Saturday, 18 November 2017

Mere Mehboob na ja, aaj ki raat na jaa from the movie “Noor Mahal” , Composed by Jani Babu Qawwal, lyrics by: Saba Afghani-1965


SUMAN KALYANPUR  got very few OPPORTUNITIES to PERFECT her art and to Really shine like in this WONDERFUL HAUNTING SONG, “Mera Mehboob na ja, aaj ki raat na ja” from the movie “Noor Mahal” , composed by Jani Babu ( Qauwal) with lyrics by Saba Afghani and whatever Chance she got to show her immense TALENT & VOICE , it was  because between 1964 to 1968 Rafi had a TIFF with Lata Mangeshkar on a matter of principle that after collecting their CONTRACTUAL PAYMENT from the Film Producers / Music Directors , the Play - Back singer being an EMPLOYEE of the  Film Producer / Music Director from one song to another, has no right to demand FUTURE ROYALTY in addition to the CONTRACTUAL AMOUNT but Lata Mangeshkar was DEMANDING ROYALTY in addition to the CONTRACTUAL AMOUNT for the first time ,which was  not the practice then, and so Rafi & Lata stopped singing DUETS  for four years (1964-1968) and becuase of this Vacuum of Rafi-Lata Duets, Music Directors like Shankar Jaikishan, Kalyanji Anandji,Naushad, Kayam, Sonik Omi, Usha Khanna,  Lakshmi Kant Pyarelal and many others started giving BIG BREAKS to Suman Kalyanpur for DUETS with RAFI  like the super hit duets –tujhe pyar karte hain karte rahenge and Kehdo kehdo jahan se, ishq par zor nahin-from the movie April Fool,(Shankar Jaikishan-1964,) Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zaban par- from the movie Brahmachari ( again Shankar Jaikishan), tum ne pukara aur hum chale aye – from the movie Rajkumar ( Shankar Jaikishan), Raat suhani  jaag rah hai, chupke chupke chori chori oh, from the movie Jigri Dost ( Laksmikant Pyarelal), agar teri Jalwa Numai na hoti- from Beti Bete,(Shankar Jaikaishan),Dile Betaab ko seenay se lagana hoga,from the movie Palki ( Naushad), Parbaton ke pedun par sham ka basera hai – movie Shagun ( Khyam), Itna hai tumse pyar mujhe mere razdar- from the movie Suraj ( Shankar Jaikishan), Ke jaan chali jaye Jia Nahin jaye- from the movie Anjana ,(Lakshmi kant Payrelal), kisne mujhe sada di Kisne mujhe pukara awaz dene wale awaz de dobara- from the movie “Saaz aur Awaaz ( Naushad), na na karte pyar tumhin se kar baithe- from the movie – jab jab phool khile- (Kalyanji Anandji),Tujhe chaha,tujhe pooja, bas itni qata hai meri aur qata kya- From the movie – Choti si Mulaqat- (Shankar Jaikishan), Tu jangal ki morni te main jangal ka mor- from the movie Raja Saab ( Kalyanji Anandji), Tum se oh hasina na- from the movie FARZ ( Lakshmikant Pyarelal) and so on and so forth – many more or countless such duets  she got to sing with Rafi and above all this solo GEM –“Mere Mehboob na ja, aaj ki raat na ja”for which one can say that EVEN if one doesn't understand the LANGUAGE  one can’t  MISS the  the Pathos and Pining  that Suman Kalyanpur has put in to this  WONDERFUL rendition by her and  in a most HAUNTING VOICE  that is MATCHLESS  and I venture to say that even LATA MANGESHKAR'S many Haunting Melodies like " Naina Barse rim Jhim, Lag Ja Gale " both from Woh Kaun Thi , and "Kahin deep Jale Kahin Dil" from the movie Bees saal Baad AND the marvelous composition of Salil Chaudhary "aaja re Pardesi, main tu kab se khadi iss paar" from the movie Madhumati, AND the OLD - gem from MAHAL, "ayeg ayega, aane wala, ayega ayaega", though these too are GEMS from Lata Mangeshkar, but the above song sung by SUMAN KALYANPUR - "Mere Mehboob Na Ja, Aaj ki raat na ja"; I am sure, most music lovers will RATE this TRULY HAUNTING & PATHOS filled SONG by Suman Kalyanpur,HIGHER than all the other haunting songs of Lata Mangeshkar that I have listed above.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The NEWS REPORT of the SAVAGE KILLING of senior Journalist Gauri Lankesh at her home in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017 by suspected Extreme Right Wing GOONS

