Indira’s Emergency (and Sanjay’s)

I was not born back then. I heard and read about JP, forced mass sterilization and Turkman Gate as I grew up in a post-Emergency India. Jay Prakash Narayan or JP, I was told, was a bad man who misled (or led?) many students to their destruction or/and death. Later, I learnt that he was a hero, a Gandhian revolutionary who had the courage to fight anew against all odds at the end of his life. The accounts of forced mass sterilization had reached me from the mouth of old Congresswallahs and from those of the ultra-right wing Hindus in the 1990’s. They spoke approvingly of it, especially of the part that they saw as anti-Muslim. Their logic was simple and statistical. It was essential, they argued, to keep the majority status of the Hindus of the nation from becoming a minority, as the Hindus willingly followed the government’s family planning drive but the Muslims opposed it on grounds that were religious, social and cultural. A later day right wing leader put it succinctly as hum do hamare pacchis (we two, and our twenty-five). They spoke of the sterilization drive and Mr. Sanjay Gandhi nostalgically. I read about Turkman Gate in newspapers and magazines a couple of times and I had understood that it was some kind of epochal event, but in those pre-internet and pre-wikipedia days, I had no details of the event. The overall idea was that Mrs. Gandhi’s son, the one with real political acumen, the one she had chosen to be her successor, was the strongest possible Hindu leader at that time. Alas! History had chosen another son of Mrs. Gandhi’s as her successor. Later in life I got another perspective of the Emergency through Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children but that was much later.

I was in school when Mr. Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash. I was surprised at why the adults talking about him did not show the grief and respect that people generally show to the dead. I remember having heard a couple of days after the crash that even his mother had not wept at his death. I even remember that at least one friend of mine had said that it was the mother who was behind the crash. I could not understand the reason behind it all. Now, when I think of it, there are two possibilities. Either the people wanted to wash Mrs. Gandhi’s political sins off by shifting the blame on her son, or the son had done something really so bad, and so much against the wishes of his mother that his mother was actually (I know, it sounds so fiendish) relieved when he simply died. I had never been a witness to such kind of animosity towards the dead before that, and have seen it only once after that: on General Zia-ul-Haq’s death a couple of years later, but then, they were Indians hating a very strong leader of a country they saw as their enemy.  

There was and is no detail of the Emergency in our textbooks. History means whatever happened hundreds of years ago for us. Only then it deserves to go on to the pages of a text book. So, no one had told me that there was an election somewhere in Uttar Pradesh and the most powerful person in India had resorted to unfair means to ensure her victory. Later the Supreme Court had declared her victory null and void, and suddenly, she faced the prospect of losing her job. Now a decent and honest person would have accepted their guilt and apologized. She did something that a powerful and selfish person would do. She made the President of India that is remembered only for that one act of his, declare Emergency in India. She ruled through decree, and extended the regime every six months. That was not all. She had murdered the spirit of democracy by anointing her unelected, inexperienced son as her successor and that person with no constitutional authority ordered elected representatives of the people of India, IAS and IPS officers on how to work, and they did as they were told. In effect, Mrs. Indira Gandhi behaved like a monarch and Mr. Sanjay Gandhi like a crown prince. The majority of Indians, with a hereditary weakness for monarchy, did not object. They did not object even when the Empress and the Crown Prince the country from the Prime Minister’s House from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977. Up to here the content of this article was partially based on hearsay. From here on it’ll be based on the Reports of the Shah Commission of Inquiry (Appointed under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952). There are two interim reports and a final report that were published in 1978. They can be downloaded from here: https://www.countercurrents.org/cc280615.htm

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1984, Bhopal: Congress and Corruption

There’s a haunting image from thirty-four years ago. Whenever I see it, an unknown terror fills my mind, and snatches my ability to reason. It’s from the infamous Bhopal Massacre (yes, I call it that) of 2-3 December 1984. 

bhopal1

(Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/photo/bhopal-gas-tragedy-30th-anniversary-warren-anderson-374007-2014-12-02)

 

Not many in India remember it or talk of it today. That’s expected, looking at how we forget deaths through a collective collusion. I choose not to forget. How can a person alive and thinking ever forget something that converted thousands of living human beings into just bodies, with paper pasted on their foreheads, the same children’s forehead that their parents used to kiss?

bhopal2 

(Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/photo/bhopal-gas-tragedy-30th-anniversary-warren-anderson-374007-2014-12-02/13)

Nothing can be written here about the actual set of events that led to the tragedy better than what has already been done at several sites and in several books. The reason behind remembering Bhopal is two fold. It’s to remind us of Bhopal, and also of the high level of institutionalized corruption at that time that was the main reason behind what happened that night, and after that.  

