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Law in India – reactions

Posted by desicontrarian on June 5, 2009

A reader’s reaction to the previous post on law in India.

My compliments for this well researched nine points , very cogently put. Constitution & law appears to have been converted into convenience of rich & powerful. But you ended in a jarring note . More than a petty crime ,tendency of religious , political , social & special interest groups to try to enforce their point of view by muscle power , or taking law into their own hands, is socially disruptive & conducive to social chaos. To that extent the christian intellectuals’ hue and cry are extremely relevant. We should neither swallow the camel nor condone the gnats. Must we not fight this devil every step of the way?

Hope you are not condoning the Muthaliks of this world.

My Answer:

Thank you. I have to admit that I am sometimes flippant about relatively smaller crimes. My take on Muthalik is that its all part of the political space-claiming that goes on when elections are around the corner. Of course I do not condone these. But I put them on par with what slum-lords do in Dharavi, Munna Bhais do in Medical colleges, and beat police men do to hawkers in Karol Bagh. It is called a protection racket. In the novel Godfather, Don Corleone gives such protection to an undertaker whose daughter is raped, and the rapist gets away scot-free. And the Don is actually fair, compared to the courts. He only asks a favour later, to embalm his eldest son’s body properly, after his body is riddled with bullets in a big war of the mafia families. My point is that when the law fails on such a scale, street justice follows. It cannot be condoned, but it should be expected.

He reacts:

‘Street justice… should be expected’ Or ‘Protection Racket’ a petty crime.

Agreed they are prevalent across the board. But like cancer they cannot be ignored ; a responsive society has to keep fighting them & some of this deaseses are eventually vanquished . Or do you prescribe Don Caroline’s ways – ‘ make them an offer they can’t refuse’. That would be survival of the most muscular.

I expected more full throated condemnation of the Muthaliks from you.

My answer again:

You are an optimist-cum-idealist. Your point is well-taken, that a responsive society should fight these criminal tendencies. But I am old, a pessimist and a cynic. Btw, I do not prescribe anything here, I only observe and try to understand causes & effects. I am still capable of being shocked. I hear stories of Gandhiji asking for sacrifice & women, young and old, giving away some or all of thgeir jewellery in public meetings. It looks like when he was around, it was like the fabled Treta Yuga. And now, we are stuck in Kali Yuga. I have a karmic explanation. Unlike Godse, who only eliminated the Mahatma’s physical presence, we all are engaged in killing the meaning of his existence. We are his orphans.


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