PERSPECTIVE

Monthly Archives: MAY 2018


GAGAN DAMAMA BAJIYO
We need to look beyond the skies to ground ourselves in justice
26.05.18 - Amandeep Sandhu
We need to look beyond the skies to ground ourselves in justice



OVER THE LAST day, Sub-Inspector Gagandeep Singh, Uttrakhand Police, has done much for the image of Sikhs and the police force. In the immense sharing of his photograph and deed - saving a man from a mob - I see a celebration of a certain kind of heroism which should be basic for all our security forces. The forces exist so that this is normal, routine work, not heroism. Please note I completely commend Gagandeep and am proud for him but let us look beyond.
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'Many women I know tell me a standard instruction they receive in life: if in a tight spot at an odd hour do not go alone to the police station.'
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I wonder if the celebrations actually show up our lack of trust, our recognition of how broken the system is, that we now look at the uniform through the lens of religion - Sikh officer, Muslim victim, Hindu mob. It is indicative of our pathos as a society that we doubt the very forces we have created to protect us. If that is the case, then to me it is the end of the purpose of the uniform. 

No doubt, our distrust comes from recent Thoothukudi, from Gadchiroli, Hashimpura, Bastar, Kashmir, Punjab, North-East ... the list is endless. In fact, we need to look at no list. For me, growing up in Punjab in the 1980s - when we didn't know who were more dangerous the police or the militants - even now the sight the khaki uniform makes my heart miss a beat. We need to look at how many women I know tell me a standard instruction they receive in life: if in a tight spot at an odd hour do not go alone to the police station. 
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Look at Punjab now. Look at its collapse of police system evidenced by the recent case - hushed up - where senior police officers were speaking in court against each other. Look at the police system's collapse that now Punjab Chief Minister has asked for central forces to guard its jails. There are a million such instances. 
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Given the rise of a particular type of politics off-late which will somehow try to run down this officer, I am taking the opportunity to state that as far Sikhs go, their sense of duty and justice remains unparalleled both before and after the Indian nation-state was formed. During India’s independence movement out of 121 freedom fighters given the death sentence three-fourth were Sikhs – 93. Out of 2646 freedom fighters sentenced to life imprisonment in Cellular Jail four-fifth were Sikhs - 2147. Out of roughly 1.5 lakh people arrested during Emergency, half were from Punjab alone. 

It would be wonderful to imagine all Sikhs stand for justice but sadly that is not the case. That is why perhaps while Gagan's story is travelling the English social media and news sites, I do not see it being reported enough in Punjabi.
 
Look at Punjab now. Look at its collapse of police system evidenced by the recent case - hushed up - where senior police officers were speaking in court against each other. Look at the police system's collapse that now Punjab Chief Minister has asked for central forces to guard its jails. There are a million such instances. 

As a nation-state we need to ask what have we done to the sense of justice by which the Sikhs are known to stand? As a nation-state we need to ask what have we done to our security forces? To me, Gagan's own act of heroism needs to inspire us to go beyond it - start real discussions, call for real change, not just end with praise on social media. That would be our true tribute to him. 
 
 
 
Amandeep Sandhu is the author of Sepia Leaves - a novel about living under the shadow of schizophrenia. 


Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT



 





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Finally, a TV debate in Punjabi on West Asia
Why do regional channels not debate global political happenings?
25.05.18 - kanwar manjit singh
Why do regional channels not debate global political happenings?



FOREIGN AFFAIRS RELATED programmes seem to be an anathema on regional language news television, and most likely, it is because the received wisdom in the world of television says that people are more interested in local non-stories than earth-shaking geo-political happenings.

Unfortunately, no one has tested that in any empirical study.

So while people in Punjab are being served a surfeit of programmes on farm suicides, there is little discussion about the place of farming as a profession in the emerging new world order.

The argument seems to be that Punjabis do not want to engage with what's happening around the world. 

Therefore, it was a relief to watch the recent episode of DALEEL with SP SINGH, featuring an in-depth and freewheeling conversation with Qamar Agha, a well known and well regarded expert on West Asia. 