Let’s set the broader perspective for this piece first. There was a PM of the Indian National Congress in New Delhi for over fifty years, (1947 to 1977, 1980 to 1989, 1991 to 1996 and 2004 to 2014). Bharatiya Janata Party was born in 1980 and has been in at the centre power for nearly eleven years. Today, the intelligentsia is mostly anti-Modi and anti-BJP. I have no objection to that. Yet, I object to the short term memory of nearly all influential persons and agencies. They have decided to forget the wrongs that the Congress had done in its fifty years, and focus about what Mr. Modi and his government has done wrong in the last four years. Of course there are many supporters of Mr. Modi, but even they, it seems, have forgotten the fifty years of corrupt and disastrous governance that Congress gave India. I have decided to remember those years too.

1984 was the annus horribilis in the history of humanity (shall I put “Indian” humanity here, as my focus is on India? But then, humanity is not country specific). As Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi so metaphorically put in his “When a big tree falls, earth shakes” speech, one person was assassinated, and thousands had to lose their life in the planned so called “retaliatory violence”. The official figure was close to three thousand.  Till date, justice had been denied to the victims of the Sikh Genocide of November 1984.

Exactly one month after the Sikh Genocide, on 2-3 December 1984, nearly 3000 persons officially died in Bhopal due to MIC leaked from the Union Carbide factory built flouting all international laws and safety standards in a densely populated area.  

https://www.bhopal.net/what-happened/that-night-december-3-1984/

http://www.jansamparklife.com/?p=12120

At the official website of BJP I found this booklet that has a couple of wonderful articles on the second massacre in 1984 for which the Congress (I) government was responsible in so many ways. Here’s the booklet: http://www.bjp.org/images/upload/publications/bhopal_gas_kand.pdf

The gas leaked and affected nearly the whole population of the city.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bhopal-gas-tragedy-what-had-happened-this-day-33-years-ago-that-killed-thousands-1099247-2017-12-03

“An exact death toll has never been established. Union Carbide, not surprisingly, set the toll on the low end at 3,800, while municipal workers claimed to have cleared at least 15,000 bodies in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Thousands have died since, and an estimated 50,000 people became invalids or developed chronic respiratory conditions as a result of being poisoned”. (https://www.wired.com/2010/12/1203bhopal-disaster/)

There’s a lot of material available all over the internet and it points towards a definite state complicity in the crime. First of all, the permission to manufacture methyl isocyanate was given during the Emergency that Mrs. Indira Gandhi had imposed on India. Then, it was Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s subsequent governments that botched the whole case against the Union carbide and assisted its CEO Warren Anderson’s escape from India. He was never punished. There was a settlement with Union Carbide that got the people of Bhopal nearly nothing. “… faced with a $3 billion lawsuit, the company dug in. It eventually agreed to a $470 million settlement, a mere 15 percent of the original claim. In any case, very little money ever reached the victims of the disaster”. https://www.wired.com/2010/12/1203bhopal-disaster/

The official response of Union Carbide was that water was introduced into a tank filled with MIC by probably an employee of the same. That it was an act of sabotage and not an accident. http://www.bhopal.com/Cause-of-Bhopal-Tragedy

Even if that is granted, where did that act of sabotage happen? Who was responsible to prevent it? Why was their plant with such volumes of such a deadly chemical functioning in that area?

The only reason the company and its CEO were not punished was because it happened in India, and the corrupt Congress government was at the helm. The main responsibility for those 3000 deaths, many of them children, lies with the company that set the factory there and ran it negligently and then, could not prevent its own employee from doing what he did as there was no concern for safety or so many human lives that would be lost if anything like that happened. The governments that gave Union Carbide the license for the plant and then did not ensure that the quality of production and safety measures are maintained is equally responsible. Neither was punished even thirty-four years after the incident. It happens only in India.  

