Away from the Eurocentric Lens

For the first time in our history the entire country has expressed advance support to a verdict yet to be delivered.

It is the verdict of the Allahabad High Court that its Lucknow Bench will delver after a few hours on the disputed point of Ayodhya.

Leaders of rival religions are one in opinion to honor the verdict. It is clear for the moment that concern for human beings beyond boundaries of religions has woken up our conscience. This new awakening can give birth to a new epoch of peace if political pollution is not allowed to mar it in India and Pakistan.

There are individuals and institutions that have consistently worked for awakening of conscience against political enmity amongst people on the issue of religion. Saswat Pattanayak is one of them.

While awaiting the verdict that all the right thinking Indians have supported to in advance in endorsement of all the endeavors to promote unity of the people over religious disunity, I am reproducing below for the readers of these pages Saswat Pattanayak’s brilliant deliberation in saswat.com that was originally written for Kindle Magazine’s Round Table 2010.

India, Pakistan :: The Way Forward

By Saswat Pattanayak

“No, I didn’t love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to not loving.” – Albert Camus

In professing love for their respective countries, politicians from both India and Pakistan have established a woeful yardstick. Their barometer of patriotism involves maneuvered acquisitions, militarist occupations and immoral propaganda. In direct breach of peoples’ trust, beliefs, and needs, the nations have emerged as more powerful than their citizens, the administrative servants are now masters of the enslaved population – their phony diplomatic rounds and gimmicky bus trips devoid of sincere attempts to restore peace. The warmongers on both sides are pretending to be the peaceniks while their chief accomplices dictate from Washington DC. Macabre series of political doublespeak take pretentiousness to newer heights as innocent civilians die of curfews, poverty and abject violations of basic human rights.

India-Pakistan peace talks are deliberately redundant and more importantly, oxymoronically misleading. Quite simply, they are not talks between the peaceful citizens of India and Pakistan. In vastly oppressive lands, where intelligence of the masses are routinely undermined by overworking propaganda machines, few bureaucrats and politicians suddenly declare themselves qualified to resolve the problems they are more keen on sustaining. The perpetrators of human rights violations dress up for pretentious occasions to address human rights. The nuclear weapons lovers get together amidst fancy entourage of hawkish sycophants to affirm their love for peaceful coexistence. Nefarious land-grabbers imposing curfews to institute order upon daily wage workers invite each other over to redefine peoples’ sovereignty. Religious zealots remarkable for their abilities to trample upon minorities on both sides exchange their self-proclaimed secular credentials. And living upto the expectations of such meaningless diatribes masquerading as dialogues, the so-called Indo-Pak talks predictably fail, each time, every time.

In latest episode of this reality television show, Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai declares that Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai blasts. Pillai chooses to spit his venoms on eve of the much touted foreign ministry-level talks at Islamabad. The first attempt at a dialogue following Mumbai blasts is murdered even before its potentials are explored. Pakistani officials find legitimate excuse to hold press meets to denounce Indian motives, and Indian officials cry a river over lack of coordination between home ministry and external affairs ministry. Media on both sides indulge in juicy headlines on how SM Krishna, Indian Minister for External Affairs, was now less of a man, and create investigative reports based on conspiracy theories – the bestselling one describes Pillai helping ISI and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) by divulging details of Deavid Headley’s interrogations. Certified patriots earning headlines is always a win-win situation, talks or no talks.

The Genesis

A win-win situation for politicians and the press demands heedful observations. Tacit supports for opportunistic statecraft have been prevailing from the fateful days of 1947. If India and Pakistan were meant to harmoniously coexist, there were hardly any needs for partitions. Divisions of lands and peoples as a condition for independence were mutual agreements between political elites to ensure power sharing. The grand visions associated with the great Indian freedom struggle had simply nothing to do with the final decisions of the former colonial masters. Post-partition, it was not the biggest migration in world history. It was simply the biggest fraud committed upon the aspirations of the largest mass movement against colonialism.