Qamar Agha is an independent analyst who has written for the last several years for various papers and news channels in India and abroad, and routinely participates in TV debates and discussions on South Asia and West Asian affairs. 

He specialized in international politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; taught "government and politics in the Arab World” to MA students in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; was associated with the Center for West Asian Studies, JMI, as Visiting professor and before that, he was visiting faculty at the School of International Studies in JNU. He has also been a UGC fellow at the Centre For West Asian Studies at JNU. 

He has travelled to many countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and America.

For the people of Punjab, where even vernacular newspapers devote little space to foreign affairs and television almost none, a programme covering the entire gamut of issues from shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the killings along the Gaza border, the role of other Arab states, the Iran Nuclear Deal, the North Korea shenanigans and the world of Donald Trump came as a breath of fresh air.

The conversation focussed on how the Gaza Strip is home to two million Palestinians and is effectively the world's largest open-air prison. It would have been better if it were not left to the audiences not fully cued into the politics of the Middle East to Google and find out how Israel was created, how the Gaza Strip was severed from West Bank and East Jerusalem, or how all these came under Israeli occupation after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. 

Gaza was part of the historic Palestine, suffered ethnic cleansing, was captured by Egypt during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, remained under Egyptian control until 1967 till Israel seized the remaining Palestinian territories in war with Arab countries. 

Israel now controls Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, 42% Palestinians in Gaza suffer from poverty, the youth unemployment is at 58%, and 80% people rely on international aid, mainly food supply, as per the World Bank. 

More than 60% of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees. More than 90% of Gaza's water is unsafe for drinking. No one has ever driven more than 40 kms in one direction.

IRAN DEAL

The Iran arms control agreement, was signed in July 2015 but Donald Trump has pulled out, imposing sanctions once again. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, EU signatories are trying to salvage it. Trump objected that deal did not cover Iran’s ballistic missiles program and some aspects of inspections regime and sunset clauses. 

NORTH KOREA

North Korea wants to get rid of sanctions, build up its economy and retain its n-arsenal but President Trump’s tightening of sanctions and his trademark belligerent rhetoric did change the equation. It led to some nice Olympic diplomacy and a North-South summit meeting.

Now, Kim and Moon are talking peace and Trump and Kim are set to meet.

If North Korea halts nuclear and missile testing, including short-range missiles, and its production of plutonium, then China and South Korea will ease sanctions and Kim will get what he always wanted -- legitimacy of being treated as a world leader. 

Anchor SP Singh did touch upon Pakistan and Kashmir, though devoting some more time to these issues would have done justice.

It is time news television in Punjabi understands that it needs to nurture audiences with more information and discussions on global politics.
 
On May 26, the Indian Express wrote in its editorial: "With the Iran deal off, and the renewed turmoil in Palestine over the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the talks with North Korea were to be Trump’s big opportunity to make history." True, and it is time to say the same in Punjabi, on Punjabi television, for Punjab's audiences who do not cue into the world through English news tv.

There was a time when the international peace movement was fought as much in the streets of Punjab's villages and towns as in Washington DC. Since then, a lot of Punjabis have gone to foreign shores, but our connect with foreign affairs hasn't kept pace.

It's time to move beyond green cards and H1B visas and IELTS talk. It's time to tune in. Those who tuned into the Daleel programme featuring a conversation with Qamar Agha would have realised that. Our point? We need a thousand such programmes. 
 
Watch Video: You can watch this episode of Daleel with SP Singh featuring Qamar Agha here.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







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If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?
15.05.18 - S Pal
If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?



A FORMER UNION MINISTER and celebrated journalist was told that his Parkinson’s-afflicted wife who could not even sit properly due to her medical condition was a proclaimed absconder, non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against her, she was accused of evading summons five times and, eventually, it took them six years and innumerable hearings before she was acquitted.

The Union Minister was Arun Shourie. 

His wife Anita suffers from Parkinson's disease, a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, and at one stage during the trial, her health was so precarious that she was dependent on blood-thinning medicines, and even a single fall from a step or a strike against a door could trigger heavy internal bleeding difficult to arrest because she was on blood-thinning medicines.   

