ignore the fact that he is a criminal.
Evidently the Speaker had heard Alice's conversation ( though she had turned a deaf ear and had been oblivious to all the din and hullabaloo in the House ), and she cried to the Marshals " Arrest that insolent and arrogant girl. She has called the respectable Honourable members of the House criminals ".

 The Marshals approached Alice to arrest her, but at that time Alice shouted " You members of Parliament are nothing but a pack of blackguards who have looted the country and polarised society to secure your vote banks ".

 At this, the members of Parliament, who had been till now fighting with each other, got united and infuriated, and would have torn Alice to pieces ( just as they had torn the country apart ), but just at that time Alice woke up and realized she had been dreaming.

 This piece is no allusion, aspersion  or reflection on any real person or body. In particular it is not an allusion or insinuation against the Indian Parliament, whose members I regard as men and women of high character and competence, who are selflessly serving the nation.
 Hari Om.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Women drivers are to be exempted from the odd even car scheme in Delhi..
Nowadays it is often difficult to make out whether a person is a man or a woman, because many women have short hair and wear shirts and pants/jeans. So there may be some difficulty in implementing the scheme.
 Also, many men may put on a ladies wig on their heads, lipstick and some rouge. And if the policeman comes too near they may give him a wink or a flying kiss, which will solve the problem.
 Hari Om
The toilet restriction
The Supreme Court also upheld the restriction in the Haryana law that only persons having a functioning toilet at home can contest the panchayat elections.
 Now this is surely going too far.
 I remember seeing a Bud Spencer Terence Hill movie long back ( when I used to see movies, which was when I was a young man ), in which Terence Hill asked a black man " Where is the toilet ? ", and the black man replied " The whole world is a toilet man ".

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Indo-Pak joint statement is nonsense.

People must know the truth, and the truth is that the very purpose of creating Pakistan, which is a fake, artificial entity ( I refuse to call it a country ),  on the basis of the bogus two nation theory,
was that Hindus and Muslims should keep fighting each other so that India ( of which Pakistan is really a part ) does not emerge as a modern, powerful industrial state ( of which today it has all the potential ), like another China.

Those who talk of ' improving ' relations between India and Pakistan are living in a fool's paradise. If there are genuine good relations the very purpose of creating Pakistan, and its raison d'etre, would disappear

