|E D I T O R I A L
P A G E
Thursday, July 15, 1999
and for all
Khanna: Hero of a lost battle
fraud on Imperial Bank
Once and for all
THANKS to the awareness caused by the Pakistani aggression in the Dras-Batalik-Kargil sector, India has taken an effective and pragmatic line on bilateral talks. Looking back, one would recall that the Nehru-Liaqat No-War Pact provided sufficient safeguards for the peaceful coexistence of the two neighbours. Pakistan violated this pact. Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan signed in Tashkent a binding declaration after a full-scale war. The two leaders flew to the erstwhile Soviet Union after the second Pakistani aggression. A.N. Kosygin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the then USSR, arranged a meeting between the two top leaders of our sub-continent. The purpose was to "establish direct contacts for improving relations and for ending the conflict between India and Pakistan. Kosygin said that his government "is guided solely by the feelings of friendship for the people of India and Pakistan, by its striving to help them find a road to peace and avoid sacrifice and privation involved in the calamities of war." The feeling at Tashkent was that enemies of Pakistan and India were interested in a clash between them. Nobody alleged any third-party mediation then. Meaningful talks concluded in what is known as the Tashkent Declaration. Ayub Khan said: "History has offered both India and Pakistan a great opportunity to resolve their dispute, on a peaceful, just and honourable basis.... The prosperity of 600 million people depends on peace.... There is no problem between us which cannot be solved peacefully and honourably." The Declaration iterated in its Article III: "The Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan have agreed that relations between India and Pakistan shall be based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of each other."
The Simla Agreement came
after the violation of the Tashkent Agreement by
Pakistan. One of its major clauses said that the two
countries shall "always respect each other's
national unity, territorial integrity, political
independence and sovereign equality". After that
too, Pakistan has continued to be hostile. Its ISI has
indulged in a sinister campaign of destabilisation,
particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. What is known as the
battle of Kargil is the latest proof of unneighbourly and
arrogant conduct of Pakistan. Even when the deadline for
the total vacation of its aggression is approaching,
Pakistan appears prepared for "causing more Kargils
elsewhere". What happened in Bandipura (Jammu and
Kashmir) the other day is common knowledge.
Pakistan-sponsored militants sneaked into the fortified
BSF camp in the valley and killed a DIG and three others.
They also held 12 persons hostage. As the mountainous
belt has been almost cleared of enemies by the Army, the
Bandipura outrage has been ended by the sharpshooters of
the National Security Guards. Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif's favourite organisations Lashkar-e-Toiba
and Al-Badr have taken the responsibility for
engineering the latest bloody intrusion into the heart of
Kashmir. The Pakistan Prime Minister must see the writing
on the wall: there should be no resumption of the
dialogue unless Pakistan withdraws completely from the
areas which it has occupied by resorting to diversionist
peace talks and barbarous military action simultaneously.
The Government has done well to make it clear that
Pakistan will need to reaffirm the inviolability and
sanctity of the LoC. It rightly holds that "the
sponsorship of cross-border terrorism is the violation of
the LoC". Pakistan's intentions are not honest. The
proof of this fact lies in the Bandipura incident. The
doublespeak of Mr Nawaz Sharif and his militant outfits'
outbursts must be explained to the world. India has been
tricked into magnanimity again and again. On this
occasion, in 1999, the lingering inimical problems should
be settled once and for all. As the Chief of the Army
Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, has rightly said: "We should
look beyond Kargil," both literally and
Irans second revolution
TO everyones surprise, Iran has suddenly plunged into political turmoil or, to be more precise, is slipping into a near anarchic situation. Hardline Islamic forces, liberals swearing by gradual reforms and impatient radical democrats, mostly from the student community, are battling it out on the streets of Teheran and 10 other cities. One man finds himself violently tossed left and right in the crosscurrent: President Mohammed Khatami. Elected two years ago, he symbolises the popular urge for an early sunset of the ultra orthodox mullahcracy and an early dawn of full-blooded democracy. But he is hemmed in by the powerful clerics who not only dominate Parliament but also enjoy unchallengeable constitutional power. At the same time Mr Khatami is under increasing pressure to step on the accelerator of change which was the mandate that helped him win over a candidate sponsored by religious leaders.
