The replacement of indigenous systems of justice by the colonial British system of jurisprudence radically reshaped the structure of property and other rights in the country. The implications of this implant in the legal landscape continue to be explored in a large literature by historians and economists.Painstaking surveys of the topography of the land were a necessary underpinning of the new legal system. The initial cadastral surveys performed more than one hundred years ago remain the basis for land rights to this very day. The new legal structure spawned a class of Indian lawyers who functioned as its gatekeepers for a bewildered population, and earned fabulous wealth by so doing. Ironically, some members of this class, Motilal Nehru prominent among them, ploughed their wealth into the movement for the eviction of the colonial government, the very means of their enrichment. (via Indira Rajaraman: The Supply of Justice).
The indigenous system
Going by official accounts and history, India did not have any system of justice before the Colonial Raj. The modern Indian State has eagerly embraced the Desert Bloc system of justice, law and legality. Indian people and Indic systems have been neglected and excluded by the Indian State. The Indian State is becoming a captive of Big Business and the Big State – and to keep Indians quiet, it is throwing crumbs and bones (like NREGA) at us.
It is good that parts of the ‘establishment’ do remember that there existed an indigenous system of justice, law and legality – which pre-dated the colonial system. It is a radically different system.
The Great Indian Land Grab continues
The Indian peasant was the first and the only peasant in the world to own his property – till ‘Desert Bloc’ rulers started a 800 year trend of ‘landgrab’. Yes. India does need to re-visit ‘general governance’! We need traditional governance – and not the ‘modern’ colonial baggage, that India has not discarded. We need to give back the lands that were grabbed from the poor Indian peasant and the poor Indian tribal.
And it would serve India very well.
How Big Business and Big Government combine against the aam aadmi, the common man.
- 1857 – A Failed ‘Mutiny’? (2ndlook.wordpress.com)
- Reports: India seizes $44m guarantee from IMI (haaretz.com)
- China: India ‘not rival’ after launch (cnn.com)
- Vodafone Threatens India With Arbitration Over Tax Issue (voanews.com)
- The feeding frenzy of kleptocracy (thehindu.com)
- India may see internet boom by 2015 – report (blogs.ft.com)
Experts are, therefore, advising caution on importing US regulations wholesale. American systems warrant a closer look not merely because the FDA is set to open an open office in this country but because an agricultural partnership launched during the Bush regime is seeking to replicate American policies here through different forums. One such is the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), which has just completed its first three-year phase. Kavitha Kuruganti, convener of the Coalition for a GM-Free India, finds that the KIA is focused not so much on technology transfer as on changes in India’s regulatory regime … With US multinationals such as Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland Co on the KIA board, it is only to be expected that the companies will “drive as many changes as possible to suit their business interests”, she claims.
There is a strong body of opinion which says the KIA should be put under parliamentary scrutiny so that a proper assessment can be made of its contribution to Indian agriculture, specially to the small farmer. But this is an issue that could easily turn into an ideological debate and deflect attention from the key concerns on regulation.
One worrying issue is whether revolving doors are opening up here, too. Making a presentation at a recent Delhi briefing of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) along with its founder Clive James, was C D Mayee, one of India’s top agriculture scientists. Mayee is a director of the ISAAA, which describes itself as a not-for-profit organisation that “delivers the benefits of agricultural biotechnology to resource-poor farmers in developing countries.” However, among the 21 donors to ISAAA are a clutch of biotech seed companies which are seeking to expand their markets. These include Monsanto and Indian companies which come to the GEAC for approvals. Mayee is also co-chair of the regulatory body. Not a few believe there is a patent conflict of interest here. (via Latha Jishnu: Unwholesome regulations on food).
Latha Jishnu makes some very valid points – and flags issues that should concern all of us. A number of these issues will fly low, below the radar – and a combination of an outdated bureaucracy plus Big Business lobbying will see most of the agenda finally seeing the light of day!
Media, commentators, academia, analysts are busy with political parties and personalities. The shaping of the national agenda, is ignored – and left to chance and random outcomes.