But what were the Shouries accused of?

Anita Shourie was an accused in FIR Case No. 363/09 and ostensibly guilty of violating the Environment Protection Act, and the Special Environment Court of First Class Judicial Magistrate in Faridabad declared her a PO under section 82 of Criminal Procedure Code of India.
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"Agar kal subhey nau baje voh court mein pesh naa hui to paanch saal qaid," a police constable told Arun Shourie to his face at his doorstep one fine day in August 2013. 
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After inferring that Anita Shourie, who remained confined to her room at the given West End, New Delhi address of the Shouries, was refusing to honour summons, the court order said the "accused cannot be found and therefore, it has been shown in (sic) my satisfaction that the said absconded or is concealing himself (sic) to avoid the service of the said warrant."

"Agar kal subhey nau baje voh court mein pesh naa hui to paanch saal qaid," a police constable told Arun Shourie to his face at his doorstep one fine day in August 2013. 

Shourie, once the editor-in-chief of The Indian Express and one of India's most well known journalists and thinkers, reached out to Shekhar Gupta, the then editor-in-chief of The Indian Express and a friend of Shourie, to seek advice and help.

Fali K Nariman, Justice (retd) A P Shah and Justice (retd) R M Lodha releasing the book


But what was it precisely that Anita Shourie had done to invite the wrath of the law, and become a proclaimed absconder from law?

She was told she had built a house on a plot of land, when, in fact, she did not own the plot and had not laid even a loose brick on that piece of land. In Arun Shourie's words, Anita suffered "for a house we never built on a plot we did not own."

Shouries had bought plot F-35 in Aravali Retreat but when they needed money to build a house near Pune, they sold that piece of land. "We had not so much as put down a loose brick on the plot," the former Union Minister wrote in his latest book 'Anita Gets Bail' in which he described not only his own travails but the utterly dilapidated state of the judicial system of the country in which millions face a bleak prospect of receiving justice.
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She was told she had built a house on a plot of land, when, in fact, she did not own the plot and had not laid even a loose brick on that piece of land. In Arun Shourie's words, Anita suffered "for a house we never built on a plot we did not own."
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Arun Shourie was repeatedly made to ensure the presence of his seriously unwell wife who had to be physically lifted, put in the car, made to suffer a great deal of pain and hardship, could not even stand by herself and whose "unsteady, shuffling and short steps typical of a Parkinson's patient" could move lesser mortals to tears if they were to know she was not in her room because our laws are stupid and some in the seat of justice are simply apathetic robots.

But hauling her to the court was necessary apparently because an accused has to be "produced" before a judge to seek personal exemption on grounds of severe physical pain and not being well!

That was on September 2, 2013. On October 4, 2013, the entire cycle was repeated, and Anita was taken to court again, only to find that the case had already been heard on an earlier date, and she was asked to appear again on November 15, 2013.

By then a new judge had taken over, and Anita Shourie had suffered a bout of pulmonary embolism (in which clots are formed and travel to lungs), been through an ICU and put on blood-thinning medicines. Her life was on the edge, but a court date stared in the face.

On November 15, Arun Shourie made it to the Faridabad court, 40 kms from his house. "A new judge had taken charge," Arun Shourie writes, while a court order on that day said "both the parties requested adjournment (because) advocates are busy in Bar Election."

He must have been taken by surprise. "I am opposed to adjournments being granted, I am unlikely to have requested for an adjournment," he writes.
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Arun Shourie was repeatedly made to ensure the presence of his seriously unwell wife who had to be physically lifted, put in the car, made to suffer a great deal of pain and hardship, could not even stand by herself and whose "unsteady, shuffling and short steps typical of a Parkinson's patient" could move lesser mortals to tears if they were to know she was not in her room because our laws are stupid and some in the seat of justice are simply apathetic robots.
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However, since the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled that the case be disposed of 'as expeditiously as possible, including day-to-day trial', the judge fixed January 7, 2014 as the day for 'pre-charge evidence,' but when he reached the court on the said date, he found the judge had already taken up the case on January 6 itself because, in the judge's own words as reflected in the record of proceedings for January 6, "Case taken up today as I shall be on a Haliday (sic) on 7-1-2014. Case is adjourned to 28-2-14."