 MY TAKE on this GRUESOME MURDER of Senior Journalist Gauri Lankesh by suspected Extreme Right Wing GOONS

 Apropos the heinous murder of Senior Journalist Gauri Lankesh for her ‘middle of the road’ social, secular & constitutionally upright views’, by suspected Right Wing Fringe Groups, is to be condemned unequivocally. Date September 7, 2017   

            The heinous murder of Senior Journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead on September 5th, 2017 evening ( Ironically on  “Teachers DAY”!) for her ‘middle of the road’ social, secular & constitutionally upright views that were Rational and  totally against Bigotry & Superstitions of all hues, is to be condemned unequivocally.
            She was barbarically shot at from a range of 6-7 feet & purportedly seven bullets were fired towards her from very close range by suspected Right Wing Fringe Group Members , out of which, three bullets pierced her body as per the police Report.
            The manner of her assassination was identical to the Modus-Operandi used in a similar  assassination of M.M. Kalburgi , two years back by the same suspected group of two or three assassins, with suspected membership to some Underground Right Wing Fringe Group  professing  Fascist ideology of eliminating all dissent & dissenters physically if the dissenter seemed to be  strongly against their fascist ideology and if he or she had become a thorn in their flesh.
            Strangely & coincidentally, all the four  recent assassinations, starting with Narendra Dhabolkar (August 20, 2013), Govind Pansare (February 20, 2015)-( both in Maharashtra) and Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi (August 30, 2015)& now Gauri Lankesh ( September 5, 2017)(these two in Karnataka) have identical Modus Operandi and apparently have drawn  a leaf out of the Modus Operandi that was used by Nathuram Godse to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi on 30th January 1948.( Note: Nathuram Godse was purportedly an  R S S member who had resigned from RSS membership only a few days ahead of his successful attempt to assassinate Mahatma Gandhiji so as to COVER UP his Liaison with other RSS bigwigs like Veer Sawarkar who was  another accused in the Mahatma Gandhi Assassination Trial but was acquitted due to lack of CLINCHING EVIDENCE of his involvement in that Conspiracy of the most GRAVE POLITICAL ASSASSINATION of the 20th Century ; that of Mahatma Gandhi).   
            Not only the common Modus Operandi  of the series of Assassination of well known dissenters against the Extreme Right Wing Ideology (that gets termed variously as Implementation of “HINDUTVA or SANTAN DHARMA or HINDU RASHTRA” in India, by altering its present nature of being a Democratic, Socialist & Secular Republic into a Majoritarian – Hindu Rashtra) points clearly to some already identified Extreme Right Wing Fringe groups operating from Pune and Goa, it also Clearly Establishes the lackadaisical approach of all the INVESTIGATIVE AGENCIES involved – CBI, Maharashtra COD and Karnataka COD, towards these murders, since even Dhabolkar’s murder that is more than four years old remains UNSOLVED, showing  a DELIBERATE ATTEMPT by these agencies to GO SLOW & eventually put these MURDERS permanently UNDER the CARPET by closing their files as “Unsolved Crimes!
            The Diabolical Nature of the Sequence of four Assassinations in four years and the spreading Culture of Violence , especially amongst Lumpen Goons belonging to the Political Extreme Right wing is truly a Dangerous Portent for our fledgling democracy that is already under strain due to its multitude of diverse ethnic and religious groups competing for a share in  political power and a share  in the cake of economic benefits that ensues with capturing of political power.
            So, the Indian State, center & the state Governments should all rise above narrow political gains and unitedly FIGHT this SCOURGE  as otherwise our FOURTH PILLAR of DEMOCRACY the MEDIA together with outspoken Tall & Colossal Public Speakers / Iconic Writers  who champion Freedom Of Speech and Expression and fight for Equality & Fraternity amongst all citizens and especially those who Fight against Bigotry and Superstitions of all hues,  will all be at great risk of getting Physically Eliminated like Gauri Lankesh was!

