Reversing reversals

2020 years ago, attempting to crucify Isa ibn’Maryam, shifting focus from verifiable fact to variable abstract, Pilate presented his notorious assertion-question “This man claims that he speaks the truth !  But, I ask you, what is truth?”

Infectious as disease, this verbal sleight-of-hand is played out every day in TRP “courtrooms” where final verdicts are delivered, entire populations are convicted, with no appellate remedy, due process conspicuous by complete absence. More amazing, the accuser, judge, jury and executioner are the same person, anchored firmly top his seat.

Anchors, anchoring everyone to their personal guillotines, are seen in full flow. What gives them the bravado, puts their common sense to sleep, sends their conscience on vacation, deletes their sense of shame, of proportion, disables their hearing, amplifies their screeching, save the smug awareness that overpowering their warped cerebral equipment circles a Dark Force? 

MS Education Academy

 ۖ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Comes to mind raat bhar ka hai mehmaan andheraa, kiske rokay rukaa hai saveraa… 

Comes to mind sooraj ki dosti pe jinhe naaz thha Faraaz, voh bhi aaj zer-e-saaya-e-deewaar aa gaye…

Verily, in the alternation of the Night and the Day, and in all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who reflect.   Qur’an – 10:6

Travelling the circle presents a problem : however many times you make the effort, you always end up where you started. And those who grovel and crawl, however high their travels take them, must return to where they started.

Tomorrow, when the awakened oppressed will bay for their blood, these great judge-jury-executioner types will seek refuge in that very law under that very Constitution they today gleefully deride, plead for that very understanding they deny to all they unjustly accuse.

Stories are a good source of entertainment. Perchance, they also mould minds of children who listen with rapt attention.

Once upon a time in a village called (with apologies to you know who) Pygmalion, a child walking with his father saw very long shadows approaching. Clutching his father’s hand tightly, he looked up and his father, sensing the boy’s firmer grip, reassured him : “Don’t worry about the shadows”, he said. “Approaching are persons small in stature. The sun is rising to shine on our village, and the rising sun causes shadows to appear long.” He went on to add “Come the full blaze of the noon, the stature of everyone will stand revealed.” 

“The trouble with a kitten is that / Eventually it becomes a cat.” (Poem). The child grew up and the shadows caused him to think. And he thought what if… a reversal could be reversed? What if pygmies that cast tall shadows had the light shone on them? What if a parallel shadow shadowed every step they took, so that Pygmalion residents saw the reality behind the shadows? Was it even possible? 

What if?, thought the child. What if… there was a parallel department created by ordinary citizens, drawing from pools of talent in their respective fields from those with experience… retired bureaucrats, retired military officials, retired anti-terrorism experts, retired sociologists, retired police officials, retired judges with free consciences not given other high positions, retired academicians, retired diplomats, even retired politicians, etc., and most important, (non-retired) journalists and writers, philosophers, thinkers… to create an alternative policy via a shadow-cabinet system, to create awareness where they believe the State is not being led in the right direction and make available for public scrutiny a viable alternative? What if… there were available for public awareness and discourse, parallels… a parallel irrigation policy, education policy, foreign policy, economic policy, urban and rural development policy, human resource development policy, all aiming at Pygmalion’s needs twenty to thirty years into the future? What if… people were able to compare what the likely impact of each, as potential viable alternative to what is, would be? What if… people were able to ask the judiciary to require a mandatory evaluation of each alternative to ascertain whether the nation was led towards progress… or led up the garden path? What if… the system of checks and balances actually worked…? What if… the reversals in Pygmalion’s fortunes, could themselves be reversed…

Hark!, the all powerful public speech from the political platform berates …sorry, reverberates, Pilate-like, shifting focus from the truth that is palpable, verifiable, that citizens can perceive, to the abstract called truth : the ephemeral, the fluid, the unknowable, the fluctuating food for one and poison for another, always in flux, changing form at expedience’s altar, evaporating at will, elusive to the seeker, unseen like the Emperor’s new clothes, asymptomatic, but nevertheless omnipresent, pompously pontificated from on high… food for thought to those who agonise over what the situation is doing to Pygmalion… but reason for exulting, by the staunch believers

Great people in India have built great institutions which have nurtured and groomed great people. Great people have in turn illuminated far corners of the world with great creativity, skill, hard work, vision…and continue to do so. Great institutions have solidly grounded processes which lead to great results, like time tested experiments in the physics and chemistry labs. If these processes are breached, the results are catastrophic. And “narrative natives” in Pygmalion once determined that if it was allowed to continue to evolve into a land of great people, which was inevitable if time tested processes were allowed to stay, the results would always be great and contrasted with that set of great results, what later Pygmalions generated would be looked down upon. And so it came to pass that in their apprehensions and their insecurities they decided that the processes be breached, never mind the consequences. And behold ! the processes of due process were done away with.

When the results of experiments are generated without the underlying processes, the correctness or propriety of the results can never be known, and then the generators could claim the results were accurate and insist the institutions act upon those and those alone. Anyone who declined or dared question results generated, could be labelled either degenerate or anti-Pygmalion, and hence liable to be proceeded against.

But what of CLEAR Justice? Oh you didn’t know CLEAR Justice? Constitutional Legal Essentials Achieving Real Justice, abbreviated. To pre-empt that aspect from interdicting their interdiction of the the processes of due process ensuring correct results, the people of Pygmalion took into confidence those who could muddy the waters of this particular justice and they did what they could.

Muddied waters make for muddled visibility, and so the muddle-makers could not see that in that CLEAR Justice set-up were some minds who simply would not be set up, and so it came to pass that as the boy’s father had predicted, the sun did rise. And it rose and it rose… and the light that shone revealed everything in its proper perspective to all Pygmalion.

Order has to stand restored, eventually for, we have a duty : we must, as the Indian Army motto reads, “Bash on, regardless!” for, as the Bhagwad Gita directs 

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर। असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः॥ ३-१९ tasmādasaktaḥ satataṃ kāryaṃ karma samācara।
asakto hyācarankarma paramāpnoti pūruṣaḥ॥ 3-19.
Go on efficiently doing your duty at all times without attachment.
Doing work without attachment man attains the Supreme.

And as the Quran tells us,  وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا  fWa qul jaa al-haqqu wazahaqa al-baatilu inna albaatila kana zahooqan And say: “”Truth has (now) arrived, and falsehood perished: for falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.” – Qurán 17:81

Elsewhere we read (Psalms 94:15/New English Translation) “For justice will prevail, and all those morally upright will be vindicated.” In other words as we in India, far away from Pygmalion, have long known : सत्यमेव जयते !

Jai Hind !

Shafeeq R. Mahajir is a Hyderabad-based nationally known lawyer

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