The Presidents dilemma is reflected in his curious call to his supporters to hold a peaceful demonstration to counter the violent one being organised by students. This is in sharp contrast to his earlier endorsement of the student protest. Now he says that wrong elements have taken over the movement and have injected dangerous violence. What this verbal contortion means is that while he wholeheartedly backs the demand for radical and urgent reforms, he is wary of the mullahs using the violence to thoroughly destabilise his regime. He may be right since the Teheran Governor and the countrys Defence Minister have banned marches and rallies which can turn violent. Mr Khatami understands the appeal of violence to a people who have been denied some of the basic rights for as long as two decades. But the problem with a resort to violence is that sustaining a movement of that type is difficult, if not impossible. In fact, it was a countrywide student and jobless movement that toppled the Shah of Iran in February 1979, although the mullahs promptly took over the reins once Ayatollah Khomeini returned from Paris.
It is difficult to
predict what will happen to the movement that is so
spontaneous it started demanding press freedom
but is only a week old. For one thing it lacks
organisational support and its appeal is confined to the
urban middle class. Hence it will be easy for the
authorities to isolate and then crush the students.
Maybe, the students themselves will soon go back to their
studies and worry about their career. The one who will
suffer damage to his career is the President himself.
Religious leaders will not go along with his reform
programme; that is antithetical to their belief. As the
clerics did with the sacked Teheran Mayor, Gholam Hussein
Karbaschi, last year, the opponents of Mr Khatami will
set about clipping his wings and at the right time
dethrone him. Only demonstrated popular support can save
the President and hence his call for a peaceful rally
which should hopefully win the approval of the orthodox
Muslim leaders. If observers see a strong resemblance
between the present mass upsurge and the 1979 one, it may
not be only because of the intensity of anger; it may
also be because of the man it targets.
MONSOONS and floods have almost become synonymous in some parts of the country. While Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have escaped the full fury of the rains so far, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are already in terrible shape. More than 30 lives have been lost, millions of people are affected and lakhs of acres of land have been submerged. Most of the rivers like the Ganga, the Kosi, the Baghmati, the Kamalabalan and the Burhi Gandak are in spate and playing havoc with the lives of the hapless people, who are already among the poorest of the poor. That is almost a replay of the tragic story of the previous years. But this year, the situation has turned particularly critical following the release of 11 lakh cusecs of water into certain rivers by Nepal to prevent submergence of its own territories. Ironically, a little bit of cooperation can help both countries a lot but there is no sign of that maturity. Leave alone an international effort, even a national one is hardly in sight. On paper, there are flood control cells everywhere but they are only there: on paper. That is why relief and rehabilitation work in places like Sitamarhi, Saharsa and Darbhanga is woefully inadequate, if not actually non-existent. There is no transparency and no mechanism to fix responsibility. Corruption is rampant. There is no denying the fact that the task is enormous but the anti-flood drive has never gone beyond the first gear. In place of helping the flood victims, the leaders' attempt has been to score political points. While the states accuse the Centre of not providing sufficient aid, the latter alleges massive bungling in spending the relief money.
While the only way to
fight the flood menace is to do so on a war footing, the
operation is not even on a firm footing. Things are so
bad that most of the recommendations made by the first
National Flood Commission way back in 1980 have not been
implemented till date. Instead, the water resources
departments of various states are going about their job
in a typical bureaucratic fashion, doing more harm than
good. For instance, experts point out that the attempt to
control floods through embankments and dams is making
more areas in the country flood-prone. The embankments
are only transferring the flood-water and raising the
river-bed, with the result that more and more area are
becoming vulnerable to floods and falling prey to
prolonged waterlogging. The eastern region of Uttar
Pradesh is a major victim of this. In the past,
flood-water could be seen for a day or two but now
flood-affected areas remain marooned for months because
of impediments in the drainage system. In fact, the
entire natural drainage pattern in the Indo-Gangetic
plain has been endangered. There is need for a new
National Flood Commission that can evolve a defence
mechanism, which is in step with the emerging realities.