Shahabuddin Nadeem

Saturday, 13 May 2017

MY various TAKES on the HYPED Triple Talaq Issue that is being used by the SANGHIS to beat the Muslim community with and to shamelessly POLARISE the SOCIETY along religious lines for  Electoral Gains.

DATE: May 13, 2017

I)               Apropos the Hype, Hyperbole and Hoopla that the whole nation (Including the Supreme Court!) has been pushed into by a very clever, Goebbelian  use of media by the  Extended Sangh Parivar over an issue that concerns totally and is obviously intrinsic to Muslim Sharia – Triple Talaq, that concerns only an infinitesimal  fraction of Muslim women-Date May, 12,2017

There is CERTAINLY more to it than what MEETS the eye, behind the Lip-service being offered and crocodile tears that the Sangh Parivar Conglomerate is shedding over the Muslim Women’s rights!

It is all the more hypocritical of men like Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitely and even the PM who are mouthing platitudes and giving sermons ad-nauseum  to the Muslim community over this contentious Muslim Personal Law issue, at a time when they are failing to ensure even the Fundamental Right to LIFE  of Muslim MEN, especially those from the lower economic strata like Cattle Traders and Dairy farmers many of who are being harassed and victimized by Goons and Lumpen elements masquerading as “Gau-Rakshaks”  in the most savage manner, a lawless vigilantism that has already caused six gory  deaths so far in the last two years.

So, this all-round Hype, Hyperbole and Hoopla that has been orchestrated through the media by the extended Sangh Parivar is clearly for Political Reasons, and only as a ploy to raise one more communally sensitive, contentious & polarising  issue obviously for electoral benefits .

Why is this government, that has, defacto  (and - dejure; shortly, if R S S Chief becomes the President of India?), a back-seat Driving HEAD, from  the Hindutva Organisation - R S S , does not focus on the ills of Dowry Deaths, Child Marriages, Female Infanticide, Honour Killing, Female Malnutrition, whose incidence is highest among the Hindus and more importantly, on elimination of  the millennia old Scourge of an otherwise tolerant faith Hinduism-the pernicious practice of un-touchability against Dalits, that is still practiced with impunity despite strict laws against it, by the upper caste Hindus and more so in Rural India ( Segregated Colonies, Separate Wells, Separate Tumblers  at Tea shops for Dalits, and the most chillingly abhorrent practice of SEATING DALIT CHILDREN separately for partaking of the Mid-Day meal even in SCHOOLS, etc)?

AND with a method in their madness, every now &and then these hypocrites raise some controversial issue or the other so as to either divide and polarize the society along religious or caste lines for electoral gains or to DIVERT the ATTENTION of the MASSES away from the UTTER FAILURES of this government in fulfilling most of its election campaign promises and other failures on all other governance fronts.

It is High time that Free and Independent Press ( more so National Dailies like The Hindu with reputation of being a 130 years old warrior for dissemination of TRUTH) stops becoming   mouth-pieces for the Sangh and should come out openly against these Oft-repeated Goebbelian trick of propaganda ( just like it was used in Hitler's Germany) comprising of spreading  half-truths, slander and calumny as GOSPEL TRUTH, that the “Far Right Extended Sangh Parivar” uses for Covering up Gross Incompetence and failures of their  B J P government.    

II)            APROPOS- “Clearing Misconceptions” created through disinformation propagated mischievously by communal vested interests around the Sharia law on divorce in Islam ( with a clear intention to use it as a handle to beat the Muslim community with and for polarising communities on religious line for electoral gains).

