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Government and RBI No Real Stand-off over Macro Policy (GS paper 3 , Economy )

The so-called stand-off between the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of FINANCE is not as significant as the media is making it out to be. There is little disagreement between the two on fundamental issues. The stand-off is a reflection of the government’s effort to regain some influence over macroeconomic management, which is reasonable as the government is accountable to the people whereas the RBI is not.
C P Chandrasekhar (cpchand@gmail.com) teaches at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal

Nehru University, New Delhi.

The Indian media are agog with speculation of an ostensible stand-off between the Ministry of FINANCE and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on matters relating to macroeconomic management. “Leading” statements from the Governor of the RBI, Raghuram Rajan, and the Union FINANCE Minister, Arun Jaitley, a much-publicised set of meetings between the two and the signing of a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement (MPFA) in February 2015, have only fuelled such speculation.
The substance of the speculation is that efforts are on in the FINANCE ministry to clip the RBI’s powers in a host of areas, which is being resisted by the latter. The FINANCE ministry’s push is seen as illustrated by a number of recent initiatives or developments. First, there is ostensibly an effort by the government to check the RBI’s growing inclination to make inflation targeting its primary goal to be pursued “independently,” by entering into a formal MPFA between the RBI and FINANCE ministry, the first of which was signed on 20 February 2015. The agreement ensures that inflation targets are set by the RBI in consultation with the finance ministry and requires the RBI to make public the operational procedures to be adopted to attain those targets, as well as the evidence of their effectiveness and the explanation for shortfalls if any.
Second, there is speculation that the finance ministry is attempting to increase its role in the Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI, which advises/decides on important monetary policy adjustments, by changing the composition of the committee and shifting the power to influence appointments to the committee in favour of the government.
Third, the management of public debt, which was hitherto being undertaken by the RBI, is now to be moved to a separate Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) that would be “independent” of both the central bank and the Ministry of Finance. But in practice, since the selection of personnel manning the PDMA is likely to be influenced by the ministry, this too appears to rebalance power in favour of the government.
Finance Bill Provisions
Finally, in a move that seemed to be surreptitious, the Finance Bill, 2015 proposed to amend the RBI Act to do away with the central bank’s power to regulate the market for government securities. In a provision that was left unmentioned in the finance minister’s budget speech, the Finance Bill proposes to amend Sections 45U and 45W of the RBI Act to remove the central bank’s powers to regulate transactions in and those dealing with government securities.
These actual or potential developments need not be signals of the finance ministry’s disagreement with the policy framework favoured by the RBI. Rather they seem to be driven by concern about the manner in which that framework is being implemented. The MPFA, to which the finance ministry is a party, accepts that “the objective of monetary policy is to primarily maintain price stability,” though it expects this to be pursued “while keeping in mind the objective of growth.” That is, while there seems to be recognition that there is need for a “dual mandate” involving inflation and growth, there is agreement that the prime target of monetary policy should be inflation. Once that is accepted, the potential areas of disagreement shrink.
However, this “hierarchical mandate,” typical of the inflation targeting approach, that privileges inflation control over the level of economic activity as an objective of monetary policy, is by no means god’s truth. The grounds on which the approach has been challenged include: (i) empirical evidence to suggest that in many contexts monetary policy (in the form of interest rate adjustments) has an impact on INVESTMENT more than inflation; (ii) the validity of the assumption that inflation is largely demand-driven and not cost-driven; and (iii) the weak conceptual basis of the presumption that the real and nominal sides of the economy can be separated, with supply-side policies being used to address problems with the former (that keep the system away from its “long-run equilibrium growth path”) and monetary policy being deployed to battle inflation.
But the differences between the FINANCE ministry and the RBI have little to do with such differences over the inflation targeting approach itself. In fact, besides accepting inflation targeting as the key objective of the central bank, the MPFA also endorses the inflation target of 4% with a band of +/– 2%, which was recommended by the RBI’s Urjit Patel Committee. This target is to become effective by January 2016, by which time the inflation rate is expected to be brought down to a consistent “below 6%” (or 4% plus 2%) level. The agreement institutionalises this target by making it the norm that cannot be altered by the RBI on its own, while holding the central bank rather than the government responsible for realising this target. Thus, the “independence” of the central bank is limited to its freedom to use the instruments it has at hand to pursue this objective and target recommended by the neo-liberal orthodoxy, on which there is no difference of opinion between the FINANCE minister and the RBI governor.
Differences on Relative Role
The differences, if any, between the two seem to be on the relative role of the ministry and the RBI in deciding where the interest rate must be set and how much it must be raised in the battle against inflation in any particular growth environment. As a representative of the epistemic community that wants freedom for financial markets from interference by elected government representatives (or “politics,” as it is labelled), Rajan would clearly want full freedom to pursue the inflation targeting agenda. As a neo-liberal minister of FINANCE, who has given up control of the fiscal lever by committing to a light-touch tax environment and stringent fiscal deficit targets, Jaitley cannot be faulted for wanting some influence over the only remaining real lever for macroeconomic management, which is monetary policy, and some role in deciding on the relative emphasis on the objectives of fighting inflation and driving growth.
This is the substance of the perceived stand-off. The government does see the RBI as being overly cautious when targeting inflation and keeping interest rates so high that it hurts growth. Since raising gross domestic product (GDP) growth has become the lead indicator of policy success in a neo-liberal environment, this does bother a government that needs to win voter support, unlike the RBI governor who does not.
Not surprisingly, the finance minister wants to make clear that he, as representative of the government, is the one who calls the shots. That, for example, is evident from this statement in the budget speech for 2015–16 (para 13):
To ensure that our victory over inflation is institutionalised and hence continues, we have concluded a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement with the RBI, as I had promised in my Budget Speech for 2014–15. This Framework clearly states the objective of keeping inflation below 6%. We will move to amend the RBI Act this year, to provide for a Monetary Policy Committee.
That much for the so-called independence of the central bank, whose governors, in any case, the government chooses.
‘Independence’
This tendency to reiterate the institutional subordination of the RBI to the government is also reflected in the push to bring the public debt management office under the influence of the FINANCE ministry, once it is shifted out of the RBI. This, together with the move to transfer the regulation of the government securities market out of the RBI to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), suggests that the government wants some degree of “independence” from the central bank as well. If instituted, these changes in the market for government debt would probably give the government greater flexibility in deciding the structure of its borrowing and some influence on the cost of borrowing through appropriate design of instruments.
Read in these terms, the so-called stand-off between the government and the RBI on aspects of macroeconomic management is far less significant than the media makes it out to be. There is little disagreement on fundamental issues. In the first stage of neo-liberal reform the effort was to make monetary rather than fiscal policy the principal lever of macroeconomic management, and to give the central bank a degree of independence in the conduct of monetary policy with inflation targeting as the primary objective. The current stand-off is a reflection of the government’s effort to regain some influence over macroeconomic management and a degree of manoeuvrability in its conduct. That seems reasonable. This government may not be one that serves the best interests of the people or even one the people would want once they experience the effects of its policies. But at least it was voted to power in the first instance and can be voted out in future. That is more credible than a central bank leadership chosen from an epistemic community that seeks to impose its ideology without restraint on nations and peoples, on the specious grounds that it possesses the knowledge and expertise to implement the only correct macroeconomic policy solution available.



CSAT 2014 Analysis And Predicted Cutoff




CSAT 2014 Paper 2 answer key all Sets




Mrunal GS1 Culture: Analysis of Mains-2013 Questions

The syllabus is new, pattern is new, BackbreakingTM techniques are new: hence any analysis is hollow and shallow, without solving the questions first.
So, Let’s start with the…
Culture Questions in GSM-I-2013

Following questions were asked: marks words
  1. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment.
10 200
  1. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture.
5 100
  1. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.
5 100
20 out of 250 marsk= only 8% of the paper. 20 400

The Answer Sources

To solve above questions, I’ve used following books:

Book type Did the book have sufficient content for the given question? SANGAM CHOLA TANDAV
SchoolTextbook NCERTs hardly hardly didn’t find
NIOS Culture hardly few lines one line
Tamilnadu Class 11 yes yes didn’t find
ICSE Class 9 yes yes didn’t find.
India’s Ancient Past RS Sharma. aka the fabled old NCERT. yes yes didn’t find.
CompetitiveExam Spectrum’s Culture book hardly yes just 1 line
TMH General Studies Manual yes yes didn’t find.
Krishna Reddy yes yes didn’t find.
Readymade material from Coaching/Correspondence/postal class. didn’t use didn’t use didn’t use
Academic AL Basham, A Wonder that was India yes yes Few lines.
  • Yes= means at least 60% of the answer content was
    available. “Yes” doesn’t mean 100% content for the said question is
    given verbatim in the said book.
  • Didn’t find= either the answer was not given there OR I didn’t read carefully.
  • Didn’t use=because same content given in standard reference books for free/ cheap price.