THE events of the past many months have taught us that we should have a fresh Pakistan policy. The story of betrayal should have told us that Pakistan does not mean to do what it says. This should tell us something about the core of its thinking. In dealing with Pakistan in the future we should first determine what policy we should follow with it. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees policy of brotherhood which resulted in the goodwill bus ride lies shattered at Kargil.
The main question is: why did Pakistan do it? What gain did it get? The answers should lay down our policy towards Pakistan.
There is also the need to answer other questions. Why this enmity? Does Pakistan suffer from a national inferiority complex as regards India? Is there an inner hatred for a predominantly Hindu country? Is there a fear of a bigger power in the neighbourhood? Or, the fear that Pakistan will be threatened and gobbled up by Indias imagined hegemony? Is there also the dream of wanting Kashmir which India would not let go? Does Pakistan want to pay back India for the separation of Bangladesh which it actually lost because it wanted to undo Bangbandhu Mujibur Rehmans majority?
These questions have not been raised seriously. That is why there has been no attempt to carve out a Pakistan policy. What we think of a policy is a load of brotherly emotion of course on both sides but it gets drowned in the questions we have posed above which take the form of religious propaganda, militancy and Kargil-type intrusions.
Mr Vajpayee is not the only Prime Minister whose Pakistan policy has fallen by the wayside. The way of peace with Pakistan was first set out by Nehru. If Mr Vajpayee was overtaken by the enthusiastic welcome he received in Lahore, he should have known that Nehru received an even more warm welcome when he went there to sign the Indus Waters Treaty. The Tashkent declaration signed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan, which gave Hajipir to Pakistan, was renounced not too long after Shastris body was consigned to the flames.
Indira Gandhi won the Bangladesh war but signed the Simla Agreement which also laid open the chance for bilateral talks on the Kashmir dispute and gave back over 90,000 prisoners and all the conquered territory. Rajiv Gandhi was said to have reached an agreement with Ms Benazir Bhutto on the demilitarisation of Siachin but she recently lamented how wrong had been her policy on Kashmir. Now it is the turn of the present Prime Minister.
History reveals that the Pakistani government, the armed forces and the fundamentalist sections believe that Pakistan cannot live without a policy of confrontation with India. For this it has to keep Kashmir boiling. Earlier it tried militancy; now it has gone in for invasion across the LoC. Since it hasnt got what it wanted from the intrusion, it is also trying militancy as its second front. The nuclear weapon has given it a new power. If everything fails it, a mad general there, having thrown off the civilian authority, might even use the nuclear option. Of course, India can retaliate but this gives Pakistan the option to go on a destructive course. The world knows this and is scared.
While the red carpet was laid out from Wagah to Lahore for Mr Vajpayee, the eternal white carpet of the Himalayan snows around Kargil was being prepared for a bloody confrontation. The Indian government not only did not know what was happening around Kargil but in starting the peace offensive earlier it had gone ahead without a proper perspective of what is in Pakistans mind. Does it want peace with India or not? It seems as if India started the bus journey on the spur of the moment, without laying down what kind of a policy we were going to have with Pakistan. We should learn this from Pakistan itself. Whichever is the government in Islamabad, there is a policy of not settling down with India. Before Mr Vajpayee went to Pakistan the government should have known what was the kind of a peace offensive we should launch and what would be the tests it should be put through to see whether this is the right policy. We seemed to have abandoned caution. We were overtaken by goodwill slogans. These lowered our guard.