(1)   NIKAH (marriage) in the Muslim community is not a Sacrament, like it is among Hindus and Christians. Nikah is primarily  an “AHAD” meaning a “Contract or Agreement” between a “Consenting Adult Male” and a “Consenting Adult Female” member of the Muslim Community, to live together with all conjugal rights and duties as endowed up on them by the Sharia.
(2)    As such, the Nikah ceremony is ordained to be and is in most cases,  a simple OATH TAKING CEREMONY over a written agreement by the two consenting adults and gets consummated in less than 15 minutes in the presence of close relatives, with one proposer and  one witness from the Girl’s side and another witness from the Boy’s side who also sign the marriage register that records, apart from all other details, the AMOUNT of DOWER ( call it a surety amount or REVERSE-of-DOWRY!) that the husband will pay, immediately or in a deferred manner to the wife. This Dower amount is fixed mutually by the two sides but it is PRIMARILY the responsibility of Girl’s Parents /relatives to fix a reasonable sum in proportion to the Boy’s earnings and existing wealth.
(3)   Just as the NIKAH is consummated in a peaceful manner and  without much fanfare, the Sharia law provides for  a married couple who feel they are no more compatible and are at loggerhead very often and whose marriage is no more sustainable, a Controlled, Simple
     and Well delineated route of dissolution of their marriage called ‘talaq” (Divorce). Where as in     other communities it ends up being a hard drawn out legal battle that leaves both husband & wife “imprisoned in a traumatic and unwanted relationship” for an unpredictably long period, till they get the divorce from the civil courts after many years!  
(4)   As per Sharia, Talaq from the Man’s side has to be  completed in three stages – with a Gap of three months in between the declaration of  intent to divorce so that in case the couple wants, they  may reconciles their differences during those  three months GAP that they get between the first and the third declaration of talaq by the man so that they can continue as man and wife. All other deviations are Highly Repugnant “Biddat” that Islamic Sharia does not approve or accept.
(5)   Like a Muslim man has a right to dissolve a Failed Marriage, the Muslim woman too has this right, called “ Qula” where she individually or with her relatives approaches the “Qazi-e-Shehar” ( adjudicator), to dissolve her marriage and gets it dissolved in front of witnesses so that the DIVORCED MAN  CAN NOT IMPOSE UP ON HER AGAIN through FORCE!
(6)   In case of a man divorcing his wife, he necessarily has to shell out  the AMOUNT of DOWER in HARD CASH or in terms of Gold promised to the wife and has to return all the Jewelry and gifts that she would have got from her friends and relatives, as well as any JOINT ACCOUNT CASH that she had contributed through her own  earnings, apart from  maintenance amount towards her maintenance commensurate with their normal living standard for three months after divorce called the period of “iddat” after which the woman is free to marry to any other person of her choice.
(7)   The hype over “NIKAH-HALA” is actually TURNING a RULE that is in fact in favour of the woman / wife into something obnoxious! This LAW is meant to DETER men from taking a hasty decision on talaq as a WARNING that in case after Talaq gets firmly consummated and later if he regains his feelings of love and attachment of his divorced wife, he wouldn’t be able to go back to her easily and hence has to think dispassionately before divorcing her. 

So to conclude, the hype, hyperbole and hoopla that has been generated over a DEVIANT PRACTICE of “simultaneous declaration of talaq three times by ignoramuses, wrongly being referred to as ‘triple talaq’, is totally unwarranted as TALAQ among Muslims is always a “Three STAGE and deferred TALAQ”! AND, just due to a FEW Muslim men, deliberately misinterpreting and “MIS-USING” it, one need not “throw out the well established and Sacrosanct Sharia Law on divorce –that will be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water! AND so, I hope the Supreme Court will really go through the entire GENESIS and PRACTICE of the Sharia Law on divorce instead of getting mislead by the deliberate hype, hyperbole and hoopla generated around the misnomer of “triple talaq”.