Sunday, 6 December 2015

How intellectual are our intellectuals ?
In a speech at the Bangalore Literature Festival recently historian Ramchandra Guha described the Modi Government as the most anti-intellectual Government India has ever had.
 Apart from doubting whether the Indira Gandhi government, Morarji Desai government and several other governments were ' intellectual ',  I wonder how really intellectual are our professed intellectuals who are complaining ?
 India is facing massive socio-economic problems today---massive poverty, unemployment, soaring prices , malnutrition, healthcare and education problems, etc. Have our so called intellectuals really come up with solutions to these problems ?
I was at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi some time back with some of the top senior academicians in Delhi, being the only non academic amongst these 'intellectuals'
I was told that the budget of the University Grants Commission was Rs.41,000 crores in the Five Year plan and the annual budget of JNU was about Rs.200 crores. In my usual blunt way I asked, “How has this benefited the Indian masses ? It seems that the huge funds being ploughed into education in India are for the benefit of foreign countries and to give you professors huge salaries and fine houses to live in rather than to benefit the Indian people.” This sparked off a lively debate. Some of the professors tried to refute my statement, but I stuck to my guns.
 I posed them the question : the test of every system is one simple question. Does it raise the standard of living of the masses or not? Despite the huge amount of money being spent on  education in India it is not raising the standard of living of the Indian masses because over 75 per cent of Indians live in dire poverty. There is massive poverty, unemployment, skyrocketing prices, huge problems of health care, housing, etc. A UNICEF report states that one out of every three malnourished children in the world is an Indian child. Lacs of farmers have committed suicide.  Delhi is perhaps the most polluted city in India ( many other cities being no better ), and Chennai was almost drowned in the recent floods.  10 million youth are entering into the Indian job market every year, but only half a million jobs are being created in the organized sector of our economy. So what do the remaining do ? They become hawkers, street vendors, bouncers, criminals, prostitutes ( there are an estimated 20-30 million prostitutes in India ) or suicides
 As regards our literary writers, have they lately produced any work anywhere of the level of Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gorki, Victor Hugo, Balzac, John Steinbeck, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Premchand, Faiz, Subramania Bharati, etc. ? Most of our writers are thoroughly commercialized, they write third rate books only for making money.
Real intellectualism requires creative thinking.  A real intellectual is a person who engages in critical study, thought, and discussion with others. He has modesty and curiosity, always having the questioning attitude. and till his end regards himself a student, always wanting to learn, and seeking persons who will teach him. Having done that for a long period, he then uses his creativity to propose real solutions for the problems of society, But are our 'intellectuals' doing that ? I am afraid the answer has to be in the negative. Most of our 'intellectuals'  are really conceited, puffed up,peudo intellectuals, who only seek  comfortable lives, as Professors or writers, but have little creativity, modesty, or curiosity. Many of them became flunkeys and toadies of the then governments, getting various benefits and sinecures from them. Where are our Newtons or Darwins or Voltaires or Rousseaus in India ? Where are our John Lockes, Adam Smiths or the French Encyclopedists ?
 I certainly do not support the present Indian Government's actions in appointing persons of their own thinking to various cultural and academic posts.. But does it really lie in the mouths of our so called 'intellectuals', who have let down the nation, to complain ?
 I do not deny the great importance of intellectuals in the progress of mankind. In modern times great Revolutions like the American, French and Russian Revolutions were led by intellectuals. Intellectuals are the eyes and brains of society, and without them society is blind and stupid. But they must be real and not pseudo intellectuals if they wish to be respected and contribute to society's progress.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Nadirshahi govt. in Punjab
A delegation of 4 Sikh gentlemen came from Chandigarh to meet me today. We had a long discussion for an hour and a half.
 They told me that the present Punjab govt. is behaving totally undemocratically, like Nadir Shah , arresting people who criticize them, and slapping trumped up charges of sedition, etc.against them. They gave a large number of specific instances. All this has created a reign of terror in Punjab.
 I told them that I had heard from many sources that this present Punjab Govt. is very corrupt, apart from being despotic.
 For quite some time I have been receiving reports of the autocratic and zalim behaviour of the Badal govt. This cannot be tolerated anymore. and must stop.
In a democracy, the people are supreme, and they have a right to criticize the govt. So the bureaucrats and police officers of Punjab who do such illegal acts of arresting and slapping trumped up charges against critics of the state govt. at the behest of their political masters are accessories to high crimes.They must know that at the Nuremburg trials the Nazi war criminals took the plea that orders are orders, but this plea was rejected and they were hanged. So such bureaucrats and police officers are hereby warned and called upon to to stop their illegal acts, and refuse to carry out illegal orders of their political masters, otherwise they will be given harsh punishment.
The delegation invited me to Chandigarh on 10th December as the Chief Guest and Keynote speaker, and I have accepted the invitation.
 The function is from 1 p.m. till 4 p.m.
Those interested may contact Mr. Harpal Singh Cheema mobile 9815360051 or Mr. Amar Singh Chahal, Advocate, mobile 9814708558