Now time for the answers:

Q1. Sangam Literature

Q. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment. (10m | 200words)

Approach: Have to comment on three issues:

  1. Sangam literature doesn’t help much to dig POLITICAL history of South India.
  2. Sangam literature helps understanding the SOCIAL condition of South India.
  3. Sangam literature helps understanding ECONOMIC condition of South India.
BOOKS NOT MUCH USEFUL USEFUL
  1. A few rudimentary points under NCERT Class 6 and class 12.
  2. NIOS culture course, Ch6 talks about Sangam but hardly anything on ‘socio-economic’ details.
  3. Spectrum’s culture book talks about Sangam literature but hardly anything on society or economy.
  1. 2/3rd of the answer (Society + Economy) can be directly
    finished from ICSE Class 9 History textbook alone. But doesn’t talk
    about first part (Why Sangam literature doesn’t help understanding
    pol.history of S.India?)
  2. ^same as above with TMH General Studies Manual.
  3. Old NCERT Class 11 = India’s Ancient past RS Sharma (under Oxford Publication). Matter Covered under chapter 3 and 22.
  4. Tamilnadu State Board History Textbook Class 11, Chapter 8
  5. AL Basham, A wonder that was India: under chapter 9.
  6. Indian History, Krishna Reddy Chapter on Post Mauryan India.

Part#1: doesn’t help in Political history because:

  1. Three Sangams held between 100-250AD
    1. First sangam: attended by Gods and Sages. Work didn’t survive.
    2. Second: only Tolkappiyam (grammar book) survives = doesn’t help much.
    3. Third (last) Sangam: has eight anthologies (Ettutogai). Here too, not all work has survived.  + has following limitations:
  2. Since poets were patronized by ruling elites- exaggerations about
    the victories, territorial influence. Even a cattle raid on village
    would be narrated as war.
  3. More focus Hero-worship rather than how they shaped power balance and foreign relation with other states.
  4. some of the names, titles, dynasties, territories, wars and like mentioned these poems are imaginary.
  5. No archeological evidences to corroborate certain settlements mentioned in Sangam Poems. e.g. Kaveripattanam.
  6. Many of these poems are erotic / romantic in nature.
  7. Much of the work still untranslated. Thorough study yet to be done.

Part#2: Social conditions in Sangam Age

From Sangam literature, we get following information about South Indian society:

VALUES
  • South Indian society celebrated both love (Akam poems) and wars (Puram poems)
  • Heroic death, sacrifice, stones and memorials greatly cherished.
VARNAS
  • Sangam poets mention four Varnas:
    1. Arashar (King/nobility)
    2. Brahmanas (priests)
    3. Viashiyar (traders)
    4. Velala (Farmer)- they even held civil and military post.
  • Brahmanas (priests) performed yagna before wars
  • Priests, poets and bards (Panar): respected by society and patronized by ruling elite.
Women
  • allowed to choose their partners
  • Love marriage common practice.
  • Widow life miserable.
  • Sati practice was also prevalent upper caste. (hard to believe but yes, it is given in TN state text book.)
social Interaction
  • Society divided on clan based groups called “Kuti”
  • Inter-dining and social interaction among Kuti groups was permitted.
  • Meaning a stringent 4-fold stratification and Jati system of North Indian type, was not prevalent during that stage of Tamil Society, but appeared at later period.
  • Society essentially in tribal-pastoral in character: Tribal customs,
    totem worship prevalent. people wore amulets to ward off evil, bring
    rain and luck.
DEATH Varied from burial in urns to cremation rituals.

Part#3: Economic conditions in Sangam Age

From Sangam literature, we get following information about South Indian Economy:

OVERALL Economy
  1. There were five economic zones (tinai), each supporting a different economic activity. (hills, drylands, jungle, plains and coast)
  2. While the kings received income from trade, tributes and plunder, but a regular system of taxation was not seen.
  3. All three kingdoms (Chola, Chera, Pandya) wanted to subjugate lesser
    chieftains, hence war, raid and plunder were normal feature of the
    society- leading to destruction of resources and manpower. We can infer
    this from Sangam poems describing the sorrow of villagers, whose cattle
    and farm produced were plundered by enemy chieftains.
Occupation
  1. Agri, hunting, gathering, fishing and pastoralism = main activities
  2. cattle raids are frequently mentioned in the poems= pastoral economy.
  3. Tools were mainly used for hunting and raids. But Crafting
    specialization was rudimentary, only served as secondary source of
    income.
  4. Traders were prosperous- dealt with salt, corn, textile and gold.
FOREIGN TRADE
  1. Both inland and external trade was practiced.
  2. Major export: silk, cotton, ivory, pepper and pearls-  All highly valued by the foreigner. Sangam Poems narrate about how Yavans came in their own vessels, purchased pepper with gold, and supplied wine and women to Indian rulers to get trading permissions.
  3.  (Despite having no formal taxation system) Chola, Chera
    and Pandiyan kingdoms became wealthy mainly by exporting these
    commodities to Roman Empire and South East Asian kingdoms. (and they didn’t have high current account deficit because Sangam poems donot mention crude oil import.)
WOMEN in Economy
  1. agriculture: Women actively involved in planting, weeding, husking and winnowing of paddy
  2. Spinning, weaving, basket making, garland making and flower selling were among other occupations pursed by women.

—but this is more than 500 words. Have to compress:—

Keypoints- Sangam

Q. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected
political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the
social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness.
Comment. (10m | 200words)

Key points:

  1. Sagam Litt. fails to give political history because:
    1. While three Sangams were held, only the last gathering provides material relevant to political history.
    2. With Hero worship as prime focus, Poets often exaggerated victories and territories of the kings.
    3. Some of the names, places, dynasties, territories are imaginary and not corroborated by archeological evidences.
    4. Part of the literature is erotic and romantic in nature.
  2. Sagam Litt. Gives social picture:
    1. Society cherished love, wars and heroes.
    2. Bards, priests and poets received royal patronage.
    3. Poets mention four varnas: Nobility, priests, traders and farmers.
    4. Society divided into clans (Kuti), however dining and social interactions permitted among them.
    5. Unlike North India, the South Indian society did not have stringent 4-fold varna stratification and Jati system.
    6. Women were allowed to choose partners, but life of widows was miserable.
  3. Sagam Litt. Gives economy picture:
    1. Five economic zones (tinai) viz. hills, drylands, jungle, plains and coast, each supporting a different economic activity.
    2. Agriculture, hunting, gathering, fishing and pastoralism were
      primary occupations. Crafting, weaving served as secondary source of
      income.
    3. Women formed a significant part of labour force, particularly in paddy cultivation, craft and weaving.
    4. Kings received income from trade, tributes and plunder. Regular
      system of taxation was absent. However, export of pepper, ivory, silk,
      cotton and booty from raids made the kings wealthy.

This is ~200 words.

Q2. Chola Temples

Q. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss. (5 marks | 100 words)

100 words can be easily gathered from any of the following books, but
the real problem= can you recall decent points worth 100 words in the
actual exam hall?

  1. NIOS Culture, Ch. 13 (~50 words.)
  2. Class 9 ICSE History textbook, page 74
  3. Tamilnadu Class 11 History textbook, chapter 13.
  4. Indian History, Krishna Reddy
  5. Under TMH General studies manual, section History of India=>art and architecture=>Cholas. Sufficient content
  6. Spectrum’s culture book (page 145 in 2004’s edition)
  7. AL Basham, Wonder that was India, Page 359-360

Anyway, let’s check the less boring points.

Cholas followed the architecture style of Pallavas and constructed numerous temples throughout their territory.  Nagaesh-wvara, Brihadesh-wvara and Airavatesh-wara temples in Tanjore-Thanjavur region represent the zenith of Chola architectural style.

Notable features are following:

Chola Temple Features

  1. Material
Started using stones instead of bricks.
  1. Walls & Passages
have neatly detailed frescoes, sculptures and paintings- including birds, dancing figures, pictorial stories from Puranas
  1. Portraits
Some of the Chola temples contain beautiful life-sized portraits of
kings and queens. e.g. Rajaraja I and his queen lok-mahadevi, Rajendra I
and his queen Chol-mahadevi.
  1. Garbhagriha
chief deity room
  1. Vimana
the 5-7 storeys above chief deity room. In Brihadeshwahra temple- 13 successive storeys.
  1. Shikhara
above the Vimana (Storeys). Rajarajeshwara temple has Shikhara stone
weighing almost 90 tonnes. Since they didn’t have cranes to lift it,
architects built a 4 km long inclined path to drag the stone over the
top.
  1. .Vs Pallavas
  • Although Chola continued the art tradition of Pallavas, but abandoned the lion motifs from temple walls.
  • Chola temple pillars were constructed with greater refinement than Pallavas.
  1. Nataraja
  • During Chola period, metal art showed remarkable development and was used for further decoration of temples.
  • e.g Nataraja or dancing shiva at Chiadambaram temple- described as the ‘cultural epitome’ of the Chola period.
  1. Mandap
Audience hall, for various ceremonies. Elaborate carvings and pillars.
  1. Gopuram
Temple gateways, which enclosed the entire temple structure with high walls.
  1. Trend-Setters
  • Brihadeshwara temple by Rajaraja –I at Tanjore. It was the tallest of all Indian temple at that period.
  • Other kingdoms in South India- and even in Sri Lanka, adopted the architectural style of Chola temples.

~256 words. Have to compress

Keypoints- Chola Temples

Q. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss. (5 marks | 100 words)

Keypoints:

The Cholas followed and refined Pallava architecture, with following notable features:

  1. Use of stones instead of bricks.
  2. Walls decorated with sculptures and paintings of deities, kings and queen instead of lion motifs from Pallava.
  3. Temples are enclosed by decorative walls and entrance (Gopuram);
  4. have an audience hall (Mandap); a deity room (Garbhgriha); a pyramid like storey above the deity room (Vimana)
  5. Ultimately the beautiful Shikara stone at the top – each with
    elaborate and meticulous carvings- Weighing in tonnes yet placed without
    help of cranes.

