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January 20, 2022

Did somebody pull the plug on the American diplomat Atul Keshap following his visit to the RSS boss in India ?

Why Atul Keshap's Exit From US Diplomatic Service After RSS Visit Is a Win for the Diaspora

Sustained diaspora protests had preceded the end of the ambassador’s diplomatic career.

 by Pieter Friedrich

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https://thewire.in/external-affairs/why-atul-keshaps-exit-from-us-diplomatic-service-after-rss-visit-is-a-win-for-the-diaspora

January 19, 2022

India: Supreme Court judge S. Abdul Nazeer's recent speech raises eyebrows | Shamsul Islam

 Objection, Your Honour: Supreme Court judge S. Abdul Nazeer's recent speech raises eyebrows

[The print version appeared in FRONTLINE, January 28, 2022 with the following link: https://frontline.thehindu.com/cover-story/objection-your-honour-supreme-court-judge-s-abdul-nazeers-recent-speech-raises-eyebrows/article38192921.ece]

Justice Abdul Nazeer, is not only one of the judges with longest term at the Supreme Court (SC) of India but also the one, only 3rd in the history of SC, who was elevated to the highest court in 2017 (to retire on October 20, 2023) without being chief justice of any High Court.

On December 26, 2021, he addressed the 16th National Council Meeting of the Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad (ABAP) at Hyderabad on the theme of 'Decolonisation of the Indian Legal System'. His participation in this event was surprising in many respects. It was an organizational meeting of one of the appendages of RSS. According to a Hindi publication of RSS [Parm Vaibhav ke Path Per, 1997] ABAP was created in 1992 to work for moulding the Indian judicial system according to “Bhartiya culture…to suggest amendments in the Indian Constitution... [and] amendment in Article 30”. It is to be noted that according to RSS Bhartiya culture is Hindu culture only. The Indian constitution needs to be discarded as according to the most prominent ideologue of the RSS, MS Golwalkar [Bunch of Thoughts], “it has absolutely nothing which can be called our own”. It stands for removal of Article 30 of the constitution which provides minorities right to establish and administer educational institutions.

It is interesting to note that ABAP on its website did not reproduce the text of the address of the Justice for reasons known to them only but thanks to a prominent legal portal (LiveLaw.in) the whole text was made available. Justice Nazeer deliberating on the theme declared that Indian legal system was a colonial legal system which “is not suitable for the Indian population. The need of the hour is the Indianisation of the legal system”.

What he meant by Indianisation of the Indian legal system was made clear by the following utterances of his:

"We must go back in time to the ancient Indian Scriptures to get a true and correct picture of the legal system of ancient India. It is then that we discovered that ancient Indian jurisprudence was founded on the basis of the rule of law and had some of the features that were immensely revolutionary for the ancient world.”

He lamented the fact that the Indian legal system continued to neglect the great knowledge of the “legal traditions as per Manu, Kautilya, Katyayana, Brihaspati, Narad, Yagyavalkya and other legal giants of ancient India” which resulted in “adherence to colonial legal system” that proved to be “detrimental to the goals of our Constitution and against our national interest”.
According to him "Despite such a rich tradition of highly sophisticated pre-existing legal system which was prevalent in India, foreign legal systems were imposed upon us with every invasion [he means Arabs] and occupation” [by the British] and it is lamentable and “tragic that the same colonial legal system is being continued in a large and changed manner even today in 2021"

Justice fondly remembered Manu who prescribed “public censure as one of the punishments for crime”. It is immensely sad that a legal luminary gracing the SC Bench is glorifying public shaming as a form of punishment. He completely disregarded the fact that public censure was and is in vogue in totalitarian regimes which leads to witch-hunting [both in literal and macro sense] and lynching. In fact, Allahabad High Court in a judgment [March 2020] declared naming and shaming of CAA protestors by Adityanath government as “nothing but an unwarranted interference in privacy of people” and violation of Article 21.  

He also praised Kautilya and his work Arthashastra for upholding the concept of a welfare state in which “the happiness of his subjects lies the King's happiness; in their welfare his welfare…”

For Justice Nazeer the present legal system which propelled him to reach to the highest court of justice of India suffered from “Colonial psyche” which led to rejecting the ancient Indian legal system in which

“the king was himself subject to the law…The judges were independent and subject only to the law…disputes were decided essentially in accordance with the same principles of natural justice which govern the judicial process in the modern state today”.

In order to know the truth we need to compare above stated claims by Justice Nazeer with the original writings of two of his favourite ancient Indian legal luminaries, Manu and Kautilya (also known as Chanakya and Vishnugupta).

MANU CODE

Some of the laws Manusmriti or Manu Code denigrating Sudras: 1.For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thighs and his feet. 2. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes. 3. If Sudra arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. 4. A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.

