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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Methods of Peaceful Protests against Oath Violators

Mr. Katju offers several suggestions for Pakistanis to engage in peaceful protests against those who have violated their oaths and contributed to the turmoil in the country.

Many of Pakistan’s current problems are due to the decisions of people in authority who have chosen to breach their oaths, and are hand in glove with the Establishment, having struck a Faustian bargain with them.

The question is how should Pakistanis deal with them? I am placing some ideas.

When I was a student of Allahabad University ( 1963-67 ), the students would register their protest against unpopular and/or tyrannical authorities by putting a garland of shoes on their necks. Pakistanis might contemplate applying a similar approach to address public office holders who have breached their oaths, contributing to the ongoing turmoil in the country.

But there are other ingenious methods of non violent protests invented by Indians using their creative minds. I am giving some examples below which are in my personal knowledge:

1. When I was a junior lawyer in the Allahabad High Court in the 1970s, there was a judge who would dismiss each and every case. Many lawyers came to me and said ” Katju saheb, bachaiye, yeh zaalim to hamein barbaad kar dega ” ( Katju saheb, save us, this tyrant will destroy us ). I told them not to worry.

In the evening at my residence I wrote a secret leaflet with the caption ”High Court ya kasai ghar ? ”.Below that I wrote this sher of the famous Urdu poet Faiz :

” Bane hain ahal-e-hawas muddai bhi munsif bhi

  Kise vakeel karein ? kisse munsifi chaahen ? ”

Then I wrote about the autocratic behaviour of the judge.

The leaflet was printed secretly in about 500 copies, and secretly distributed and posted on noticeboards overnight everywhere in the High Court premises, and copies placed on the desk of every judge in his courtroom.

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When the judges came to their courtrooms in the morning, they read the leaflet, became red faced, said ” Yeh kya badtameezi hai ? ”, and quickly retired to their chambers where they held a joint meeting. I dont know what was discussed, but thereafter the judge concerned became more liberal.

2. Against the proposal of creating a Meerut bench of the High Court, Allahabad High Court lawyers dug a trench in front of the High Court premises, put logs in it making it an ‘agnikund’, and threatened to jump into it en masse ( like a male ‘jauhar’ ). if the bench was created.

The threat worked ( of course it was just theatrics and was never meant to be really implemented ), but no Meerut bench was created.

3. Against some autocratic decision of the then Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court ( I forget the decision as well as the name of the Chief Justice ) the Bar Association made a junior lawyer sit on indefinite hunger strike outside the courtroom of the Chief Justice. On the third day of the hunger strike ( of course we fed him secretly at night ) we put up posters on the walls there as well as elsewhere, and on notice boards saying ” Teesra din ! Life in peril ! ”.

This must have been conveyed to the Chief Justice, and evidently so rattled him, that he withdrew his decision the same day..

These are only some of the methods of non violent protest which come to my mind. I am sure Pakistanis are smart folks, and can think out others.

 

Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman for the Press Council of India. He has also worked as Standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department.