Friday, 4 December 2015

The GDP growth rate figures and Dr. Goebbels
By Justice Markandey Katju, former Judge, Supreme Court of India
According to Mark Twain ( qouting Disraeli ) there are three kinds of lies : lies, damned lies, and statistics.
 Statistics is such a wonderful thing that with its help one can manufacture any figure one wants, like a conjuror pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
 The latest figures given by the Government of India authorities and IMF claiming 7.4% growth in GDP in our economy in the quarter July to September 2015 is an excellent example, and reminds one of Lord Haw Haw ( William Joyce ), or  the Nazi Propaganda Minister Dr. Goebbels who kept proclaiming on radio to the German people  right till the very end that Germany was winning the Second World War, when in fact it was losing.
According to this claim, the Indian economy is the fastest growing economy of the world, outstripping the growth in GDP of the Chinese economy, which grew by only 6.9% in the same period. Evidently, according to this figure, we are heading for an El Dorado or land of milk and honey some time in the future, and as Dr Pangloss would say ( see Voltaire's 'Candide' ), quoting the German philosopher Leibniz, this is the best of all possible worlds.
 But a little scrutiny of the figures throws up several doubts. Are these figures true, or dressed up, like a Potempkin village ? Also, assuming they are true, is this GDP growth benefiting the Indian masses, or only a handful of big businessmen ?
 Exports have fallen from 187.29 billion dollars in  the period April -October, 2014, to 156.29 billion dollars in the period April-October 2015, i.e. a drop of 17.6%.
 So if exports have fallen, and manufacturing has grown by 9%, as claimed by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, where have the increased quantity of goods manufactured been sold ? In the home market ? but India is a poor country, with 80% people having little purchasing power. And with the sharp escalation in food prices, real incomes have really gone down.
 According to the statement of Raghuram Rajan, the RBI Governor, most factories are running at 70% of their capacity, while in 2011-2012 they were running at 80% of their capacity. This apparently shows manufacturing decline, rather than growth. According to a Business Standard report, corporate profitabilty is below 1% on an average.
 Bad loans by banks continue to mount. According to CARE, non performing assets during July-September, 2015 stood at about Rs. 3.37 lac crores, an increase of Rs. 71,000 crores. According to a report of Morgan Stanley, The number of stalled projects, the bulk of them in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, went up. Small and medium enterprises are having a difficult time trying to survive. The real estate sector, which provides a lot of jobs, is down in the dumps, with construction of new buildings going down, and the number of unsold homes going up..
 An article by Andy Mukherjee published by Reuters states that the GDP growth of the Indian economy is one third a statistical mirage, and real GDP growth is more likely to be about 5% rather than 7.4% as claimed by the Indian authorities. Mukherjee says :
'' The illusion comes from a recent supposed improvement in the way India calculates its Gross Domestic Product. In theory, Indian authorities claim that Indian GDP is  close to international standards. In practice it has become utterly unreliable.
This week, investors dumped Indian assets after the Reserve Bank of India cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point. RBI governor Raghuram Rajan found it difficult to explain why he had reduced borrowing costs five days after the country’s statistics office claimed stellar expansion in GDP.
 What is the real GDP growth of the Indian economy ?  Breakingviews tried to answer that question by looking at three indicators: corporate earnings, auto sales and imports of computer software ( since retained earnings finance new investment projects; auto sales are a proxy for consumer demand; while software imports reflect productivity gains ). Mixing the three in a simple index suggests that growth in the most recent quarter was closer to 5 percent."
But let us assume that the 7.4% figure is correct. However, the further question still remains : is this GDP growth benefiting the Indian masses, or just a handful of big businessmen ? Is the rich-poor divide growing ? Dilip Shanghvi, Gautam Adani, Mukesh Ambani, Aziz Premji, Pallonji Mistry, etc are worth billions of dollars, while the majority of Indians are struggling to make two ends meet, with prices of foodstuffs soaring. Is this vikas ?
I submit that the real problem before the Indian economy is not raising production ( that can easily be achieved considering our large pool of excellent engineers, technicians and managers, and our huge natural resources ), but how to raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses ? That is the real problem requiring a solution.. Fudging figures of GDP growth will lead us nowhere.
 The time has come when our patriotic intelligensia should use their creativity to find a genuine solution

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Why Swacch Bharat Type Schemes Will Fail in India