During their reign, Cholas studded the entire Tamil landscape with
such temples including Nagaeshwvara, Brihadeshwvara, Airavateshwara and
Chidambaram -their style even followed by other kingdoms in South India
and Sri Lanka.

~110 words.

Q3. Tandav Dance

Q. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (5 marks |100 words)

  • Spectrum’s culture book barely gives two lines.
  • NIOS culture course ch. 12 mentions that “traditional
    Indian culture the function of dance was to give symbolic expression to
    religious ideas. The figure of Lord Shiva as Nataraja represents the
    creation and destruction of the cosmic cycle.
  • From a small paragraph in AL Basham page 310, it becomes obvious that ^above NIOS sentence is talking about Tandava dance.

Anyways let’s combine:

  1. In South India, religious dancing was part of the earliest known
    tradition –and Shiva himself is considered to have invented no less than
    108 different dances.
  2. Some of his dances are calm and gentle, while others fierce,
    orgiastic, heroic, bold, vigorous and terrible- such as the Tandava
    dance of Nataraja.
  3. Tandava and Lasya, are two basic aspects of Classical Indian Dance, associated with Shiva and Parvati respectively.
  4. In Tandava dance form, the angry Shiva is surrounded by his drunken
    attendants (ganas), he beats out a wild rhythm which destroys the world
    at the end of the cosmic cycle.
  5. Thus Tandava dance is meant to give symbolic expression to religious idea of Shiva being the Destroyer among the trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh.

~123 words.

Although original question is “Discuss Tandava as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions”= so even above answer is incomplete. Because it doesn’t talk about any inscriptions. Finally “Wikipedia” (=the most unreliable source for MCQs), gives the seemingly right points.

Ancient Hindu scriptures narrate various occasions when Shiva or other gods have performed the Tandava viz.

  1. When Sati jumped in sacrificial fire in Daksha’s Yajna to give up
    her life, Shiva performed the Rudra Tandava to express his grief and
    anger.
  2. The Bhagavata Purana talks of Krishna dancing his Tandava on the head of the serpent Kaliya.
  3. According to Jain text: Indra performed Tandava in honour of Rishabha’s birth (Jain tirthankar).
  4. Shivapradosha stotra mentions: when Shiva performs
    the Sandhya Tandava, the other gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Sarasvati,
    Lakshmi and Indra play musical instruments and sing Shiva’s praises.
  5. In some temple sculptures, Ganesha is depicted in Eight armed form, dancing the Tandava.

~115 words.

Anyways, let’s combine and compress

Keypoints: Tandav Dance

Q. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (5 marks |100 words)

  1. Tandava and Lasya, are two basic aspects of Classical Indian Dance.
    Shiva himself is considered to have invented atleast 108 different
    dances- including the fiercely aggressive Tandava- where he destroys the
    world at the end of the cosmic cycle.
  2. Thus Tandava is meant to give symbolic expression to religious idea of Shiva being the Destroyer among the trinity of Gods.
  3. Ancient Hindu scriptures narrate many incidents where Tandava was performed including:
    1. Shiva at the death of Sati, to express his grief and anger.
    2. Krishna on the head of serpant Kaliya
    3. Indra at the birth of Jain Tirthkar Rishabhdev

~100 words.

Analysis/Rambling/Commentary/Observations:

before reading further, make sure you’ve read above culture
question-answers first, and also tried solving them at home from
whatever books/material you’ve at home.

Marks per question

Over the last few years, UPSC was moving towards “more questions for less marks” trend e.g.

No. Of Questions x Marks Per question =Total Marks
1 60 60
2 30 60
4 15 60
5 12 60

In 2012’s General Studies Mains paper, some of the Questions were even asked for “1 mark” each! E.g  PV Sindhu, Mario Miranda.

  • So, it was natural for the players to expect that lot of questions will be of 1m, 2m, 5m each.
  • Even in IFoS-2013 Mains exam, UPSC had asked all questions in 6-8 marks range. so the expectation even more bolstered.
  • Hence the study approach of most candidates= focused on gathering maximum number of “terms” with 20-50 words for each. Especially for culture, sci-tech, even for world-history to some extent.
  • UPSC did follow that expected line: questions were indeed small,
    only in terms of marks (5 marks and 10 marks each) but not in terms of
    length (100 words and 200 words each).

Difficulty level & BackbreakingTM

CULTURE QUESTIONS IN 2013 PREVIOUSLY
  1. on Sangam literature giving picture of South India’s society and Economy
  1. Sangam literature has been asked under two markers in GS papers (2000 and 2007)
  2. How do recent archaeological findings and Sangam literary texts
    enlighten us about the early state and society in South India? (2008
    under History optional)
  1. Chola temples
  1. GS paper in 1999 under two markers.
  2. Bring out the regional variations in the early south Indian temple architectural styles. (2008 under History optional)
  1. Tandav Dance
not seen in previous paper (or maybe I didn’t look carefully)
  • Two out three topics were not new, the only challenge was to bring
    200 and 100 words worth content respectively- especially for students
    without history optional.
  • For both questions- sufficient matter available in standard reference books, as we saw while solving the answers.
  • But then a player wouldn’t have prepared such topics in that detail- because the previous trend of UPSC forced him to do Gadhaa majoori of mugging up 50 dozen folk dances, painters, authors etc. for 20-30 words each with hope that lot of 2 markers will be asked.
  • The GS1 paper started with culture question- hence most players
    would have panicked and it indirectly affected their performance even in
    remaining questions from history-post-independence India and geography
    where they did have sufficient answer points inside their head.
  • Besides, even if the answer is verbatim given in a standard
    reference book- hiding in the plain sight, doesn’t mean the aspirant can
    recall all the points during the actual exam. The stress, anxiety and
    fatigue doesn’t let the mind perform @100% efficiency.
  • Even if he can recall entire content, still it is humanly impossible
    to finish 25 questions in 5000 words with high quality points within
    three hours.

Thus, once again, the innocent bystanders are massacred while UPSC deploys BackbreakingTM move against coaching classes, rot learners (and senior players*).

Some more Conspiracy theories:

THEORY #1
  • All three culture questions are related to south India. Because
    Sangam=South India, Chola=South India and Tandav
    Dance=Nataraja=associated with South India.
  • In other words, the paper was set by a South Indian professor.
  • So for Mains-2014, candidate must prepare South Indian culture topics thoroughly.
THEORY #2
  • In CSAT, CAPF and CDS 2013 exams, UPSC has shown its prem for Buddism and Jainism MCQs. Prior to that, two markers related to folk dances and festivals.
  • So Coaching walla (and senior players*) would have assumed that
    similar Buddism-Jainism-cave-folk-festival type stuff will come in
    Mains.
  • Therefore, asking about South Indian culture was the most logical step according to UPSC’s BackbreakingTM rulebook for Mains-2013.
  • And hence, the most logical thing to do for Mains-2014= ignore south Indian culture!

*it is a widely believed conspiracy theory that UPSC chairman prefers
first timers over senior players.  All this so called exam
reform/gimmicks/tomfoolery is meant to prevent any senior player from
gaining advantage by his repeated experience.

And as usual, my sympathies and respect goes for these hard working
senior players for they’re the victims of circumstances- everyone wants
to crack exam in first trial, but Cinderella story doesn’t happen with
everyone- so what can they do? Try again and again until age, attempt,
money or willpower runs out.

Back to the culture topic:

Causal revision = #Epicfail

  • Frequent and serious revision is more important than wide coverage. e.g Chola temples question: Gopuram, vimana, Mandap etc.= you’ve already come across these terms many times in the same routine books like GS Manual and Spectrum’s culture.
  • But while reading, if you just superficially glance over the information “thik hai..thik hai” (in the haste to finish reading many topics) then you cannot recall points in the exam=> low quality filler answers.

Focus on Dramatic part = also #EPICFAIL

In December 2013, the state election result came. BJP won in Madhya
Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh; and emerged as the largest party in
Delhi.

Newschannel Anchor will BJP form government in Delhi? or will you give external support
to AAP? How will delhi result affect Modi’s chances in 2014 general
election? blah blah blah
BJP spokesperson But why are you so obsessed with Delhi? Delhi is worth only 7
parliament seats. Why are you not talking about the other large states
that we’ve won- Rajasthan and MP? They’ll give us good number of
Parliament seats in 2014!

Same is the problem with some UPSC candidates. Always worry about the
dramatic parts rather than paying attention to bigger picture.

  • In Prelims, just because one or two tough questions
    from culture/classical dance come, so they panic, they start doing Ph.D
    study on all classical dance forms, all temples, all painting, google n
    wiki day and night …while ignoring the high-scoring areas such as
    freedom struggle, geography, polity, Economy, Environment-biodiversity
    and Science.
  • In mains, at max, culture is just 8%, even out of
    that, the toughest question the Tandav Dance is just 5 marks (2% of the
    whole paper) and that too requires 100 words to be written.

UPSC-Mains-General-Studies-GS-Paper1

  • Compare to that, there were plenty of questions in Indian History,
    world history, post-independence India and geography (totaling >60%
    of the GS1 paper), where cost: benefit was quite good. So, that’s where
    your focus should be.
  • In the game of chess, if you try to defend every pawn, you end up
    losing the entire match. In short, a culture topic must be prepared but
    should not be prepared beyond its aukaat.




Internet and Terrorism

Many
aspects of our modern society now have either a direct or implicit
dependence upon information technology (IT). As such, a compromise of
the availability or integrity in relation to these systems (which may
encompass such diverse domains
as banking, government, health care, and
law enforcement) could have dramatic consequences from a societal
perspective.

