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Republic Day – 2018

Today is Jan 26th, 2018. It is India’s Republic Day. The day, India effected its new https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Constitution_of_india.jpgconstitution and declared itself a “sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic Republic”.

For many years, Republic Day to me meant, “march past”. During my school days at Asan Memorial, i used to be a member of the Scouts (Digbe Beste Sea Scouts). And when the new year begins, we scouts and whole of lot of others begin our annual marching parade at the Marina, in preparation for the Republic Day. It was a profound honor, at least to me, to march with my battalion on that day, salute to the Governor, who would be stationed at the Gandhi Statue, to receive the guard of honour.

I also used to be enamoured by a similar parade, that is held in Delhi, on the Rajpath. Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 3.16.05 PM.pngAnd to be selected to participate in that parade was the ultimate honour for any scout or cadet. For me, that always has remained but a dream. And so every Republic Day, when i was older, i would wake up and wait to witness the parade telecast live on TV. It was always special if only to rekindle memories, and to bask in the glory of the nation i was born in, and to celebrate freedom we fought so hard.

Over the past few years, irrespective of the government that as ruled the country or the many different states and territories, their respect for the rule of the law has been scant to say the least. And since the emergence of the hindutva party, what little of such law was left, has been dumped on the wayside. Today unless you are rich, belonged to the upper class, or part of the ruling party, you had no rights worth protecting. If you belonged to the ‘other’ religion, which included Hindus, Muslims and some others, and if you raised your voice against this atrocious behaviour, you were treated as an anti-national, and showered with choicest blessings in foul language at best, or beaten up.

My misgiving of today didn’t happen in a day. It took a couple of years of constant eroding, of our constitutional values. A slow but steady, erosion of the value systems that were encoded in the constitution, which was developed after learning from our own past, and the many democracies that were established already. Fundamental rights, Human rights, Civil liberties, and many more were adopted from teachings and philosophies in human social advancement that were already in place. The Indian constitution also went further than most its times, for example making it one of the few, if not the only one that granted Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 3.16.05 PM.png universal franchise from the very first day. And yet today all of these are being questioned, and whittled away. All in the name of hindutva, and taking the country back a few decades or even centuries. The post of contention was effectively moved from the middle, to a point, which would lead one to believe that one half of the country marched to a different band altogether. A religious hate mongering and terrorizing one at that. Where they wished the other half didn’t exist, and were ready to go to any extent to eliminate, remove or simply silence their voices.

I should be celebrating. Yet i contemplate. I worry of what we have made ourselves today. How much we have progressed, and yet how far backward we have regressed? I worry about the legacy we leave behind for our children.

I hold a prayer in my heart, as i close this. It is poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. It was also the very first blog i wrote in my life. We can pray, we can hope and we can fight to make them true.

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

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Then they came for me..

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

– Martin Niemöller

Since 2014, when Narendra Modi and his BJP came to power, they have steadily worked towards eroding the ethos of a democratic society. Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of religion and Right to equality, all guarnteed as part of the our own Constitution have been challenged, and with its Executive power and support of State machinery, these have been reduced to mere words on an old parchment in a library.

In this age of WWW, ie Whole Wide World, where nothing is a secret anymore, and where citizens are no longer bound by a geography, ideas circle faster than the speed of light, emotions unite classes, thoughts break language barriers, and it in this new brave world people have to expect different. Today basic human and civil rights are considered as important, if not more important than food and water. In this era, it is therefore impossible to accept and live with rules and norms as expounded by regressive governments and or their followers.

Followers? Yes! Through out history, no one has been able to impose restrictions or upsurp rights without support from a section of the populace. These people are common folk like me, lured by an idea, swooned by charisma or spurred by simple hate. If by hate, there is usually a personal bias that allows this emotion to gain an edge over empathy. Some people are influenced by past experiences, and probably justified in their actions, because of the private imprints on them. But many others are simply swayed by emotions, of fear of the unknown, what if the worst that happened to them, happens to me. Collective conscience imparts the most heaviest burden on most average folks. It is easier to succumb to this, and be at peace, rather than try to revolt and rationalise feelings.