When the freedom struggle against the British was waged by oppressed people across religions, languages and diverse cultures, it should have been equally inconceivable to negotiate on the desirable prospects, if the independence were to be attained. Instead, egotist, albeit, towering personalities took it on their stride to determine what was appropriate for their power aspirations and silently awaited orders from the masters to proceed on a criminally divisive geopolitical map.

If we are not used to question the intent of the partition process that resulted in India and Pakistan, it is because the people of both countries are systematically instructed to confuse mutual hatred with patriotism. It is because for generations we are instructed to glorify the foundations of our respective ‘free’ nations that are primary causes of the largest massacres across religious lines. Instead of questioning the roots of Indo-Pak divisions that were orchestrated in the most brutally inhuman manner so that we can address them afresh in changing times, we are brainwashed into embracing an intolerant, schismatic normative.

If India and Pakistan are constitutionally devoid of mutual love, it is because they were never meant to be in love, to begin with. Despite claims to the contrary, the partition was not a historical necessity; it resulted from power greeds and quests for personal fames. Maulana Azad writes in ‘India Wins Freedom’ : “Patel was an even greater supporter of the two nation theory than Jinnah. Jinnah may have raised the flag of partition, but the real flag bearer was Patel….Patel said whether we liked it or not, there were two nations in India. He was convinced that Muslims and Hindus could not be united into one nation. There was no alternative except to recognize this fact. In this way alone could we end the quarrel between Hindus and Muslims. He further said that if two brother cannot stay together, they divide. After separation with their respective shares, they become friends. If on the other they are forced to stay together, they tend to fight every day. It was better to have one clean fight and then separate than have bickering every day….”

And yet Sardar Patel, who demonstrably dismissed the apprehensions of Nehru regarding murders of Muslims in Delhi following partition demands, was made the Home Minister after India had immortalized Mountbatten’s claim to fame as the granter of freedom. Our first president Dr Rajendra Prasad whom we glorify as a pacifist took the lead in dividing Indian Army on religious lines. He said “if India was divided into two States, a unified Army should not and could not continue for a day.” When thousands of innocent people were killed over partition declaration, the Army stood helplessly, and when required, took part in the mayhem. The chief architects of newly devised State of India were also the men with a mission – to keep India and Pakistan separate through infusion of mutual hatred, not harmony.

With personality cults sketching Indian destiny, redefining what constitutes unity and sovereignty, declaring with authority that transfer of power from the white elite skins to the brown elite ones was legitimate enough a reason to stop imagining further, all freedom movements have come to a standstill. If the Germans want to reunify, let them. If Koreans continue to assault each other following divisions, let them. If millions of people are refugees in their own lands, let them be. We shall never reconsider uniting with our brothers and sisters. To vulgarize Kipling further, “Oh, India is India, and Pakistan is Pakistan, and never the two shall meet.”

Status Quo

What mentality drives the people to cheer for their former colonial masters when England goes to play cricket, and yet, declares people unpatriotic if anyone were to cheer for the “rival” Pakistan or Indian team? How is it that over a billion people on earth have forgiven their slave masters for universally denounced racist crimes, and yet cannot forgive each other for crimes they never intended to commit on their own? How is it that even as we claim to discredit colonial rule, we carry out its principal legacy of divide-and-rule policies, even after demise of the Empire?

Something does stink here. Perhaps our ruling classes thrive on power by wielding the tools of the former masters. Despite the conditions of destitute that put the entire humanity to shame, if India and Pakistan have not seen revolutionary movements of the oppressed succeed against their consolidated domestic powers, it is because both the countries have developed excellent defense mechanisms. Of course, the people are poor, because we need the budget to support military needs. In face of the aggrandized Arms Race that rivals Israeli and American aspirations, both India and Pakistan regimes have managed to convince their hopelessly desperate voters that security needs are stronger than food requirements. Even as recent studies indicate that majority of poor people of the world live in South Asia, and that, more poor people with greater intensity of deprivation reside in Indian states than in 26 poorest countries of Africa, we have decided it is wiser to invest in the Nuclear Club membership than to improve mutual trade relations among India and Pakistan.

