People who have had the debatable good fortune to have met me, and have survived the encounter, will tell you that I have an open mind on most subjects. Somewhat like the RSSwhen it comes to discussing the concept of secularism. For instance, I am willing to see the other/ bhakt point of view in deleting Darwin’s theory from textbooks. Readers who were not asleep in their biology classes will recollect that Darwinism postulates survival of the fittest, whereas the zeitgeist of today promotes the survival of the stupidest. The philosophical contradiction is obvious and must be conceded. I can, in all fairness, see where NCERT and its puppeteers are coming from: a dark cave, where time has stood still, whose occupants still go round in animal hides, wielding clubs, singing “Goli maaro saalon ko” and similar stimulating anthems.
But my broad mindedness is being stretched to the limit these days by the obiter dicta emanating from various quarters of late, especially those founts of wisdom, our courts. Disclaimer-it may be possible that I have misunderstood them, like the young job applicant from Punjab-where else- who, being asked to show his testimonials at an interview, promptly took off his trousers to display the family jewels which the British forgot to take when they made off with the Kohinoor. He later confessed that he mistook testimonials for testicles, and in any case since in his case the latter were superior to the former, he decided to lead with his best, well, foot. But I feel that we cannot put such a generous interpretation on what we read about these days. To do so would require a mind more open than a honky-tonk at midnight on a Saturday, or one broader than the Yamuna in Delhi even as i scribble this piece. Judge for yourself, folks.
A court in Karnataka recently held that squeezing a person’s testicles does not amount to attempt to murder, and acquitted the accused of that charge. I respectfully disagree. Had the victim’s brain been subjected to the same trauma as his unmentionables were, the charge of attempted murder would have stuck, right? So why does the court want us to believe that brains are more important/ vital to a man than testicles ?: this is precisely where the judicial error lies. Homo sapiens has survived these millions of years as a species because of his testicles, not his brains. The former creates life, the latter destroys it, as Messers Biden, Putin, Xi and Kim Jong Un are trying their best to prove every day.
In any case, ask any female of the species (any species) and she will tell you than a man’s brains lie between his legs, and not between his ears. Wasn’t it Richard Nixon who famously said: “Once you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow”? Something which our lordships would no doubt have found out if they had spent their time watching cricket and not trying to figure out the difference between a habeas and a corpus, or between a corpus delicti and a corpus delicious. For cricket invented the ball guard a hundred years before it did the helmet, proof enough of which is the more important part of the human anatomy. It’s simple enough, actually: destroying a man’s brains has no effect on the species- AI and ChatGPT will take over and do a better job. But squeeze a man’s testicles and you threaten the very survival of the species: he can no longer multiply (the bhakts can’t do that anyway, they can only divide). Which is why, in mho, the judges were wrong- the guy should at least have been convicted of spermicide if not homicide.
Reverting now to the testimonials (we shall leave the Punjab variety behind), the Allahabad High Court, which is reverting to the Dark Ages at some speed, last month added the horoscope as an essential legal document in a case which has gone unnoticed. A lady had filed a rape case against her live-in partner who had promised to marry her but then had a series of second thoughts and resiled. In his defense he claimed, in the best traditions of Hindu obscurantism, that the lady was a “manglik” and so he could not marry her. The court then ordered- hold your breath here if you are into yoga, or light up a cigarette if you are not- the Astrology department of a university to examine her horoscope for the veracity of this claim and submit a report! Presumably, if she did turn out to be a “manglik” she would be fair game for any predatory male, without any strings attached.
The other implications of this order (which has been stayed by the SC) are astounding. For one, a horoscope now has legal status and can be admitted as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act- never mind that the science behind it is questionable: the alignment of the stars at the time of your birth will determine whether someone can have sex with you- or you with them- under false pretences. Two, whether you are a victim of a crime or not will now be determined by your horoscope, not the law. Three, you now have to carry around another ID document, in addition to PAN, Aadhar, driving licence, CGHS card, Voter ID etc. It will no longer suffice for your next-of-kin to produce your Aadhar at the time of your cremation, they shall now be required to submit your horoscope too, to re-confirm the time at which you were supposed to have kicked the bucket in that document; any mismatch and the corpse may be booked for impersonation. Four, it won’t be long before the govt. will ask you to link your horoscope with all these other IDs, for the horoscope is a mine of information about you: it will tell the tax guys whether you are the type of chap who is likely to cheat on your taxes, the banker whether you will live long enough to repay your loans, the prospective father-in-law how many wives you are destined to have, the wife how many kids she can expect to have, and so on. Five, since now everyone shall be required to possess a horoscope, there will finally be some jobs for all those suckers doing the newly introduced Astrology courses in selected colleges. The fault may or may not be in our stars (as Caesar never said) but the future of Indian jurisprudence certainly is.
And finally, here’s some more edification: the Gujarat High Court has identified our very own Brighozhin (of Wagner fame in Ukraine). It’s a middle aged lady who has been working for securing the human rights of, and justice for, the persecuted for the last twenty years. But the court has held that she topples and unsettles elected governments as a past -time, has denied her bail and has asked her to surrender to the police immediately. (This order too has been stayed by the Supreme Court). Her name is Teesta Setelvad, and she reportedly received Rs. 30 lakhs to do the job.
Now, this really tests my powers of comprehension. Is that all it takes to overthrow a government headed by a powerful leader- a diminutive woman with (allegedly) thirty lakhs in her handbag? Brigozhin couldn’t do it with 50000 soldiers, tanks and millions of dollars; maybe he should come to India and take lessons from us on how to do it at bargain basement prices. Secondly, one was under the impression that overthrowing governments was our national past- time, a close second to the IPL- the BJP does it all the time but none of its leaders ever get sent to the lock-up; they go instead to the Raj Bhavans, Mantralays and South Block in a fleet of cars. So what has this lady done that is so different ?- if, that is, she has done anything other than fight for justice for a woman who was gang raped and saw her entire family being slaughtered before her eyes? I am reminded of these words from TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD:
These are testing times, indeed, whether or not you have testicles or testimonials. But I sometimes do wonder: to what exactly is this squeeze being applied- to the bollocks or to our collective conscience and intelligence?
The author retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. A keen environmentalist and trekker he has published a book on high altitude trekking in the Himachal Himalayas: THE TRAILS LESS TRAVELLED. He writes for various publications and websites on the environment, governance and social issues.
His second book- SPECTRE OF CHOOR DHAR is a collection of short stories based on the myths and fables of Himachal and was published in July 2019. His third book was released in August 2020: POLYTICKS, DEMOCKRAZY AND MUMBO JUMBO is a compilation of sarcastic, humorous and in-your-face blogs and articles on the state of our nation. He has just published his fourth book on 6th July 2021. Titled INDIA: THE WASTED YEARS , the book is a compilation of articles/ blogs on various issues that have confronted our nation in the last seven years. It is a chronicle of missed opportunities.
He divides his time between Delhi and his cottage in a small village above Shimla. He used to play golf at one time but has now run out of balls.
He blogs at http://avayshukla.blogspot.in/