 

 

 

We or Our Nationhood Defined by V. D. Savarkar and M. S. Golwalkar:  

Golwalkar, one of the core ideologues of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) laid down the “Five Unities of a Nation” as:

  • Geographical (country)
  • Racial (Race)
  • Religious (Religion)
  • Cultural (Culture)
  • Linguistic (language)

(From We or Our Nationhood Defined)

 

The year of publication of the book was 1939, and the place of publication was Nagpur. He gives a wonderful example, that of Germany. Formation of modern Germany happened following the “natural and logical aspiration of Germany” for its “hereditary territory”. Germany purged itself of the “Semitic races”. “Race pride at its highest has been manifested here”. Golwalkar demonstrates how Germany can be a wonderful model for Hindusthan:

 

[Germany shows] how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures,

having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by. Then the state language is German, and the foreign races living in the Country as minorities, though they

have freedom to use their respective languages among themselves, must deal in the nation’s language in their public life. The factor of religion, too, is not to be ignored. The president, if any, of the Republic has to take an oath, which in its

nature is purely religious. The state holidays are mostly the Christian holidays, according to the Roman Catholic sect. To be brief, all the five constituents of the Nation Idea have been boldly vindicated in modern Germany and that too, today

in the actual present, when we can for ourselves see and study them, as they manifest themselves in their relative importance.

 

Golwalkar talks about the “Hindu Race” as an entity that shares the five unities of the Hindu Nation. As Hindusthan belongs to Hindus, the non-Hindus have two alternatives: “abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race” or “to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race”.

There’s no space for dialogue here and no scope for engaging with other narratives of minorities in a nation-state. Once Hindus run Hindusthan, Muslims, Christians etc. will be at their mercy. Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists etc. are no problem for two reasons. The practical reason is that their numbers are not as significant as that of Muslims. The theoretical, and most wonderfully assimilative, reason is that they are not essentially different from Hinduism, and are parts of it. Not just minorities, the Golwalkar-Savarkar concept of nationalism does not have any space for alternate interpretations or rational dialogue.

 

Savarkar shows how even after having the same fatherland and origin some differences remain:

 

though they might have a common Fatherland, and an almost pure Hindu blood and parentage with us, cannot be recognized as Hindus; as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu civilization (Sanskriti) as a whole. They belong, or feel that they belong, to a cultural unit altogether different from the Hindu one. Their heroes and their hero-worship, their fairs and their festivals, their ideals and their outlook on life, have now ceased to be common with ours.

(Essentials of Hindutva by V.D. Savarkar)

 

Savarkar goes on to prove in detail how despite our fatherlands being the same, Hindus and Muslims/Christians are different in another important aspect:

 

Their holyland is far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and Godmen, ideas and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their names and their outlook smack of a foreign origin. Their love is divided. Nay, if some of them be really believing what they profess to do, then there can be no choice—they must, to a man, set their Holy-land above their Fatherland in their love and allegiance.

 

The Golwalkar-Savarkar definitions of nation and nationalism and their streams of thought presented in the lines above belong to an India before 1947. Golwalkar wrote about the Constitution of India after 1950 and his ideas are preserved in his Bunch of Thoughts:

 

Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of Western countries. It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No! Some lame principles from the United Nations Charter or from the Charter of the old League of Nations and some features from the American and British Constitutions have been just brought together in a mere hotchpotch. 

 

I can only compare this to the confidence that the neo-classical English poets had in their vision and ability. They called Shakespeare uncouth and re-made his plays by polishing them according to the sophisticated tastes and refined sensibilities of their times. If one goes looking for something like fundamental rights and directive principles in Golwalkar-Savarkar ideology, one may get wonderful results, but before doing that, one last thing remains, going through the contents of the official website of RSS.

 

 

 

An Indian Reads the Constitution of Pakistan

I scanned (not machine based) the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan [As modified up to the 30th March, 2017] today. I just wanted to see how an Islamic state deals with its minority, at least in theory. What I read there was not only interesting but also worthy of attention and praise. The minds that framed the constitution wanted to give the best possible most democratic system to the nation and to find its roots in Islam. Their wish was to remain faithful “to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice”. The preamble makes it clear:

 

… it is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order;

Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed;

Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;

Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures;

Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;

Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes; [Italics mine]

 

 It’s a good piece, but the parts I have italicized deserve a second reading.

  • Tolerance, social justice etc. have been guaranteed in the “holy land” based on the guiding light of the Holy Quran.
  • Muslims will order their lives following the one book.
  • The constitution guarantees provisions for saving minority religion and culture and safeguard their legitimate
  • It also guarantees the fundamental rights including freedom of thought, faith; worship etc. albeit subject to law and public morality.

 

In the preamble itself one can read its various self-contradictions.