AND this is the BASIS for COURTS to decide on issues connected with PERSONAL LAWS:

1950s judgment of the Bombay High Court in State of Bombay versus Narasu Appa Mali continues to hold fort. The Narasu Appa Mali judgment had held that personal law is not ‘law’ under Article 13. The court had observed that reformation of personal laws is best left to the legislature as "chosen representatives of the people" and not the judiciary. It said the phrase ‘customs and usages’ in Article 13 does not include personal laws of various religions.

Friday, 14 April 2017

"MY TAKE" on a SCHOLARLY / INFORMATIVE article by Sanjay Hegde in The Hindu dated April 14, 2017

"MY TAKE" on a SCHOLARLY / INFORMATIVE article by Sanjay Hegde in The Hindu dated April 14, 2017

       Subject: The LEAD article, “Courting faith and reason” by Sanjay Hegde, The Hindu, April 14, 2017

           While most scribes, commentators are busy, once again and rightly so,  EULOGISING the colossal  ICON who was the Single Most Important person behind the CREATION of our Constitution that converted India from being a  SLAVE NATION SLAVE NATION  that had been, only a few years earlier, freed from the YOLK of the 200 years BRITISH rule, into a REMARKABLE Democratic, Socialist and Secular Republic, one may be surprised to see an article from an eminent Supreme Court Lawyer that has a CENTRAL THEME of CRITICISING B.R. Ambedkar on one of several but minor FLAWS in our constitution that have been brought to our notice by similarly eminent legal luminaries both from the Bar as well as from the Judiciary from time to time.     

Mr. Sanjay Hegde, in a way, is RIGHT in criticizing Ambedkar too for allowing the  inclusion of “Cow/Calf/ Cattle protection as a DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLE in the constitution, especially while trying , as if , to TRACE BACK the single most important ROOT CAUSE for the present VIOLENCE and  CHAOS that have been unleashed on a YOUNG, just about 70 years old REPUBLIC of INDIA , in the name of COW PROTECTION by the RIGHT WING FRINGE GROUPS who call themselves as “Gau-Rakshak” on the pretext of their belief in  the Cow as their “MOTHER”, while in reality ,most of them are LUMPEN ELEMENTS indulging in ILLEGAL VIGILANTISM and do so because they now feel that they have a license for “OPEN EXTORTION” with the LAW ENFORCERS turning a blind eye towards their RAMPAGING ESCAPADES and with the present dispensation at the center that is OPENLY acting under the influence of its IDEOLOGICAL MASTER, the RSS and  with  even the RSS chief, giving a TACIT SUPPORT to such unlawful elements and ONLY OFFERING LIP-SERVICE to the VICTIMS of such VIOLENT and BARBARIC VIGILANTISM that has left at least 10 or even more MUSLIM CATTLE TRADERS dead since the first casualty two years ago ,of  Akhlaque of Dadri near Delhi.

However, as he begins his article and quite early in it, after establishing the Phenomenon of “Normalisation of Deviance”( attributed as the ROOT CAUSE for the NEGLIGENCE during design of an O-ring that had resulted in the Challenger space shuttle’s  mid-flight explosion killing all seven astronauts abroad), he unleashes his “TEMP-PLATE” to any how CRITICISE Dr. B.R Ambedkar as the single MOST RESPONSIBLE person for “Cow Protection Clause Fiasco in the Directive Principles of the Constitution" and I  quote the excerpt;
“Today on B.R. Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary, violence over cow slaughter threatens to rend apart the Republic and his magnificent Constitution which gave us a secular country with a fundamental right to life and liberty assured to every citizen. How did the body politic slowly deviate so much so that a man’s choice of meat has become his poison? It is time to recount Ambedkar’s normalisation of deviance in the Constituent Assembly on the question of cow protection. That deviance emboldened the Supreme Court decades later to take a position that would have been an abomination to men like Ambedkar.”