But protest we must. Rationalise we must. We are humans only because we possess a sense, a unique sense of intellect that would allow us to discriminate; as in allow us to analyze a situation and take different action, that is required based on all information that is immediately available and those that can be discerned. It is important for sanity to speak, and must not be suppressed in all the din. Narendra Modi and his Bhakts (as they have come to be known on social media), may attempt to hijack prudence, but there is a duty upon those who are not influenced to stand up and speak up.

I am writing this, because many of my friends and family are in this realm of influence. Thankfully in varying degree. And so when i speak up, if it causes even one to stop and reflect, i have probably served humanity. I have felt intimidated by the overwhelming support sometimes, but more often it is the nagging question, of “why do you have to question everything?”. Then there is the narrative to compare and equate wrongs, and thereby silence my voice. People who oppose these thoughts are even branded, tagged and name-called. Subtly by friends, but with blatant abuse on the anonymous social media.

Wake up! Speak up! Let it not be too late!

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel

Everyday, when i see what is happening in India, i am aghast. Since i reside or split my life between two countries, the US and India, i see several parallels. The recent happenings in India, were similar to the reactions in the US, after 9/11. Immediately after 9/11, US citizens  started reacting wildly, ready to give up their privacy and rights, or maybe the Govt simply usurped the rights. People felt that it was important to the larger cause. People who opposed this thought process were considered anti-national. The situation in India, is very similar. The Govt, here in India, clearly doesnt need any special laws like in the US, but has effectively employed quite archaic rules and laws, that were so widely used during the British rule of India. Or even without using any appropriate law, they are able to intimidate people, and divide them into nationalists and anti-nationalists.
The last couple of years in India with the advent of the Narendra Modi government, the RSS and and similar sounding outfits, have come crawling out of holes. They have been empowered and have started to echo similar sounds that hark back to the divide. The idea that if you do not wear the national flag on your chest you are a anti-national simply sounds ridiculous. The constitution or the laws of the nation do not be demand that you to keep raising the national flag, or invoke the soldiers that stand guard at our borders. Yes, these are patriotic duties of a citizen, but please don’t teach me these. I know when, and how, and where to display these patriotic feelings. I don’t need to prove my nationalism and patriotism to anybody.
Since I brought the topic of the soldiers I do wish to bring up another point. Before we talk about the soldiers who guard our borders, it is important to realize that their masters are the government. And by that definition, we mean the politicians that rule the country. This situation begs the question, why did we put them there? As in why do our soldiers stand guard at our borders? Borders on glaciers and mountains, where the cold kills more than an enemy’s bullet or bomb. Did we exhaust all political dialogue before we put our soldiers at risk? I understand the situation that we are in, and I realize the importance of the role, these soldiers play. And therefore you must be careful before we drag their name into every politically street fight. Don’t use their hallowed name to settle your local internal and petty scores.
This government, its agents and the vast fan following available to BJP and RSS, and others that support this rightwing ideology are busy on Twitter, Facebook and the multitude of social media outlets. Narendra Modi, elected to power on a platform of governance seem to have lost the plot. Instead of focusing on governance, passing bills in the assembly, working on the needs of the citizens, he and his government have instead kept the focus on ideology. The same ideology that divides the nation, instead of uniting it. Their so-called rights to the Hindu religion, in the name of hindutva, seems only serve a select few. It reeks off, the dark Middle Ages when the people were divided based on caste, class and other lines. The have single-handedly used this ideology to cast aspersion on anyone who would think different. They link every issue to patriotism, or the lack of it. They question thought, oppress speech that don’t concur to their views, and raise fake questions and doubts on people who don’t support these views. They do effectively use the internet to leave a trail, for anyone and all to pickup; whether it is true or not.
It is important to stay awake, and to question this stance. It is important for the rest of the nation to be aware of the plot and to resist this divide. It is not always a question of nationalism vs against. It is simply a fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution.
If we want to be patriotic, then lets be patriotic to our constitution. We have had the opportunity to create one after reviewing the Magna Carta, the constitution of the British Govt, the American and many others. We have, in all probability adopted the best of these and set a new standard.
The six fundamental rights recognized by the Indian constitution are:
  1. Right to equality: Which includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.
  2. Right to food; every citizen has right to food, which include right to non-veg food as well
  3. Right to freedom: Which includes freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality), right to life and liberty, protection in respect to conviction in offences and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
  4. Right against exploitation: Which prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic of human beings
  5. Right to freedom of religion: Which includes freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes.
  6. Cultural and Educational rights: Preserve the right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  7. Right to constitutional remedies: Which is present for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  8. Right to life: Which gives the right to live with human dignity. This includes rights such as right to clean environment, water, education, health, livelihood, shelter and basic amenities that the state shall provide.
  9. Right to education: It is the latest addition to the fundamental rights
Lets start with these.
Jai Hind!

