A passing apology of a tear, to the Least of My Sisters – Rest in Peace, Rizana ! Thursday, Jul 18 2013 

Is the law an ass ?

Certainly, if your sense of justice has to view the glass as half empty, your conclusion about the asinine aspect being predominant in the exercise of the law, even if the august exercise thereof is not actually blind, would be correct.

That the law is entrusted with arriving at truth, is also a given. There’s that wise old man Solomon who entrusted a baby claimed by two Moms, to the one who decided to forego the kid rather than have it halved like a loaf of bread, so a certain degree of wisdom is required in the exercise of law too. Latterly is the story, of a Pontius Pilate, who symbolically washed his hands of passing judgement, on a certain Jesus, who kept silent when asked to describe what is or is not truth, to be relegated to the crucifix, by the throaty mob.

As a kid, I read that a lie can get halfway round the world, before the truth can even get its boots on ( Mark Twain ) . That, fortunately or otherwise, was before the days of the glorious internet. Now, both just plain run parallel. And even if I rather think my own Uncle Gandhi was rather pompous in penning an autobiographical “Experiments” with oh-oh “Truth”, let’s face it, Truth is more a feeling, than some recitation of fact, as the silence of that Jesus corroborated some evidence of Truth.

In India, even if it’s not actually confusion worse confounded, they had Personal Law, Religious Law, Panchayat Law, and of course the hand-me-down law of the Civil, Constitutional and Criminal Judicial System that has district courts, high courts, and the Supreme One, which are to be executed in letter and spirit by the Law Enforcement Departments.  Like in so many countries, the political and constitutional interpretations of the law do not always see eye-to-eye.

Among the many relegated to the dustbin of history in India, is the Shah Bano case. It had a head-on confrontation between the Muslim Personal Law, and the regular legal system.  Simply put, Shah Bano, an aged lady,  if I remember right, was divorced by her husband who married another, and when she claimed regular monthly maintenance as an indigent, from her husband, the Personal Law and Constitutional Law ran at cross-purposes. The political and legal machinery countrywide, actually ground to a halt on this story, and the press went to town for at least a year – luckily the electronic and visual media was not that rampant, else there would have been thousands of sore throats every day.

So as we call ourselves increasingly globalised, and the unevenness of the distribution of wealth, and the consumption of resources becomes ever-increasingly apparent, as also the truth of that half-naked Fakir’s statement that the world has enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed, it is equally necessary that the legal system crosses international boundaries, and especially those that are given to flaunting their superior practices in ensuring freedoms and justice to oppressed peoples across the world, should do so more promptly where they see that those who are well-endowed financially, crush those without a voice mercilessly, in such manner that nary a whimper of the cry of their soul may ever be heard as long as this planet lasts.

If the name Rizana Nafeek rings a bell in the mind of the reader who has had the patience to wade through this write up, to this point, I have to hand it to you !  That’s the name of the impecunious young girl from Sri Lanka, who got executed on 9th January this year, in Saudi Arabia, for the “murder” of a four-month old boy Naif, who she clearly said ( bayaan is the word in Urdu/Arabic, but who the shit cares ?) choked on the milk she fed him.

So let me choke now on Shakespeare’s words in Hamlet “Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark”

 

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Mourning Manto – weeping over spilt milk across the lunatic fringes of tables Saturday, May 19 2012 

Like most, and perhaps due to the innate lethargy when it comes to articulating thoughts that in any case, given the output, may not meet with approval of those who set their eyes or ears on it…in printed or aural word, I am inclined to subscribe to the saw that, whatever may or may not be silver, that silence is most certainly golden, even if today as you read this, the price of gold, has not just split the roof over one’s head, but made a Chaplinesque travesty ( am referring to his ultimate legendary movie Gold Rush ) today of the metal that was earlier made renowned by Fort Knox in Uncle Sam’s region.

But there’s another travesty that I fulminate on here. Turn of mid-last-century writer, Saadat Hasan Manto whose story of Toba Tek Singh will forever capture the imagination of the countries that got split according to whim, and as the incipient schizophrenia continues and perhaps snowballs today, good old Manto resorted to Bacchus and his Pards, in a vain attempt to reconcile the schism, and the perpetual oxymoronic loop, which  ( inevitably?) cost him his life.

And then again, was it a whim, in which those who could envision the future of millions in an entire sub-continent, took decisions that had to have an inexorable bearing on the larger aspirations, of the millions who inhabit it?

Now to the foolhardy question – should we still mourn veritable lotus-eaters like Manto, when well-read, and often incarcerated, legal luminaries of founding fathers of the begotten nations, thought otherwise ?

We need to look long and hard, at this.  Politics is a numbers game, and then, so it is for its twin sister, economics. One has never co-existed without the other. The only question worth asking is, did we really achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, after all these years ? I confess that this question troubles me, when I see the kids on the street…….

On that note, let me wish the Memory of  Bishen Singh, a.k.a.  Toba Tek Singh, Sat Sri Akal !

And well may have the much-battered Manto said today of the goings on, whether he was high or otherwise:  “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t ; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Rushdie:  I am happy to be mentioned in the same breath as Manto !