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The Supply of Justice – Indira Rajaraman

The Great Brown Indian State has become a land grabber

The Great Brown Indian State has become a land grabber

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 State must this temptation!

The Indian State must resist this temptation!

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.

Britain – phuski or phoenix

It has been like this in the UK for 70 years now!

It has been like this in the UK for 70 years now!

With just about two months left before the expected election date of May 6, the outcome is impossible to predict. A Tory majority, a minority Labour government, or a split Parliament with the third-party Liberal Democrats holding the swing votes are all viable scenarios. The markets have a jittery season ahead of them. (via In Britain, a Rout Turns into a Race – BusinessWeek).

At the edge of the precipice!

Last time around, in the stagflation of 1970s, as the low-exchange rates era in Europe ended, in the post oil-shock world of 1973, Britain inched to the edge of precipice of becoming a Third World economy. It was North Sea Oil that saved Britain. What will it be this time? Britain’s options are shrinking.

The Great Squeeze

Between 1930-1940, Britain was in a similar position, electorally and economically. Churchill, Montagu Norman executed the Great Squeeze on the Indian Peasant. What will it be this time around?

On October 27th, 1931, the Ramsey Macdonald led “National” Government (Conservatives and Liberals coalition, fearful of the rising Labour Party) in Britain won a huge majority of 554 MPs of 615. The economic crisis of September (misnamed as the Indian Currency Crisis), ensuing Depression era problems in the US, the Weimar Republic problems – and other issues pushed this ‘National’ government to ram through a series of measures (page 130-131) that depressed silver and gold prices and raised interest rates in India.

Which way the wind blows

Will Scotland secede? Will North Sea Oil go away with Scotland? Will Britain be able to withstand a hung Parliament and a coalition Government? Italy, after WW2 and before 1993 electoral reforms, had nearly 60 Government changes in 47 years (1946-1993). Will Britain go the Italian pre-1993 coalition-era way? Rapid descent or a slow spiral.

Or an unlikely phoenix-like rise?

PS – Phuski is colloquial Hindi for damp squib

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