OMG !! PK hai Kya ?

I watched both movies. Oh My God and the latest PK. Both are fantastic discourses, that raise pertinent questions. Unfortunately both received its share of public outcry. While i dont recall the antecedents around earlier movie, the recent commotion about PK is simply preposterous.

First things first! VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS, Shiv Sena, Ram Sena, or the BJP pk-protest-pti1-525and the myriad number of organizations that promote Hindutva, must first remember that they dont own Hindusim. If there is one truth about Hinduism, it is the fact that it allows freedom of thought and expression. Why else, will there be a hundred thousand gods and goddesses. Or permit a million names for your favorite god. Why would it allow you treat animals, trees, flowers, rivers, mountains, oceans, sky, sun, moon and planets as sacred and holy, and give them positions in the Hindu pantheon. Why would it allow a many different ways to salvation; bhakti, karma, njana, raja etc? Why would it also provide you many different definitions for salvation itself? This ‘hindutva paltoon’ of godly nothings are the very reasons why these kinds of movies have so much relevance in our society.

Who needs whose protection? There is a line in the movie PK, where this character PK (Aamir Khan) reacts to the fake-godman who wants to protect Hindu gods from others. And that is how the current hindutva paltoon comes about given the scenarios. They are trying to protect a religion – actually i would like to say a way of life or – my Dharma. I shudder to think that my gods will need help from these buffons or ignorant morons. I know, i know the double whammy is well worth. Such is the anger welling inside me. We think PK is a greater threat to Hinduism than Aurangazeb. If this Dharma with stood the onslaught over the many thousand years, and survived, it does not need any advice or help from these marauding fools.

Think! Another fervent cry, Why only target Hindus? Because we are soft. No. Because our way of life, allows us to critique our ways. Our forefathers developed and wrote many a thesis on spirituality and God, but that came only from intellectual and critical thinking. We, human beings alone, have the ability to discriminate. As i write this, i am thinking how true in both senses of the term. Discriminate, as in ability to think and differentiate, i what i mean. Not the ability to put one person down and put some other up, which is what tend to more often. And the true thinkers within the Hindu Dharma, has always professed this fact. Vyasa, Adi Sankaracharya, Ramakrishna, Dayanand Saraswati, Vivekananda, Chinmayanand, all of them, created new waves, by challenging old thoughts. I remember, Chinmayananda always in his lectures, used to repeatedly request us to “Think!”. And so it makes Hindu Dharma an easy target for experiment. And if we will not allow this, then the whole concept of this Dharma, becomes baseless.