In
many modern business environments, even the short-term, temporary
interruption of Internet and e-mail connectivity can have a
significantly disruptive effect, forcing people to revert to other forms
of communication that are now viewed as less convenient. Imagine, then,
the effect if the denial of service was over the long-term and also
affected the IT infrastructure in general. Many governments are now
coming to this realisation.
The
term terrorist or terrorism is a highly emotive term. But the general
term, terrorist, is used to denote revolutionaries who seek to
useterror systematically to further their views or to govern a
particular area. 

Cyber terrorism is
a different form of terrorism since physical systematic terror does not
occur (unless, for example, the attack causes a critical system to
fail), but systematic wide spread destruction of information resources
can occur. The problem relates to the fact that aterrorist group could
easily be perceived as a resistance group carrying out lawful actions.
In the context of this article all groups will be defined
as terrorist/resistance groups in order to give a neutral perception of
their activities and aims.
Recent
years have seen the wides preaduse of information technology
by terrorist-type organisations. This has led to the emergence of a new
class of threat, which has been termed cyber terrorism. This can be
viewed as distinct from “traditional” terrorism since
physical terrordoes not occur and efforts are instead focused upon
attacking information systems and resources.
When
viewed from the perspective of skills and techniques, there is little
to distinguish cyber terrorists from the general classification of
hackers. Both groups require and utilise an arsenal of techniques in
order to breach the security of target systems. From a motivational
perspective, however, cyber terrorists are clearly different, operating
with a specific political or ideological agenda to support their
actions. This in turn may result in more focused and determined efforts
to achieve their objectives and more considered selection of suitable
targets for attack. However, the difference does not necessarily end
there and other factors should be considered. Firstly, the fact
that cyber terrorists are part of an organised group could mean that
they have funding available to support their activities. This in turn
would mean that individual hackers could be hired to carry out attacks
on behalf of a terrorist organisation (effectively subcontracting the
necessary technical expertise). In this situation, the hackers
themselves may not believe in the terrorist’s “cause,” but will
undertake the work for financial gain
Terrorist groups
have difficulty in relaying their political messages to the general
public without being censored: They can now use theInternet for this
purpose. Different terrorist groups and political parties are now using
the Internet for a variety of different purposes. Some examples are:
  • Tupac
    Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA): In 1997, a
    Peruvian terrorist group know as MRTA took over the Japanese embassy in
    Peru taking a number of hostages. During this time, the Web Site of the
    MRTA contained messages from MRTA members inside the embassy as well as
    updates and pictures of the drama as it happened.
  • Chechen
    rebels: Chechen rebels have been using the Internet to fight the
    Russians in a propaganda war. The rebels claimed to have shot down a
    Russian fighter jet, a claim refuted by the Russians until a picture of
    the downed jet was shown on  the official Web site of the Chechen
    rebels. The Russians were forced to admit their jet had in fact been
    shot down.
  • Fundraising: Azzam
    Publications, based in London and named after Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a
    mentor of Osama bin Laden; is a site dedicated to Jihad around the world
    and linked to Al Qaeda. It is alleged that the Azzam Publications site,
    which sold Jihad related material from books to videos, was raising
    funds for the Taliban in Afghanistan and for guerrillas fighting the
    Russians in Chechyna. After September 11, Azzam Publications came under
    increased pressure to the point where its products could no longer be
    purchased through their site. In a farewell message published on their
    site they provide alternatives to ensure that funds can still be raised
    and sent around the world to fight the “struggle.” In 2002 the main
    Azzam site went back online, offering the same fundraising options. The
    new site also mirrored itself around the world and provides its content
    in a number of languages including: Arabic, English, German, Spanish,
    Indonesian, Bosnian, Turkish, Malay, Albanian, Ukranian, French,
    Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Urdu, and Somalian. The reason for doing this
    according to the Azzam site “is to protect against Western Censorship
    Laws.” It will probably prove to be difficult to close the Azzam site in
    the future, when the information is mirrored around the Internet in a
    variety of languages.
  • Information warfare: Cyber terrorism
    or the more appropriate term information warfare as discussed earlier
    is becoming a common technique used to attack
    organisations. Cyber terrorist groups employ what is known as hacktivism. Hacktivists
    are activists involved in defacing the site of an enemy for a political
    cause for example, a cyber terrorism group or a group acting on behalf
    of a cyber terrorism group
Another
observation is that cyber attacks offer the capability
for terrorist activities with wider-reaching impacts. With
traditional terroristactivities, such as bombings, the impacts are
isolated within specific physical locations and communities. In this
context, the wider populous act only as observers and are not directly
affected by the actions. Furthermore, acts of violence are not
necessarily the most effective way of making a political or ideological
point-the media and public attention is more likely to focus upon the
destruction of property and/or loss of life than whatever “cause” the
activity was intended to promote. The ability
of cyber terrorism activities to affect a wider population may give the
groups involved greater leverage in terms of achieving their objectives,
whilst at the same time ensuring that no immediate long-term damage is
caused which could cloud the issue. For example, in a denial of service
scenario, if the threatened party was to accede to
the terrorist demands, then the situation could (ostensibly at least) be
returned to that which existed prior to the attack (i.e. with service
resumed). This is not the case in a “physical” incident when death or
destruction has occurred.
Cyber terrorists operate
with a political agenda. This motivation (which could often be more
accurately described as fanaticism) will mean these types of attacks
will be more specifically targeted and aimed at more critical systems.
This collective action would do more harm than the action of a single
hacker. There is also the issue of funding, since terrorist groups could
have substantial funds available, they could easily employ hackers to
act on their behalf.
Whether
we like it or not, we have developed a significant (and increasing)
dependence upon information technology. The Internet is available 24
hours a day and cyber terrorist groups that view developed countries as a
target will be able to attack 24 hours a day. This means that all
organisations could feel the impact as their sites are attacked just
because they happen to be in Australian, Japan, USA, and so forth. Only
the future will show the risks that we face from the threat
of cyber terrorism



Technological productivity cannot be blindly accepted without scrutinizing its impact on people and the planet

Why does Marxism, alongside capitalism, get blamed for disasters
such as Typhoon Haiyan,
Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina? The
answer, argue green critics, lies in the shared zeal of the two for an
infinite economic expansion, which they believe is burning up the
planet and stoking global climate change. For Marxism, harnessing an
ever-expanding economy is a means to amelioration of the human
condition. Capitalism, on the other hand, pursues this Holy Grail for
shareholders’ profits. Ironically, the stark divergence in their aims is
seen melt into convergence of their pathways that their critics
contend yield equally disastrous consequences for the planet.  

Marxism and Green Narratives

Critics, thus, view both Marxism and capitalism organically bound in their anthropocentrism and instrumentality of nature to further human ends. Anthropocentrism, as Arne Naess
claims, elevates humans to the status of a superorganism, and subjects
nature to their servitude until its extinction. Green critics,
nevertheless, are not monolithic in their vision of the natural world.
They occupy a wide spectrum of philosophical orientations, the
prominent of which include deep ecology, shallow ecology (liberal
environmentalism), social ecology, socialist ecology, eco-Marxism and
eco-socialism. All these variants of environmentalism are, in turn,
challenged by eco-feminism for neglecting gender, particularly in what
ecofeminists describe the “grand narratives” of Marxist and capitalist “ideologies.”

There is, however, a broad range of sub-sets within eco-feminism,
some of which are closer to Marxism (such as socialist eco-feminism)
while others hue to capitalism (such as liberal ecofeminism). All but
shallow ecologists and liberal ecofeminists are skeptical of modern
technologies, and their fervent advocates in Marxism and capitalism.
Driven by this skepticism, some of these groups, such as deep
ecologists and cultural ecofeminists, reject the intellectual inheritance of the Enlightenment era,
western science, modernity and technology as dark forces that they
believe ruined the environment. In contrast, these very forces are
embraced by both Marxism and capitalism as the first seed of human
progress. Green critics do not go unchallenged though. The celebrated
founder of social ecology Murray Bookchin
has fiercely taken deep ecologists and cultural ecofeminists to task
for their anti-technology fanaticism. In his erudite rebuttal, Bookchin
has challenged both with the sharpest of wit, strongest of words and
utmost deftness of a polemicist.

Marxism and the Green Left

Oddly enough, green critics are just as vociferously echoed by a growing section of the green left that tends to see Marxism as insufficiently green, ungreen or even brown. They take issue with Marx’s fabled concern for “the development of the productive forces,”
which was purported to rid humanity of the “brutal necessities” of
material existence. They see Marxism achieve this emancipation by
transforming nature through technological innovations (i.e., productive
forces), a premise that some on the green left finds hard to reconcile
with the contemporary environmental condition. In the like vein, what
Marxism envisions in the productive forces, capitalism enacts in their
realization (i.e., scientific progress and technological innovations).
This apparent approximation of the two has a section of Marxist
theorists and practitioners foreseeing in capitalism a transition to a social revolution.
Ironically, their conjured up intermediation of capitalism makes them
even tolerant of capital’s excesses as “collateral damage” on the way
to a revolutionary heaven on earth. In lay terms it is technophilia that drives Marxism and capitalism into each other’s arms,
and binds their critics in their putative technophobia. In general,
however, the green left has helped move the orthodox version of Marxism
in the ecologically informed direction that has made it even more
relevant to the contemporary human condition. Even so, the larger
question as to how to reconcile Marxism’s putative technophilia and the
greens’ and the green left’s assumed technophobia still remains
unanswered.