 

  • Words like “democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice” are from English language and belong to the stream of thought that developed since the Enlightenment in the West. Any attempt to trace them backward into a book that belongs to the seventh century A.D. will not get streams of thoughts that lead to the modern Enlightenment concepts. So, basing the interpretation of English words on an Arabic Quran is doubly irrational, as they are two different languages, originating in two different cultures and times.
  • The single assertion right in the beginning of the constitution that Muslims (i.e. each Muslim) will live life as Quran spells it out, makes two things clear. First, that Muslims are homogeneous in molding their life on what Quran stipulates. And then, no dissent will be tolerated.
  • Safeguarding the legitimate interests of the minority underlines the idea of legitimacy that the state gets to define. It simply means that an element of subjectivity has been inserted so that the state gets to shape the lives of the minority in any way it pleases to.
  • The fundamental rights are guaranteed with a proviso. Even here the element of subjectivity and interpretation are introduced, giving the state final decision making power. Because of the elements of subjectivity, the decisions made by the state will be virtually unchallengeable in various Pakistani courts of law, as they have to uphold the constitution and follow it too. There’s a vicious cycle here, right in the preamble of the nation built on the logic of religious antagonism.

 

After reading the preamble I went through the content and read the sections and articles I was interested in. The second article declares that “Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan”. The twentieth article begins with the proviso “Subject to law, public order and morality”:

(a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and

(b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

As I underlined earlier, in practice the proviso in the beginning actually nullifies the good intent. History proves me right.

 

The twenty-first article prohibits a practice that comes directly from the history of various Islamic reigns, even in India. It’s actually against jajiya:No person shall be compelled to pay any special tax the proceeds of which are to be spent on the propagation or maintenance of any religion other than his own”.

 

The very next article is relevant to the contemporary India. I don’t know how Pakistan managed to keep the promise made, but if it did, then it ensured that no “person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own”.

I have taught in public schools in India and have known others who have taught or studied in schools run by specific religious organizations. I have seen many students attending the ceremonies of dominant community, participating in ritual steps and reciting their mantras. A secular India has failed to do what an Islamic Pakistan promises in its twenty-second article.

 

The constitution assumes that all Muslims of Pakistan will follow the Holy Quran. There’s no alternative for them but to follow the “Islamic way of life”. Again, high degree of subjectivity can be found in the language of the thirty-first article:

 

(1) Steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam and to provide facilities whereby they may be enabled to understand the meaning of life according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

(2) The State shall endeavour, as respects the Muslims of Pakistan,—

(a) to make the teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat compulsory, to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language and to secure correct and exact printing and publishing of the Holy Quran;

(b) to promote unity and the observance of the Islamic moral standards;

 

 The first clause posits that there’s a definite meaning of life that a whole nation of Muslims may be taught through a couple of great books. It presumes that the teachers and the students will reach same conclusion regarding life and living, time and again, following the same set of instructions. It also presumes that the level of understanding of all Muslim learners will be equivalent. If it does not presume that, there’s no way a whole nation can be made to lead a holy life. The reality of Pakistan shows it clearly. 2.b posits that there’s a definite moral standard that’s Islamic. There are two hidden assumptions here, that there’s a non-Islamic moral standard and that somehow it is not good for Muslims.   

 

 The thirty-sixth article makes a very theoretically elevating claim: “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services”. The minority in Pakistan is persecuted and marginalized. There’s no way that they are given their due representation in various state services.

 

The one thing that I loved in the constitution of Pakistan, and that is sadly absent in Indian constitution is the provision of the “Vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister” in article ninety-five. There’s also a “Vote of no-confidence against Chief Minister” in article one hundred and thirty-six. These two provisions are in addition to one found in Indian Constitution, that of the Removal [or impeachment] of President. The details of article ninety-five are as follows:

  

(1) A resolution for a vote of no-confidence moved by not less than twenty per centum of the total membership of the National Assembly may be passed against the Prime Minister by the National Assembly.

(2) A resolution referred to in clause (1) shall not be voted upon before the expiration of three days, or later than seven days, from the day on which such resolution is moved in the National Assembly.

(3) A resolution referred to in clause (1) shall not be moved in the National Assembly while the National Assembly is considering demands for grants submitted to it in the Annual Budget Statement.

(4) If the resolution referred to in clause (1) is passed by a majority of the total membership of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister shall cease to hold office.]

 

Articles 95 and 136 are definitely missing from the constitution of India. Of course they can be misused, but there absence means loss of all accountability at the highest offices of either country or state. No democracy can afford it, and India has suffered a lot due to the complete lack of control over elected heads of nation and states.

