Need for Punitive laws & measures

The breakdown in law and order in Haryana reflected in the indiscriminate but deliberate destruction of public and private property by agitating Jats should trigger thinking about whether or not a reversion to British-era methods is necessary. Political protests in India inevitably lead to buses and public facilities being torched, roads and rail tracks dug up and “mindless” violence perpetrated by some socially enraged group or the other. It is ironic that the wealthy kulak, land-owning, classes in various states (like the middle caste Jats, Patidars in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra, etc) are seeking quotas in government jobs, when job reservation originally was designed to right social inequities of long standing in a caste-fragmented society. Except with the original injunction in the Constitution restricting quotas to only 10 years being indefinitely extended guaranteeing certain aggrieved sections employment in a time-wise open-ended fashion, and with the job market bleak, and GOI unable to rev up the manufacturing sector, more people are looking to the state for work rather than trusting in private enterprise, individual talent and toil to make something of themselves.

This quelling of personal initiative is the insidious effect of rooting Nehruvian socialism in a milieu the British had for the purpose of legitimating their alien rule prepared the ground for — the cultivation of government as ‘mai-baap sarkar’. CR Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) and his small cohort of right-of-centre ideologues, who formed the Swatantra Party, had warned this would happen and advised Nehru in the Fifties to refrain from invariably plonking for statist solutions for all social and economic problems. Piloo Mody, Rajaji’s more effervescent colleague, in the Seventies pilloried Indira Gandhi for further extending the reach of the state.

The point about Nehru’s socialism is that it introduced the notion of strikes before there was a properly installed and functioning manufacturing sector, leave alone an organized labour movement. It gave rise to the labour aristocracy of the relatively few in the workforce periodically holding the state to ransom. But the strikes were never peaceful — possibility of violence and destruction of public property was always imminent. It was but a short step before such organized sector shenanigans were emulated by socio-political empowerment movements seeking quotas, etc., except the threat of hooliganism is accepted as par for the course for any agitation, and has now become part of the woof and weave of confrontational politics as mainstream politics and politicking. This trend is an internal security threat because adversaries can sponsor and nurse agitations to keep the State and its agencies preoccupied and off-balance.

It is the sort of hooliganism, unique to South Asia, that needs to be put an end to by appropriately punitive laws. Here the British-era measures recommend themselves. Often in riot-affected areas where the local people indulged in mindless destruction of public and private property, the colonial administration would extract financial compensation from the leaders of the agitation that went haywire by, for instance, expropriating their land and property and then auctioning these off, imposing special taxes, to finance restoration of law and order and as restitution for damage and destruction of public and private property. It is time laws were enacted to once again make this possible.

Of course, this won’t happen because usually there is a political hand behind all such public acts of sustained violence. In Haryana, the previous chief minister, Hooda and his henchmen, are supposed to have prompted and overseen this agitation in order to embarrass and weaken the newly elected BJP govt. and, in any case, all political parties want to keep this option in reserve to call up when in opposition.

The Courts in Kerala had some years back charged the political party that had led the an agitation which resulted in destruction of public amenities, and imposed financial cost on it. Not sure what happened to that case, or how things have since panned out in that state. But north India where violence is resorted to at the slightest provocation is deserving of more stringent laws that will not only punish agitators with heavy-handed police treatment but make leaders, social groups, such as caste panchayats, political parties, and movements responsible for any violent and destructive actions. Imposing costs on big social groups will have a salutary effect that no amount of pleading for peaceful protest can.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Culture, Indian democracy, Indian Politics, Internal Security, SAARC, society, South Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Need for Punitive laws & measures

  1. Shaurya says:

    What we need is not punitive measures, but something called starving the beast. The beast being the statist gravy train that empowers tribal leaders in the first place. IOW: Massive disinvestments is the need of the hour. On the narrow issue of reservation, maybe at the time of independence, there was some valid justification in a new state to use a blanket reservation for entire communities categorized as SC/ST but not anymore. For today, we all know, what is the solution and that is to drive subsidies based on economic need. But no one acts on it as it will be counter to one’s own vote banks.

    The trick is to be able to separate wealth from those in power. Something that our ancient societies figured how to do for its Kshatriyas. When those in power are “barred” from earning wealth, while in service of the state and their ability to influence the levers of wealth through the instrumentation of the state curtailed with sufficient checks and balances, it will act as an automatic and natural balance to the abuses of power. This will also be in line with our civilizational experiences but what is needed is some creative thinking to mould the modern democratic forms with old principles that our society and its values rests on. Never forget, it was the British, that had the biggest hand in making the caste system, what it is today – not saying this to absolve the abuses in our own societies and the inability of our leaders to apply more rational corrective measures.


    PS: Your colleague the constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap would know exactly, what I am referring to.