Technologies and Social Relations of Production

Although it is a hotly contested assumption, technologies themselves
are value-neutral. It is their “social relations of production” (i.e.,
social systems that underscore the development of productive forces)
that have them save or savage people and the planet. Social relations tend to foster or fetter production of a given technology,
such as fossil fuels or green energy; uranium enrichment for weapons
making, electrical power, or cancer treatment; human cloning or
therapeutic cloning; genetically modified organism (GMO) foods or
organic produce. Similarly, modern technologies could not have been
developed under the fetters of regressive feudalism. They awaited their
birth until after the overthrow of feudalism, and the reconstruction of
alternative social relations under “progressive capitalism”.
Absurdly, some greens, in their backward mental leap, have even come
to prize feudalism over capitalism for its putative small ecological
footprint. Here they indeed risk being perceived as misanthrope in the
extreme for abandoning any pretense of human concern in their zest for
naturism. Yet they decry capitalism and reject its progressive
potential in technological breakthroughs that they see at the heart of
ecological ruin. Their feud with Marx and Marxism also rests on this
same premise. 

Marx and Capitalism

Marx did recognize the progressive potential of capitalism
at a time when the masses of humanity were wallowing in misery. To
help liberate fellow humans from the brutal necessities of life, and
enable them to live up to their fullest potential as a self-determined
citizen, the development of the productive forces was deemed a
necessary, if not sufficient, condition for social revolution.  In
Marx’s times (1818-1883), these forces were developing, not developed,
which can be gauged from what was then considered to be the icons of
technology: telephone, train and steam ship. These technologies were,
nevertheless, benign, as their intended or unintended ecological
consequences were still in gestation. At the same time, their economic
and social benefits were all too obvious for humanity. They each helped
compress time and space, unlocked human economic potential, and paved
the way for lifting masses out of misery.
As a result, the more of such technologies were sought after to relieve human suffering. Marx and Engels were convinced
that dignified human living was bound up with the uninterrupted
development of productive forces, massive industrialization, and
ever-growing consumption to keep the former going, a rationale that
stokes their critics’ skepticism of Marxism to this day. Although Marx’s vision of the world was humanistic, it too was decried by greens as anthropocentrism
and speciesism. Yet the productive forces that capitalism has since
unleashed have become a doubled-edged sword that can simultaneously
save life and spell disasters. As a result, technological productivity
cannot be blindly accepted without scrutinizing its impact on people
and the planet. Marxist theorists, therefore, need to contextualize
Marx’s call for the development of the productive forces and, more
importantly, reassess capitalist technologies as to whether they
qualify to be “productive forces” in the first place, given their
“counterproductive” impact on both human and non-human nature. 
  
Contextualizing Marx

In the 150 years since Marx wrote, capitalism has been helping
itself to the low-hanging fruit of extractive technologies, such as
transformation of fossil fuels, minerals and metals into energy and
industrial products. Yet the intended benefits of such technologies
have begun to be obscured by their unintended disbenefits, especially
when one scans the depletion and degradation of natural resources, and
their impact on what Allan Schnaiberg
calls the environment’s source and sink limits. Global climate change,
together with typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones and superstorms, is the
result of exceeding these limits. Marx was profoundly aware of humans’
dependence on nature for their very survival, as Ted Benton, James
O’Conner, John Bellamy Foster, and Jason Moore, among others, have
diligently evidenced in their ecological accounting of Marx. In his
time, Marx did not confront ecological limits on the development of
productive forces; he rather observed ecological transformation being
constrained by the underdeveloped productive forces. Today, Marx, having
been an ecologically informed thinker, would not push against what the
Club of Rome report
comprehensively described as “ecological limits” to develop the
“undifferentiated” productive forces, as did capitalism imperiling the
very survival of humans on this planet.

A section of Marxist theorists prioritize concern for the economic
well-being of humanity over all other concerns, a position that is not
entirely without merits. But their inattention to ecology
as the very basis of human material provisioning is puzzling all the
same. It amounts to belaboring the obvious that prospects for
humanity’s economic well-being are not just dependent upon the
development of productive forces, but the productive and absorptive capacity of the environment
as well. Capitalist technologies have long been overtaxing the
environment’s capacity to produce and absorb, with the consequences
that have now grown unbearable for the planet and its inhabitants. The
world cannot wait indefinitely for capitalism to go on pursuing its
progressive potential in the interest of a hoped-for social revolution,
while leaving behind a trail of ecological and human wasteland. Also,
frequent calls are made on the greens to pay mind to the needs of the
working classes. While it is important to draw greens’ attention to
their neglect of the human condition, it is equally important to engage
those Marxists whose literalist allegiance to Marx’s writings has them
pursue the “development of the productive forces” with the same zeal
and to the same neglect of nature as that of capitalism.

Technologies Are No Nirvana

Technologies alone are no nirvana for human prosperity, unless their
fruits are widely shared. To the contrary, technologies have lent
themselves to concentrating their dividends in the fewest possible
hands. A case in point is the global economy of $71.8 trillion
(in 2012) that allows every person on earth to have $11,000 a year, and
a household of four to have $44,000 a year. If broadly distributed,
mass circulation of wealth would not only banish poverty but would have
created more, better and cleaner prosperity. Instead, capitalist
relations of production have engendered an island of prosperity in the
sea of poverty. This can be gauged from the holdings of the financial
class in the global derivatives market, which has risen in “value” to a
whopping $600 trillion!!!!
As such, financial capitalism is worth more than 8 times the size of
the global economy. Yet its distributive impact is just the opposite as
is evident from the fact that less than 1% (0.7%) of the world’s population owns $98.7 trillion
(i.e., 41%) of the global wealth, while about 70% of the world’s
population is left with 3% of the world’s wealth to subsist on. In the
United States alone, 400 richest Americans are worth more than half of all Americans
combined. These are the issues that persist not because of
“underdeveloped productive forces” but because of the global
distributive disorder that is so markedly skewed towards the wealthiest
few. While greens must consider the human condition, there is just as
much need for the advocates of productive forces to reconsider their
blind adherence to what is pejoratively called “productivism” as a panacea for human deliverance. 

Unplugging Fossil Fuel Technologies

Above all, many of the capitalist technologies are hard to grade as
“productive forces,” given their “counterproductive” impact. Nor will
capitalist relations of production allow the development of
technologies that are friendly to people and the planet. Just as
feudalism served as “fetters” on the development of “productive
forces,” so did capitalism on developing ecologically benign
technologies. Today, the fossil fuel industry, which forms the heart and
soul of modern capitalism, is hooked on ecologically destructive
technologies of energy production, which are also at the root of global
climate breakdown. Just in 2012 alone, the fossil fuel industry
invested $674 billion
in developing hydrocarbon-based energy, while its supporters in the
halls of power throw a chump change on the development of green
alternatives.

The world’s future seems even more fraught in light of the International Energy Agency’s prediction that the global investment in fossil fuel production will rise to $22.7 trillion
in 2012-2035. This alone explains why the fossil fuel industry stands
in the way of developing real “productive forces” that Marx would have
espoused: zero-emission energy from farming the sun, wind and water. It
is worth noting that the endless supply of energy from the sun and
wind cannot be measured even in trillions of barrels of oil and
quadrillions of cubic meters of natural gas. More importantly, solar
and wind power has virtually no expiration date, and costs least to the
environment. Despite these merits, capitalism and capitalist relations
of production are fettering the development of green energy because
fossil-fuel capitalists have trillions of dollars to lose if the switch
to renewable alternatives becomes a reality.

Marx for All Times, Or for Our Times?

So at this crossroads, what is the way forward? Defending the
development of the productive forces in the name of ending mass
privation? Waiting for capitalism’s progressive potential to exhaust
before the dawn of social revolution breaks out? Accepting human waste
along the road to revolution as “collateral damage”? Or scrutinizing
the very nature of the “productive forces” and their impact on both
people and the planet? The fact of the matter is that these putative
productive forces have already become “counterproductive” in their
impact. While the world still needs the development of the productive
forces, the concept of “productive forces” ought to be redefined in its
selective application to ecologically benign technologies such as solar
power — to the exclusion of fossil fuels. Similarly, searching for a
panacea in capitalist technologies for improving the human condition is
a fool’s errand as has been shown in the preceding two sections.
Instead, focus ought to be on the redistributive impact of technologies
and their dividends to better the human lot.

Isiah Berlin,
in his acerbic (rather acidified) criticism of Marxists, wrote that
they tend to eternalize Marx and his writings in their effort to
validate them for all times to come. Marx was, indeed, the most
prescient thinker who could foresee eons ahead. For this gift, he will
continue to be relevant for the ages to come. Yet there is no
gainsaying the fact that Marx lived in a specific time and space that
formed the context of his writings. In the mid-nineteenth century, the
mass of underdeveloped world and developing Europe needed to harness the
productive forces to emancipate the laboring masses from the
enslavement of brutal necessities of life. The transformative potential
of capitalist technologies was thus seen as a way out of human misery,
although the Dickensian world of industrial capitalism even then was
making its price unbearable. In the past 150 years, however, the cost
of “productive forces” to people and the planet has far outweighed
their benefits, pushing the humanity ever nearer to foreclosing on its
only abode – the planet earth. This impending “real estate bust” only
amplifies the need for altering the production and social relations of
production of future technologies to make them benign to ecology and
humanity alike.