There should have been a deep study to know how well would our initiative be accepted. Was Mr Nawaz Sharif sincere about it? Would the army go along? Would the fundamentalist forces accept to live in peace with India? Since the Pakistan policy was to be the corner-stone of the general Indian foreign policy, there should have been constant probing to find answers to our doubts.
India needs a Pakistan policy, just as the USA used to have a policy towards communist Russia till the coming of Mr Gorbachev. This policy cannot be formulated in a day. It has to be worked out, analysed, broken into bits and reassembled and done and redone to get the right mix. Pakistan should have a special place in our foreign policy framework. It cannot just be a paragraph in our overall foreign policy. When we want a policy of friendship with our neighbours, Pakistan should automatically fit into it. But from there, Pakistan should be taken out of this framework and we should separately decide how to deal with it. We should know that Pakistan will not be like our other neighbours Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal or Bhutan. It has a different attitude towards India. It affects India differently.
No other country affects us the way Pakistan does. Indias success or failure as a secular democracy is affected by it. Also Indias military strength and economic development. We have just seen that Pakistan, whoever is responsible for its policy, is not going to stabilise the Line of Control, far from fulfilling the verbal assurance given by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Shimla of wanting to finally make it an international border and honestly implementing the joint statement Mr Nawaz Sharif signed with President Clinton. In this latest conflict, the present Pakistan regime has floated the idea that the LoC is not a demarcated line. This is a dangerous turn it has taken. It should not surprise us if Pakistan makes it a part of its future Kashmir policy. Read this with Mr Nawaz Sharifs view that freedom fighters are fighting in Kargil, and his earlier warning that there could be many Kargils.
The thought that comes to mind again and again is that India and Pakistan could live like the USA and Canada, complimenting and supplementing each other, trying to economically outdo each other but following a common friendly purpose. But does Pakistan want to live like that with India?
Time and again Pakistan has shown that in its dealings with India emotion has little place. There is, of course an overwhelming popular support for friendship between Pakistan and India among writers, artistes, intellectuals, sportsmen and even the vast general public which does not want wars. The will for it is immense. At the same time we must also know that there is in Pakistan a dominant force which will not let this friendship flourish.
While the people want
friendship the fundamentalists have been telling them
that their religion orders them to fight those who are
not Muslims. India has more Muslims than Pakistan is not
their concern! (No Islamic tenet supports such an
argument, but this is being said and believed in
Pakistan. India also has Hindu zealots but, compared to
Pakistan, a very small fringe. In Kashmir, Pakistani
radio and television and the word of mouth have dinned
this for 50 years. This made Kashmir ripe for militancy
when it erupted. Till this lasts it is difficult to have
a policy of friendship, ease and brotherhood. Our
Pakistan policy must analyse how true it is and it will
enable us to live as good neighbours. We need a
well-thought-out Pakistan policy.
Indias failure on population
YET another World Population Day (July 11) has come and gone, dutifully reminding homo-sapiens that Mother Earth is hurtling towards a demographic crisis, if not disaster. In particular, India has failed miserably to control the exponential growth in its population, with the result that the very future of the chockfull nation is jeopardised.
Overcrowding in this country symbolises the ugly face of a leadership that has displayed a mind-boggling abdication of responsibility. Even as the country is bursting at the seams, every government in New Delhi has done nothing but twiddle its thumbs. Although slated to become the most populous nation on earth within the next two decades, India does not have a population control policy!
Indias population problem has acquired such a serious dimension that the stage has arrived to realise that adherence to the principle of voluntariness will not do. A family planning programme based only on education, persuasion and access to contraceptive facilities is simply not enough. There is need to formulate a population control policy which would envisage supplementation of efforts in these areas by a no-nonsense country-wide scheme of incentives and disincentives a carrot-and-stick approach to nudge the nation towards a two-child norm.
A nation-wide incentive-disincentive scheme may cover only the organised sector employees of the Central and state governments as well as the corporate sector in the initial stages of its implementation. The Central and state governments together have about 17 million employees. The corporation sector, both private and public, employs 28 million workers. Thus having an incentive-disincentive scheme covering as many as 45 million couples would be no small gain.