 

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has all the elements of an adequate code but it suffers from its basic premise: a state run on the basis of a religion. Somehow my modern (read Western educated) mind cannot accept this. I am a firm believer in a non-Indian and non-Nehruvian kind of secularism for states. The moment state and religion are mixed, a disaster is born. Before we go looking for another case of such mixing and subsequent disaster, we need to look at a modern, democratic, secular constitution, i.e. the constitution of India.

  

The Constitution of India (As on 9th November, 2015), declares boldly and clearly in its preamble:

 

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation…

 

India is a secular state, and at least theoretically, keeps the running of the state away from religion. I only wish that the spirit of our constitution was followed after 1950. Somehow, the politicians found ways to circumvent the written and unwritten texts and wrote India in their own image. The twenty-eighth article covers the ground somewhat similar to the ground covered by articles 20-22 in the Constitution of Pakistan:

 

(1) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State

funds.

(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution.

(3) No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto.

 

The first clause of the thirtieth article is a short and simple, “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.

 

The forty-fourth article is committed to the cause of equality:

“The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.

This article, along with article 370 has been invoked umpteenth number of times by one party or the other in the recent past. They are polarized over the actual application of the spirit of article 44. As religion has been poiliticized in India, justice is not equal for all. Even in the court of law, Hindus and Muslims are treated differently in a secular nation.

 

Article 51A is about the fundamental duties of an Indian and some of them need to be quoted in full:

 

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

 

Although contemporary India is far from realizing the goal, the very commitment to the promotion of harmony while acknowledging the diversity, including religious, is something theoretically impossible in an Islamic Republic run on the basis of lines from a set of books or their interpretations. The composite culture of India stands strongly against the monologic cultural stream of Pakistan. Finally, there’s no way the constitution of Pakistan can allow any attempt at reforming the directive force behind it. How can the Holy Quran or allied texts be reformed? After reading sections of the Constitution of Pakistan, I felt that Dr. Ambedkar et. al. had done a wonderful job, until I read M. S. Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts:  

 

Our Constitution too is just a cumbersome and heterogeneous piecing together of various articles from various Constitutions of Western countries. It has absolutely nothing which can be called our own. Is there a single word of reference in its guiding principles as to what our national mission is and what our keynote in life is? No! Some lame principles from the United Nations Charter or from the Charter of the old League of Nations and some features from the American and British Constitutions have been just brought together in a mere hotchpotch. 

It sent me searching for the directive principles and fundamental rights he had in mind. More about that in my next blog.

 

 

 

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 and Id al Azha (Bakrid) in India  

The Press Information Bureau of the government of India made it clear in 2017 that:

The basic purpose of the [PCA] Rule is to ensure welfare of the animals in the cattle market and ensure adequate facilities for housing, feeding, feed storage area, water supply, water troughs, ramps, enclosures for sick animals, veterinary care and proper drainage etc.”

(http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=162195)

The PCA Rules do not ban ritual sacrifice of animals other than that of cattle. It defines cattle as “bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels”. It only stipulates that it should be done at “registered abattoirs and follow certain guidelines, but in the case of most ritualistic animal sacrifices these rules are not followed”.

(https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/government-body-to-campaign-against-animal-sacrifice-ahead-of-bakrid/story-w0XILNNpO6g90it0mzcPhL.html)

The recent talks of ban on animal sacrifice originated from a comment of Mr. S. P. Gupta, the Cahriman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI):  “If anyone does animal sacrifice, that is punishable, no animal is exempted… People are not aware, they link it to religion, but this is not a religion thing. In no religion can you kill animals.” (https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/government-body-to-campaign-against-animal-sacrifice-ahead-of-bakrid/story-w0XILNNpO6g90it0mzcPhL.html)

As the board is under the Government of India so Mr. Gupta’s statement carries weight. Bakrid/Id al Azha is on August 21/22 this year. Muslims have voiced concerns regarding the intention of the comment.

Two things are definite from the PCA Rule 2017. The first one is that no animal that belongs to the category of “cattle” can be slaughtered in India. The second one is that all slaughtering should take place in licensed “registered abattoirs” following certain guidelines to prevent cruelty and harm to animals. Yet, there’s nowhere in the document that all animal sacrifice of any kind of animal is prohibited/punishable. Mr. Gupta and PETA say that it’s actually illegal sacrificing any animal in any way in India. Moreover, Mr. Gupta passed a sweeping remark about no place of animal sacrifice in any religion. That remark can be easily proven wrong with reference to the Holy Bible, and Quran-Sharif, and also with reference to the prevalent practices all over the world.