It is easier to rule over people when they are scared. And to keep them scared, it is necessary to keep reinventing an enemy. Both Indian and Pakistani politicians have mastered this skill to perfection. Since they must maintain their hierarchical rule, why not also continue to make enormous profits while at it? Arms race is big business, military budgets largely unaudited, and people fooled into silly patriotic games through snazzy naming of deadly weapons. From India’s acquisition of Vampire jet fighter in 1948 and Pakistan’s Attacker in 1950, much has changed since. Weapons are named as Toofani, Milan, Cobra, Nilgiri, Khukri, Rajput, Godavari, Ghazi, Ghauri, Shaheen, Magar, Vikrant, Natya, Prithvi, Dhanush, Agni, Shaurya, Brahmos, Nirbhay, Trishul, Akash and have predictably gained acceptance into a psychologically numbed landscape of war imaginings.

Just as arms race status quo is maintained in the name of protecting the external borders, domestically, politicians from both nations have resorted to gross human rights violations tactics to maintain power of force. Invoking President’s Rules, Military Orders and civilian Curfews, the ruling powers suppress any popular resentments in a timely fashion. In the latest of attacks upon civil liberties, charges of treason are being introduced against journalists who air dissenting views. Whether or not Pakistani singers/actors will perform in India and vice versa, is now being left to the whims of political goons who have no stake or knowledge about nature and scope of performance arts. The very people who are most responsible for widespread corruptions coupled with lack of basic standards of living are at the helm of affairs to decide on the well-being of the dispossessed masses. People who make a living from planting seeds of hatred are the ones addressing press conferences on needs for peaceful dialogues. Until their status quo is questioned, and their obsessions with controlling the people are addressed, no peace talks will ever look transparent, let alone viable. It is imperative to admit that, be it the renowned Ghulam Ali or the lesser known fruit seller from Kashmir, every citizen deserves to be heard; every resident requires an effective platform where not just votes for the system, but also votes against the existing political frameworks can be exercised.

Way Forward

Stifling voices of the people is the biggest crime on part of any State. Ironically, in committing the crime – while suppressing certain dissenters – both Indian and Pakistani administrators claim to be resolving problems. Kashmir is the biggest testament. For over six decades now, the Kashmiris have refused to take sides and have instead prepared themselves to any eventualities. Their demands for autonomy are neither unjust nor untimely. In fact, true implementation of Article 370 would grant them as much. The Report of the State Autonomy Committee (SAC) has been advocating for “a series of constitutional and legislative measures to restore the political autonomy that Jammu and Kashmir was guaranteed at the time of its accession”. Rivaling it is the Report of the Regional Autonomy Commission (RAC), which represents the Hindu right-wing sponsored by US-based Kashmir Study Group and it seeks to restructure the State along dangerously divisive lines – “by creating eight new artificial units expressing adherence to the communal principle”.

It should not be much of a guess as to how we deal with Jammu & Kashmir – the gordian knot when it comes to Indo-Pak talks. It is high time for Republic of India to acknowledge that human rights issues are international issues. Kashmir is soon emerging as the next Palestine. Refusal to acknowledge the crisis is not prudent, nor acceptable. Indian military exploits in Kashmir simply do not get absolved by replacing them with “terrorism in Mumbai” charges against Pakistan – a country that has way more victims of terror than India (170 died in Mumbai blasts – a number that’s monthly statistic for Pakistani deaths from terrorism attacks).

India needs to recognize that majority of Kashmiris are sick and tired of Indian Army deployment there. Killing of young boys (as happened in this Summer) is not going to improve its reputation. In a classic instance recently, when the corpse of 17-year-old Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat was found, the official version that he had jumped into a stream to escape Indian security forces was denounced. There were torture marks on his head and neck, and the doctors declared after post-mortem that he was killed by the security forces. No sooner than people took the body in a procession that Indian CRPF men fired at them and killed their first victim, 35-year-old Fayaz Ahmad. Several others, including 18-year-old Abrar Ahmad Khan, were also shot dead by the police. These are also instances of terrorism, and are no different just because they are committed by the State. Around the same time, this July in Pakistan, extremist Deobandis of Sipah-e-Sahaba attacked Data Darbar, the sacred shrine of Sufi scholar Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri. 42 worshippers who died belonged to Berelvi sect (Sunni Muslims following tenets of Sufism).