The policy of incentives-disincentives required to induce couples to adhere to a two-child family norm has been debated ad nauseam. These incentives-disincentives are not difficult to identify. For example, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) some time ago prepared a document entitled Population and Socio-Economic Development that lists various incentives-disincentives which should win a wide measure of acceptability.
The incentives listed are: (a) cash awards to the acceptors of sterilisation; (b) promotion/increment in pay; (c) extension of the retirement age and an increase in pension; (d) education allowance for two children, (e) special maternity leave with pay up to two children; (f) preferential treatment in respect of house rent allowance, housing loans and the purchase of transport; and (g) free medical treatment/reimbursement of medical expenses up to two children. The denial of these incentives to those who transgress the two-child family norm would amount to giving them disincentives.
An adequate cash award to the acceptors of sterilisation is perhaps the most important incentive for securing viable results. It is money that makes the mare go or, rather, restrains it!
The Central and state governments do not have any scheme of proper cash benefits to the acceptors of sterilisation among their employees. And what is being done in the corporate sector is uncoordinated and measly. Barring the Tatas, most companies offer awards ranging between only Rs 200 and Rs 300, which really amounts to mocking at an acceptor of sterilisation because, at a personal level, both vasectomy and tubectomy are a somewhat traumatic experience. The corporate sector has shown niggardliness despite the fact that all expenditure on the promotion of family planning is eligible for 100 per cent rebate under Section 36(i) of the Income Tax Act.
There is, therefore, need for the enactment of a law under which the Central and state governments as well as all companies would be mandatorily required to implement an incentives-disincentives scheme and, specifically, pay at least Rs 3000 to such of their employees as go in for sterilisation.
In fact, it is quite
practicable to also introduce a system of cash incentives
for those employees who go in for the other methods of
contraception like the pill, IUCD or the condom, the only
difference being that the monetary benefit would have to
be of a deferred nature. A certain sum could be deposited
by the organisation periodically in an account to be
opened in the name of the beneficiary, and the
accumulated amount given when the wife reaches the
menopausal age of, say, 45 years. In the event of the
couple having a third child, the accumulated amount could
be reduced or forfeited altogether.
THESE days the most wanted man in our group housing society is its electrician. In fact, as the summer approaches, the residents of our housing society start looking for the electrician to get their defective fans set right and their coolers and ACs put into working order. For the next two-three months, the electrician remains on his toes, so to say, as he has far more work on hand than he can easily cope with.
The electrician, by the way, is not much to look at. Standing five feet nil in socks and shoes, he looks vulnerably small and diminutive. But he seems to have reserves of energy somewhere in his spare frame. I have seen stronger men wilt under pressure of work, but this fellow takes his 14-hours-a-day routine with equanimity. There is always a smile on his face as he finishes one job and moves on to attend to another.
His day starts rather early in the morning. Very often it is some harassed-looking resident of the society who comes knocking at his door to complain that his cooler is not working. Whats wrong with it? asks the electrician. The blades of its fan move but do not give cool air, explains the complainant. Oh, then the coolers pump must have stopped working, says the electrician, diagnostically, but dont worry, sir, Ill set it right soon.
The other day a switch and a socket in our kitchen got burnt and my wife wanted them replaced soon. So I set out in search of the electrician. Now, to look for him in our sprawling housing society is like looking for a lost child at a crowded fair. Though the electrician enters his movements in a register kept in the societys office, he is seldom found at the place mentioned in it. The reason being that when he goes to a house to attend to its defective cooler or AC, he is soon followed there by two or three other persons urgently needing his services for their defective appliances. So as soon as the electrician finishes his work at one place, he is literally dragged to another, and then to another, and so on. Thus, anyone out looking for him has first to run a sort of cross-country race before he reaches him.