    • Separating the wielders of the levers of power from wealth is simply not systemically feasible. Because the ruling class — the elected political leadership centrally relies on the babus of the central and provincial civil services to siphon off public funds, and the intermediaries can hardly resist channeling public funds into goldplating their own nests.

  2. quickboy says:

    Let us say “we the people never intended to give reservation to anyone in the first place. Our original constitution did not have article 15(4).” It was instituted to circumvent a seven judge bench decision of the Hon. Supreme Court in the year 1951″. The State of Madras vs. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan in which the Hon Court rejected the idea of reservation on the basis of caste, religion place of living etc…..The Hon. Court even called the order of Madras Govt. Communal. To get over this Constitution was amended and the Article 15(4) was inserted and India started it’s nosedive to bottom on all fronts as a result. Some economic improvement in recent years is due to the fact that many private colleges allowing normal Indians to learn and get their Medical and Engineering and other professional degrees cropped up reulting in development of IT and other technical lines in private sector (and opportunities abroad opened up for the bright students who otherwise would have got no jobs in this Nation of reservation,) which led to some economic recovery of this Nation as we see it today. Now there is another attempt to sabotage that by asking for reservation to made in private sector too !!.

  3. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    To compare notes:

    We have already lost the nationalist plot when we notice 60+ years of baneful Nehruvianism but then also begin to opine along the lines of ” It is ironic that the wealthy kulak, land-owning, classes in various states (like the middle caste Jats, Patidars in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra, etc) are seeking quotas in government jobs, when job reservation originally was designed to right social inequities of long standing in a caste-fragmented society.”

    It betrays underlying unwillingness to reassess information.

    Once we have decided as a neutral nationalist that reservations are only a slow poison for India, introduced by Nehruvians, what does it matter that this or that caste group with historical grievance, gets reservations or not and for how long. In fact getting as many caste groups into the reserved categories is as good a response to Nehruvian selectionism as an abolition of reservations. In fact Sanghis should be really debating if they should be giving reservations to every Hindu group that is not Sa-varna. And then they should really be asking every single person of the reserved-castes if they have benefited from reservations. And do both these formally and simultaneously. Let both sides of the divide look similar or largely similar. This is the only way to force people along both sides of the divide to begin questioning if they really have benefited from Nehruvian Selectionism and Nehruvian Exceptionalism.

    Bhai-saab, nearly every man among the reserved-castes know well that not all of them are going to get the benefits and that the benefits are going to be cornered by a few manipulative elites. And yet they clamour. And how is that clamour any different from the educated and rich Delhites clamouring for half-rate bijli. In fact how is the clamour for that Smart mobile Freedom-251 any different either. Or the 50 billion USD worth of Cheap Chinese maal being imported every year.

    What is of concern is that such a large number of our people can be fooled so easily every now and then. No wonder Nehru and his “-ism” survived for so long, at just the time when India got overtaken in the comprehensive national strength by nearly every Asian country.

    The failure is not so much of the Jats or Kapus or Patels as it is of the Modi lead BJP to figure out a timely response based on a proper political intel infrastructure. This happened in OROP, Patel reservations, Kapu reservations, Delhi ki muftkhori, late campaigning in Bihar and now in Jat reservations. How the hell did Modi team miss the intel and what kind of a response is an exposure of the political secretary of Hooda. You just gave the Congress a credit for something the Congress did not even plan properly (for gods sakes these lame Congressis, did this after losing the local body elections).

    Why is it unimaginable for RSS/BJP that getting the 49.5% as democratically distributed as possible is the death knell to all caste selection and caste votings. Why was BJP unable to source information prior to whatever challenge was thrown at it. BJP rank and file has developed a bandwagon effect. They just rant on about things that they have just begun understanding and/or addressing (eg. JNU expose) but then they go blind about what their opponent is about to do. Delhi+Bihar+Kapus+Patels+Jats, show this one fact very clearly. Modi/Shah should be setting up and sharpening and using their own intel infrastructure with the clear understanding that even the 272+ was actually only the success of the intel part of the effort (they did not get more votes than ABV).

    Part of our so called educated classes are themselves to be blamed when they can love a Pilloo Modi as if he was somebody worth emulating but then go right around equivocating (mombatti in hands) when a Kejri starts selling bhang-bhabhooti. Didn’t a muftkhor like Kejri get his votes from the well to do sections of Delhi? We have to seriously re-assess as to what constitutes an educated Indian citizen, his character and his characterstics. This english medium education only gets us more mail pusher and mail pushers are not problem solvers.