While making B.R. Ambedkar the single most responsible person in the Constituent Assembly for this “Cow –Protection Fiasco” in the directive principle”, just because he was HEADING the Assembly, Mr. Hegde FORGETS that he was after all a “ Dalit” by Caste  who was FIGHTING against great ODDS to obtain GREATER FOCUS of deliberations of the Assembly  on the pernicious and INHUMAN PRACTICE of “ UN-TOUCABILITY against his own community”  and to ENSURE that it TRULY GOT ABOLISHED with CRIMINAL CLAUSES  imposed on its PRACTITIONERS to ensure a REAL and LASTING BLOW against that inhuman practice that also had various shades of  the practice of “APARTHEID against the Blacks in South Africa” and hence he had to COMPROMISE when FACED with the stubborn UPPER-CASTE ,or to be blunt, Brahmanical, demand for this clause’s insertion amongst the Directive Principles of the Constitution. Mr. Hegde should have recalled the still earlier COMPROMISE that B. R. Ambedkar was forced to make by the STUBBORN RIGIDITY of Mahatma Gandhi through a Fast unto Death, that had forced Dr. Ambedkar to reluctantly, sign the FAMOUS ( and - quite infamous amongst the DALITS  for all times to come!)POONA – PACT  under VISIBLE duress.

( Ref: 'The Poona Pact' refers to an agreement between Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi signed on 24 September 1932 at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune, India. It was signed by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and some other leaders to break the fast unto death undertaken by Gandhi in Yerwada prison to annul the MacDonald Award giving separate electorates to Dalits for electing members of state legislative assemblies in British India.)

So, to conclude, I feel that Mr. Hegde, and quite uncharacteristically so, has definitely erred ,to single out Dr. B.R Ambedkar, for what he now considers as a Fiasco of “Cow Protection Clause entering into the Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution”, since there were many other tall and eminent members in the Constituent assembly,(and mainly some  RIGHT-WING SYMPATHIZERS amongst the CONGRESS), who did ARM-TWIST Dr. Ambedkar for this FIASCO, occupying, as they did, a position of strength, by virtue of belonging to the UPPER CASTES among the majority Hindus and were in fact, and truly, the GUILTY PARTY, for ensuring that this , what has ended up as  a TIME-BOMB- the “Cow Protection Clause within the Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution” .   

Shahabuddin Nadeem,

Now the EXCERPTS of the article are provided in the following for READY READING /Reference 

How religious belief disguised as an economic principle changed the original intent of Ambedkar’s Constitution

The Challenger space shuttle exploded in 1986, killing all seven crew members. It occurred because of a design flaw in the rocket boosters of the spacecraft. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had sub-contracted the design of the boosters to an independent company. The company had noticed that the putty used to seal rings on the boosters was forming bubbles that caused a heat jet so hot that it could burn through the rings. The engineers changed the putty. They knew that a putty erosion could still occur, but with very low probability of a catastrophic disaster. Unfortunately for the seven who perished, in a series of small steps NASA deviated from its safety standards and determined that the erosion of the putty was an acceptable risk of flight.
Later, NASA commissioned many inquiries into the cause of the disaster. The most insightful report came from Diane Vaughan, then a teacher of sociology at Boston College, who attributed the disaster to what she called a “normalisation of deviance”. The phrase meant that “people within the organisation become so much accustomed to a deviant behaviour that they don't consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety”.
Today on B.R. Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary, violence over cow slaughter threatens to rend apart the Republic and his magnificent Constitution which gave us a secular country with a fundamental right to life and liberty assured to every citizen. How did the body politic slowly deviate so much so that a man’s choice of meat has become his poison? It is time to recount Ambedkar’s normalisation of deviance in the Constituent Assembly on the question of cow protection. That deviance emboldened the Supreme Court decades later to take a position that would have been an abomination to men like Ambedkar.