Although ritual animal sacrifice is a part of Id al Azha/ Bakrid celebrations, as far as the PCS Rule is concerned, the sacrifice cannot be legally performed on streets or at someone’s place. Moreover, it has to be an animal not in the category of cattle and then, the actual sacrifice ought to be performed at an abattoir.

In some quarters Muslims ask: “Why this sudden ban and why cattle?” A partial reply may be that the stipulation for animal slaughter at registered abattoirs only is for the purpose of health, hygiene and prevention of cruelty to animals. The category of animals that cannot be slaughtered may have something to do with majority popular sentiments. This article is not about the validity of the logic behind defining that category. It’s about ban of ritual animal sacrifice at personal level.

I think that there’s a precedent of the same practice in UAE. In Abu Dhabi the Municipality prohibited it. It issued directives for the “public to avoid slaughtering their sacrificial animals in houses, streets or public squares. An immediate fine of Dh500 shall be slapped against violators and the animals shall be confiscated. Municipal patrols will regularly be walking around to spot violators since this results in adverse health and environmental risks”.

(https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/uae-announces-eid-al-adha-holidays-for-public-private-sectors)

“The slaughter of animals in homes and public spaces is prohibited at all times to safeguard public health and the environment, said Khalifa Al Romaithi, head of public health administration for the municipality”.

(https://www.thenational.ae/uae/officials-warn-people-against-slaughtering-animals-at-home-1.26515)

A call in the name of health and hygiene will always appeal to modern minds. Instead of direct confrontation, I think that both the government agencies and people must find out a solution keeping in mind the reality of our times.

 

 

 

 

 

Command/Superior Responsibility Made Easy

What is Command Responsibility or superior responsibility?

As the name suggests it is the responsibility of those in command of the security forces or at the helm of a civilian state or system for what happens under their command in their area of control. It is technically defined as a binding:

“under which a commander incurs certain legal responsibilities for the acts of his subordinates.” (http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol25/iss1/3)

In simpler words, CR means that the appointed or elected group leader is responsible for the actions of the group. Here the term group may mean a battalion, a city, the whole army, a state or a country, and the group leader may be a Major, a general, a Police Commissioner, a Chief Minister or a Prime Minister.

For this responsibility to actually exist there should be a definite system with ordered ranks, known and acknowledged hierarchy and head, and an established chain of command. There is no case of this responsibility to exist when the subordinates did not know, accept or acknowledge the position and power of their superior/commander. There are two types of command/superior positions: de facto and de jure. A de jure commander/superior is a person in the position of legal authority, i.e. authotity on paper. A de facto commander/superior is the person in-charge on the ground, in reality. Both the cases fall under the purview of CR.

A commander or superior acts in two capacities: as an individual person and as a person in-charge of other persons. It’s the logical corollary to the idea of lionizing commanders for the victory of their army, or of praising state-heads or leaders for what their party, country or state has achieved. When they get all the praise and many rewards on praiseworthy things done collectively by those under their command hierarchy, they also deserve all the blame and punishment that comes their way for the wrongs done by those under their command hierarchy.

  • The most obvious and easy to prove case of CR is direct involvement in an action, either when a commander/superior performs certain actions or when they give direct instructions for the performance of some such action (direct CR). It’s called direct criminal liability.
  • Then, there’s CR for actions of subordinates not directly ordered by the commander/superior. It’s called imputed criminal responsibility.
  • There are two possibilities in this case- either the commander/superior knew that the subordinates were performing that action or they did not.
  • If they knew yet let it happen, then they are definitely responsible, i.e. the superior-subordinate relationship and knowledge element are present with inaction element.
  • If they knew and tried their best to prevent it from happening, then they are only partially responsible.
  • If it happened without their knowledge then they are not directly involved, but as it happened on their watch and they were expected to know and to control those under their command, they are indirectly responsible for the act. They cannot simply declare innocence from all guilt because of their ignorance of what was being done by those under their command. It was their duty and responsibility to know that.

 

“The fact that any of the acts… was committed by a subordinate does not relieve his or her superior of criminal responsibility if he knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators thereof”.