Envy! If the movie doesnt showcase enough criticism or the evils of the other institutional religions, but focuses more on the Hindu religion, then it only adds credence to that very religion. While the Constitution provides a lot of guarantees on freedom of speech etc. the tenets of the religion we supposedly practice allows more. This would not be the first time someone has raised questions on idol worship and wasting milk by pouring them on stones we use to represent god, and it wont be the last. Remember as humanity progresses it is supposed to question the practices, that were thought to be moral in a bygone era. If someone were to question the caste system, would people protest that also as an affront on Hinduism. So if things are being hurled in one direction, it might not be so bad. It might just be the best thing.

Finally! The Supreme Court finally got it right. Once the censor board has approved the file. No one should have the ability to restricts its exhibition.

Ayodhya Bench Decision

Allahabad High Court Judgment
Decision of Special Full Bench hearing Ayodhya Matters
Date of Judgment :- 30.9.2010

Panel of Judges
Hon’ble Sibghat Ullah Khan ,J.
Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.
Hon’ble Dharam Veer Sharma, J.

Case Details
1. Other Original Suit No. 1 of 1989 Gopal Singh Visharad (Now Dead) & Others
Vs.
Zahoor Ahmad & Others
2. Other Original Suit No. 3 of 1989 Nirmohi Akhara & Others
Vs.
Baboo Priya Dutt Ram and Others
3. Other Original Suit No. 4 of 1989 The Sunni Central Board of Waqfs U.P.& Others
Vs.
Gopal Singh Visharad (Now Dead) & Others.
4. Other Original Suit No. 5 of 1989 Bhagwan Sri Ram Virajman and Others
Vs.
Rajendra Singh and Others
5. Writ Petition (Misc. Single) No.746 of
1986
Mohd. Hashim
Vs.
District Judge Faizabad and Others
6. Writ Petition (Misc. Single) No. 3106 of
1986
U.P. Sunni Central Board of Waqfs
Vs.
District Judge Faizabad and Others

Gist of Judgements
Hon’ble Sibghat Ullah Khan, J.
Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.
Hon’ble Dharam Veer Sharma, J.
Issues for Briefing, Brief Summary

Full text of Judgements
Hon’ble Sibghat Ullah Khan, J. Consolidated Judgment in OOS No. 1 of 1989, OOS No. 3 of 1989, OOS No. 4 of 1989 & OOS No. 5 of 1989

Judgment in Writ Petition(M/S) No. 746 of 1986 & Writ Petition(M/S) No. 3106 of 1986 (Jt. with Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.)

Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J. Consolidated Judgment in OOS No. 1 of 1989, OOS No. 3 of 1989, OOS No. 4 of 1989 &OOS No. 5 of 1989

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9
Volume 10
Volume 11
Volume 12
Volume 13
Volume 14
Volume 15
Volume 16
Volume 17
Volume  18
Volume 19
Volume 20
Volume 21

Judgment in Writ Petition(M/S) No. 746 of 1986 & Writ Petition(M/S) No. 3106 of 1986 (Jt. with Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.)

Hon’ble Dharam Veer Sharma, J. Judgment in OOS No. 1 of 198Judgment in OOS No. 3 of 1989

Judgment in OOS No. 4 of 1989
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4

Judgment in OOS No. 5 of 1989

Index of Annexure – I to III
Annexure – I
Annexure – II
Annexure – III

Index of Annexure IV (Page wise Index)
Annexure IV – Page 1 to 125
Annexure IV – Page 126 to 128
Annexure IV – Page 129 to 162

Index of Annexure V (Page wise Index)
Annexure V – Page 1 to 14
Annexure V – Page 15 to 59
Annexure V – Page 60 to 117
Annexure V – Page 112A
Annexure V – Page 118 to 189
Annexure V – Page 190 to 220
Annexure V – Page 221 to 281

Judgment in Writ Petition(M/S) No. 746 of 1986 & Writ Petition(M/S) No. 3106 of 1986

Swamijis and other God Men

The recent bloke who was arrested for fraud and a scandalous sex tape is not the first or the last of the God Men, to be accused or caught. The world is full of quacks, and they flock the religious of all faiths. They seem to find hallowed ground to breed and exist to cure a disease that almost all humans have. A disease that harbors strange mix of compassion, guilt and fear. We give because it helps soothe our souls, and free us from guilt we give because we are afraid, and finally we also give sometimes because we do care. In anycase, these fraudsters know these inane qualities and quickly gain mastery over poor souls.