Politicians need to look at the complexities of terrorism levels to convey a clear message that both Hindu and Islamic terrorism are results of sectarian fanaticism without mainstream supports. Terrorism must be discussed in details, but so also should Kashmir – the largest victim of terrorism. Kashmir crisis does not get solved by nationalistic assumptions of unity and sovereignty. And it certainly does not get addressed by being ignored at high-level peace talks. In fact, quite the contrary. The more transparent, both India and Pakistan are regarding their role in maneuvering Kashmir situation, the sooner are the peace talks going to actually embrace peace.

Like the Kashmir issue, India-Pakistan talks require “autonomous” handling. We need to identify pacifists and citizens who can take “government” out of context while reinitiating dialogue. Unlike a debate, a dialogue process is not about who wins, it is about empathetic understanding. Unless military controls are undermined, economic independence are encouraged and religious fanaticisms are legally suspended, all talks about Indo-Pak future are merely showy and expensively dispensable.

A new dialogue about India and Pakistan require new imaginations. A federal reunification manifesto with autonomous rights to both nation-states is not as dangerous a proposal as the original partition sketch. A mutual agreement for complete disarmament between India and Pakistan is not likely to be as unfriendly a conversation as the surreptitious nature of warmongering going on for decades. An increase in fair trade agreements between both the neighbors with an aim to benefit both economies is definitely more desirable for the entire subcontinent, than seeking out the first world powers as primary business partners who have traditionally monopolized over our collective resources through employment of deceptive means.

Finally, a new dialogue requires preparation for the societies to question the historical assumptions through rigorous examining of the true knowledge of our peoples’ history. We have been renaming the cities to reflect our anti-colonial stance based on half-baked history textbook lessons. A progressive people’s history would have taught us to fully implement our aversion towards colonial legacies and thereby reclaim our Pakistani brothers and sisters, as our own, as much as open ourselves to their fold. It is essential to conceptualize India and Pakistan away from the Eurocentric lens. If our patriotism must be about loving our countries, as Pablo Casals once said, it must not stop at the borders.

SOONER THE BENCH IN SAMBALPUR, THE BETTER


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Delay in establishment of a Bench of Orissa High Court in Sambalpur is delay in allowing law to stand with a very big segment of disadvantaged people of the State.

The High Court at Cuttack might be making the Cuttack lawyers rich; but people of the remote corners are perishing in absence of easily available protection from higher judiciary.

About ten years ago, Biswanath Mohapatra of Sambalpur, being well known to me, had requested me to find for him a good lawyer at Cuttack to conduct his case. I introduced him to a senior lawyer quite illustrious by his own accomplishments. After the lawyer agreed to file and represent him in the case, Mohapatra settled the total amount of fee with him and paid the amount in advance. During the decade Mohapatra has come to the lawyer’s chamber many times and has paid further money to his juniors as per their demands in hope that thereby the case would proceed. But the case has not proceeded. This is just an instance.

All the Mohapatras of Western Orissa, perishing because of the difficult distance from the protection of higher judiciary, are crying for a Bench of the High Court in Sambalpur. It is sad that their cries are not yet taken note of.

The lawyers of Western Orissa are again on strike in support of their outstanding demand for a Bench in their environment where they can assist the higher judiciary more ably in adjudication of cases that they are absolutely acquainted with by virtue of being the lawyers in the lower courts. We are at loss to understand why this minimum necessity of justice is being denied to the people.

We have shown in these pages earlier as to why a Bench of the High Court should be established in Sambalpur. And, we stand by that.