Some of the Laws of Manu denigrating women: 1. Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. 2. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. 3. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly. 4. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.

It will be interesting to note that VD Savarkar declared Manusmriti to be the “most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation” and when the Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949, RSS was angry. Its English organ, Organiser in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained: “But in our Constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat…To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

KAUTILYA AND ARTHASHASTRA

One of BJP’s official websites (http://library.bjp.org/jspui/handle/123456789/80) runs text of English translation of Arthashastra (Kautilya’s Arthshastra, tr. by R. Shamsastry) which defends Casteism in the following words:

“The duty of the Brahman is study, teaching, performance of sacrifice, officiating in others' sacrificial performance and the giving and receiving of gifts. That of a Kshatriya is study, performance of sacrifice, giving gifts, military occupation, and protection of life. That of a Vaisya is study, performance of sacrifice, giving gifts, agriculture, cattle breeding, and trade. That of a Sudra is the serving of twice-born, agriculture, cattle-breeding, and trade, the profession of artisans and court-bards.”

Kautilya’s king is a ruthless dictator,

It is the king in whom the duties of both Indra (the rewarder) and Yama (the punisher) are blended, and he is a visible dispenser of punishments and rewards; whoever disregards kings will be visited with divine punishments, too. Hence kings shall never be despised. Thus treacherous opponents of sovereignty shall be silenced”.

Arthshastra is a detailed ready reckoner for torture methods. The chapter VIII in book IV titled as "Trial and Torture to Elicit Confession” reads:

“Those whose guilt is believed to be true shall be subjected to torture…Torture of women shall be half of the prescribed standard. There are in vogue four kinds of torture…Six punishments, seven kinds of whipping, two kinds of suspension from above, and water-tube. As to persons who have committed grave offences, the form of torture will be nine kinds of blows with a cane:--12 beats on each of the thighs; 28 beats with a stick of the tree; 32 beats on each palm of the hands and on each sole of the feet; two on the knuckles, the hands being joined so as to appear like a scorpion; two kinds of suspensions, face downwards burning one of the joints of a finger…These are the 18 kinds of torture…Each day a fresh kind of the torture may be employed.”

Kautilya brazenly prescribed apartheid in human habitants. According to him in a fort, “Royal teachers, priests…and ministers shall occupy sites east by north to the palace. To the west, artisans manufacturing…as well as the people of Súdra caste shall have their dwellings”.

The punishment prescribed for women who are not submissive reads:

 

“Three beats either with a bamboo-bark or with a rope or with the palm of the hand may be given on her hips…” If a woman goes out in day time “She shall pay a fine of 6 panas (a contemporary coin) for going out at day time to sports or to see a woman or spectacles. She shall pay a fine of 12 panas if she goes out to see another man or for sports”.

Justice Nazeer by glorifying such inhuman legal systems and decrying the constitutionally ordained legal system has violated the oath that to “bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established…and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws” which he took while assuming the office. His sermon has greatly insulted the work and contribution of Constituent Assembly of India. 

Justice Nazeer’s address at ABAP suffers from two serious infirmities too; factual as well as normative. Factually, he is hugely wrong when he underlines a single source of Indian civilization and its legal heritage. His all jurist idols, Manu, Kautilya, Katyayana, Brihaspati, Narad, Yagyavalkya from ancient India are known for Brahmanical interpretations. Justice Nazeer for reasons known to him only did not bother to refer to Buddhist and Jain heritage of jurisprudence which was amazingly humane and egalitarian.  

Rahul Shyam Bhandari, a renowned lawyer and researcher of the history of Indian jurisprudence has done pioneer work on the legal system under Buddhism which could be described as constitutionalism. One of the greatest followers of Buddha in ancient India King Ashoka got the following proclamation, a great example of inclusivity, engraved on a rock known as Rock Edict No 12. It read:

“The Beloved of the Gods, the king Piyadassi, honours all sects and both ascetics and laymen, with gifts and various forms of recognition…On each occasion, one should honour another man’s sect, for by doing so one increases the influence of one’s own sect and benefits that of the other man…This is the desire of the Beloved of the Gods, that all sects should be well-informed, and should teach that which is good…”

According to Bhandari, Buddha propagated that no absolute authority vested in one person. The Vinaya Texts and Patimokkha Texts were the basis of Buddhist legal framework. The first part of Patimokkha dealt with the four gravest sins—sexual intercourse, theft, murder and demonstration of one’s miraculous powers which were punishable.

 Jainism also had elaborate legal system which did not treat women as inferior beings. Acharya Bhadrabahu (367 BC-298 BC) wrote Bhadrabahu Samhit which accorded full inheritance rights to women. If a person died having a son or without a son, property was passed to the widow. The male enjoyed no preferential treatment.