India and the two waves of globalization

It will soon be a hundred years since the old regimes in
Europe began to crumble as a result of World War I. The spark for the
continental conflagration was lit in June 1914 when Archduke Franz
Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a young Serbian nationalist.
The crisis escalated through July as the two broad alliances, the
Entente Powers led by Britain, Russia and France, and the Central Powers
led by Germany, the Austro-Hungarians and the Ottoman Empire, began to
raise nationalist fervour. Britain finally declared war on Germany in
August.

The next four years saw massive slaughter across Europe. Many of the
old powers collapsed. Russia succumbed to a communist revolution.
Scores of new countries came into being as the Central Powers were
dismantled by the victorious Allies. Germany later fell to the Nazis.
But that was not the end of turmoil. Europe had to face political
violence, hyperinflation and mass unemployment over the next three
decades. The legacy of World War I continued well after the fighting
ended. It was only at the end of World War II that Europe could settle
to a stable social contract. Meanwhile, the US was the rising power that
would eventually replace the old European empires as the global
hegemon, printer of the global currency and defender of global shipping
lines.

The political implications of World War I will be
intensely discussed across the world in the coming months. What will
perhaps get less attention is the fact that the war marked the end of
the first great era of globalization that began around 1870. The extent
of globalization then is comparable to its reach now in terms of
standard parameters such as trade, capital flows and migration. The
imperial powers created a new international division of labour that
condemned their colonies to being suppliers of raw material. Yet it is
also true that countries such as India experienced an industrial boom in
the last three decades of the nineteenth century. The gold standard was
the pivot of a global monetary system that was perhaps inflexible but
had kept prices stable. Trade became easier thanks to falling
transaction costs.
A young John Maynard Keynes had captured the spirit of
the times very well in an essay published in 1919. “The inhabitant of
London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the
various products of the whole earth…he could at the same moment and by
the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new
enterprises of any quarter of the world.”
Keynes also pointed out that this gentleman “regarded
this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the
direction of further improvement…The projects and politics of
militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of
monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion…appeared to exercise almost no
influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life,
the internationalization of which was nearly complete in practice”.
Keynes could almost be writing about our times. But
reading him today should also serve as a warning, since it is well known
how such optimism was blown to smithereens in the war years. It is
almost akin to the overdone confidence that the end of communism marked
the final victory of liberal democracy; that confidence was shattered
when two planes were flown into the World Trade Centre buildings in
September 2011.
The three decades on both sides of World War I are a
study in contrast: optimism in the earlier period and desperation in the
latter period. The colonial economic system was riddled with injustice
but even economies such as India were more vibrant in the first era of
globalization compared with the stagnation in the decades of
protectionism that came after 1918.
Yet, the global economic system collapsed when nobody
expected it to. It is tempting to ask whether the current global system
that is based on a web of global institutions dominated by the US is
also more fragile than it seems. The next turn in history is
fundamentally unpredictable, so there is no easy answer to the question.
But it is worth pointing out that globalization did pass a stringent
test in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. No country
retreated into protectionism. There was exemplary coordination of fiscal
and monetary policies during the most trying months of 2009.
The current global economic system has served India well
despite some obvious flaws, just as it did in the last decades of the
nineteenth century. Economic xenophobia has deep roots in India partly
because the country lost its freedom first to a commercial organization
and then to a trading power. But, in this silly season of bizarre
economic policy proposals, it is useful to point out that India has a
strong reason to hope that what happened a hundred years ago to the
global economic system is never again repeated.



Natural Resources and Energy Security Challenging the ‘Resource-Curse’ Model in Bangladesh

This article examines myth and reality vis-à-vis
natural resources and energy security in peripheral economies, with
special focus on Bangladesh. It highlights the fact that resource
abundance does not
automatically translate into development; countries
like Bangladesh suffer because of their local hegemonic rulers and
global alliances which, in the name of development, extract
disproportionate private profits from common property through the use of
corrupt practices and skewed policies. The article also insists that
natural energy resources should be considered common property, and in
order to make development meaningful and sustainable should remain so.
Planned development of the national capability is an essential
precondition to maximise the potential use of natural resources. In the
context of Bangladesh, a ban on exporting mineral resources and open-pit
mining is also necessary to ensure energy security and sustainable
development. It concludes that energy-sovereignty is the key to energy
security, and therefore to sustainable development.




Sexual Violence and the Death Penalty

The judgment in the 16 December Delhi rape case
imposed the death penalty based upon the depravity of the offence and
the demands of the “collective conscience of society”. On the other
hand, in the Naroda Patiya judgment in the case of the rapes and murders
of Muslims in this part of Gujarat, the court held that it cannot go
down the route of giving the death penalty but preferred a graded system
of life imprisonment based upon the degree of culpability of the
different offenders. The latter is a new way of thinking about the logic
of punishment. Justice Jyotsna Yagnik rejects the retributive logic and
forces us to explore deeper questions about unthinkable violence,
responsibility and punishment.
Arvind Narrain (arvind@altlawforum.org) is a lawyer with the Alternative Law Forum.

Impunity has been the order of the day when it comes to violent
crimes against women in India. While cruelty enacted on the bodies of
women is quotidian in its nature, what is exceptional is when this
violence is brought before the court and the court recognises this
violence and accounts for it. The judiciary has failed in numerous cases
to ensure that those responsible for horrific crimes against women are
brought to account. Emblematic of this deep and tragic failure is the
Mathura rape case where the Supreme Court (SC) refused to even
acknowledge the sexual violence inflicted on women’s bodies.
In the light of this history, the judgment in the Delhi rape (which
occurred on 16 December 2012) case was exceptional in counteracting this
impunity for crimes against women by finding the accused guilty.1
How rare this conviction is emerges from the fact that the judge in the
case, justice Yogesh Khanna, had only two conviction orders in the 203
cases of rape he had heard from 1 January 2009 to the day of the Delhi
judgment.2
However, even as we acknowledge the importance of breaking the cycle
of impunity for violent crimes against women, there remain troubling
questions about how we punish the accused. Should the turn away from
impunity mean that we embrace the death penalty for the accused? Are
there ways in which we can acknowledge the gravity of the violation and
think of a graded and nuanced punishment which takes seriously the
violation without embracing the death penalty?
To think about the issue of punishment in the context of unimaginable
violence this article will trace out the very important but relatively
little studied judgment (compared to the Delhi rape judgment) delivered
by justice Jyotsna Yagnik in a case involving the murder of 96 Muslims
and the rape of Muslim women during the Gujarat pogrom. The judge in
this case finally comes to the conclusion that for this crime of mass
murder and rape, the 32 accused should be given different gradations of
punishment ranging from imprisonment for 14 years to imprisonment for
life. Is there something one can learn from the judgment in the Naroda
Patiya case (as it is familiarly known) when it comes to thinking about
the issue of both crime and its punishment?
Naroda Patiya Case
On 28 February 2002, following the Godhra train incident, in the
locality of Naroda Patiya, a violent mob systematically went about the
task of murdering and maiming Muslims, raping Muslim women and
destroying Muslim places of worship and Muslim houses. The orgy of
violence which went on throughout the day was accomplished using deadly
weapons and to the accompaniment of slogans which can be roughly
translated into meaning “slaughter, cut, not a single miya should be
able to survive, Jay Shri Ram”. The destruction concluded with the
burning of members of the Muslim community (the living as well as the
dead bodies were set aflame).
In the case finally before justice Yagnik (State of Gujarat vs Naresh Agarsinh Chara and Others),3
what was on trial were the series of incidents over the course of the
day which resulted in the death of 96 Muslims, serious injuries to over
124 Muslims and the rape of Muslim women. What was also on trial was the
criminal responsibility of Mayaben Kodnani and others for the
conspiracy to commit the said offences. During the course of the trial
327 witnesses were examined and 2,392 documents were produced. The
charge sheet listed offences ranging from conspiracy, murder, gang rape
and causing grievous hurt to forming of unlawful assembly. The entire
process of accessing justice right from filing the first information
report (FIR) to ensuring a fair trial was an uphill struggle. In fact it
was only the intervention of the SC which resulted in a relatively fair
investigation. Because of all these difficulties the struggle of the
victims of Naroda Patiya continued for 10 long years. It was only in
August 2012 that a 1,969 page judgment was delivered by justice Yagnik
convicting 32 people for the above mentioned offences.
The Judge’s Reasoning
Overcoming Procedural Hurdles: The substratum of the order’s
reasoning is a keen awareness that this is an extraordinary case. The
case had been sent back for fresh investigation by none other than the
SC and the facts of the case had to do with an extraordinary breakdown
of law and order. Considering this scenario the judge was inclined to
look differently at procedural issues which can often stymie the
struggle for justice.
First, with respect to the fact that investigation itself was faulty,
the judge asserted the principle that “defective investigation, that
too a deliberate defective investigation or deliberately kept loopholes
are no ground for acquittal”. The judge constructed a mental picture of
the days of the massacre and was able to empathise emotionally with the
situation on 28 February 2002. The judge observed

the picture was so gloomy and sad that the complaints of the Muslims
were not taken…It seems that the entire negligence, lighter attitude,
carelessness in the investigation, insensitive attitude towards victims
and their agonies etc. all was surely aimed at to see to it that at the
end of the entire investigation if not all statements, then at least of
majority witnesses should be saying that, ‘they do not know any member
of the mob’.