It is sad that neither the High Court Bar nor the High Court comes forward to help Western Orissa have a the Bench. Litigants of the western districts are unbearably suffering as they are unable to travel the far distance frequently to set their cases on appropriate motion.

People have a right to get due justice without difficulty and the State has a duty to facilitate that. The Government that plays no role in discharging this duty must be censored as anti-people.

It is time, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, the autocrat ruler of democratic Orissa, who is so devotedly concentrating on serving the interest of POSCO and the Vedanta and the Tatas and the likes, should take up this urgent matter truly relevant to our people with the central government and with any functionary that matters in the matter of establishment of Benches of High Courts beyond their original seats and ensure that Sambalpur gets the Bench that the locals are crying for.

There should be no plea of paucity of funds. The fellows in power are known for unnecessary expenditure from the State Exchequer. This expenditure is necessary.

The sooner it is understood the better.

IF NAXALS ARE FOR COMMUNISM, THEY ARE TO SHUN TERRORISM


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Mainstream communists, hobnobbing with capitalists, even with the direct agents of the imperialists, have almost forfeited their credibility.

Ever since the impatient ultras ripped apart the Communist Party of India and formed the CPI (M), communism has suffered set back in the country where it could have been the natural refuge for the massive majority of the countrymen. There was time when not only the common man in India was dreaming of emancipation by allying with the communists, but also eminent intellectuals, patriotic poets, authors, artists, professors, jurists and lawyers were priding in supporting the Communists. There was time when despite their lower numbers in legislatures, Communists were the politicians that were rated highest in political credibility.

But eagerness to grab power divided the party. And the same eagerness divided the branched off segment leading to subsequent fragmentation thereof in blatant disregard to the urgent need of Communist unity.

The development has become so chaotic that when mainstream Communists are making compromises to capture or stay in power, ultras are using guns in pursuit of power.

Both the syndromes are killing Communism.

People are no more being educated on why Communism is necessary. No time for this. Cadres are shrinking. Confusion is rising. Communist credibility is receding.

Change of this scenario is necessary for the country.

But the mainstream Communists have fallen so pathetically deep in the labyrinth of power that they will no more be able to extricate themselves unless they identify India as a plutocracy and refuse to participate in elections that only help plutocracy to emerge stronger. By refusing to participate in elections, the Communists can generate a shock wave that would make Indians think afresh about democracy and define their duty towards the motherland as was dreamt of by martyrs and freedom fighters.

Mainstream communists should convince the people that their attempts to save India from plutocracy through their parliamentary participation have failed; because elections in a plutocracy further weaken democracy.

So, in order to save democracy, people must first be educated on and against plutocracy.

Participants in elections cannot convince people about this.

Hence, mainstream Communists should declare to stay away from elections and if they really refuse to stand for or plant candidates in any constituency, a new thinking process shall start to save Indian democracy from plutocracy. If they fail to do this, they should be viewed as equal with the capitalists and entirely rejected.

In fact, the people have started rejecting the mainstream Communists because of their participation in electoral politics. This has helped the ultras such as the Maoists or Naxals to grow in stature as they are perceived as people without selfish motive for power.

But their activities are in no way conducive to Communism.

Killing contractors or corrupt officials or small traders or political sophomores is not Communism.

Because of this mistake, the exploitive State has been projecting them as terrorists, even as they are in such restless run that they are unable to educate the people about how the State is exploitive.

On the other hand, by raising guns against individuals they have failed to raise revolution against the capitalist system. This is evidenced in the fact that there is no revolution against the system in the areas they are active. People have stayed distant from them, even though they know; it is only because of them the pro-rich government makes provisions for their welfare.

These ultras are the last hope for our country. They are the ones that are far from electoral politics. They can maintain their aversion to election under the pro-rich constitution. Therefore, they can raise the revolution against the plutocratic system if they shun killing any human.

They ought to understand that the exploitive State might be engaging hired killers to kill persons in their name just to project them as terrorists. As long as they use guns against any in the areas they are active, there would certainly stay scope for misleading the gullible people to believe that such planted killers are also ultra Communists. Thereby distance between the common man and Communism will continue to grow. The real revolution will fail to rise.

