|Saturday, March 24, 2001||
A matter which should have roused public protest but did not do so and which even the administration sidelined as "routine" affair was the transfer of Justice Ajit Bharihoke, CBI Special Judge, to another post by the Delhi High Court. Law Minister Arun Jaitley in whom I repose a lot of faith has washed his hands off the affair, saying "the government doesn’t come into the picture." Perhaps it does not. But I have little doubt he could have told the Chief Justice that Bharihoke’s transfer at this stage would create a lot of misgivings in the public mind. Many eminent jurists have expressed their unhappiness over it. Although it has to be conceded that Bharihoke has already done two years more than the usual tenure for a judge in the same post, there are good reasons to have overlooked this meaningless convention and let him finish the cases pending before him rather than let them be handled by a new judge.
It might be recalled that
Bharihoke sentenced former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and former
Cabinet Minister Buta Singh to imprisonment for their role in the
Jharkhand MPs bribery case.
He also refused permission to Hinduja Brothers to leave the country till they had cleared their names in the Bofors’ gun deal. Other matters still to be disposed of by Bharihoke include Lakhubhai Pathak’s cheating case, St Kitts forgery case, former Minister Sheila Kaul’s housing allocations case, former Cabinet Minister Sukh Ram’s unaccounted wealth case, cases of Ashok Aggarwal (Enforcement Director) and Abhishek Verma, son of a former Member of Parliament. In some of these cases, trial
judges were transferred before they could finish with them. At those times, too, there were muted protests that some hanky-panky was afoot because the parties involved were not common citizens but men and women who at one time wielded immense political clout with vast sums of money at their disposal. As it is, most people suspect that such people are above the law. They can manoeuvre the levers of our judicial system, buy or bully their way out of
any trouble. Bharihoke’s transfer lends credence to these suspicions. He has earned a lot of respect for the courageous way he handled cases against super VIPs. It would be a great pity if the people felt he is being made to pay the price for being upright.
Longing for Malavika
There are times when I am at a loss for words to describe beautiful scenery, great music or dance performances. I found myself in that predicament watching Indian classical dancing. I do not pretend to know any of its finer points. I am neither impressed by artistes who drop names of their famous gurus nor by eulogies paid to them by dance critics. I try to form my own ill-informed judgement. I used to put them in different categories: OK or so-so, passable, good to very good. I was able to accommodate most of them in one or the other. Bharatnatyam which is our oldest classical dance baffled me more than other schools of dancing. I don’t understand Tamil, so cannot follow the meaning of the song accompaniment. At times the singing sounds unmelodious to my ears attuned to Hindustani music. Despite these handicaps there are Bharatnatyam dancers who I do my best not to miss. On top of my list is Malavika Sarukkai. I saw her first performance last year. On the basis of having known her mother Saroja in Bombay, I took the liberty of inviting the mother and daughter to my home. They were back in Delhi in the end of February for two performances. One was a new one choreographed by Sarukkai on the theme of longing for love: in this case of a tree pining for freedom. She told me later that the idea had come to her when she heard of a woman in Karnataka who when told she would never have children, instead of adopting one, started planting
banyan trees and started looking after them as if they were born out of her womb. Malavika named this ballet utkantha (longing). Just as a barren woman longs to have a child, a tree longs to live its full life without having humans cut off its branches to use for fuel. Malavika struck on a bright idea of first demonstrating her theme with dance movements with a
simultaneous commentary in English followed by its elaboration in Bharatnatyam style with the accompaniment of song, violin and mridangam.
Having savoured utkantha one evening, I could not miss out on her second performance two days later. It was shuddha (pure) Bharatnatyam. Believe it or not, I even followed
some of the song accompaniment in Tamil. For an hour and a half, I sat in my chair spellbound watching this human apsara with her beautiful hands and arms weaving out messages of love, longing, adoration and her feet keeping time to the staccato beats of the mridangam. I could not think of another word to
describe the spectacle except — superb. Malavika Sarukkai is indeed the Queen of Bharatnatyam. If you have not seen her dance, you have missed the most thrilling experience of your life.
Don Bradman — A tribute
Ideal cricketer of all time,
Of perfect grace and batting skill,
The matchless Don is off the crease.
Death has claimed the best wicket
At ninetytwo, denying him another eight
To complete a memorable century
Of glorious life, so legendary.
Sport lovers sadly remember
How the most prolific run-getter,
In the last innings of his great career,
Stunned the crowd, falling for a duck.
Unique indeed even in bad luck!
Then the mighty Don’s average score
Stood at ninetynine point nine four;
Had be then struck just another four,
The magic figure he would have touched,
The highest average of one hundred.
Strangest slip between the cup and the lip!
Having played eighty innings of Test cricket,
Smashing bowlers with effortless ease
And scoring his highest total of three three four —
A rare achievement yet unsurpassed,
Bradman climbed cricket’s Mt. Everest!
Cricket lovers the world over
Admire the performance of the great cricketer,
What is more, his amiable, inspiring character!
(Contributed by M. G. Narasimha Murthy, Hyderabad)
Theft at the door
Young Sarju was milking his cow tethered outside his home when a man approached him and asked for his vote in the forthcoming elections to the Vidhan Sabha. His father heard them talk to a stranger and shouted from the inside: "Sarju who are you talking to? Get on with the milking."
"Baba, he says he is a politician and wants us to vote for him in the elections."
"In that case don’t leave the cow out, bring her indoors with you," replied his father.
(Contributed by Smita Harding,