(Greg R. Vetter, Command Responsibility of Non- Military Superiors in the International Criminal Court (ICC), 25 Yale J. Int’l L. (2000). Available at:

http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol25/iss1/3)

It is the ‘had reason to know’ part where the maximum force of CR is. It simply means that a commander/superior is guilty even if ignorant of the crimes committed by their de jure/ de facto subordinates, when it was supposed to be their duty to know and prevent such crimes. The only exception is when they did not have the ‘”material ability to prevent and punish the commission of these offences”’ (quoted from http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol25/iss1/3)

 

Rafi Sa’ab

Today is Rafi Sa’ab’s Birth Anniversary and I had made a commitment last night to publish a post on him today. I managed to do it in literally  the last minute: I published this post at 23:59 on 24 December 2017. Why did I have to keep the commitment even if in this token form? It’s because I owe a lot to the voice of the great Mohammad Rafi. No. I am not a singer. Neither do I regularly listen to music in general or to Mr Rafi’s songs in particular. Yet, there are songs, his songs, when they reach my ears, in his voice or in mine, I feel good. Or, when I feel good I search opportunities for his songs to be played or sung. He is not the only one I like. There’re Lataji (Ms. Lata Mageshkar) and Kishoreda (Mr. Kishor Kumar) too, and Hemantada (Hemanta Kumar) in Bangla, yet, this post is to be about Rafi Sa’ab. And then, although I know there are many who may not agree, Rafi Sa’ab’s voice had a soothing quality that is generally not found in male voices.

It’s probably that soothing voice of hers that makes Lataji the greatest of all female Hindi playback singers. Also, probably the same soothing voice makes Rafi Sa’ab my favourite male Hindi playback singer. His songs with the two Burmans (Mr. Sachin Dev Burman and Mr. Rahul Dev Burman), Mr. O. P. Nayyar, Mr. Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal etc. have been a source of pleasure to me for as long as I can remember enjoying vocal music.

Few of his songs that I must specially mention here are:

“Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko”, “Chand mera dil chandni ho tum”, “Chaudahvi ka chaand ho”, “Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaya to kya hai”, “Lagta Nahin hai dil mera ujde dayar mein”, “Pukarta chala hun main gali gali bahaar ki”, “Isharon isharon mein dil lene waale”, “Teri bindiya re”,  

 

Professor Charu Sheel Singh: Poet, Critic and Literary Theorist

This page is here to join forces with those who propose Professor Charu Sheel Singh’s for the prestigious Padma Awards. And why do they do so? Let’s have a look at his life and work first.

Professor Charu Sheel Singh: Poet, Critic and Literary Theorist

Charu Sheel Singh (born; 15 may 1955) is an Indian English scholar of international repute. A treader of the triple path, like Arnold, Eliot and Sri Aurobindo, Prof. Singh is a poet, critic and literary theorist. A university don of great erudition and long experience of research, Prof. Singh is not only well acquainted with current schools of thought but he is also conversant with philosophical theories of the East and the West and the occult traditions, Buddhism and theosophy being among his special areas of interest.

Early Life & Education:

He took his Honors and Masters degrees in English from Aligarh Muslim University in 1974 and 1976. In 1978, he was awarded Ph.D. degree in English by Banaras Hindu University. He is married to Maya and they have a son Padmasambhava.

His father, Pratap Narayan Singh was studying Mechanical Engineering from IT, BHU when he joined the Army. He was Sergeant Major in the Army and fought in the Second World War. He was awarded with several Victoria Medals for excellent service. Later, he resigned and joined Indian Railways and retired as Senior Divisional Safety Officer from Bikaner. He also served as General Manager in Dalmiya Railways. He had Master’s degrees in Hindi and Ancient Indian History. He was also a Sahitya Ratna and a Poet.

Career as a Scholar:

During 1982-83, Dr. Singh went to the University of Warwick, Coventry, England on a British Council Scholarship for Post Doctoral research work. He worked on Post-1950 British Poetry. Dr. Singh was the only candidate to have been selected by UGC to work on the project on Religion and Literary Theory for five years from 1986 onwards. He worked as Research Scientist ‘B’ from 1986 to 1991. Prof. Singh was a Research Associate at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 1993. Later, he became fellow at the Institute in 1996. Dr. Singh worked on a major UGC Research Project in 1997.

Dr. Singh has written and edited over two dozen books on literary criticism and literary methods. His major work Philosophical Hermeneutics (7 vols., 2009) has been published.

Awards & Honors:

His name figures in many national and international bibliographies. He is listed in Dictionary of International Biography from Cambridge, England, Cotemporary Poets published from England, Indian Literatures’ Who’s Who published by Sahitya Akademy, New Delhi.

