Any moralistic discussion on social dialectics and civilized ethics is bound to generate euphony when the positive vibes of Harmony vibrate and are complemented by Justice. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle summed up the sentiment by saying, ‘Give each man his due’. It’s a classical philosophical assumption that human instinct craves for justice. It is ingrained in the conscious morality and in their psyche. Yet, human activities whatsoever do not actually conform to this Harmony, be it the environment or the clash of civilizations. This delicate moral balance is mere utopia, an innocent idyllic indulgence in the fragile socio-political systems.
Ordinarily, too human nature seeks harmony to pursue happiness as the pinnacle of life; it is a cardinal truth, but needs freedom to do so; ‘an ideal situation that we call Peace’. Though, absolute freedom is a foolhardy romance with fantasy. Nevertheless, freedom is sacrosanct. Man was born free. Philosophically freedom is not a philanthropic enterprise of the State. But universally all societies are governed by laws which impose responsibility for every freedom allowed by their political systems. Thus all expressions of freedom are subject to law.
While rigorous restriction is woe absolute freedom is questionable as well as tricky. So the freedoms exercised by the societies have to be regulated by the governing systems. The ideas within the society are intertwined with the politics of a place and the crafty politicians who thrive mostly on discord to obtain assent within the society devise methods to turn the tide in their favor and justify such means to their end.
Society is no more an ideal Aristotelian organic whole where people have integrated interests, but communities within are fragmented, people are juxtaposed against each other on the grounds of Zionism, nationalism, racism, radicalism, religion, color and what not; think of every unreason that baffles reason. Therefore, for the idealists the political circumstances are not very happening but turn out to that of servitude and docility. Levels of collective moral stamina are receding and paving way for a culture of complacency. Taming reason and the rebellious idealist spirits is now a new global trend. Democracy is a cliché! Electorates at the click of a button create autocracies.
India claims to be an immutable secular socialist democracy. But religion is now a State policy, and Hindutva is an unofficial substitute to secularism. Emotional ingredient in the power politics is a divisive ingenuity invoked to achieve fanciful objects. It is an incurable ill. Our political demagogues inflame the emotions and ferocious passions of multitudes of men and women. Impassioned speeches of emancipation and fiery debates in the manipulated media communicate imagined situations and hear no counter argument. They act as instructors of authentic inviolable rationale, the wisest representatives of their divine leader.
Elections brought a regime with majoritarian tendencies at the helm of the State affairs and the whip of the executive lashes every time a voice of dissent is raised. The religious minorities and the downtrodden classes bear the brunt by acquiescing in the obfuscation of their liberties in the fascist hands that showed them double-decker dreams of emancipation, development, progress and religious supremacy.
In today’s world order extremism read radicalism does not work out as everyone has a peculiarly particular perspective of his/her own religion. Strange it is, but bigots are born for pelf and power and are corrupted to the core. Brought together under a banner, their banter is a melancholy elegy for liberty and democracy. Scrutiny by the sincere is sin, therefore every attempt is made to scuttle it by employing violence and power to enforce executive writ ad nauseam.
India has one of the lengthiest written constitutions in the world. The ‘fundamental rights’ enshrined therein form the essence of the document. The Supreme Court was expressly declared as the savior and sentinel of these basic freedoms. It was chartered as an apex institution of accountability, hope and justice.
Over the past decades this institution trammeled and traversed through various situations of confrontations and assertions; through emergency and to self liberation. The power of judicial review widened its ambit to keep in check any questionable executive fiat.
From Kesavananda Case onwards the Supreme Court proved itself to be a pro-people institution. However the fascist forces have unscrupulously destroyed this people’s instrumentality. As the public looks up to it they face disappointment only. The institution has lost its credibility and faith of the people in delivering justice.
Capitalists who run the country influence the politics which is all mathematics of money. The glorious bird parliament is hooting to an utter confusion scattering the opposition minnows. There is complete chaos. The minorities have become minion stake holders of the nation and are constantly scared. Dissenters, intellectuals, writers, reporters are constantly being heckled with outdated laws making them a helotage of the hated among the obedient nationalist jingoes. The intellectual productivity is at its lowest ebb.
The administration and enforcement agencies are failing on multiple ends; there is miscarriage of justice as the courts fail to uphold the ‘rule of law’ and give in to the government diktats. Lord Denning in a case had once remarked, ‘Youngman this is a court of law and not a court of justice’. The recent decisions of the Supreme Court are an unconscionable hara-kiri of expedient decisions influenced by the executive. Judicial pronouncements are supposed to bridge the litigant and justice. Such decisions are precedents that we refer in future times. Short-sighted decisions destroy any prospects of correctional remedy. Rule of law is a sovereign power in the hands of the people and a safeguard for democracy. A jurist said, ‘A judge needs to have the strength to put an end to injustice and the faculties that are demanded of the historian and the philosopher and the prophet’. Canons of freedom have to be upheld at all costs. Yet, never have the people felt so helplessly hopeless. The courts have lost their credibility.
The claptrap catalysts are establishing a fascist fuehrership and every voice of dissent is being crushed with an iron hand paralyzing democracy, silencing dissidents into submission. Yielding rights means giving license to deprive us of the all liberties sans which it would be similar to a cattle existence.
Jurists have cautioned, ‘abominable injustices have been done in the name of justice even as terrible oppressions have been done in the name of liberty because when men sink to the lowest they clutch the excuse at the highest.
We need anxious means to cultivate a moral sense of justice in order to shun diffidence and create a difference. Even a few strong resenting voices give courage to all to resurrect the dead spirit of revolution.
Shefan Jahan is an advocate