"Mysteriously, the case was again 'taken up' – not on February 28, the date that had been fixed, but a week earlier," Arun Shourie writes. Reason: the judge was to proceed on leave on February 28th, a date he himself had affixed to hear pre-charge evidence.

Arun Shourie with his wheelchair-bound son Aditya at the book release. Read 'Does He Know A Mother's Heart?" for a deeper insight into the author's approach towards parenting, suffering & life.

 
By now, yet another judge had assumed the chair, the fourth in the case and the third before whom Shouries were appearing.

"We had to take Anita again to the court – the bail could not be given, you will recall, nor appearance in person be waived unless the person was physically present."

This, when the sole reason for seeking exemption was that the person could not be physically present owing to her physical state of health!

Read Arun Shourie's heart-wrenching words to know what happened next. "So, when her name was called, I insisted on taking her – leaning to one side, with short, stumbling steps – right upto the bar of the judge's platform...Holding her firmly, I pulled and shoved her right up to the bar. The judge granted exemption from personal appearance."

"Taking her back to the chair, in fury, raising my voice so that all could hear me, I blurted out, 'I hope the majesty of the law has now been upheld.'"
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"Leaning to one side, with short, stumbling steps … Holding her firmly, I pulled and shoved her right up to the bar. The judge granted exemption from personal appearance…in fury, raising my voice so that all could hear me, I blurted out, 'I hope the majesty of the law has now been upheld.'"
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This was on April 15, 2014, and the purpose was the same: pre-charge evidence. Next date: May 12, 2014. On May 12, 2014, the judge recorded: "Adjournment sought. Heard. Now to come up on 26.5.2014 for remaining pre-charge evidence of complainant."

On May 26, 2014, the judge recorded: "Adjournment sought. Heard. Now to come up on 11.7.2014 for pre-charge evidence of complainant."

On July 11, 2014, the judge recorded: "Adjournment sought. Heard. Now to come up on 25.8.2014 for remaining pre-charge evidence of complainant."

The readers will be well served if they are spared further micro-details. The facts were simple: the Shouries had bought a plot, not even laid a brick there, and had then sold it. They received pro-forma notices from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board asking them why they have "constructed a farm house/residence/establishment on a ghair-mumkin pahar in gross violation of Aravali Notification" when, in fact, they had not done any construction. They would regularly reply that "we have built nothing at all on the plot" and would always offer to come over and explain and furnish any further proof or clarification. On March 27, 2008, they sold the plot because they needed the money to construct a house at Pune. (It was registered in Anita's name only on October 31, 2007.)

When he continued receiving similar notices, Arun Shourie got in touch with the head of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board and sent all details to concerned officers. That was in January 2009. Similar notices kept dropping in even in July 2014.

When on August 26, 2013, Arun Shourie had appeared in the court in Faridabad for the first time and asked why non-bailable warrants were issued and how he or his wife had never received any summons earlier and that they would not have dodged summons, the woman judge had explained, "Yes, sometimes, it happens. Our people don't actually take the trouble of going to serve the summons and just write that the summons could not be served."

The case continued well into 2015.

Shourie appeared in court on September 5, 2014, then October 13, 2014, November 17, 2014, November 25, 2014, December 16, 2014, January 16, 2015 and March 2, 2015. In Anita Gets Bail, he gives painful accounts of each day and each hearing when nothing moved.

In his twelve and a half page judgement, the judge wrote: "All the accused have been acquitted of the charges levelled against them...File be consigned to the record room after due compliance."
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Arun Shourie describes a chance encounter with a couple of judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, one of whom asked him, "Why didn't you come to us? We would have given immediate relief."
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Lest you think you have understood the ugly picture of India's justice-dispensing system, allow Arun Shourie to elaborate upon it a little more: "(P)lease remember, for each of the accused, each step involved many, many others. You are going to stand surety so that your wife may get bail? You must get proof of address, a statement from your bank of your current balance, a statement of your assets ... What did you say your wife has? Not enough that you have the medical history of her Parkinson's from 1992; you must have a current certificate...Not enough that you have the discharge summary from Ganga Ram Hospital for the pulmonary embolism that nearly took her life. You must have a certificate from a doctor in a government hospital."