Dr. Singh has been reviewed in commonwealth literature, USA. He is also reviewed in a quarterly journal BLAKE from Rochester University (http://bq.blakearchive.org/18.2.jackson). His book Contemporary Literary Theory is listed in Reader’s Guide To English Literature published by Routledge publishers , Abingdon, United Kingdom. He is some of the few living legends on whom one PhD is already submittedhttp://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/111131/3/1%20front%20pages.pdf) and several other researches are also being carried out. His article on Paul de Man is listed in Times Literary Supplement published from London, U.K. He is also reviewed in Modern Language Review.

According to WorldCat Identities operated by Online Computer Library Center, Charu Sheel Singh has 41 works in 78 publications and has 490 library holdings. Twice given ‘The Best Writer Award’ by Penguin International, Delhi. Maharashtra Dalit Sahitya Akademy Award also conferred on him twice.

There are several other awards conferred upon Dr. Singh from India and abroad. Dr. Singh is widely reviewed in the English speaking world.

Some Distinguished Opinions:

Prof. M.K.Naik, in a personal letter said that, only Shakespeare and Whitman can carry out such linguistic experiments as Charu Sheel Singh’s Kashi: A Mandala Poem.

Prof C.D.Narasimhaiah said about Concentric Imagination that nobody in the country is competent enough to write a forward to this book.

Prof. Krishna Rayan said that nobody has written such things about Indian Poetics as Charu Sheel Singh in the Concentric Imagination.

Prof. P.S.Shastri holds that C.S.Singh has shown the whole Romantic Scholarship a new pathway to explore.

Prof. U.R.Ananthmurthy said that Charu Sheel Singh is one of the best research minds in the country.

Prof. O.P.Mathur said about Charu Sheel Singh poetry in a review in the ‘Points of view’ that Singh has inaugurated a new hermeneutical school of poetry.

It is general opinion that Singh is the lone survivor of Sri Aurbindo School in Indian English Poetry.

Poetry Collections:

Tapascharnam

Tapascharnam: Shukadeva ki Pida

Songs of Life & Death

The Indian Hero

Creation Cocktail

Terracotta Flames

Scripture on Stone

Etching on the Edge

Kashi: A Mandala Poem

Golden Chariots

Born across Millenniums: Incarnations of Vishnu

Ten Mahavidyas

Legacies

Major Publications:

The Chariot of Fire: A Study of William Blake in the Light of Hindu Thought

Concentric Imagination: Mandala Literary Theory

Self Reflexive Materiality: Three Assays in Comparative Method

Spectrum History of Indian English Literature

Women about Women in Indian Literature in English

Canon and Canonization

Indian Swans

Theory and Interpretation of Literature

Philosophical Hermeneutics (7 Volumes)

Contemporary Indian English Poetry

Cotemporary Literary Theory

Literary Theory: Possibilities & Limits

Indian English Literature Since 1950 (2 volumes)

Sri Aurbindo Home Coming Centenary Volume

Collected Research Papers (2 volumes)

External Links:s

http://www.galaxyimrj.com/V1/n2/Sonia.pdf

http://www.grin.com › Catalog › English Language and Literature Studies › Literature

http://www.nationallibrary.gov.in/ResultKeyword.php?start=2769&p_f=2769&id

http://www.jlaindia.com/contributors.php

http://www.newmanpublication.com/May15_issue/13.pdf

https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4313/m2/1/high_res_d/thesis.pdf

http://www.kbjournal.org/node/190

http://bq.blakearchive.org/pdfs/issues/21.1.pdf

rajni-rajnisingh.blogspot.com/2007/

So, after looking at the life and work of this thinker, writer, poet and academician if you believe that his name should be nominated for the Padma Awards, please follow this link and then fill some information (You can use the content above for it, or get it from Wikipedia) to do so:

http://padmaawards.gov.in/Login.aspx

 

Kashi: A Mandala Poem

Professor Charu Sheel Singh’s Kashi: A Mandala Poem is the only epic in English language on the city of Kashi (Varanasi, Banaras or Benares). It falls in the tradition of the puranic praise literature or mahatmyas. It applies the structure of mandala to delve deep into the eternal enigma called Kashi. It has been called variously as path breaker, ahead of its time, apoetic, bombastic, visionary, erudite  and a display of intellect and scholarship. Whatever one says about it, the fact remains that there is a large number of poetry books on Kashi in Sanskrit and Hindi but there are only a handful of poetry books on the city in English. To be precise, there are only two other  poetry books on the city other than this one: Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras by  Maitreyee B Chowdhury and Kashi: Sonnet Series on Varanasi by Rajnish Mishra. Kashi: A Mandala Poem is the longest work in verse in English on the city of Kashi, and that is surely an achievement.