Second, the crime was difficult to prove as there was no corpus
delicti, i e, no body was recovered. This flows from the fact that
integral to the crimes committed at Naroda Patiya was the throwing of
persons (both dead and alive into the flames). As one eyewitness
observed, “four women of the society came there who were giving kerosene
to the men of the mob and those women were telling that ‘kill these
people and then burn them’”. Taking this problem, which is often
integral to the nature of mass crimes into account justice Yagnik by
drawing on case law found that, “recovery of dead body is not necessary
and it is held that conviction for murder does not necessarily depend
upon Corpus Delicti being found”.
Third, justice Yagnik is also not inclined to give the benefit of the
doubt to the accused though none of the deadly weapons used during the
carnage were recovered by the police. As she succinctly put it, “The
evidence shows that most of the accused were armed with a deadly weapon
and are guilty of rioting being armed with a deadly weapon. The weapon
is not actually recovered from them, but it is immaterial in the
circumstances.”
Eyewitness Accounts as Basis of Conviction: The evidence which
forms the heart of the judgment and is the basis of the convictions is
really the eyewitness accounts. The eyewitnesses in this case have all
suffered grievous loss with some of them actually seeing their family
members being killed. The demeanour of eyewitnesses who have suffered so
much trauma is observed by the court. It notes that

during the deposition many of the witnesses were finding it very
difficult to control (rolling down) their tears (on their cheeks). They
were eager to show their burnt limbs, their injured limbs and explain
their losses to the Court. Many of the parent witnesses were unable to
describe about the death of their children in the riot, they became so
emotional that very often needed to be consoled and offered a glass of
water to complete their deposition.

In the absence of almost all other forms of forensic evidence,
recovery of weapons, etc, it is the eyewitness testimony and the
reliance placed upon it by the judge, which forms the basis of the
Naroda Patiya convictions.4 This judgment at its heart is
really about the courageous testimonies of witnesses who persisted in
their quest for justice despite overwhelming odds. The witnesses went
ahead and testified to the almost unbearable loss they had suffered
despite continuing intimidation. A particular example of this form of
courageous truth telling is the testimony of prosecution witness (PW)
158 an extract of which is given below:

Here several people were cut and killed like entire family of
Kudratbibi, Jadi khala, her two daughters-in-law, family of the PW,
family of Kausharbanu, the family of maternal aunt of Kausharbanu,
brother-in-law Salam of Gauri Appa, etc. At this time, his wife Zarina,
daughter Fauzia, cousin Abdul Aziz, Haroon, Yunus, wife of Yunus jumped
the wall, they were cordoned by the people, his wife was dragged by four
men, she was attacked, her left hand was cut off by sword, her right
hand was attacked by sword, her head was injured by sword, she was given
hockey blow in her leg, her clothes were being pulled and torn off, not
a single cloth remained on her body, she was made naked…
Even at the water tank, there was screaming of ‘kill-cut’, all the men
of the mob have attacked different persons with the weapons in their
hands, four women of the society came there who were giving kerosene to
the men of the mob and those women were telling that ‘kill these people
and then burn them’, he knew the four women since they were purchasing
bakery products which he used to sell. Even he was also battered by acid
bottles on his right hand, flesh came out from his right hand, he was
also injured, he had also sustained injury on his hand, hip and head,
the clamours of only ‘save, save and save’ were heard, the mob has
killed his mother Abedabibi, sister Saidabanu, daughter of sister Saida –
Gulnaaz, Jadi Khala, Kudratbibi, their family members by pouring
kerosene and burning them…
They learnt about survivals of their relatives and met each other…
The witness felt that their house, their world were all ruined, he
added that ‘even today I get knee jerks and I am shaken, upon
remembering, I feel I am very upset and will undergo brain haemorrhage
on remembering the occurrence of that day.’
His wife told him about the occurrence with her, they were so helpless
that they had to shut their mouths, they were giving statement but, were
not knowing as to what they were saying and what they were missing, the
PW could not identify the four who dragged his wife…

The testimony speaks to a collective dimension of violence involving
an orgy of murder and rape. The chilling aspect of the testimony emerges
from the number of defenceless people who the witness testifies to
having been killed. The violence is sexualised with the clothes of the
women being pulled off thus leaving them naked. The deeply personal and
humiliating sexual nature of the violence is hinted at with the witness
saying that his “wife told him about the occurrence with her, they were
so helpless that they had to shut their mouths”. The consequences of
this almost overwhelming violence are literally world shattering as the
witness notes that on remembering, “I feel I am very upset and will
undergo brain haemorrhage on remembering the occurrence of that day”. It
is on understanding the various dimensions of the violence as well as
the impact on the victims that their incredible courage shines through
again and again.
The Honesty of Extrajudicial Confession: The sting operation conducted by Ashish Ketan of Tehelka resulted in videographed interviews with three of the accused in the Naroda Patiya case.5
All three interviews were treated as extrajudicial confessions under
Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. The extrajudicial confessions
were the other piece of evidence implicating both those making the
confession as well as the other accused in the crimes committed at
Naroda Patiya. They were cited in the judgment and need to be quoted in
part as they throw light on numerous aspects of the crime.
The gist of the confession of Babu Bajrangi:

I shall not stop working for Hinduism until I die. I have personal
notions about Hinduism. I have no fear even if I am hanged. Now, there
won’t live any Muslims in India. The moment I saw corpses lying in
Godhra, that very night I had decided and challenged that, ‘There would
be four times more slaughter in PATIYA than that of GODHRA.’..I have two
enemies, the Muslims and the Christians…
We slaughtered Muslims, Patiya is half kilometer away from my house. I
and the local public were there to do the massacre at Patiya. If one
would go to Godhra, one would be provoked and would determine to kill
all the Muslims then and there. We retaliated at Patiya. In Patiya, we
had secured the highest death toll.

The gist of the confession by one Suresh was:

If fruits (saying for girls) were lying, the hungry would eat it. In
any case, she (the Muslim girl) was to be burnt hence somebody might
have ate (eaten) the fruit.
Two to 4 rapes or may be more, might have been committed. Who would not
eat fruit? In whatever number Muslims are killed, it is still less. I
would not leave them. I have too much of rancor (malice) against them
(Muslims). Even I had also raped one girl, who was daughter of a scrap
man (one who is in business of scrap) – named Nasimo, she was fat. I
raped her on roof and then thrown (threw) her from there. I smashed her,
cut her to pieces like ‘achar’ (pickle).

These extrajudicial confessions describe in great detail what exactly
the accused did that day. More importantly, they give us a direct
insight into the minds of the accused. If there were doubts as to
whether the rapes took place that day, it is set at rest by Suresh’s
casual description of the act of rape and murder of a Muslim woman. Both
confessions give chilling evidence of the deep motive underlying the
killings. It is the hatred of the Muslim community which is at the root
of the orgy of violence against them. The confessions give us a hint
that the crime is not one which can be contained within ordinary
criminal law as the intent is not only to murder or rape as the Indian
Penal Code (IPC) describes it but rather the intention to eliminate the
hated race, the Muslims. The crime executed by the mob is nothing less
than what is referred to as the “crime of crimes”, i e, genocide.

Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Rioting, Unlawful Assembly, Inflict Grievous Hurt: In
a large mob it would be close to impossible to prove the individual
culpability of each of its members for every one of the offences
committed. What serves to connect the various actions of the mob to one
another legally is the law on conspiracy which requires proof that the
various members of the mob had a prior agreement to do a series of
illegal acts. If there is such a prior agreement then the various
members of the mob are responsible for all the actions undertaken by
anyone who is a part of the mob. The judge finds that there was indeed
an agreement among the members of the mob. The finding is that

the accused were tremendously over charged with the idea to take
revenge with the Muslim Community as a whole and they were totally out
and had clear objects in their minds of doing away with maximum Muslims
and to destroy, damage and demolish their religious place and property.

Rape in the Context of Mass Violence: The problem justice
Yagnik faced regarding the offence of rape was that there was very
little evidence left. The chilling extrajudicial confession of Suresh
wherein he brags about having raped a woman called Nasimo and then
cutting her into pieces provided an insight into the methods of the
killers. The methodology was clearly rape followed by murder and
burning. Hence, there was very little surviving evidence of the original
crime. The only place where the evidence of the crime survived was in
the memory of the perpetrators as well as that of the victim survivors.
The undoing of impunity for rape was really the fact that Suresh felt
impelled to boast about “raping Nasimo”.6 It is this extrajudicial confession which the judge uses to convict him of the crime.
Further, the history of mass crimes of the nature of that were
perpetrated at Naroda Patiya is closely tied to sexual crimes. In fact
mass crimes and sexual violence go hand in hand and we owe a debt of
gratitude to justice Yagnik for making that connection clear through the
appreciation of evidence. However nobody else was convicted of rape as
she did not see the conspiracy hatched on 28 February 2002 as including
the commission of the crime of rape. This is mystifying, particularly
since she has very clearly delineated the acts of rape committed in the
course of the murderous assault and quite clearly rape emerges as an
integral part of the conspiracy both from the eyewitness testimonies as
well as from the extrajudicial confessions.
However justice Yagnik was very clear that the crime of rape was
committed. The eyewitness testimonies combined with the extrajudicial
confession are sufficient to arrive at the conclusion. She understood
the reason the victims wanted to testify about a crime in which the
perpetrator was unknown. Zarina testifies to being “attacked by four men
and that she was gang raped there. She testifies that four men had
attacked on her with the help of sword, string of her petticoat was cut
off and that a severe sword blow was given on her hand by the attackers.
Having nakeded her, she was gang raped.” However Zarina was unable to
identify the attackers. The judge concluded:

When PW-205 is not implicating any of the accused, it is clear that she
does not have any other intention in her mind for narration of this
incident, except ventilation of tremendous violation of her human right
and constitutional right before the Court. The loud cries of such victim
of crime if not heard by the system, it is mockery of justice. Here, it
sounds quite fitting to record the deep concern of the Court about
violation of human rights and constitutional rights of the victim who
was subjected to gang rape.