    Ultimately the need of the hour is to realise that we Indians are, collectively speaking, a poor people. Poor people implies inability to invest in a future or at least it implies limitation on resources. Unless we face upto this fact we will always act irresponsibily both individually and collectively. It is the limitation on resources that we must address and not on the fair distribution of blame. Nearly none of us is blameless and nearly none of us have an individual handle on all our problems. It is the poorer among the Jats or Patels that are gotten agitated by the more cynical among these very Jats and Patels. Didn’t Gujarat-BJP lose among the poorer rural based Patels in the last Municipal/Panchayat elections. Merely throwing a young sell out into jail for treason is not a solution. It is in effect a handing over of credit. Similarly hasn’t that two faced Hooda, who is a Jat himself, presided over the selling out of Haryana. Hooda was making money and some crumbs were flowing to the tamashbeen who were later useful for proping up Kejri in Delhi. So you see misrey loves company. And unless we work to eliviate misrey itself we will never be able to address our problems and always be very good at apportioning blame. Anger behind comments like “the colonial administration would extract financial compensation from the leaders of the agitation that went haywire” is not going to help the matter. There has got to be a difference in the way an Indian deals with an Indian and the way a foreigner used to deal with Indians. Nehruvianism is ultimately a foreign plant designed to prop up the fifth column in India and simply falling into the trap laid out for us is not a plan.

    Take for example the simple blindness among the SM savvy people to see how both Modi and Indira faced pretty much the same set of problems. India lost economically right into the 70s. Indira had nearly NIL support from any quarter (except the general public) and state intervention was not a matter of choice, rather it was a majboori. Indian industrialists even at that time, just like today were a bunch of dependent fellows with no real competitive advantage. Without a competitive advantage, esp. one that allows you to unlock fresh resources, there is no chance in hell even for the most blueblooded of entrepreneurs. Countries like US found that competitive advantage in USD manipulation. Countries like China did their own set of currency manipulations. Because everybody who is serious about competition must first develop a competitive advantage. English medium is not a competitive advantage and english medium is about the only thing we have focused on for last 60 years.

    During the Indira years, even when we were begging the world for Wheat we were being exhorted/forced, to give ground on all our major national goals during the Indira years. It is the same with Modi who knows that 70+ billion USD of foreign money comes into India as remittances and another 30+ billion USD of foreign money comes into India as FDI+FII and that Indian economy cannot be managed without these two components, considering the import-heavy, lean-export design of the economy. For this money to keep flowing in you will have to provide some sort of monetary support against instant devaluation. These people have just seen 25% of their money eroded during the UPA-2 years when the focus of the economy was badly mismanaged.

    There is absolutely no rationale that can justify a comment like – “with the job market bleak, and GOI unable to rev up the manufacturing sector, more people are looking to the state for work rather than trusting in private enterprise”

    GoI is not unable to rev up manufacturing. You just have to see numbers ( and re-assess.

    What has happened is that the bogus growth years after the NDA-1 was fueled by mere property bubble which met its nemesis by the end of 2008. RBI prior to Rajan was aware of the problem and they did try to manage the monetary sludge. But that remedy was for the time when you had UPA muftkhor-vaadis in the centre. The same set of policy is a poison in the NDA-2 where the focus has changed completely. And both property sector and the manufacturing has seen uptrends on account of these collective policies (that of RBI in UPA-2 and of NDA-2). But now is the time to relax the policy because the capital formation cycle has begun and there is no justification for holding onto the purse strings.

    It is at this point that our resource management is getting sloppy and Modi is only partially to blame for this. Most of the blame lies with Raghuram Rajan who is a interested more in equivocating and avoiding the main responsibility of a central banker. Raghuram’s claim to fame is his ‘ability’ to predict the 2008 mess in US. And now that he has his hammer he imagines that all the nails in the world deserve his kind attention.

    Gold Monetization, bakwaasbazi about NPAs and handwaving over GDP numbers and tolerance is just Rajan’s way of saying he is not going to cooperate with India and will rather worry about saving the books of stupid foreigners like the Blackstone group which was expected in 2014 to become the largest office space owner in India. These guys were idiots to have bought so much of property and now they want to protect their own turf by forcing India to undershoot. This was exactly the problem that the Govindacharya’s of RSS used to warn about. A system or a constituent that is beholden to the foreigners will always have divided loyalties.

    Agreed we must protect investments made by foreigners, in order to become serious players of the international economic game but we have to do that while we maintain our long term capacity. UPA and Rajan militate against our capacity building and both must be made to see reason. With Rajan in RBI we are trying to fend of the 2008 crisis in 2016 – this is anachronism. Rajan is doing that because that is the only thing he understands.

    But here again Modi is wrong in giving too much leeway to his foreign backers. These foreign backers are not going to benefit by just holding onto the purse-strings. In fact they will end up losing every bit of their investment because this is going to be a political suicide in 2019. Are they willing to have another round of UPA-3? Mind you the only way a UPA-3 can be avoided is when everybody makes sure that NDA-2 does its job correctly. And the prime job of NDA-2 has to be unleashing the capacity of India in production which requires money now. Modi is probably afraid of inflation but he has to realize that he will not, ever, get a better opportunity then the low oil price regime of today to balance growth against inflationary pressures. In fact poor productive capacity is the main reason why we face inflationary pressures so often. Obscurantism of Rajan is one of the reasons for our poorer production ramp up. And poorer unlocking of resources is also the prime reason for these muftkhori demands and reservation agitations.

