The observations of the Gujarat High Court judge who refused to stay the metropolitan magistrate’s sentence on Rahul Gandhi make strange reading.Reportedly the magistrate himself had reached the present tier in judicial hierarchy through somewhat shady paths.While upholding his verdict the honourable judge regretted the lack of ‘purity’ among present-day politicians. One hopes this had not been the type of ‘purity’ he had in mind.
If the instance of ‘impurity” he had in mind is defamation of ‘Veer Savarkar’ this still creates a problem.Did Rahul Gandhi defame Savarkar? Did he say anything that has not been said scores of times before by historians,political scientists and other scholars?That Savarkar has been the father of two nation theory and an icon of Hindutva politics,and that he had clearly espoused discrimination against Muslims,which goes against our Constitution? That he had in a way paved the way to current proliferation of ‘hate speech’ against religious minorities?
Secondly,is the existence of ten defamation cases against Rahul Gandhi any proof of his alleged ‘impurity’?After all these cases might well have been filed by interested parties with a view to casting a slur on his reputation. Besides,the cases have not yet been settled putting the seal on Gandhi’s guilt.
Thus the most careful interpretation of these words only discloses the existence of bias.That in turn might suffice to put in doubt the verdict itself.
So all this brou-ha-ha about Gandhi committing an offense against the Modi community could well turn out to be an elaborate intrigue organised at multiple levels to debar Rahul Gandhi from his precious right to participate in and contest the forthcoming elections.This is surely a very disturbing symptom of a fascist tendency that first threatens to rob an individual of his fundamental rights and secondly,throws a spanner into the very working of our democracy by restricting franchise and prior determination of people’s representatives.
One hopes we have not yet reached the end of the road with this,and that our courts have not turned blind to just and liberal interpretations of political verbal exchanges and highly colored election rhetoric.’Khan market gangs’,’Pappu’,and ‘grandson of a Muslim who pretended to be a Brahmin’ had been the staple of public abuse that not so long ago found favour with the tribe that now tries to pepper Rahul Gandhi with charges of disrespect to others.
Hiren Gohain is a political commentator