Literary Life

RSS on codification of Hindu Personal Laws, in the 1950s

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threw its weight behind the agitation (against codification of Hindu Personal Laws). On 11 December 1949, the RSS organized a public meeting at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi, where speaker after speaker condemned the bill. One called it ‘an atom bomb on Hindu society’. Another likened it to the draconian Rowlatt Act introduced by the colonial state; just as the protests against that act led to the downfall of the British, he said, the struggle against this Bill would signal the downfall of Nehru’s government. The next day a group of RSS workers marched on the Assembly buildings, shouting ‘Down with Hindu code bill’ and ‘May Pandit Nehru perish’. The protesters burnt effigies of the prime minister and Dr Ambedkar, and then vandalized the car of Sheikh Abdullah.

      India after Gandhi, by Ramachandra Guha.

It is curious to note that RSS objected to codification of Hindu personal laws in the 1950s. But by year 2017, it is advocating for the enactment of Uniform Civil Code. An irony, it is.

Would it be the same with the Muslim Personal Law Board, as well, in the matter of abolition of Talak and other reforms? I guess so.


The N-th procedure to correct Data Bank

I can’t really remember all those methods that were formulated to correct the data bank under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008. There have been numerous. All those procedures were either replaced or repealed, before any application could reach a logical conclusion.

If I remember correctly, first it was the Thasildar under the Kerala Land Tax Act who was empowered to correct the Basic Tax Register (and in course the data bank), if it was found that the land in reality is not a Paddy Land. Later, his power was curtailed, and the Kerala High Court assumed this role in its original jurisdiction. But when number of cases that are filed got out of control, the Kerala High Court decided to relegate the function to the Local Level Monitoring Committee or the Revenue Divisional Officer, depending on the entry in the data bank. Thereafter, in the year 2015, the UDF Government brought in the controversial Section 3A for correction of data bank by the District Collector. But again, this section was repealed after the Kerala High Court warned of it being struck down as unconstitutional.

Sometime in the year 2016, somebody informed the Kerala High Court that there is a Center for Remote Sensing at Thiruvananthapuaram, which has taken satellite pictures of all of Kerala, and it could reveal how the land was lying as on the year 2008. So now, the Kerala High Court has again assumed the responsibility of correcting the data bank, after calling for report from this “Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre, Thiruvananthpuaram” through the Agricultural Officer, who is the convener of the Local Level Monitoring Committee. This is the procedure in currently in vogue for correcting the data bank, but now it is learned that a new notification has come into effect.

I haven’t seen the official notification, but the newspaper report is enclosed here under for reference. According to that report, one has to go directly to the Local Level Monitoring Committee, for correction of mistakes in the data bank, within 90days from 1st June 2017. The time limit of 90days is prescribed only for the Kerala High Court to strike it down.

For me, one thing is very clear. The Kerala Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act, 2008, is an unruly gal, wandering here and there without any resolve, and yet to enter her teenage. When she is a teenager, I bet, all including the Kerala Government, Environmental Activists and Kerala High Court would vie to tame her, and get her attention, with their own pieces of advice.

So, according to me, it is better to wait and watch, and see how this girl grows up into a woman, instead of rushing in for her immediate attention.


PS: The amendment GO (P) No. 34/2017/Revenue dated 30/5/2017 (SRO 301/2017) is embedded hereunder

Constituent Assembly Debates on Alcohol

In the book, India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha, the following passage about Constituent assembly debates was found interesting:

Jaipal Singh, himself an adivasi, albeit of a rather special kind. Jaipal was a Munda from Chotanagpur, the forested plateau of South Bihar peopled by numerous tribes all more-or-less distinct from caste Hindu society. Sent by missionaries to study in Oxford, he made a name there as a superb hockey player. He obtained a Blue, and went on to captain the Indian team that won the gold medal in the 1928 Olympic Games.

Three years later, in the discussion on the draft constitution [of India], Jaipal made a speech that was spirited in all senses of the word. Bowing to pressure by Gandhians, the prohibition of alcohol had been made a directive principle. This, said the adivasi leader, was an interference ‘with the religious rights of the most ancient people in the country’. For alcohol was part of their festivals, their rituals, indeed their daily life itself. In West Bengal ‘it would be impossible for paddy to be transplanted if the Santhal does not get his rice beer. These ill-clad men . . . have to work knee-deep in water throughout the day, in drenching rain and in mud. What is it in the rice beer that keeps them alive? I wish the medical authorities in this country would carry out research in their laboratories to find out what it is that the rice beer contains, of which the Adibasis need so much and which keeps them [protected] against all manner of diseases.”

So I’m not alone in thinking that alcohol is an essential ingredient in leading a spirited life. Certain enlighted founders of the Indian Constitution also shared this view.

Podcast replaces FM Radio

I have 20 minutes drive to reach my office at Paramara Road. In the car while driving, Radio Mango 91.9 and Club FM 94.3 were my companions to kill the traffic. But things changed when I downloaded ‘Podcast Addict’ in my mobile phone. It has a wide range of on-demand audio entertainment programs to enjoy the spare the time spent inside the car. My favourite podcast stations are:

  1. Economist – Editors Pick
  2. BBC Documentaries
  3. Legal Talk Network
  4. TED Radio Hours
  5. Criminal
  6. This American Life

Podcast has the edge to kill the dominance of FM Radio inside the car. I am sure, some time in near future, this is going to happen, in Kerala too.