File photo of Oshiwara river, Mumbai. Source: Wikipedia
There has been a lot of talk lately by the Union and Delhi governments about cleanliness and pollution in India, and schemes have been initiated to deal with the problem. In Paris the Prime Minister has expressed his government’s commitment to checking pollution.
I do not want to sound overly pessimistic, but in my opinion these schemes and statements will only remain claims on paper, and will not be implemented on the ground. Let me explain.
Governments may announce any number of schemes in this connection, but implementation of the schemes has to be done by the bureaucracy and police, which have unfortunately become largely corrupt. So the money poured into these schemes will largely end up in the pockets of politicians, bureaucrats and police.
I remember once hearing a case in the Supreme Court about cleaning of the Jamuna at Delhi. During the hearing it was revealed that Rs.1400 crores had already been spent on cleaning the river, but it was as dirty as ever.
Some years ago I had been to Varanasi, and met the late Virbhadra Mishra, the bade mahant of the famous Sankat Mochan temple (he had been a Professor of engineering in BHU, and his son, also a Professor in BHU is now the bade mahant ). He told me that 30 sewage canals discharge into the river where people from all over India come to bathe. I again went to Varanasi recently, but found the situation unchanged. Varanasi is as dirty as ever, despite being the Prime Minister’s constituency.
My friends who had been in the I.A.S. (they are all retired now) told me that when they joined the service in the 60s and 70s, the IAS officers were by far and large honest, and one could pinpoint the odd corrupt officer. Today, they said, the position is the reverse. Schemes like MNREGA have become a sham due to massive corruption.  Laws like the Environment Protection Act, Air Pollution Act, Water Pollution Act, etc have become a farce due to corruption. It is much cheaper to bribe the pollution Inspector than fix an effluent treatment plant. I submit that this will also will be the fate of the cleanliness drives initiated lately.
In Western societies, too, there is some corruption, but it is only at a very high level, and it ordinarily does not affect the common man. Corruption there takes such forms as multinational corporations giving bribes to top politicians, generals or bureaucrats of underdeveloped countries to get contracts, etc. But in North America you cannot offer a bribe to a policeman if he catches you violating some traffic rule. If you attempt to do that it will be a second, more serious, offence. Similarly, you cannot bribe an income tax official or other officials there. But in India corruption exists at every level, for example, in registering a sale deed, getting mutation in revenue records, getting an FIR registered, getting permission from a municipality to build a house, tax matters, etc.
There are very strict environment protection laws in America, England, France, Germany, Japan, etc and these are strictly observed. But that is because these countries are already fully industrialised. Cleanliness must be maintained at very high levels in industrialised societies, otherwise they cannot function. In these countries children are taught by their parents from childhood to put the garbage in garbage bins, and not just throw it on the road. In these countries rivers and the atmosphere are largely clean. One can drink water from any tap, and it is as pure as mineral water.  Air and water pollution is very strictly controlled.
On the other hand, a country like India is only partially industrialised, and hence the feudal backward mindsets in people still persist. Almost everything is polluted, from the air ( as in Delhi ) to water to foodstuffs. Without water filters, boiling etc, it is not possible to drink water anywhere; it could make you sick.
In a feudal society one keeps one house clean, but throws garbage and litter outside the house. That is why heaps of garbage lie in many places on the streets of India everywhere. Also, in recent decades there has been mass migration of people from the rural to urban areas looking for jobs. These people coming from rural areas still have the feudal mindset. They throw litter anywhere, and often ease themselves in open spaces, as they do in the villages. How can this mentality be changed instantly ? It will take several decades.
I submit the following: first, corruption is the normal feature of the transitional period when a society (such as India’s) is passing from a feudal, agricultural stage to a modern, industrial stage. Second, it is only when the transition is over and India becomes a fully industrial society, like that in North America or Europe, that the environment laws will be strictly enforced, and corruption considerably reduced. This, in my opinion, will take about 15 to 20 years more in India.
This needs to be explained.
A feudal, agricultural society has relatively stable social and ethical values. In contrast, when the process of industrialisation begins, things become topsy-turvy. In this transitional period, before the process of industrialisation is complete, two things happen. First, old (feudal) moral values disintegrate, but a new moral code does not immediately come into existence. So there is a moral vacuum, and the only value is how to make money by hook or crook. Second, prices start shooting up, while incomes are broadly stagnant (or rise much slower than the price rise). For both these reasons, corruption becomes rampant. To maintain one’s lifestyle and to keep up with the Joneses, one must supplement one’s regular income, and this is only possible by corruption. Since the old moral code has largely disintegrated, and a new moral code has not come into existence, there is little check on one’s conscience to prohibit wrongdoings.
I am not trying to justify corruption. I am only presenting a scientific analysis to show that corruption is inevitable in a transitional society like India in which industrialisation has commenced, but is incomplete. Historical facts support this conclusion. For example, there was rampant corruption in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries when industrialisation was going on but was not complete. Sir Robert Walpole, who was the first prime minister of Great Britain (from 1721 to 1742), openly used to say that he could buy off any person, including members of parliament. John Wilkes and Junius attacked the corruption of the governments of the Duke of Grafton (1768-1770) and of his successor, Lord North. Similarly, in America too there was a lot of corruption in the 19th century when the process of industrialisation was going on. The administrations of Presidents Grant, Harding, etc were notoriously corrupt.
Upton Sinclair’s famous novel, The Jungle (1906), exposed the health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry of the time. This promoted the US Federal government to introduce touch sanitary and hygiene regulationsWhen Western societies were passing through their transition from feudalism to the industrial era their roads, rivers and atmospheres were highly polluted. Anyone who has studied conditions in England, for instance, knows that till the mid 19th century, roads in England were muddy, the Thames full of sewage, and the air full of smog.
It was only when the process of industrialisation was broadly completed that Western society  became largely corruption and pollution free. A new ethical code emerged, and people in the West are now relatively much more honest in their dealings than people in underdeveloped countries. Anyone who has been to the West and has interacted with people there can confirm this.
In view of this analysis, I submit that pollution and corruption will continue in India for another 15-20 years or so but will significantly disappear when the process of industrialisation is complete after this period, and the mindset of our masses has changed. Till then we may have any number of schemes, but they will remain on paper only.