Hence, if the Naxals are for Communism, they should shun terrorism.

Significance of Delhi High Court Verdict: Freedom of Press lies in Freedom in Acquiring Evidence

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

There were MPs in BJP that were in the practice of collecting money for putting prompted questions in the Parliament. Vajpayee, much before he became a Prime Minister, had advised his party members in both the Houses to stop this practice.

Journalists knew that this was going on. But exposing the felony with proof was not easy. Two of the web journalists – Anirudh Bahal and Suhasini Raj – used candid cameras to capture the proof. They captured as many as 11 MPs – 6 of whom belonged to BJP, 3 to BSP and one each to Congress and RJD – while taking bribe for asking coined-behind-the-curtain questions in the Parliament of India.

Loud-mouthed friends of some of these MPs in the Parliament had raised demands for prosecution against these two journalists for having transgressed the privilege of Parliament by conducting sting on its members. Their demands were rejected by the Loksabha Inquiry Committee headed by Pawan Kumar Bansal while recommending for dismissal of those MPs.

The Bansal Committee had said, “We would prefer more acknowledgments from the media that the overwhelming majority of public servants work hard and have high standards. We would prefer more recognition of the value of our democratic mechanisms and dangers of undermining them. But we do not hold the media in any way to blame for exposing genuine wrongdoing. They have a duty to inquire -coupled with a duty to do so responsibly and in that way we can contribute to the preservation of standards in public life”.

The Bansal Committee report had been fully endorsed by the Parliament and the tainted MPs had been dismissed.

But the crooks in politics have a habit of harassing journalists when exposed.

We may remember how, after Vajpayee government in the ministry of Defense and the two coalition parties – Vajpayee’s BJP and Fernandes’ Samata – were exposed by Tehelka for corruption in defense deals, a judicial inquiry commission headed by a sitting Supreme Court Judge Sri Venkatswamy constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, was asked to look into “all aspects relating to the making and publication of these allegations.” This had made Noorani to warn through Hindustan Times, 31 March 2001, “If this move is allowed to pass muster, the press will effectively be muzzled.”

The same modus operandi was adopted in cash for question case. Delhi administration was used to prosecute the two journalists for conducting sting operations on members of Parliament and publishing their finding instead of confiding in the Police. Summoned by a Special Court, they had preferred a petition before the High Court of Delhi for their protection.

Justice S N Dhingra of this High Court has written a new chapter in the history of judicial concern for the people by quashing that case against Bahal and Raj on September 24.

He has not only rejected prosecution’s plea that the two journalists should have confided to the Police or the CBI instead of conducting the sting; but also has given a judicial approval to sting operation by investigative journalist in public interest.

“I need not emphasize that in cases of complaints against the persons in power, how the CBI and Police act. The fate of whistleblowers is being seen by people of this country. They are either being harassed or killed or roped in criminal cases,” Justice Dhingra has observed while saying, “I have no doubt in my mind that if the information would have been given by the petitioners to the Police or CBI, the respective MPs would have been given information by the police beforehand and they would have been cautioned about the entire operation.”

“The intention of the person involved is to be seen and the intention in this case is clear from the fact that the petitioners after conducting this operation did not ask police to register a case against the MPs involved but gave information to people as to what was happening,” he has noted.

Rejecting the prosecution plea that the role of the two journalists was that of agent provocateurs, Justice Dhingra has held, “In order to expose corruption at higher level and to show to what extent the state managers are corrupt, acting as agent provocateurs does not amount to committing a crime.”

This judgment is a great help for evolution of fearless free Press. It makes it clear that freedom of Press lies in freedom in acquiring evidence. Hence this is an epoch making verdict that will lead to evolution of Free Press in its relevant best.

The Supreme Court Should Determine If Kargil War Was Entirely Fake


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Two years ago, the Indian Army, through a Court of Inquiry, had known that 72 officers including a serving Colonel and three Lt Colonels, posted in sensitive border districts of Rajasthan and in Bhutan had sold away their Service and Non-Service guns of both prohibited and non-prohibited bore to undisclosed private persons in blatant violation of the Army Act as well as the Customs Act. But instead of punishing them, the Court of Inquiry report was buried under the carpet.