A help from the Past

Last week my life was busy with research to find out a way to get back a property alienated by a wife, without the consent of her husband. The property was purchased by the husband, who is my client, in the name of his wife. But the wife, sold out the property to her son-in-law, in order to take petty revenge on the husband for abandoning membership of a particular church. Sounds insane, but that’s how civil cases commence.

Either way, the matter falls within the Law of Benami, which was abolished in the year 1986. Since then, no major author or publisher has bothered to print a decent book on the subject. All that is available now is the Benami Prohibition Act, 1986’s bare act.

Thereon, I decided to look into my Perumbavoor-Office’s thattumpuram, which is dump yard of old case-files, books and termites. Guess what i found!  An excellent book on “Benami Transactions” by A. Ghosh, printed in the year 1923. A book from the past, almost a century old. It belonged to my great grandfather, who was also a Lawyer.

Ten minutes skimming of that century old book gave me an idea how to frame the otherwise hopeless case.  There is a presumption (declared by Privy Council) that property purchased by an unemployed housewife would be with the funds provided by her husband, unless proved otherwise. In simple terms, the law presumes that Wife is just the Benamidar of her husband. The 1986 Prohibition Act, although abolishes Benami Transactions,  it has saved transactions between husband and wife. Therefore I get a long shot to back the property impetuously alienated by my client’s wife.

As a gratitude, I decided to restore the dilapidated book by fixing the torn pages, giving it a new cover, and a decent place in my Library.

An interesting piece on women

Wheel of Time Series have been my literary life for almost eight months. My favorite character – Matrim Cauthon / Mat, has always fascinated me with his interesting philosophies and pragmatic outlook. Here is one, that stuck an odd note with me.


“Women,” Mat declared as he rode Pips down the dusty, little-used road, “are like mules.” He frowned. “Wait. No. Goats. Women are like goats. Except every flaming one thinks she’s a horse instead, and a prize racing mare to boot. Do you understand me, Talmanes?”

“Pure poetry, Mat,” Talmanes said, tamping the tabac down into his pipe.

“Reasoning with a woman is impossible,” Mat continued, eyes forward. “It’s like… Well, reasoning with a woman is like sitting down to a friendly game of dice. Only the woman refuses to acknowledge the basic bloody rules of the game. A man, he’ll cheat you—but he’ll do it honestly. He’ll use loaded dice, so that you think you’re losing by chance. And if you aren’t clever enough to spot what he’s doing, then maybe he deserves to take your coin. And that’s that.

“A woman, though, she’ll sit down to that same game and she’ll smile, and act like she’s going to play. Only when it’s her turn to throw, she’ll toss a pair of her own dice that are blank on all six sides. Not a single pip showing. She’ll inspect her throw, then she’ll look up at you and say, “Clearly I just won.”250px-Mat

“Now, you’ll scratch your head and look at the dice. Then you’ll look up at her, then down at the dice again. “But there aren’t any pips on these dice,” you’ll say.

” “Yes there are,’ she’ll say. “And both dice rolled a one.”

” “That’s exactly the number you need to win,” you’ll say.

” “What a coincidence,” she’ll reply, then begin to scoop up your coins. And you’ll sit there, trying to wrap your head bout what just happened. And you’ll realize something. A pair of ones isn’t the winning throw! Not when you threw a six on your turn. That means she needed a pair of twos instead! Excitedly, you’ll explain what you’ve discovered. Only then, do you know what she’ll do?”

“No idea, Mat,” Talmanes replied, chewing on his pipe, a thin wisp of smoke curling out of the bowl.

“Then she’ll reach over,” Mat said, “and rub the blank faces of her dice. And then, with a perfectly straight face, she’ll say, “I’m sorry. There was a spot of dirt on the dice. Clearly you can see that they actually came up as twos!” And she’ll believe it. She’ll bloody believe it!”

“Incredible,” Talmanes said.

“Only that’s not the end of it!”

“I had presumed that it wouldn’t be, Mat.”

“She scoops up all of your coins,” Mat said, gesturing with one hand, the other steadying his ashandarei across his saddle. “And then every other woman in the room will come over and congratulate her on throwing that pair of twos! The more you complain, the more of those bloody women will join the argument. You’ll be outnumbered in a moment, and each of those women will explain to you how those dice clearly read twos, and how you really need to stop behaving like a child. Every single flaming one of them will see the twos! Even the prudish woman who has hated your woman from birth—since your woman’s granny stole the other woman’s granny’s honeycake recipe when they were both maids—that woman will side against you.”

“They are nefarious creatures indeed,” Talmanes said, voice flat and even. Talmanes rarely smiled.

“By the time they’re done,” Mat continued, almost more to himself, “you’ll be left with no coin, several lists’ worth of errands to run and what clothing to wear and a splitting headache. You’ll sit there and stare at the table and begin to wonder, just maybe, if those dice didn’t read twos after all. If only to preserve what’s left of your sanity. That’s what it’s like to reason with a woman, I tell you.”

(Shared from Moon+ Reader Pro v1.9.2c, Wheel of Time 12 – The Gathering Storm, Chapter 20 – On the broken road )