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The Prisoners of Chillon

December 1, 2011

Apun ka naam men road banega,” said Circuit. “Apun ka photo note pe chapega!

There would be roads named after me, banknotes will carry my image, said Munnabhai’s sidekick Circuit, in the film. Well, it may not be an accurate quote, but a friend was reminded of this watching the celebrations on the accused in the 2G scam coming out on bail, the felicitations.

In the best traditions of Anglo Saxon jurisprudence that we have chosen to follow, we should presume everyone innocent until proved guilty. But the pace of justice in our land makes a mockery of justice in its own traditional view. Justice delayed is justice denied. There must be thousands of under-trial prisoners in our jails whose crimes have not been proved, nor tried, sitting inside for more than the possible term for their alleged crimes.

I had a friend who joined the CBI as an inspector long, long ago. He was attached to the Shah Commission that probed the “excess”es of the infamous Emergency, 1975-77. After the Janata Party self-destructed with important personages like the redoubtable giant killer Raj Narain presiding over the process, the rulers changed. The Shah Commission was effectively dismantled. Anyone associated with the Shah Commission was meted out a “punishment” in the form of transfer from Delhi to some distant outpost of the new Indian Empire. My friend came to be posted in Bangalore, much nearer his home town. Whether he “managed” it or the head honchos did not know their geography is still being debated all over the known world by the non-cognoscenti.

In his time, Bhagat Singh was a terrorist, though the word was probably not coined then. Byron wrote his magnificent Prisoner of Chillon on Bonivard. A hero or an undesirable character, depending upon your point of view.

But for now, I am waiting for the day the ex-bosses of Enron and Nick Leesons of the world also have their likenesses in Madame Tussaud’s. Hitler has his.

Tailpiece: What is all the noise about Mullaperiyar? I would think having a newer, better dam would be in the interest of the farmers in Tamil Nadu too. The only problem I could see in Kerala building a new dam is, perhaps the facilitation fees for the construction project would probably accrue only to the political class in that state and not this side of the Western Ghats.


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One Comment
  1. kake
    Okay post, but not the best Ive seen exactly. You should step it up or kake will eat your position.

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