An Army affidavit submitted before a Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar, following interim orders in a PIL, vomits the name of these officers confessing therein that from amongst the officers involved in the racket Col Neeraj Rana has sold away 5 numbers of weapons of Army Officers, Lt Col V S Rathore has sold away 17 weapons of Army officers including his own weapon, Lt Col S S Rathore has sold away 5 weapons of Army officers including his own and Lt Col B S Shekhawat has sold away 11 weapons of Army officers.

While admitting the offense against the country in the instant case, the Army has revealed, “Forty-five officers and one JCO had sold away their non-service-pattern (NSP) weapons without taking sanction of competent authority in violation of SAO 1/S/96 and the Arms Act, 1959. Of these, 10 officers have since retired.”

Out of the 35 in-service officers only four officers have retrieved their guns and reported to Central Ordnance Depot, Jabalpur for further action whereas the rest 31 racketeers have not yet buzzed.

It is a shame that the Army has not yet dared to subject these uniformed racketeers to disciplinary action despite knowing their crime since two years, through its own Court of Inquiry.

It is more shameful that information on this illegal gun selling by Army Officers was not being released even under the RTI Act. Had the Supreme Court not acted on a PIL, this information could never have come on public records and no action could ever have been possible against these racketeers.

But we suspect, had there been no Kargil war, Army Officers would not have dared to indulge in such naked crime against the country.

Swindling of public funds in the guise of defense expenditure was the industry that Vajpayee government was running under the cover of Kargil war, as even the CAG reports have shown.

George Fernandes’ resignation in March 2001 following Tehelka exposures on defense deals and his subsequent appointment as monitor of administration as NDA convener and eventual reinduction into the same post of Defence Minister in October 2001 after his supporters threatened to expose the PM following his resignation, makes many wonder as yet as to what secrecy of Vajpayee was known to Fernandes that had helped him thus, despite Opposition boycott to him till the last in the parliament! Was this secrecy connected with the Cargil war?

Had there been no Kargil war Vajpayee could never have returned to power. Was this war then willfully created? Was it the secrecy shared between Fernandes and Vajpayee? Had Vajpayee succumbed to his blackmail and reinduced him as the defense minister to keep his mouth shut? The real reason of Vajpayee’s shameless maintenance of Fernandes as defense Minister in total disregard to authentic reports of audit and intelligence over and above Opposition boycott against him, are yet to be investigated into in interest of the country and its democracy.

Fortunately for India, the Kargil war is facing trial in the Supreme Court in the matter of fudging of the “battle performance report”.

The Armed Forces Tribunal has reportedly indicted the former head of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. Kishan Pal (Retd), for his biased confidential report on Brig. Devinder Singh, the then head of the 70 Infantry Brigade (Retd) in the context of the Kargil operations and has ordered that the same be expunged. This has given birth to the case before the Supreme Court, even as Pal has denied any bias against Singh.

We have discussed the issue of Kargil war under the caption, VAJPAYEE BE ENQUIRED INTO IN CONTEXT OF FERNANDES, in these pages on 13 October 2006.

We stress upon that article. We urge upon our readers to go through that article again and to form their own opinion and to join us on the demand we have raised therein, if they agree with what we have said in that article.

To us, Kargil war has corrupted our defense system. Were the defense personnel not be knowing that Kargil was a fake war, so many officers could never have dared to violate the Army Act in selling away their and others’ official weapons in so massive numbers and knowing of the same as far as two years ago, the Army authorities could not have kept quite while allowing the same officers to continue in service.

The Supreme Court, while dealing with the case mentioned supra, should try to see if the Kargil war was entirely fake, so that the climate created by Vajpayee and Fernandes that has encouraged defense officials to act against the country sans qualms could come to an end after due exposure.