I used to think, growing up, that we, Indians were ideal candidates for a prey, thanks to their low literacy and education levels and our sense of god and religion. The Hindu religion is peculiar, in advocating the use of a guru or guide to help attain moksha. This is no way, should be construed as freedom for people to be cheated or as a passport to cheat. Coming to America, showed me that the Christian religion has its own share of swamis, who grow rich on the mercies of rich and poor Christians. It also shattered the concept that education and literacy, will alleviate this situation, pitifully not. The symptoms seem to be same, immaterial of the level of wealth, education or mental faculties etc.

I can never bring myself to look upon a godmen without suspicion. So much so that, the only person i got see or observe at close quarters, and to some extent hold some reverence and respect, also did not completely measure up to be worthy of worship or veneration. Rather i couldnt bring myself to lookup on him in that role, and for that matter anyone in such a role.

This attitude is easily handled by the faithful – they identify this as ego, disrespect, atheist, etc. It also calls for punishment, of consequence dire that will befall upon you. The faithful and the protagonist will appeal to every single emotion that one possess to convince you, to conform. And like they say, we are mere humans, that any small pain, that follows, would seem like the deliverance of the dire consequences that was so promised.  And soon another barrier has been broken, one more to join the ranks.

Who is to be blamed in this ritual? The fake swamis or evangelists who seek only to fulfill their own desires and wants. Or the poor lost souls, who look for support and sustenance, to overcome problems, from anybody. Why else would they believe that an ordinary fruit is special when granted by a man in ocher garbs? Why should they believe that they need a medium to communicate to a god? And so, why turn scorn on these sellers of faith, when all they are doing is milking an opportunity. And also not very different from an average politician who hoodwinks his voters. Or large corporations that lie about their product.

Caveat emptor! Unfortunately these two words are only taught in law schools.

Republic, we call India

Today, i watched a movie, Parzania. It was based on true incidents surrounding the riots in Gujarat in 2002. I had bought this movie, but since i knew the premise, i was afraid to watch it, because it would disturb me. After almost year of possessing the video disc, i finally watched it yesterday. While the movie ends with a positive note. It is surreal ending, is not so, because in life, people do manage to consume their grief and move on. This is not so much about the movie, as it is about the riots.

For years now, i have been wondering why India suffers from so much of religious turmoil. Since Independence we have lost so many lives to the issue of religion and differences as perceived by the people. It has also helped fuel the cause of internal terrorism, just as it seems to have helped the efforts of terrorists from outside our borders. We have very many different reasons to fight, but invariably these differences do not cause people to do so, until they are led and powered by mobs. And these mobs are created and let loose by politicians and other criminals.

After all these years of riots and investigations into these riots, we seem not able to quell it or control it. It stems, according to me, simply because the government of the time, does not have a back bone and lets mob fury dictate law and order. Government today and from the yester-years, loose their will or do not show their will to stop it from happening. Or when it happens it does not punish the perpetrators of the crime. It simply allows one injustice to overtake another, providing cover to different groups and communities. All in the name of appeasment, garnering more votes and winning the next election.

The republic we call India, simply has done nothing to protects its citizens from crimes committed by the majority or the minority.

Gujarat was a shame. But more importantly Gujarat was just one of the many incidents. There have been many before, and there have been many after, as recent as the one in Orrisa and now in Karnataka, in the name of indian culture. My guess there will be many more in the years to come, since no one has attempted to solve the problem. I wonder how long we will be able hide this under the carpet.

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