I was, however, spared this ordeal, for I found the electrician fixing up a new cooler in the house next door. Could you please come to our house after finishing this job? I asked him. A switch and a socket in our kitchen have burnt. Certainly, sir, he replied, but in the meanwhile you bring a new switch and a socket from the market.
As I was leaving, he cautioned me against buying switches and sockets of any Iallu-panju company. He then named the company whose switches and sockets lasted longer.
A short while later, when the electrician was at work in our kitchen, I casually asked him whether he had studied in any polytechnic or ITI to become an electrician. For a while he remained lost in his own thoughts, and then said, My parents were too poor to send me to a polytechnic or ITI. All that I know about my work, I have learnt it from Ustadji.
When I showed a mild curiosity to know who his Ustadji was, he said he was a Sardarji from Punjab, and then added. He was a stern taskmaster but a very kind-hearted employer. Also a very good teacher. He used to say in Punjabi, Ustad da chandiya hoya shagird kadi maar nahin khanda (A disciple who has been beaten into shape by his teacher never gets defeated in life).
Justice Khanna: Hero of a lost
NO thinking mind in India can forget the name of Justice H.R. Khanna. Both he and Indira Gandhi created historical records: she by imposing Emergency on the worlds third largest democracy and he by questioning the detentions during that period for months without trial besides curbing the right of detainees to seek justice from the court, (by enforcement of Article 21).
Justice Khanna surely must not have realised that he would earn the status of a legend by being the only voice as against four others while pronouncing the judgement. On June 5, 1975, the then President of India, F.A. Ahmed, had issued the proclamation of Emergency stating, a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India is threatened by internal disturbances, exercising his powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 352 of the Constitution of India.
Two days later, the President had issued yet another order exercising the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 359 of the Constitution that the right of any person to move any court for the enforcement of rights conferred by Article 14, 21 and 22 and all preceding pending in any court for the enforcement of the rights (under these Articles) shall remain suspended throughout the period of enforcement of Emergency.
Thus all those people who were put behind bars under MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) had no hope except to cool their heels in various jails of India. Writs of Habeas Corpus were filed by various people in nine High Courts of India. The government of India had then moved those courts countering that these petitions should be dismissed at threshold without examining the legality of the detentions.
However, all the nine High Courts had unanimously rejected this submission and had declared to logically examine the legality and validity of those orders of detentions. At this the Central and state governments had appealed before the Supreme Court urging that since the enforcement of Article 21 had been suspended the writ petitions of Habeas Corpus should be dismissed at the threshold. The Bench comprised Justice A,N. Ray, Justice H.R. Khanna, Justice M.H. Beg, Justice Y.V. Chandrachud and Justice P.N. Bhagwati. It is a well known fact that the majority had accepted the contention of the Government of India. However, Justice Khanna was the only Judge who had given a dissenting view in this regard.
His judgement though could not give relief to the detainees languishing without any hope of trial but it created a historical record. This follow-up is on the life of this legendary figure.
Need I say that the media in India as well as abroad was full of his judgement. However, it was the New York Times which took the cake in writing about Justice H.R. Khanna in an editorial it read, When freedom comes to India (meaning post-Emergency) which was so long the hallmark of this country, this grateful nation must erect a monument in honour of Justice H.R. Khanna. Amazingly, the media in Japan, England, France, Germany and many other countries carried his judgement in detail.
The immediate fallout of Justice Khannas dissent turned out to be the fact that he was purposely superseded when the time came to appoint the Chief Justice of India. Though he was the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Ray retired, the established convention of appointing the senior-most judge as Chief Justice of India was defied. In protest, the self-respecting Khanna sent in his letter of resignation.
His judgement had earned him reverence to such an extent and depth that when he sent his resignation, the Bar Councils all over India, in protest, abstained from the courts and took out black-coat processions. Later, when the Bar Association of the Supreme Court decided to put up a full size portrait of Justice Khanna they asked for contributions up to Rs 10,000 from the members. Within half-an-hour Rs 30,000 was on the table and they had to put a forcible stop at that point. Soon Nani Palkhiwalas book carried a full fledged chapter on him titled, Salute to Justice Khanna. Almost all the prominent Bars of the country held functions in honour of Justice Khanna. He was then the hero of a lost battle but would remain to be the only precedent for future courts to follow in his footsteps.