IF THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU...

Arun Shourie describes a chance encounter with a couple of judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, one of whom asked him, "Why didn't you come to us? We would have given immediate relief."

We leave you to discover Arun Shourie's explanation on your own. His book Anita Gets Bail is in the book stores now. But we are now about to address the one question that we are sure is bothering you: "If this can happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what a common man has to go through?"

In fact, Shourie has dealt with this aspect in detail, and that is exactly the purpose of his book. Of course, being an intrinsically sensitive human being as those of you who have known about his work and writings, particularly his book Does He Know A Mother's Heart?, would know, Shourie answers the question.

"For in the hours that I spent in the court, I saw first-hand what others were going through. Hundreds milling around for hours, only to learn that yet another date had been fixed. 'Idhar lagaao, idhar,' someone would take the thumb of an elderly man, of a lady, her face covered by a ghunghat, and press it down on some paper. Did the old man or lady knew what they were affixing their thumb impression to?"

As Shourie writes elsewhere in his book about our judicial system, today vulgarity has become a right, mediocrity has become the norm, standards are derided as a conspiracy to keep the poor down, ignorance of facts becomes a ground for sticking to an unfounded opinion, intimidation has become argument and assault is proof. 
  
Another book by Arun Shourie dealing with India's judicial system. 
 
"As I sat in the Faridabad court, I often asked myself: here are 700-odd individuals being prosecuted; many of them must be in the same position as us—they too may not have laid a brick; on the other hand, the real problem—illegal mining—is going on in broad daylight; why does the judge not leave his room for a day and just make a surprise inspection of the site?"

He makes out a case for journalists to, instead of devoting valuable reportage to the higher judiciary, spend a day every month in a randomly selected lower court.

That's where India fights for justice. You need to be part of that fight to get the justice dispensing system right, because, otherwise, if it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine...!!!
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

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A KIDNAPPING THRILLER – YOUR NAME IS IN THE FIR?
Four daughters, a boy, a pick-up truck, and two brothers who loved their sister: Is your name in the FIR?
11.05.18 - S Pal
Four daughters, a boy, a pick-up truck, and two brothers who loved their sister: Is your name in the FIR?



THE ONE-YEAR-OLD boy was lying next to his mother, both fast asleep by the roadside. Bathinda's Ring Road remains fairly busy during the day, but late at night, only an occasional truck passes by. Painter Ramesh Kumar and his family slept by the roadside as a matter of routine. 

A "painter" in this story is not someone whose work hangs in art galleries which so few visit; his work, instead, is seen in the number plates of your vehicles, signboards of shops or 'Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas' graffiti on the city's walls. Ramesh Kumar's tribe creates art that breathes in open air.

On May 3, late in the night, a pick-up SUV halted by the roadside, four men tumbled out, snatched the sleeping baby without disturbing the mother, and sped away. Ramesh Kumar heard some commotion and woke up. He raised alarm, shouted helplessly, ran behind the vehicle. Eventually, in the wee hours of May 4, he called the police.
----------
Her in-laws wanted a son, but made little effort to study how cell divisions feature 46 chromosome pairs or how there’s a sperm part of an embryo’s DNA and an egg part?
----------
A week later, on May 10, the baby boy was re-united with his mother. This story is not about who kidnapped the boy, or why, though we'll sure tell you about it, but it is about your role in that kidnapping, and that of your friends and relatives, and the role of our parents, and that of our schools and colleges.

It is a pity that our names or yours will not figure in the FIR that Bathinda Police IG M.F Farooqui and SSP Naveen Singla ordered to be lodged. 

Meet Harjinder Kaur. Her two brothers Gursahib Singh and Kulwant Singh loved their sister so much that they were always ready to do anything for her. Anything. Gursahib and Kulwant belong to village Ghudda in Bathinda where their mother Paramjit Kaur also lives.