A more critical problem, a theoretical one, with the lecture was that Justice Nazeer was glorifying the pre-modern legal practices as superior to those which were adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly as integral part of a modern nation building. According to him the august Assembly suffered from “Colonial psyche” thus falling prey to the colonial system. It was horrendous on his part to declare that Manu and Kautilya stood for legal systems based on Rule of Law, Natural Justice and independence of judiciary. Such notions did not exist then. Those were the times when a group of brothers as rulers, the Pandavas, enjoyed the sole authority to put on stake, in a gamble, their kingdom, assets, even joint wife, Draupadi. If it was Rule of Law and Natural Justice prevailed such heinous happening could not have taken place.

The call by Justice Nazeer to return to the golden past (the historicity of which is greatly doubted by the large number of serious historians) is fraught with multiple dangers. De-colonization was a long-drawn process unleashed in the mid-20th century against the mightiest imperialist powers. It succeeded at the cost of unimaginable human sacrifices offered by the people of the colonies. The object was to get rid of the shackles of imperialism, feudalism and capitalism and march on for a progressive, egalitarian and rational polity. Indian constitution and our judicial system may rightly be found wanting in many respects. The solution lies in further humanizing these, not seeking refuge in the stories of kings and kingdoms.

Justice Nazeer’s sermon bodes ill for democratic-secular polity of India which is already under threat from the RSS-BJP rulers. According to the renowned political analyst, Pratap Bhanu Mehta by using the brute power of the vote and least bothered about constitutional protections they have  turned Parliament into a notice board, not a debating forum. In such critical times judiciary, specially the highest court of justice remains the only hope of taming the Hindutva juggernaut which is running amok.  

 Shamsul Islam

[ . . .]

notoinjustice@gmail.com

Link for some of S. Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates:

http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam

Facebook: https://facebook.com/shamsul.islam.332

Twitter: @shamsforjustice

Promoting Amity in Times of Hate

Promoting Amity in the Times of Hate Ram Puniyani Last month has seen a series of incidents which are very disturbing, to say the least. They have been promoting hatred, promoting misogyny, targeting Muslim women and abusing the ‘Father of the nation’. Along with this we also came to know the immaculate investigation by The Wire, which tells us the frightening Tek Fog app capable of creating a storm of Hate against sections of society. In the Dharm Sansad held at Haridwar (Uttrakhand), organized by Yati Narsinghanand among others, lot of saffron clad spewed venom against the minority community to the extent of giving the call for genocide. Yati now in judicial custody stated that “…if anyone takes on the responsibility to become the Prabhakaran of the Hindus, I will give Rs 1 crore, and if he continues for one year, I will raise at least Rs 100 crore to give.” Sadhvi Annapurna was no less on spreading hate. She called for murder of 20 lakh people (Muslims) and defended it by saying that it is for our religion while saying “yes, it's our duty". She ended by saying, "We will kill whoever is against our religion". It is same Sadhvi who was earlier Poonam Shakun Pandey and had pumped three bullets into effigy of Gandhi a couple of years ago. In the same meeting Johny come lately, Jitendra Tyagi also indulged in hate against his earlier religion, and he was the first one to be arrested. Along with this we have seen the Sudarshan channel’s Suresh Chavhanke giving the oath to youth ‘to kill and die’ for our religion. In an event organized in Delhi by the Hindu Yuva Vahini he administered the oath to nearly 250 youth. “We all, take this oath, give our word, resolve that until our life’s last breath, we, will remain prepared to fight, to die, if necessary, to kill for the sake of establishing a Hindu rashtra in this country; and to make sure that it persists and that it expands in the future.” Yet another frightening news was about Bulli Bai app. Few months ago Sulli Deals app was there. Now Bulli Bai app, humiliating the Muslim women who are raising the voice for rights, dignity and security of minorities were put on auction. That’s not all The Wire, investigation, running over last few years revealed that BJP has one Tek Fog App, which can create propaganda at massive scale in short time. Operators have used the app to drive pro-BJP and Hindutva propaganda on Twitter, among other social media platforms. The Hate speeches and these hateful activities have gone mostly unpunished. While Bulli Bai app makers have been arrested. The police did not take any proper action against the Hardwar Sansad. Only Jitentra Tyagi was arrested initially. With the intervention of Supreme Court, the police came into action to arrest Yati. Retired Naval Chiefs in their letter to the President have called for firm action against these Hate crimes. The alumnus and students/faculty of IIMs/IITs has drawn the attention of the government to the vicious atmosphere and the need to talk against this and to take suitable action. The unrestrained statements and utterances of a scattered groups, which identify with Hindu communal nationalist ideology seems to have been unleashed as a plan to polarize the society. There is a global concern over what is happening in India. Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch, and 17 other human rights organizations in the USA expressed concern at the plight of Muslims in India during the Congressional Briefing. Experts spoke about the fear that country is likely to witness mass violence and massacres of Muslims if the situation worsens. Ruling party’s deafening silence is not surprising. We know that our Prime Minster very vocal most of the times seals his leaps when a Rohith Vemula is subjected to institutional murder, or Mohammad Akhlaq is lynched for storing food, which is supposed to be beef. The deliberate silence and hesitant action is well designed to ensure the impact of the hate speech, dangerous speech, and call for killings achieve a result by floating in the society for long time. Dharm Sansad was a concept floated by RSS affiliate VHP; it was Dharm Sansad which had initially raised the issue of Ram Temple, which led to Babri demolition and intense violence followed that. The root of the ‘Hate other’ by now has travelled a long distance. Starting from the Shakha bauddhik where Muslim kings are demonized and values of Manusmriti are glorified, we have come a long way. Over last nine decades multiple organizations have been given birth to take forward this agenda. With the coming of Social media and new techniques, the teenagers and young students have picked up the technology in the direction in which their minds have been tuned due to the barrage of propaganda. One recalls Shambhulal Regar, who was intensely involved in social media and went on to brutally kill Afrazul on the issue of love jihad. The four youth arrested for the Bulli Bai apps are a tip of the iceberg. The Tek Fog app is the new propaganda tool which can divide the society in irreparable way. While the hesitant police is reluctant to touch the saffron clads, and if forced to arrests them put some minor clauses leaving the escape route for them. Can PILs in Supreme Court save the country, riddled by such politics of hate duly promoted by the deliberate silence of ruling authorities? While one can pin point the source of this Hate-call for Genocide, one also feels the pain that there has been no organization on the ground to promote the values of fraternity cultivated during freedom movement. There are no effective movements and initiatives which can carry the humanism of Bhakti-Sufi among the diverse Indian communities. While one can hope that we may have a ruling party at the center which is sensitive to the give assurance of security to minorities, action against the likes of Yati or the youth making Bulli apps, or effective counter against the wretched use of Tek fog, we do need social movements to promote amity among diverse communities through cultural-educational mechanisms. Nothing short of a social movement to promote Fraternity-Amity can ensure the peace and harmony in the society. These are the essential prerequisites of social and political-economic development of the country.