    We need domestic industry because even the foreign investors will be able to score a reasonable exit only when India stands on its own two feet. Or we will keep losing public money merely for saving the likes of Blackstone who ended up making sore investments which were ultimately driven by the old boys networking, reminiscent of the UPA style of functioning. The same old boys network that comes in handy during reservation agitations.

  4. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    More on Rajan:
    An RBI panel headed by Deepak Mohanty placed a report titled “Report of the Committee on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion”. One of the recommendations was to enable commercial banks to open special windows to offer interest-free deposits and advance. This is the primary requirement for Shariah banking which prohibits acceptance of specific interests as they are classified as haram i.e. sinful and prohibited.

    Back in 2007, an RBI appointed working group under the then executive director, Anand Sinha was setup to study this in further detail. They had ruled out Islamic banking in the country, saying current regulations do not permit the model.

    State Bank of India in December 2014 announced the launch of an SBI Shariah fund, a Shariah-compliant equity mutual fund. An objection raised by BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy resulted in the plan being shelved. Official reason for the deferral was “commercial considerations” (talks about[/QUOTE]

  5. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Ok now this:

    Brahmins and Kayastha are the only ones not demanding.

    Now do we still need Punitive measures – legal or otherwise.

    My guess is no – what we need is to educate about the politics of freeships and reservations to everybody. To pre-empt these machinations and to give direction to the excess energy into fruitful means. Our youth bulge presents pretty much the same challenges that the Muslim youth bulge does. Muslims have choosen ISIS to manage the energy of their youth. We must choose different.

    And raw Nationalism is one option.

    But are you up for it? 🙂

    • That’s what BJP has in mind to do but. alas, only to achieve petty political gains — not hitch the nationalist spirit to the grand strategic goal of attaining great power for India, I am afraid.

  6. Siddappa says:

    This is another law, on top of existing one’s.
    Sage advice on punitive laws.

    Governance needs to change.
    With each passing day, Jobs are shrinking, mostly due to our Laws are hurting us.
    How many laws have been scrapped?.

  7. Ravi says:

    One thing is true.The reservation policy is nothing but broad day light murder of merit in the name of Social Justice.Reservation policy has ruined the careers of huge number of deserving candidates. No other country has this type of blatant discrimination on the basis of birth (encouraged by Vote Greedy Politicians / Retired Machiavelli Bureaucrats (who are the most selfish Corrupt people in India than the politicians, who behave as un-elected rulers while in Service , enjoy all the privileges which they really don’t deserve and amass huge wealth and misguide even Sincere Politicians – It is easy to access an MP/Minister/MLA than to access a Bureaucrat ).
    Kindly see the following links to know how our Government which swears by the slogan ‘Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas’ blatantly discriminates the Students/Job Aspirants on the basis of their birth:
    1.The notification released by the Telanagana Govt for the State Police recruitment , kindly see the fee column, why the hell one Category person has to pay more and the other less,God alone knows :
    2.B.Tech Undergraduate fee structure in IIT Patna :
    3.For applying and attemting a competitive Exam : less Fee
    For getting Selection : Quota and lower cut off
    For pursuing Education : Less Fee
    For getting Job : Quota and lower cut off along with age relaxation
    In Promotions : Quota / reservation
    No other Country in the world has 50% Seats reserved for the candidates on the basis of their birth
    Probably all this will end when all the People belonging to Un reserved category are ethnically cleansed from India (that is Bharath – this is probably the ultimate essence of Social Justice )and our Successive Govts are vehemently encouraging crass Vote Bank Politics and murdering merit in Broad Day light.
    God alone can save India
    Foot Note ; All the divisive agitations / agitators are covertly encouraged by the self serving Media run by Presstitutes (who wear suit boot and converse fluently in English are worse than Prostitutes because they do anything for TRP – they may even be willing to sell the country, they are the most un patriotic race in our Country – who shamelessly supported Anti National Slogans / traitors at JNU – a third rate University ,kindly see the link :
    God alone can save India
    What Un Reserved people can pray God is “Kindly stop the reservation at 50%” dont stoop still low as done by Tamil Nadu.
    Probably the Defence forces are the only Nationalist ones left in India where there is no reservation in recruitment / promotion in Defence services.
    But who knows our Communist Socialist Secular Vote Greedy Selfish Politicians might give a clarion call for ‘Social Justice” in Defence Forces and ultimately destroy India Completely.

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