Harjinder was married to Jaswinder Singh of Dhunike village, and both had four daughters. Her in-laws wanted her to give birth to a son, but made little effort to study the XX, XY sex chromosomes, or cell divisions featuring 46 chromosome pairs, or the sperm part of an embryo’s DNA or the egg part, or the basic fact that the man’s sperm holds the key to a baby’s gender.
----------
Her two brothers Gursahib Singh and Kulwant Singh loved their sister so much that they were always ready to do anything for her. Anything.
----------
But they knew that having a son is better than having a daughter, and having a son after four daughters was a must if life had to go on. Since a son could only have come out of the womb of Harjinder, they pressed her a little harder. Regular harassment, occasional beatings, persistent taunts and, lately, talk of a divorce.

Poor Harjinder could do little, so she turned to her brothers — brothers who were always ready to do anything. She needed a son, they inferred, and proceeded to procure one. Rich people find other ways — the market, science and some saffron-robed babas are forever coming up with ways to beget a son — while poor, desperate people get ingenuous.

Brothers Gursahib and Kulwant rustled together some more hands. Their friends Buta Singh and Raj Kumar jumped into the SUV pick-up and Raj Kumar slid behind the wheel. It was no less than a Zero Dark Thirty operation, and they were all fired up with a missionary zeal: Harjinder Kaur should have some peace in her life, and they knew what could ensure that.

By the side of the Ring Road, the SUV screeched to a halt, men carried out the operation, bagged the baby, and brought the gift-pack to the waiting arms of Harjinder Kaur and her husband Jaswinder Singh. Harjinder's mother Paramjit Kaur could finally heave a sigh of relief. Which mother does not want her daughter's marriage to succeed?

If only they sold babies in the market, the brother duo would have raised money, you can assume. Now they did what it took to ensure that a happy, married life does not fall apart. Also, they would have gone to a temple, or a gurdwara. I am sure Harjinder would have loved the baby son very much. Also, the kid would have been better provided by Harjinder and Jaswinder than by a migrant painter with a roadside resident family.
----------
Since a son could only have come out of the womb of Harjinder, they pressed her a little harder. Regular harassment, occasional beatings, persistent taunts and, lately, talk of a divorce.
----------
Normally, one would not expect the over-burdened police to get unusually proactive to trace a missing one-year-old kid of a migrant worker who is a footpath resident. But then, someone decided to make a call to the cops.

Men in uniform led by IG Farooqui and SSP Singla decided to live up to the stars on their epaulettes, and that spoiled an operation carried out so well by dedicated brothers and friends.

On May 10, police arrested Gursahib and his mother Paramjit, Buta Singh and Raj Kumar, all residents of Ghudda village, Harjinder and her husband Jaswinder, both from Dhunike village; and one Gurmeet Singh of Kala Tibba village in Fazilka. Kulwant is still at large.

An FIR has been lodged, and your name does not figure, which is the point of this narrative. Harjinder's husband did not beat her up to demand that her brother buy him a car. If you had told Harjinder and her husband that society will respect them only if they had a car, and that they must get it at any cost, even steal one, and if Harjinder's brothers had then stolen a car, then your name would have figured in the FIR for having instigated a theft or a robbery.

Jaswinder didn't ask for money. All he wanted was a son. And he wanted him so desperately.

Who told him that a son is more valuable than his four daughters? When they went to steal someone's son, he had no fear that someone back home could steal one of his daughters. You know that, and he, too, knew that, because neither you, nor Jaswinder is a fool. A little infant girl has no market value, a little infant boy is hard to come by.

People do not live in a vacuum. They live in a society. All around them, they see received wisdom that only a son is a waris, that sons take forward the family name, that daughters mean burden, expenditure and liability. Besides, daughters need protection. Sons provide protection. Sabh diyan dhiyan-bhaina sanjhiyan. No one says everybody's sons, brothers are common.
----------
Here’s sane advice. Neither you nor I are going to jail. IG Farooqui and SSP Singla aren't sending cops to our houses, but you should walk down to the nearest police station and spell it all out.
----------
Daughter and family honour go together. Ghar di izzat. Son and family honour aren't connected. Rape survivors are called victims. Ghar ki izzat chali jaati hai. A rapist is merely a criminal. You have heard words to that effect; you or those you know have often spoken words to that effect.