January 18, 2022

India’s apex historical research body is now dominated by members of an RSS affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (Ayush Tiwari - newslaundry- 17 Jan, 2022)

 One big family: The Hindutva takeover of ICHR is fuelled by nepotism

India’s apex historical research body is now dominated by members of an RSS affiliate. However, jobs at the Indian Council Historical Research – from deputy director to xerox operator – are secured not just by ideology, but also family ties.

January 17, 2022

India: Historian Tanika Sarkar on Modi's silence following calls for a genocide of Muslims and the Opposition’s lack of reaction

Genocide: Prime Minister, as a lifelong RSS activist, is committed to concept of Hindu nationhood 

Subhoranjan Dasgupta   |   Calcutta   |   Published 17.01.22 [The Telegraph]

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India: Meet Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical peddling communal divide online | Sabrang India

 Meet Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical creating communal divide online

Sohrab specialises in making social media comments against secular Muslims and Hindus, to add fuel to the communal fires

Hate Offender

The sudden death of senior journalist Kamal Khan of NDTV, who has been hailed as one of the best television journalists with a distinct style of reporting, was condoled by thousands who remembered not just his immense body of work, but also his humanism. Political leaders cut across party lines to mourn Khan who was a specialist in the socio-political affairs of his home state Uttar Pradesh. However there were some who added communal poison even as Kamal Khan’s names trended across social media platforms due to the massive influx of tributes that had come in for him as soon as the news of his demise was announced.

Among them was an a handle belonging to one Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical, who likes to call himself a ‘public figure’ and has in the past claimed to be a journalist, but a study of whose social media timeline shows how his posts aim at rousing communal passions. His posts reflect an effort to radicalise Muslims, and focus on those impressionable Muslims who may be deeply religious, but don't necessarily harbour extremist ideas.

His latest tweet was on Kamal Khan, who he almost “accused” of being secular and liberal when reporting. According to Ali Sohrab, the celebrated journalist had praised the Hindu god Ram, and Sohrab accused Hindus of celebrating Khan’s death. However it is evident to anyone who has been on social media since yesterday, that Kamal Khan’s demise was deeply and sincerely mourned by thousands and his insightful reportage, especially from Uttar Pradesh has been hailed as being of the highest journalistic standards.

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https://sabrangindia.in/article/meet-ali-sohrab-islamist-radical-creating-communal-divide-online