Political and pragmatic

In 1948 Ambedkar published his book The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? He wrote: “In the first place, we have the fact that the Untouchables or the main communities which compose them eat the dead cow and those who eat the dead cow are tainted with untouchability and no others. The co-relation between untouchability and the use of the dead cow is so great and so close that the thesis that it is the root of untouchability seems to be incontrovertible. In the second place if there is anything that separates the Untouchables from the Hindus, it is beef-eating.” He went on to say: “The reason why Broken Men only became Untouchables was because in addition to being Buddhists they retained their habit of beef-eating which gave additional ground for offence to the Brahmins to carry their new-found love and reverence to the cow to its logical conclusion.”
However, in the Constituent Assembly debates around the same time, Ambedkar was not as vocal against ‘cow reverers’. In February 1948, the first draft of the Constitution was placed before the Assembly. It contained no reference to cow slaughter. The cow protection brigade within the Assembly pushed for an amendment seeking for cow protection as a fundamental right. Ambedkar and his team of draftsmen came up with a constitutional compromise.
A directive principle, seemingly based on economic and scientific grounds, was allowed to be introduced by Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava, a prosperous Brahmin lawyer from Hisar. It read: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.”
Despite his political stance outside the Constituent Assembly, within it Ambedkar said nothing substantial in the debates on cow slaughter, only that he accepted Bhargava’s amendment. Bhargava, however, emphasised his reluctant acceptance of the compromise when he said, “… for people like me and those that do not agree with the view of Ambedkar and others, this entails, in a way, a sort of sacrifice.”
Another cow proponent, Seth Govind Das, amplified Ambedkar’s lawyerly thinking in the matter. “I had then stated that just as the practice of untouchability was going to be declared an offence so also we should declare the slaughter of cows to be an offence. But it was said that while untouchability directly affected human beings, the slaughter of cows affected the life of animals only and that as fundamental rights were for human beings, this provision could not be included therein.”

The economic backdoor

Thus, though expressed in terms of economic policy, underlying this agreed amendment was the Assembly’s covert yielding, in a limited measure, to Hindu sentiments of cow protection. Protection ostensibly was restricted to cows and calves, milch cattle and those cattle capable of pulling heavy loads.
A bench of five judges of the Supreme Court in the 1959 case of Mohammed Hanif Quareshi v the State of Bihar strengthened the compromise when it did not uphold a complete ban on slaughter. Bhargava, appearing as an amicus in this matter, submitted that the directive principle of cow protection in Article 48 ought to have primacy over any fundamental right of the petitioners. Turning him down, the court said that “a harmonious interpretation has to be placed upon the Constitution and so interpreted it means that the State should certainly implement the directive principles but it must do so in such a way that its laws do not take away or abridge the fundamental rights”. The court finally concluded: “(i) a total ban on the slaughter of cows of all age and calves of cows and calves of she-buffaloes, male and female, is quite reasonable and valid and is in consonance with the directive principles laid down in Art. 48; (ii) a total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes or breeding bulls or working bullocks (cattle as well as buffaloes) as long as they are as milch or draught cattle is also reasonable and valid; and (iii) a total ban on the slaughter of she-buffaloes, bulls and bullocks (cattle or buffalo) after they cease to be capable of yielding milk or of breeding or working as draught animals cannot be supported as reasonable in the interest of the general public.”
This formulation held till 2005 when a seven-judge bench was constituted by Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti with five vegetarian judges on it. The resultant judgment had the Supreme Court — by a 6-1 majority — permitting State governments to impose total bans on cow slaughter. The reasoning was that “Times have changed; so have changed the social and economic needs… there is no escape from the conclusion that the protection conferred by impugned enactment on cow progeny is needed in the interest of Nation’s economy.” Justice A.K. Mathur dissented on the principle of stare decisis — that long-settled positions of law should not be easily reversed — adding, “There is no material change in ground realities warranting reversal of earlier decisions.”

Questions for our Republic

The questions that today haunt our Republic are — would the country not have been safer and better off had Ambedkar stuck to his first draft, which had no reference to cow slaughter at all? Did he allow a “normalisation of deviance” from the constitutional norm of secularism when he allowed a religious belief to be disguised as an economic principle? Has the Supreme Court done justice to the original intent of Ambedkar’s magnificent Constitution by reversing itself to keep up with political fashions of the day? A Challenger need not explode for us to realise that deviance into vigilantism can’t always be normalised.
Sanjay Hegde is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court