We have relatives and friends who say that. We decide the market and societal value of a boy child. We define what misfortune it is for a woman to have four daughters. You and I put it into Jaswinder's mind that he must have a son, at least one son, even if it comes from the roadside, even if it has be snatched away from besides a mother fast asleep. Neither you nor I are going to jail. IG Farooqui and SSP Singla aren't sending cops to our houses.

But deep within you, you know your role. You can walk down to the nearest police station, and spell it out. 

Or you can sit down this evening with your little kids and start a conversation. You can call over relatives for a meal and discuss it. You can visit a friend and apologise for suggesting that his little daughter needed a brother. You can try and explain to your mother why it was wrong of your father to go in for the fifth child after four daughters, that you are sorry she could not put up a fight, and that you will make sure to fight for each of your four sisters to have a world better than what your mother inherited. Visit your sister today and tell her it hurts you when you see a slogan painted behind a truck - Puttar Mithrre Meve, Rab Sabhna Nu Deve.

Ramesh Kumar will never paint that slogan now. You should erase it from your life.
----------
We are the mafia. One day our daughter will find out.
----------
The fact is that you and I are guilty as charged. Not just for stealing Ramesh and his wife’s child, but also for turning Harjinder and her two brothers and her mother into criminals. We are the mafia. One day our daughter will find out.

Simply not figuring in an FIR should give you no peace. Never ever call out to your daughter and say, "Beta, idhar aao."

Your daughter will one day grow up and realise that you never called out to your son and said, "Beti, idhar aao."

That day she will infer that you were the person who sent those men in an SUV to snatch a one-year-old baby boy from a poor, migrant mother as they slept. Try telling her that day that your name did not figure in the FIR, and see if you get the benefit of doubt.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

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Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

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THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

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PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






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After being raped, I was wounded; My honour was not
01.05.18 - SOHAILA ABDULALI
After being raped, I was wounded; My honour was not



"WHEN I FOUGHT to live that night, I hardly knew what I was fighting for. A male friend and I had gone for a walk up a mountain near my home. Four armed men caught us and made us climb to a secluded spot, where they raped me for several hours, and beat both of us. They argued among themselves about whether or not to kill us, and finally let us go.

At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.

Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.

Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your "virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.
---------
Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of women. It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.
---------
If we take honor out of the equation, rape will still be horrible, but it will be a personal, and not a societal, horror. We will be able to give women who have been assaulted what they truly need: not a load of rubbish about how they should feel guilty or ashamed, but empathy for going through a terrible trauma.

The week after I was attacked, I heard the story of a woman who was raped in a nearby suburb. She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor. Thanks to my parents, I never did understand this.

The law has to provide real penalties for rapists and protection for victims, but only families and communities can provide this empathy and support. How will a teenager participate in the prosecution of her rapist if her family isn’t behind her? How will a wife charge her assailant if her husband thinks the attack was more of an affront to him than a violation of her?
---------
We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself.
---------
At 17, I thought the scariest thing that could happen in my life was being hurt and humiliated in such a painful way. At 49, I know I was wrong: the scariest thing is imagining my 11-year-old child being hurt and humiliated. Not because of my family’s honor, but because she trusts the world and it is infinitely painful to think of her losing that trust. When I look back, it is not the 17-year-old me I want to comfort, but my parents. They had the job of picking up the pieces.

This is where our work lies, with those of us who are raising the next generation. It lies in teaching our sons and daughters to become liberated, respectful adults who know that men who hurt women are making a choice, and will be punished.

When I was 17, I could not have imagined thousands of people marching against rape in India, as we have seen these past few weeks. And yet there is still work to be done. We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. But rape is not inevitable, like the weather. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims."
 

Sohaila Abdulali is a senior journalist, novelist, presently working as Senior Editor with an international NGO. This article was originally published in the New York Times and is being reproduced here with the due permission of the author. She is the author of the forthcoming book, "What We Talk about When We Talk About Rape," expected to be released in October this year. - Ed

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 
 




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