Attempt to Distort the History of Khandua is an Offense against Cultural Heritage, said Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Any attempt to distort history of Khandua must be condemned as an offense against cultural heritage, said eminent journalist and culture scholar Subhas Chandra Pattanayak in a mass meeting in Tigiria’s Nuapatana on September 22. Tigiria is Sri Pattanayak’s native place.

The meeting was held in evening to protest against recent attempts by a vested interest section of weavers of Maniabandh village belonging to the neighboring Tahsil of Baramba in the district of Cuttack to mislead the state about Khandua heritage.

Bhagirathi Nanda, President, Orissa Cooperative Tasar and Silk Federation Ltd (SERIFED) who on 7 July 2009 had apprised the Controller of Geographical Indication Registry of origin and development of Khandua in Nuapatana, conducted the meeting.

Sri Pattanayak quoted and analyzed various sources in which Nuapatana of Tigiria is recognized as the place of origin of Khandua. Recalling his childhood days he said, Maniabandh was known for manufacture of a peculiar pattern of Dhoti and Chadar Called Maniabandhi Joda. The only Sharee Maniabandh was producing was known in the locality as Chagla Sharee. Khandua was Nuapatana’s exclusive product.

Linking the history of Khandua to history of Sri Jagannatha, Sri Pattanayak recalled how Ramachandra Dev –ii, the Gajapati emperor of Orissa, in a court-order in 1641 Saka, had asked the King of Tigiria to prevail upon eight weaver-brothers of Tigiria (Nuapatana) to supply Khandua to Srimandira for use by Sri Jagannatha in lieu of which he had offered to appoint them as Patra Sevakas of the Lord. This being recorded by the Madala Panji is a conclusive proof of Khandua being manufactured only in Nuapatana in Orissa. As far back as on 18th September 1813, a list of cloths kept for use by Sri Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhdra was prepared by the British, Khandua mentioned in this list is noted as (Nua) Putnee Khandooa, There is no mention of Maniabandh in respect of Khandua in this list, said Sri Pattanayak.

Recalling his childhood memories, Sri Pattanayak disclosed how legendary artist Bibhuti Kanungo had stayed in Nuapatana in the house of Arjuna Subudhi for months together to learn the technique of Khandua weaving. Later as he transmitted that technique to Sambalpuri weavers, he was issued with a communication of appreciation by the central government.

Quoting sources he said, Khandua and Bandha Padavali textiles found in public museums in India and abroad so far are from Tigiria (Nuapatana) only; not from Maniabandh.

So, evidently, Nuapatana of Tigiria is the habitat of the creators of Khandua. It is an offense against history to claim originality in manufacturing of Khandua by weavers of any other locality, said Sri Pattanayak.

High Court Judges should be posted outside Their Home States

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Lawyers in Orissa are divided on the issue of High Court Judges staying in their home States.

In expressing resentment over contemplated transfer of a Judge, the Orissa High Court Bar had recently stopped work for a remarkable period.

Members of the Bhubaneswar Bar refused to support their Cuttack friends on this issue. On the other hand, Western Orissa Lawyers, specifically of the Sambalpur Bar have raised the specific demands that lawyers elevated from Bar to Bench should not be posted in the same High Court.

The demand of the Sambalpur Bar is quite pertinent. This demand does not connote to any doubt on honesty of any particular Judge. But friendship, relationship, love, affection and all such factors of personal attachment are viruses that are seldom extinguishable.

A perception is getting stronger everyday that judiciary is down in corruption. Therefore demands are getting stronger that the Judges should disclose their properties. It is difficult to believe that every Judge enhances his/her property behind every judgment delivered in supersedence of public expectations. But it is not impossible to apprehend that personal attachment to a previous intimate friend in the Bar or to the litigant concerned, might be affecting a judgment, judges being human beings.

The mischief of personal relationship, bound to stay undiminished in the environment of home state, cannot be eliminated by any law. Hence, in interest of justice, there should be framed a Law with the stipulation that High Court Judges must not be posted in their home States.

And, the sooner it is done, the better.