Today Justice Khanna is 87, living in Panchsheel Park in Delhi. Alert with remarkable memory he enjoys good health with a magical secret of brisk walks and healthy food. Holding no bitterness against Indira Gandhi, Justice Khanna is an epitome of poise, grace, dignity and above all rock-like convictions with a heart of a poet.
What was the basic essential crux of the proceedings which made up his mind to give his minority but eternal view? He laughs at my question. Thinks for a while and answers with a studied steadiness I had asked Mr Niren De, the then Attorney-General, that Article 21 relates not merely to personal liberty but also to right to life. Supposing some policeman for reasons which have nothing to do with the state shoots somebody to death in detention would there be a remedy relief available against it?
Mr De had answered, Constitutionally, my Lord, there will be no remedy as long as Emergency lasts. It shocks my conscience, may shock yours too. Consistent to my submission there will be no remedy. This was enough for me to understand the implications of detainment without any hope of trial. Who was not behind bars? Almost everyone who had some standing. Desai, Vajpayee, Advani, Madhu Dandavate, Chaudhary Charan Singh, writers, poets, intelligentsia, student leaders, unionists, anyone who had a mind was concluded to be a threat.
Did the news of you having been superseded come as a shock to you? No, no! he promptly buts in. I was fully aware that this could happen. You see every Baisakhi I used to go to Hardwar. That year also I was staying at Laljiwala Bungalow with my younger sister, Santosh. I had told her there itself that this judgement will cost me the office of the Chief Justice of India. Also that I would not regret it as the judgement has given me the ultimate reward of my conscience being clear and my mind at peace. Throughout my job as a judge, I was always beckoned by Iqbals words,
(O, Heavenly angel, prefer death to that office, which restricts the call of your conscience.)
During the elections of 1980 as many as nine Opposition parties had approached Justice Khanna unanimously choosing him as their candidate to contest the election to the post of the President of India. However, allegedly, the ruling Congress had played dirty by delaying the plane he boarded to address rallies and rendering his telephone dead throughout. But Justice Khanna just dismisses every such allegation smilingly with a wave of his hand.
In the beginning of this year, Justice Khanna was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan. If you think he is leading an old mans retired life, then you are certainly mistaken. He is the active President of Bharat Vikas Parishad besides being International Arbitrator. He is also the Chairman of the Railway Safety Review Committee and Director, Press Trust of India. On August 8, 1999 he will be honoured with LL,D by National Law School, Bangalore.
Besides these duties what else do you do these days? His face lit up with serenity and radiant smile. These days I am doing all that I was not able to do during the demanding career of a judge. I listen to Lata, Noorjahan, Shamshad Begum. Latas melody is divine. She is the ultimate singer, who stirs your soul. Then I read Iqbal. Faiz, Ghalib, Firaq, Wordsworth, Shelly, Tennyson to my hearts content. Tennysons The Old Chieftan brings me face to face with the reality of life when he says,
Though my hair is
grey and my limbs are cold;
Alleged fraud on Imperial Bank
KHAN Bahadur Mohammad Shafi, Special Magistrate, after a protracted enquiry, committed to the Sessions today Rai Sahib Bishambar Nath Tandon and 14 others in connection with what is locally known as the Imperial Bank fraud case.
The Rai Sahib, who is well-connected, was at one time a treasurer in the Lucknow Branch of the Imperial Bank and by virtue of his office was responsible for the appointment of the subordinates in his department.
The Rai Sahib, along with some of his subordinates and several others, stood charged with cheating, conspiracy to cheat, forgery and criminal breach of trust in respect of about rupees ten lakhs, the property of the Imperial Bank.
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