In giving a dignified hearing to Zarina’s tale of horror and woe she
understood a very deep aspect about justice. It is very important that
the victims be heard and be believed. The pain of those who have
suffered unbearable loss needs to be acknowledged. This acknowledgement
of pain and loss can itself begin the process of healing.
The judge went on to order compensation for Zarina in full
recognition that “no compensation in fact, is weighty enough to wipe out
the permanent scar, effect and impact on the mind of the victim of the
crime of gang rape”. Rather the compensation is a recognition that, “the
Court is concerned with the commission of crime primarily since that is
to take care of subsistence of Rule of Law. The international concern
for the impact of sexual offences against women guide this Court that
this victim needs to be compensated.”
The Judgment: Bringing a Sense of Closure? The brutality of
the crimes can be deduced from the intentional killing, maiming, raping
and then burning the victims. If the “iron rod” emerged as a symbol of
brutality in the Delhi rape judgment, the phrase repeated by justice
Yagnik, “grilled meat” to refer to the ruthless burning of Muslims both
dead and alive symbolises the horror of Naroda Patiya. The other image
which dominates and in fact emerged as the emblematic horror story of
the Gujarat pogrom was the ripping apart of the stomach of the pregnant
Kausar Bano by Babu Bajrangi.
Justice Yagnik was able to acknowledge the horror suffered by the
residents of Naroda Patiya. She understood that the reason that even
after 10 years the victims in spite of all odds were still pursuing the
claim to justice was related to a deep-rooted need to right the balance.
The wrong which was done had to be righted, before one could even
attempt the process of closure. Justice Yagnik demonstrates a
sensitivity in understanding the context of communal violence when she
says, The Court is not sitting in (an) Ivory Tower.” It is this
appreciation of the context of a communal mass crime which ensures that
defective and complicit investigation is not allowed to checkmate the
quest for justice.
Even when there is no possibility for conviction she understood that
victims needed to be heard. The process of empathetic hearing itself7 combined with the judgment brought about some measure of closure to a horrific chapter in Indian history.
What is apparent is also that the evidence before her far outstrips
the narrow limits of the crimes defined in the IPC. The offences
committed on that day were not only acts of murder and rape committed
against individuals persons. In its deepest sense they were crimes
committed with the avowed intent to eliminate in whole or in part the
Muslim community in Naroda Patiya. As such the crime was really what is
referred to as the “crime of crimes”, i e, genocide, a crime against a
collectivity which is not recognised by Indian law.
Delhi Judgment and the Naroda Patiya One
The horrors of the Delhi 2012 and Gujarat 2002 are of two different
orders. Yet there is no gainsaying that they both portray chilling and
brutal violence inflicted with impunity upon the bodies of women. The
question is, how did the court deal with the reality of extreme and
outrageous acts when it comes to the question of awarding punishment?
The sentencing part of the judgment in the Delhi rape case gives the
extreme penalty of death to all the five accused. The logic the judge
adopts is that the extreme depravity of the offence brings it within the
Bachan Singh formula of the rarest of the rare, and hence makes it a
fit case for the award of the death penalty.8 The aggravating
circumstances of this “brutal, grotesque, diabolical, [and] revolting”
crime far outweigh the mitigating circumstances of “youth,
socio-economic circumstances clean antecedents and reformative
approach”.
Justice Khanna also articulates the need for awarding the highest penalty in terms of both deterrence and retribution:

These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become
rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong
deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes…
The subjecting of the prosecutrix to inhuman acts of torture before her
death has not only shocked the collective conscience but calls for the
withdrawal of the protective arm of the community around the
convicts….Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are
dead.

In the sentencing part of the Naroda Patiya judgment the judge sees
with immense clarity the harm that the accused have inflicted.

The 96 persons were killed mercilessly in a day and were reduced to
grilled meat without any stimuli or provocation on their part. Among the
deceased victims, there were women, old persons, helpless kids and even
crippled person. About 125 victims have been found to have been victims
of crime of hurt, grievous hurt, attempt to murder, etc. Among these
helpless 125 persons there was even an infant aged 20 days.

The proved facts of murder and rape committed on the grounds of
religion go beyond any ordinary crime of murder and rape. As justice
Yagnik puts it:

In a country like ours, discrimination on the ground of religion or
enmity or hatred for any religion is a taboo. Taking lives of persons
just because those persons are having faith in another religion is bound
to be dangerous and it strikes at the very root of the orderly secular
society which the founding fathers of our Constitution dreamt of.

Then she goes on to dismiss the question of extenuating circumstances
raised by the accused including family responsibilities, young age and
lack of criminal antecedents. The judge observes,

Their submission for their family responsibilities, small kids, health
of their spouse, they being the only breadwinner, etc, cannot be
considered in absence of accessing their role based on the proved facts
of the case. How it can out of the mind that the loud cries of the
victims for the help and mercy if have not appealed to the heart, mind
and soul of the accused, then, it itself is an important consideration.
The proved fact reveals of throwing children in the flames of fire was
the most shocking part….

The judge discusses the punishment of death penalty making two
contradictory points, that the death penalty “serves the purpose of
deterrence” and that death penalty “undermines human dignity”. The judge
then concludes that,

In the facts of the case, when alternative to death penalty is
available, it is better to embrace the same. There are ways to address
this violent crime in a more constructive way in which precious lives
were lost in a barbarous attack launched by the assailants.

Based upon this understanding she awards a graded punishment wherein
Babu Bajrangi is given imprisonment for the rest of his natural life,
Maya Kodnani is given imprisonment for 18 years, seven other accused are
given a minimum sentence of 21 years and 22 other accused are given
life imprisonment.
Rethinking Punishment?
The sentencing part of the Delhi rape judgment imposed the death
penalty based upon the depravity of the offence and the demands of the
so-called “collective conscience of society”. The sentencing part of the
Naroda Patiya judgment did not minimise the offences committed and in
fact found that in offences so serious there were no extenuating
circumstances. Yet the court held that it cannot go down the route of
giving death penalty but preferred a graded system of life imprisonment
based upon the degree of culpability of the different offenders. The
logic of the court was “there are ways to address this violent crime in a
more constructive way in which precious lives were lost in a barbarous
attack launched by the assailants”.
This call by justice Yagnik gestures towards a new way of thinking
about the logic of punishment. She rejects the retributive logic
implicit in the argument about the “collective conscience of society”
and forces us to explore deeper questions about unthinkable violence,
responsibility and punishment.
The call to address, “violent crime in a more constructive way” is
most compelling in the context of the public outrage and response to the
Delhi rape incident. While there was anger on the streets, there seemed
to be very little space for mourning. Would a politics centred on a
collective mourning have changed the way we responded to the Delhi rape
incident? Could there have been a shift from the angry insistence on the
death penalty, if we had collectively spent more time on grieving for
the life that had been lost?
When the judgment was delivered what was on display was the idea of
punishment as a festival. The call of death for the rapists was a cry
for revenge and when it was answered by the judgment there almost seemed
to be a sense that the sentiment of the people was sated.
The question of how the public sentiment in favour of revenge can
pervert the idea of justice is raised most compellingly by Hannah
Arendt. In her analysis of the trial of Eichmann, Arendt is alone in her
discomfort with the staged production of Eichmann as a symbol of
radical evil. In her understanding he was at most a cog in the wheel of
the bureaucracy of death that was the Nazi apparatus. She also expresses
strong discomfort with a show trial, in which the collective conscience
of the Jewish people has to be appeased, regardless of what a true
notion of justice may demand. “Justice [according to Arendt] demands
seclusion and it permits sorrow rather than anger”.9

It is sorrow which is conspicuously absent in the Delhi rape judgment
and which permeates the Naroda Patiya judgment. Arguably it is the
judge who is moved by the pain of the victim who is able to craft the
idea that we need to respond in a “more constructive way” to
“violent crime”. The judge, who expresses shock and horror only, goes
along with a sentiment based upon revenge for the horrors inflicted as
is the case of the Delhi rape judgment. The judge who is moved by sorrow
is unable to view the perpetrators as “subhuman” in spite of the
horrors they have perpetrated whereas the judge who is moved by the
public sentiment of anger very quickly ends up viewing the perpetrators
solely within the lens of the “less than human”.
The relationship of emotion and feeling to the process of judging and
what accounts for justice is an important question. Surely justice must
not only be a balm for past wounds but equally a gesture towards the
future? The aim of justice cannot be to put to death a group of
perpetrators while allowing the sentiment of evil which led to the wrong
to continue unchallenged?
By questioning the logic of death penalty, the objective is not to
minimise the hurt and harm suffered by the victim of the 16 December
rape. In fact the violent attacks on her should deepen our sensitivity
to human suffering and broaden our ethical horizons. It should sensitise
us to the equally brutal suffering of Soni Sori and the innumerable
dalit and adivasi women who suffer such brutalities.
The idea of justice should take individual suffering seriously but
equally justice should be future oriented and must make a moral
commitment that what happened to one individual should not happen to
anyone else similarly placed.