(Published first on The Wire)

Transfer of Sangeeta Kalia is both intemperate and illegal

The whole country watched the video of a brave, upright, young woman IPS officer, Sangeeta Kalia, standing up to a Haryana minister, Anil Vij, who behaved like a bully and tried to humiliate her publicly by his shrieking and tantrums. Very few bureaucrats and police officers nowadays have shown such courage and gumption as Kalia.

From the video, it was evident that the minister began yelling and shouting at Kalia in an ugly display of temper, while Kalia remained unperturbed and replied to him courteously.

Kautilya has said in the Arthashastra that a successful ruler is one who appoints good advisers, and listens to their advice. Of course, after listening to their advice, it is ultimately for the king to take the final decision, but the advisers should feel free to express their opinions fearlessly.

The same has been said in the Tirukkural, vide chapters 39 and 42. Thus in kural 389, it is says:  "' Sevikaippach solporukkum panpudai makkatku irainru vaikkap padum” – “The patience to bear with bitter truth and bold advice is the umbrella protecting the wise ruler.”

Historical precedents

In this connection it may be mentioned that Sardar Patel, the first Union Home Minister, told his secretaries that they should express their views freely. Even if their view was totally different from his own, he would never take offence. He also told them that if they did not express their views freely, they were of no use to him, and then he would turn them out. This was also the way Pandit Nehru and most of our leaders immediately after Independence, such as Dr BC Roy and Kamaraj, behaved.

But what is the position now? Unfortunately, nowadays most bureaucrats and police officers are afraid of speaking freely before political leaders for fear of victimisation. Sangeeta Kalia's case is a glaring example. Here was a young police officer speaking frankly before a minister. Did the minister have a right to insult her?

In RS Singh vs. UP Malaria Nirikshak Sangh, 2011, a bench of the Supreme Court consisting of myself and my sister Justice Gyansudha Misra observed: “The senior officials too have their self-respect, and if the Court gives them respect they in turn will respect the Court. Respect begets respect.”

Evidently, most politicians seem unable to understand this.

Not satisfied with humiliating the police officer, the minister got her transferred. But is such a transfer order valid?

In this connection, it was held by the Supreme Court in Somesh Tiwari vs. Union of india, 2008 :

"It is one thing to say that the employer is entitled to pass an order of transfer in administrative exigencies but it is another thing to say that the order of transfer is passed by way of or in lieu of punishment. When an order of transfer is passed in lieu of punishment, the same is liable to be set aside being wholly illegal."

Sangeeta Kalia was clearly transferred as a punishment for standing up to a minister's tantrums and misbehaviour. Hence the order is certainly illegal.